Divorce is not the solution to extramarital affairs, a Catholic bishop said of a House appeal for a divorce law amid the ruckus raised by an official's public admission to indiscretions outside marriage.
"Divorce is not a solution to an extramarital affair. Nor [is] an extramarital affair an excuse for divorce. [An] extramarital affair is cheating," said Balanga bishop Ruperto Santos.
"It is infidelity, breaking one's trust and marital vow [and] a grievous sin, plain and simple, even a criminal offence," he added.
Legalizing divorce will only lead to the further destruction of the family as an institution, said Santos, who chairs the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines' (CBCP) Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas appealed for a divorce law on Monday following House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's revelation that he had girlfriends and children outside of marriage.
Citing the Philippines and the Vatican as the only states in the world where divorce is not allowed, Gabriela has filed House Bill No. 2380 seeking to legalize divorce in the country.
But Santos said society suffers when its basic unit, the family, fails.
"What we need is to protect the stability and sanctity of marriage. It is the children who suffer most in a break up of marriage. Divorce will enhance the separation and destruction of family," the bishop said.
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, who chairs the CBCP's Episcopal Commission on Missions, also slammed divorce as "one of the greatest evils in modern society that destroys the heart and essence of the family, the fundamental unit of human society willed by God and nature."
Bastes added: "Right now we have the honour and glory of being the only country following the command of our Lord: Keeping the indissolubility of marriage-a dogma of the Church."
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman filed in July last year a bill that would allow absolute divorce in the country which, he said, would provide "a merciful liberation of the hapless wife from a long-dead marriage."
Said Lagman: "Most marriages are supposed to be solemnized in heaven [but] the reality is many marriages plummet into hell-in irremediable breakdown, spousal abuse, marital infidelity and psychological incapacity, among others, which bedevil marriages."