The leadership of the Church in the Philippines has historically exercised a powerful influence on politics and social life. The country is at least 80% Catholic and there is a deeply ingrained cultural deference for clergy and religious. Previous attempts in the last 14 years to pass a reproductive health law have failed because of the opposition of Catholic bishops. Thus the recent passage of the ‘Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012’ (R.A.
10354) was viewed by some Filipinos as a stunning failure for the Church and a sign of its diminished influence on Philippine society. This article proposes that the Church’s engagement in the reproductive health bill (RH Bill) debate and the manner of its discourse undermined its own campaign to block the law. The first part of the article gives a historical overview of the Church’s opposition to government family planning programs. The second part discusses key points of conflict in the RH Bill debate. The third part will examine factors that shaped the Church’s attitude and responses to the RH Bill. The fourth part will examine the effects of the debate on the Church’s unity, moral authority, and role in Philippine society. The fifth part will draw lessons for the Church and will explore paths that the Church community can take in response to the challenges arising from the law’s implementation.