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The Philippines is the world’s only country without a divorce law, excluding Vatican City (Bigstock)

As the Philippines moved closer to legalising divorce from marriage, a leading Catholic bishop warned that “divorce weakens the fabric of society”. Source: Crux.

The House of Representatives of the Philippines last week approved House Bill 9349, which would legalise absolute divorce in the predominantly Catholic Asian country.

The Philippines is the world’s only country without a divorce law – excluding the Vatican – since Malta legalised the dissolution of marriage in 2011.

“I urge members of Congress to reconsider the proposed divorce bill and instead focus on promoting policies and programs that support marriage, strengthen families, and protect the well-being of all members of society,” said Bishop Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran, in an interview Catholic-run Radio Veritas on May 16.

The central Philippines bishop said a “society that values strong, stable families is a thriving society”.

“Divorce weakens the fabric of society by eroding the foundation of the family unit. It leads to social fragmentation, increased poverty, and a host of other societal ills. By promoting divorce, we are contributing to the breakdown of social cohesion and the erosion of moral values,” Bishop Uy said.

Fr Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, said there is no need for divorce in the country.

“You weaken the commitment to marriage,” he told Australia’s ABC News. 

“And of course you also just perpetuate the cycle of violence. You are not treating the person who is violent, you are just merely freeing the abused person from that violent situation,” the priest said.

Fr Secillano told the ABC there are already legal avenues for unhappy couples to split, including filing for legal separation, which doesn’t allow parties to re-marry, or an annulment, which, in effect, means the marriage never existed.


Philippines edges closer to legalising divorce, despite Church objections (Crux

In the Philippines, divorce is banned. It has left women with few options to rid themselves of abusive partners (ABC News