Sunday, January 13, 2019

Rodrigo Duterte Insults Church (Again)

The Philippine President (left) has attacked the country’s Catholic bishops in a furious speech, as his war on drugs attracts increasing censure from the church. 

“Only I can say bishops are sons of bitches, damn you. That is true”, Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech on Thursday during a groundbreaking ceremony for a school north of the capital, Manila. 

Duterte did not mention any particular reason for his criticism of the church, which included a suggestion that most bishops are homosexual. 

“Most of them are gay”, he insisted. “They should come out in the open, cancel celibacy and allow them to have boyfriends”. 

Clearly, he seems to enjoy hurling insults at the Church. 

On November 30, 2015, Duterte had cussed Pope Francis (left) when the latter’s January visit to the country caused gridlock in major thoroughfares in Manila that left many stranded on the road for hours. 

“Gusto kong tawagan, ‘Pope putang ina ka, umuwi ka na. ‘Wag ka nang magbisita dito”. (Pope, you son of a bitch, go home. Don’t visit here anymore).

And on June 22, 2018, he called God “stupid” and on December 29, 2018, he described the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as “silly” and Jesus Christ as “unimpressive”. 

I read that Duterte, who is not a regular church-goer, said early in his presidency that he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a boy. 

The Roman Catholic Church is facing clerical sexual abuse scandals in many parts of the world, although there have been no major cases reported in the Philippines. 

Some sectors of the church have become increasingly vocal about his crackdown on drugs, with calls for justice and offers of sanctuary to drug users. 

Francis Lucas, an official with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, attempted to play down the president’s criticism and called for restraint. 

“We have to be more sensitive to the sensitivities and sensibilities of others out of respect”, he said. 

Duterte always speaks his mind – and there are as many Filipinos who lap up his words, as if they are penetrative pronouncements of intelligent insight – as there are Filipinos who are distressed by his "blasphemous utterances and dictatorial tendencies". 

Whether he is right or wrong, I guess Duterte has the right to express his opinion just like everybody else. No one has a monopoly on religion. Or anything else for that matter.

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