In a typically blistering speech bordering on gross political incorrectness and riddled with profanities, the outspoken Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at the Roman Catholic Church, saying it will not survive long given the clerical sex abuse scandal involving predatory priests that has engulfed the institution, the Cebu Daily News has reported.
Duterte was addressing the 1st National Assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Monday (25 February).
Duterte warned that the church will meet its demise as a result of the string of sexual abuse cases and corruption within its ranks. “People won’t forget the ways of Catholic clergy,” he added.
In no holds barred attack on the Catholic Church, Duterte said.
Duterte was also quick to qualified his remark by urging the public not to take seriously his remarks to kill and steal from bishops and priests.
“What I can say about that is this: My quarrel with the Catholic Church is personal. You, who are drug addicts, don’t harm bishops and cardinals because they are not involved in the political ruckus,” he said in Filipino.
Moving to quickly contain any potential damage caused by Duterte’s remarks, his spokesperson, Salvador Panelo clarified that the president was referring to “certain men in the cloth that have violated their own vows,” and was not attacking the institution as a whole.”
The Catholic Church is a power institution in Philippines and wields considerable clout given than 80 per cent of Filipinos identify themselves as Roman Catholic.
Duterte and Catholic Church have been at loggerheads with each other for a while now. The Church has incurred the wrath of Duterte for criticising his war on drugs and his crackdown on criminals. The Catholic Church also extended support to a different candidate during the 2016 elections.angering Duterte.
Duterte has previously attacked the Catholic Church saying that their priests are corrupt and hypocritical. He even once labelled the Catholic belief in the concept of original sin as an “idiotic proposition”.
In June last year, Duterte faced widespread criticism for questioning the Genesis creation story and saying that God was "stupid" for allowing temptation to corrupt his creation.
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