In a heated speech following a meeting with the grieving families of fallen police officers on Tuesday, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte launched a passionate attack against Catholic priests and bishops.
Since his ascension to power, many clergymen have spoken against the President’s
violent war on drugs.
Hundreds of pictures of dead drug dealers littered the internet after Duterte announced he approved of extrajudicial killings – a decision the Church has strongly opposed.
Duterte said he would do whatever it took to ensure his country was safe from the drug dealers – even if it means killing them himself.
Since the extrajudicial killings began, hundreds of drug dealers chose to turn themselves into authorities and give up their illegal trade.
The methods may be more than a little controversial but the Philippines have seen a dramatic drop in drug abuse.
Several clergymen have openly criticized Duterte’s policies but the Philippines President refuses to back down.
He recently wrote Pope Francis a letter, saying he respects the Pope and appreciated the apostolic visit in 2015.
Though Duterte appeared to respect the Pope, he erupted with anger toward bishops and priests who oppose his methods on Tuesday.
Before the grieving family members of fallen officers, Duterte boldly stated: “I challenge all the bishops conference. Let’s resign tomorrow, all together, Okay? Resign. I will do it first. I will deliver my letter of resignation, you wait.”
He spoke of his views and the Church’s calls for him to stop the murders. He claimed three of his cabinet members were abused by Catholic priests when they were younger and vowed to resign if anyone could prove the allegations were false.
Duterte accused the Church of asking the Philippines government to fund cars for Church officials, saying it was “hypocritical” of them to do so.
“Shouldn’t you be ashamed of yourselves? That’s so expensive and so many people have nothing to eat. Son of a *****, the jerks accepted it.”
“You were given vehicles, knowing that there is a principle of separation between Church and State. It was sheer, purely graft and corruption because you did not deserve it. You cannot use property or money for your comfort. That is not for you but for the government but you had the gall.”
He continued, saying the church is full of corruptions so it is hypocritical of the Church to speak against his policies.
“What’s wrong with that? It was easy for them (the priests) to call politician[s] corrupt. How about you? Some are afraid because of politics. You are a son of a *****.
“I challenge you now. I challenge the Catholic Church. You are full of ****. You all smell bad, corruption and all.”
The President of the Philippines refused to stop there. According to Daily Mail, he also claimed the Church has no idea how much more destructive drugs on the streets are than a swift and deadly method to end the illegal drug trade.
Duterte stated: “The (critical) priests should take shabu (crystal meth) to understand. I recommend one or two of the bishops take it also.”
The President was accused of keeping several mistresses but claimed the allegations to strengthen his accusations, saying priests also take wives, sometimes more.
“We’re the same, with two, three wives. Don’t get me started – all the hypocrisy.”
He continued, saying he would write a book called “Hypocrisy,” in which the Church would have the “starring role,” adding: “I will tell the bishops, many of them, ‘We have the same ignominy – women. But you are into corruption. I am not into money, just into women. So I am limited to that.'”
It would seem Duterte and the Catholic Church will never see eye-to-eye until one bows to the policies of the other – something Duterte vowed never to do. He would have the Church separate from government or both must step down from power.
Will the extreme statement result in change? It is not likely but in his usual straightforward way, the President of the Philippines delivered his message loud and clear.
By Kenya Sinclair