CNA/EWTN News is reporting on a pastoral exhortation written by Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) asking the faithful in his country to make July 16 “a day of prayer and penance” to ask God for mercy and justice for “those who have blasphemed God’s Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country.”
This day is to be followed by three days of “fasting, praying, and almsgiving” from July 17-19.
Although the exhortation did not name Duterte by name, there is no question who it is aimed at.
Duterte, who was raised Catholic and claims to have been abused by a priest at a Catholic school, has been openly antagonistic toward the Church since his election but recently launched into a particularly offensive tirade against God and those who believe in Him. Referring to God as “stupid” and a “son of a b-tch”, he went on to trash the biblical account of Adam and Eve and said the creation of Eve was God’s “greatest mistake.”
He also called the concept of original sin a “stupid proposition” and expressed doubts on the existence of heaven and hell.
The president went so far as to offer to resign if anyone could prove the existence of God with a selfie.
Not even the public outcry could make him back down. He insisted that he was criticizing only the God that his critics believe in, not his personal God.
“What I said was your God is not my God, because your God is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense,” Duterte tried to explain on Monday.
This outrageous behavior toward the Church is nothing new. Shortly after he came to office in July of 2016 he called the country’s bishops “sons of wh-res.”
When the country’s bishops offered sanctuary to whistleblowers in the Philippine police department regarding Duterte’s bloody war on drug dealers, the president said the Church was “full of sh-t.”
On Tuesday, he offered to seek dialogue with the country’s bishops conference in an effort to repair the relationship, but some say he’s just trying to diffuse the firestorm he caused among the country’s predominantly Catholic population.
The bishops said they were willing to meet with him, and the president said he would form a committee on the issue.
Archbishop Valles, told a Catholic radio station in the Philippines that the invitation was a “most welcome development,” and that “to dialogue is to listen to one another, and is always good.”
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