Duterte again attacks Catholic church

A day after he agreed to stop attacking the Catholic Church Philippine president Duterte is at it again.

He appears to have taken offence at Australian missionary nun Patricia Fox.

She has joined an investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Mindanao.

Duterte attacked critics who “come here under the cloak of whatever religion and start to blabber their mouths and attack us.”

The president says there is separation of powers between church and state. And that prevents church people from criticising his administration.

“Do not include your god in the platform of your criticism in your attacks because, when I attack, if you include God in the issue, son of a bitch, I’ll get back at that god,” he said.

A day before Duterte had met Archbishop Romulo Valles. Valles is president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Duterte’s office released a statement after that meeting. It promised a moratorium on statements about the church.

The president says he discussed toning down his rhetoric during the meeting with the archbishop.

Yet he said the agreement wouldn’t prevent him from telling the truth.

Since then Duterte continued to attack God, whom the president said “never created hell because, if he created hell, he must be a stupid god.”

The president says his god is the “six million Filipinos plus the others who voted for me above the margin, and those who really voted for me.”

Duterte apologises to God

Later in the day the president made a qualified apology to God.

“If it’s the same god, I’m sorry, that’s how it is. Sorry God. I said sorry God. If God is taken as a generic term by everybody listening, then that’s well and good,” he said.

The president said church leaders should “never use the name of God as a front to attack government [because] that is not the proper way to do it.”

The president again attacked Sister Fox, saying that she was agitating people.

This week, the bishops’ conference condemned the government’s anti-narcotics war. It has killed thousands of suspected drug users and dealers in the past two years.

The bishops also condemned the killings of three Catholic priests in recent months.

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Image credit: UCA News

News category: Asia Pacific.

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