PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has hailed Pope Francis, whom he once cursed for allegedly causing traffic jams during a visit to Manila in 2015, for being a “progressive” leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
“Itong Pope ngayon progressive ‘to. Bilib ako. Saludo talaga ako dito,” he said in a speech during the unveiling of a marker at Mella Hotel in Las Piñas City.
Duterte, however, continued to lash out at Filipino “gay” priests and bishops as he spoke about another “scandal” brewing in the Church due to homosexuality.
Early this month, the Pope expressed concern about what he described as the “serious issue” of homosexuality, saying in an interview that being gay was a “fashion” to which the clergy is susceptible.
Francis urged homosexual priests, and men and women religious, to “leave the ministry or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life.”
Duterte himself claimed that some 90 percent of Filipino priests were homosexuals.
The President has continuously attacked the Church as some of its priests and bishops have been critical of his war on drugs which has killed nearly 5,000 suspected drug dealers and users since assuming office in June 2016.