Philippine Catholic bishops have dismissed as “nonsense” President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades of March 30, against the Catholic Church.
President Duterte renewed attacks against the Catholic Church, which has been vocal in its criticism against the president’s anti-narcotics war, his plan to re-impose the death penalty and lower the age of criminal liability.
It is good to simply ignore such remarks said, CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Mission chairman Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes over church-run Radio Veritas. Echoing Bishop Bastes, CBCP-Episcopal Commission on the Laity chairman Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo in the same interview said, “What he says has no value anyway.”
Duterte during the oath-taking of new appointees in Malacañang last Thursday launched tirades against the Church anew, saying the institution will be passé in three decades because of its alleged abuses and flaws. Bishops Bastes and Pabillo, along with Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles and CBCP Permanent Committee on Cultural Heritage chairman Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, remain firm that Duterte will not succeed if he intends to bring down the Catholic Church.
The Prelates said that many others before wished and tried vehemently to put an end to the Church but they never succeed in the last two thousand years. “Attacks from outside never weaken but further strengthen the church. Weakness (immorality, sensuality, infidelity, materialism) especially of its leaders enfeebles the Church but can never end it,” Bishop Arguelles said.
“The church remains not because of priests and bishops. Only Jesus Christ keeps the church alive,” said Bishop David.
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan, said there are priests and bishops who have committed mistakes but it did not lead to the downfall of the church. “One thing is very certain, while the churchmen may be sinful, the church per se, being founded by Christ, is one: holy, catholic, apostolic,” he said. And added that the church leaders will continue to be critical of what is happening in the country “because it is a duty bound to preach the Gospel.”
“The Gospel is about what is right and wrong, the good or bad. The church will always say what is right or wrong, good or bad. Whether the people will listen to it or not, that is their call,” he said. (UCAN)