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Philippines must not follow Malta, Church says

The outcome of the divorce referendum in Malta has made the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Philippines even more determined to ensure that divorce is not legalized in the Philippines.

"It is very unfortunate what happened in Malta but it also makes us even more resolved to protect the institution of marriage," Fr Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the commission told the Filipino media.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz  said the proposed divorce bill was "anti-Filipino."

In an interview carried on ABS-CBN, the Archbishop said the Philippines should not follow Malta's course.

The country's parliament is due to start debating a divorce bill on Wednesday.

President Aquino earlier said he was against divorce for fundamental reasons, but acknowledged that marriage was not for everyone.

“I do recognize that there have been unions that were wrong, that no matter what interventions are done, no matter what counselling is done, they really cannot stay together. There is danger to either one or both parties in the marriage especially the children. Divorce is a no-no. But in legal separation, you can assert that there really are irreconcilable differences,” Aquino said.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said legalizing divorce would lead to more broken marriages in the country.

Fr  Castro said legalizing divorce gives couples an easy way out instead of solving their problems.

"They divorce their first, second, third spouses because they have this image of the ideal spouse. If the marriage falls short of that image, they will separate," he said.

He noted: "If a court proves that there is psychological incapacity, the marriage is annulled. But then why should they be allowed to marry again? We just pass on the problem to the next marriage."

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