I am basing my comments on the English translation of the interview in the Jesuit magazine America.
Contrary to the headlines of some newspapers in the Philippines, the Pope never said: "Church 'obsessed' with birth control, abortion and gays." What he actually said was this: "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods," Pope Francis said. "This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time." From this quotation, we can also see that the Pope is not against dogma or the teaching of the Church ("The teaching of the Church, for the matter, is clear and I am a son of the Church"). He did not say that we should disregard or not follow them. In this interview he wants to stress that in the Church more efforts should be made to show love, compassion and mercy especially to the poor and marginalized members of the Church. He also gives emphasis to the need to dialogue with and bring the good news of salvation to those who don't belong to the Church.
The Holy Father did not also say that we should not defend the moral teachings of the Church when they are assailed. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he fought with the President of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, when her government promoted contraception by distributing free contraceptives all over the country and legalized abortion, and same-sex marriage.
When the Holy Father said that “the Church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,” he did not mean contraception, abortion, gays, same-sex marriage. What he meant were things, like the practice of some priests in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires not to baptize children born out of wedlock. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he reprimanded them.
The Philippine Church is not concerned only about contraception, abortion and gays. If we look at the pastoral letters of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines we will see that the majority of them are about social justice, land reform, ecology, human rights violations, graft and corruption, migrants, honest and clean elections, etc.
In the CBCP, there are many commissions. We have the Commission on the Laity, Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace, Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education, Commission on Youth, Commission on Youth, Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People, Commission on Health, Commission on the Clergy, Commission on Family and Life, Commission on the Mission, etc. Each of these commissions is busy serving our people in its areas of responsibility. The CBCP through the Commission on Family and Life has been much involved these past three years in issues regarding contraception because the present administration has been obsessed with passing the reproductive health bill which aims to promote contraception in the country by distributing free contraceptives to our people, the majority of whom are Catholics. The present administration has given top priority and used all its powers, including the pork barrel, in order to make the congressmen change their vote from “No” to “Yes” to the Reproductive Health Bill. The CBCP cannot but campaign against this reproductive health law which will bring much harm to our people. Instead of using these funds for the real medical needs of our people.
Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, D.D.
CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life
25 September 2013