Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Caloocan city lashed out at President Duterte for calling God “stupid” and mocking the Genesis story and the crucifix.
He said that even if Duterte did not agree with the teachings of the Church or Christianity as a whole, he had no right to insult the religion of most Filipinos.
“Disagreeing is never a license to insult,” said David, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). “How can he be the President of all Filipinos when he does not respect the Catholic faithful?”
Bishop David said Catholics and other Christians respect the President and his apparent atheism. “We can only hope that he shows the same respect to Catholics,” he said.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, former president of the CBCP, said that Duterte “could be a victim of his scarred past and his wounded background.”
“He must have received so much rejection and hurt in the past that he blurts out so much hatred and angst now,” Villegas added.
Duterte has claimed he was a victim of abuse by a Jesuit priest in Davao during his childhood.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said nonbelievers like the President should serve out of love of neighbor.
He added Filipinos should not be distracted and should focus on “pressing concerns,” such as rising prices, job security, abuse of women and children, violence, crime, terrorism and corruption.
“Those who do not believe in God must serve out of human decency, generosity, and concern for neighbors,” Tagle said.
Fr. Napoleon Sipalay Jr., OP, prior provincial of the Dominican Province in the Philippines and vice chancellor of the University of Santo Tomas, said Duterte must learn to “respect the sensitivity of people’s faith.”
“It’s unbecoming for a president to make that comment,” Sipalay told the UST Varsitarian.
“He may have the high office, but he has no right to trample on people’s faith,” he added.
The top Dominican in the country said Catholics “should not just simply stand at the side and watch,” and should be vocal on national and Church issues.
On the government’s proposal for a dialogue with Catholic leaders and other religious groups, Sipalay said: “I believe President Duterte has well-meaning advisers. The one who hurts (should) be the one who heals.”
Novena to miracle worker
Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City is holding the Novena to San Vicente Ferrer every Friday, 5:30 p.m. A Dominican missionary during the medieval ages, San Vicente Ferrer is considered a miraculous saint and the patron saint of builders.
The church is also holding every Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., the perpetual novena to St. Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Dominican Order.
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