THE Pope gave his blessing to the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte after receiving a letter from the Philippine leader, according to a Cabinet official.
In a Facebook post, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza shared Pope Francis’ message to visiting Philippine officials at the Vatican on Wednesday.
The Argentine pontiff “brightened up” upon seeing his Filipino visitors, Dureza said.
“I said: ‘Bless the Philippines, Your Holiness.’ Pope Francis: ‘I will also bless your President,’” Dureza said after attending a papal audience.
Dureza is in Rome to attend the third round of peace talks with communist rebels.
The Pope on Wednesday received Duterte’s letter from Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.
Duterte thanked the Pope for visiting the Philippines in January 2015 and assured the leader of the Catholic Church of his “highest esteem and respect,” more than a year after cursing the pontiff for causing heavy traffic during the papal visit.
Duterte has repeatedly criticized the Catholic Church, calling it the “most hypocritical institution.”