Duterte mends fences with Catholics


The Philippine president Duterte has promised to mend fences with the Catholic Church.

The president shocked many in Asia’s largest Catholic country last week by describing God as “stupid.”

The next day, he said that he was not talking about his God and was instead insulting the God of his critics.

“Mine has a lot of common sense,” the president said.

Duterte says he would meet the church and other religious groups in talks to defuse the affront.

Through his spokesman, the president says he realises he needs to mend bridges with the church.

His spokesman will hold a seat on a committee created to communicate better with the church.

“The President thought to open the dialogue because there is only one society served by both the government and the church,” he says.

His offence came last week in a speech.

He criticised the Bible’s creation story. He said, “Adam ate (the apple), then malice was born. Who is this stupid God?” he asked, according to Philippine state media.

Catholic outrage

There was widespread outrage in the devout, majority-Catholic nation.

Government officials defended the speech. They said it was Duterte’s “personal belief.”

Finally, CNN Philippines says the president said, “Your God is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense.”

His spokesman suggested that Duterte’s claims that a priest molested him as a high schooler may have motivated his remarks.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas rebuked Duterte but called for prayers for him.

“He must have received so much rejection and hurts in the past that he blurts out so much hatred and angst now.”

Lawmakers also criticized Duterte.

One senator who has defended Duterte in the past said given a choice between following the president and God, there was no choice. “May my God forgive him and make him atone for all his sins.”


Image: Asia News

News category: Asia Pacific.

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