After insult on ‘God,’ Palace offers dialogue with church groups

FOLLOWING his controversial tirades against the Catholic Church and calling the Catholics’ God “stupid”—President Duterte has agreed to engage in a dialogue with Church and other religious groups, Malacañan Palace said on Tuesday.

The President formed a three-man committee to talk on his behalf with the Church leaders in a bid to lessen the tension between the Church and the government—tension that began with criticism of his war on drugs by some churchmen, then grew as Duterte exposed alleged “sins” of some priests who had been gunned down, and recently capped by his rant about the god of Catholics being “stupid.”

Palace officials on Monday defended Duterte by saying that, like any Filipino citizen protected by the Constitution, he enjoyed freedom of belief and of expression.

The explanation was dismissed by critics who said a President has no business deliberately offending the sensibilities of certain constituencies, especially since 90 percent of Filipinos are Catholics.

The newly formed dialogue committee tasked to reach out to church groups included Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque Jr., Edsa People Power Commissioner Pastor “Boy” Saycon and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto C. Abella.

“This was just decided by the President yesterday, and today I have coordinated with Mr. Boy Saycon to start the process of dialogue. Of course, we will talk first with the Catholic Church, although we are also open to having a dialogue to Born Again churches,” Roque said in a briefing on Tuesday in Davao.

Roque said he is also not ruling out the possibility of a meeting between the Church leaders and the President, but he assured everyone that he will relay to Duterte whatever he will be getting from the churches.

This development comes after the Catholic Church and the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches urged the President to hold dialogues with the leaders of different Christian traditions.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’s President Davao Archbishop Romulo G. Valles welcomed the move, saying that “to dialogue; to listen to one another, is always good.”

Roque also noted that they are hoping that this would be a fruitful dialogue, as Valles and the President are on very good terms.

In a speech in Davao last Friday, the President drew the ire of religious groups and even the public, including senators for his statements about calling God “stupid” and his remarks on the Catholic faith.

The President, however, clarified in a speech on Monday that he said that in connection with his statement on Sister Patricia Fox, the Australian missionary who has lived in the country for 30 years and was arrested and ordered deported after being seen in rallies by tribal protesters.

Fox was also criticized by the President for allegedly being involved in political activities and for making critical remarks against the  government.

“Your God is not my God because your God is stupid,” he said during the speech. “Mine has a lot of common sense.”

In numerous speeches, the President also attacked the Catholic faith and on two separate occasions called the Pope and CBCP as “son of a whore.”

In the Philippines, the majority of Filipinos are Catholic,  making the nation of more than 100 million people, Asia’s bastion  of Christianity.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Article

Bad weather forces Gulf Air plane to abort landing twice

Next Article

Government urged to seek 1-year reprieve for PHL seafarers

Related Posts

Read more

Spend Easter break at Richmonde Hotel Ortigas

Holy Week is the perfect time to rest and spend time with family, and what can be more relaxing than staying in the city away from the crowded beaches and packed roads to out-of-town hotspots. At the center of the metro within the accessible Ortigas Center is Richmonde Hotel Ortigas which offers local staycationers a soothing sanctuary at special rates for an easy and affordable urban getaway.