PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is not done yet with his tirades against the Catholic Church.
In his speech at the 11th Ambassadors’ Tour Philippine reception in Davao City on Friday night, Duterte once again lambasted priests and bishops in the Philippines by accusing them of womanizing and other excesses.
He even encouraged his audience composed of Filipino-American delegates to read “Altar of Secrets,” by the late journalist Aries Rufo published in 2013 to know the sins of the church officials.
The book tackled corruption, sexual abuses and other controversies that have been plaguing the Philippine Catholic Church.
“Have you read the ‘Altar Secrets’? There’s a book, ‘Altar Secrets.’ Ayaw ko nang magsalita. It’s online. Basahin mo, bukas hindi ka na Katoliko, maniwala ka,” Duterte said.
(Read it. Tomorrow, you are no longer a Catholic, believe me.)
The President has been at odds with the Catholic Church mainly over the alleged extrajuidical killings in his anti-drug campaign and which the chief executive has staunchly defended.
Church officials have been vocal in condemning the extrajudicial killings , drawing a strong reaction from Duterte.
According to Duterte, he and the Catholic Church officials have the same sin— that of womanizing.
“P***** i** kayong mga obispo kayo, mga y*** ka, kala mo sino kayo. Pareho lang trabaho natin. Karami ninyong babae,” he said.
( . . . you bishops . . . who do you think you are? We have the same vice. You have lots of women.
But unlike the church leaders, the President said he was not corrupt.
“This I can promise you. Maski ganito lang ako, medyo bastos ganon tapos sometimes outright vulgarity…I can guarantee you. There will be no corruption. There will be no abuses in government,” Duterte said.
( . . .Even if I’m like this, a bit rude, sometimes outright vulgar . . .)
“If I have committed a wrong before your eyes, your estimation, that’s your problem. I have my problems to solve. If you think that you are the guardians of all the souls of this universe, go ahead. But do it in the proper way,” he added.
Duterte, a Catholic like the estimated 80 percent of Filipinos, has repeatedly been hitting at the Catholic Church and some of its leaders for speaking out against his war on drugs.
He had told the priests to “use shabu” to realize the drug menace was serious and “preach about the drug problem” instead of criticizing him.
Malacañang has said Duterte was not “anti-catholic” but was merely dispirited when he received an “adversarial” response from the Catholic Church regarding his deadly anti-drug war.
“I’m giving an opinion that what the President is really expecting is not an adversarial approach. The President is quite open to listening to other opinions but perhaps, it seemed to him that the comment was coming from a moral high [organization], even though we all have shortcomings,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a radio interview.
Abella said Duterte only wanted Filipinos to realize that the drug problem was so “deep and wide” and that there was a need to address the situation firmly.
He said the Catholic Church may open a dialogue with the President to raise their concerns over the alarming deaths in the country.
“Let’s go beyond the tirades. Let’s try to reach out first [to]have a real dialogue and a real conversation,” Abella said.
On July 8, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), elected Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao City who has been known to be close to Duterte’s family.
With his election and close connection to Duterte whose new grandson the archbishop had baptized, Valles is seen as being able to bring the CBCP and the government together for a common goal – to work closely with the President, especially in his anti-drug campaign, by offering the “firm and friendly hand of the people working for God and the Church lest they suffer execution by Duterte’s anti-crime operatives”.
In addition, the Valles should make his friendship with the President count in terms of persuading him to be more openly cooperative with Church-affiliated NGOs in their humanitarian, educational and social-work initiatives.