Malacañang: Duterte still open to dialogue with Church leaders
DESPITE his unceasing tirades and insults against Catholic Church leaders and teachings, President Rodrigo Duterte is still open to a dialogue with members of the clergy, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the remark after Senate President Vicente Sotto III expressed willingness to mediate between Duterte and the Catholic Church amid the increasing hostility between the two camps.
“Of course. Kung hinihingi ba nila. Wala naman problema kay Presidente ‘yon,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing when asked if Duterte remains open to a possible dialogue with the Church.
Duterte frequently draws criticisms for his controversial statements against the Catholic Church, the dominant religion in the Philippines.
In June last year, he drew flak for calling God “stupid.” After the controversy it stirred, Duterte committed to improving relations with the Catholic Church.
Among the steps he took include taking on a self-imposed moratorium on tirades against the Church and forming a three-man committee that will hold dialogues with church leaders from various sects. The moratorium, however, did not last long as Duterte continues to lash out against the Catholic Church.
In previous speeches, Duterte described the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity as “silly.”
Holding up the book, “Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church” to his audience in Bulacan, Duterte dared members of the clergy last week to prove him wrong about his allegations against the church and the priests.
He also asked bystanders to rob and attack “rich” bishops.
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes is the latest to slam the President’s tirade against the clergy, raising concern about its possible effects on the young generation.