Take Duterte’s words as a challenge to bolster people’s faith, Church advised

January 02, 2019

INSTEAD of being offended, the Catholic Church should view the stinging remarks of President Rodrigo Duterte as an opportunity to “strengthen further their faith” or enlighten the people who seek the truth.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this yesterday as he defended Duterte’s recent rant against the Catholic Church, calling the Christian doctrine of Trinity “silly.”

“Rather than the Church and its believers being offended by such unorthodox narratives, they should welcome it as a process to strengthen further their faith or enlighten those who seek the truth of what they have embraced,” Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo said Duterte was just “shaking long held religious tenets and beliefs that instead of molding them into being righteous individuals make them cling to religion as an opium.”

“In so doing, the President puts to a test the validity of the religious rituals bordering to fanaticism as against the practice of genuine spirituality as taught by the different personifications of one God,” he added.

In a speech in Kidapawan City, Cotabato on December 29, Duterte launched another barrage of criticisms against the Church, even mocking Christian’s belief in the Trinity.

“Isa lang ang Diyos. There’s only one God, period. You cannot divide God into three. That’s silly,” Duterte said.

Duterte has been known to mock the belief and teachings of the Catholic Church, the dominant religion in the country.

He previously drew the ire of the public after calling God “stupid.” He also ordered the killing of prelates critical of his administration

However, Panelo stressed that in issuing those “unconventional discourses,” the President is “unmindful on any consequential erosion of his public support.”

“His intention being to initiate an intellectual discussion for the faithfuls’ enlightenment and spiritual awakening which could lead them to thread the path of uprightness so necessary in the moral regeneration of a nation so abundant with religiosity but wanting in spirituality,” he said.

The Palace official also claimed that Duterte is just trying to be “creative,” using means that may not sit well with “conservatives unused to his ways of governance but effective in putting across [the] message he wants to convey to the majority of the people who, surveys show, approves of his maverick methods.”