A Catholic priest appealed to people behind “community pantries” that are being set up across the Philippines not to include condoms in the goods they distribute.
Father Melvin Castro, spiritual director of the group Pro-Life Philippines, said he finds the inclusion of condoms in the basic needs distributed in poor communities “ironic and insensitive.”
“While our people barely survive, some would still instil anti-life culture,” noted the priest, adding that people should value and appreciate life.
“Condoms might not be abortifacient but it still inculcates views and attitudes devoid of the values of life and self-sacrifice,” said Father Castro.
Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of the Diocese of Cubao where the first “community pantry” was set up said he would just pray for the people behind the initiative.
“We cannot force our beliefs on people,” said the prelate. “We do not condemn people who are offering or distributing condoms. We pray for them,” he said.
A media report said that in the district of Matatag in Quezon City, a box of condoms was made available for free for those who wanted to have it.
The people behind the “community pantry” said they want to promote safe sex and to campaign against violence against women.
Rosaries in ‘pantries’
In the Archdiocese of Manila, rosaries and “mission crosses” are among those distributed in the old wall city of Intramuros.
“The Manila Cathedral joins the community pantry project, inspired by the Maginhawa community pantry and now initiated here by the Intramuros Administration,” read a post of the Cathedral.
“Together with food and groceries, we also gave to everyone the 500 Years Mission Cross and rosaries …. Everyone is truly gifted to give!” it added.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, lauded the “community pantries” as a “very good way of spreading generosity.”
He urged parishes under his jurisdiction to set up their own “pantries” to reach out to those in need during the pandemic.
The so-called “community pantries” encourage people to donate goods for those in need.
In the Diocese of Kalookan, a “pantry” of basic goods has been opened at San Roque Cathedral on Sunday. Bishop Pablo Virgilio David also urged parishes to do the same.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines, said the spread of the “pantries” showed that kindness and compassion never stop even “at a time when poverty is most visible.”
“[It] is one of the most Christian responses at a time when self-preservation, and addiction to power are very eminent,” said the prelate.
He stressed the need for a “concerted localized effort to respond to the problem.”
Bishop Bagaforo said initiatives like the “community pantries” are manifestations of “what we can do to augment the resources of the government to help the most in need families.”