Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 July 2022
This chapter reviews Catholic teachings regarding human dignity and how the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) – the official representative of the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines – has interpreted it in several issue areas, including capital punishment, contraception, poverty, and electoral fraud. Catholic doctrine teaches that all people possess intrinsic dignity because they have been created in the image of God (the imago Dei), thereby imposing certain moral principles regarding the treatment of oneself and others, including solidarity, care for the poor, and the sanctity of human life. The Church’s views have taken on distinct local characteristics shaped by high levels of societal poverty, economic inequality, and corruption, as well as the Church’s historically strong political influence. Catholic bishops have harnessed the concept of human dignity to point out dehumanizing practices in Philippine society and call for greater respect for human life. In recent decades, though, the Church’s moral authority has been severely challenged, revealing the limits of its ability to promote Catholic teachings on human dignity.