Philippine President Duterte slams Catholic Church for criticism against his “War on Drugs.”
Despite the Pope’s blessing on the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte went on a tirade against the church’s officials because of their criticism against his methods in dealing with the drug problem plaguing his country. Duterte lashed out at bishops and priests, blaming them for corruption, homosexuality, and child abuse.
Duterte is believed to have been angered over the Catholic Church’s opinion on topics such as the extrajudicial killings that have occurred in his administration. He stated clergymen should be more concerned about using their influence to keep people away from drugs instead of criticizing his efforts.
The fiery statements were made just a day after one of Duterte’s top men met the Pope at the Vatican. According to Duterte’s advisor, the Pope has stated he would bless the Philippines, as well as President Duterte.
Duterte delivered his speech to a gathering of policemen, where he challenged the Catholic Church and even gave out threats suggesting that he would expose clergymen involved in various crimes. In his statement, he added most Filipinos were Catholic and that good priests should educate them about the dangers of drug abuse.
He questioned the church over their moral superiority and questioned the meaning of religion as basis for their moral superiority. The President even passed remarks about people being molested during confessions and called the church officials crazy for criticizing everything.
When contacted by the media, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines had no response to Duterte’s words.
Ever since Duterte came to power in June 2016, his war against drug related crimes has allegedly led to the death of 6,000 people. The police have taken responsibility for around 2,250 killings, while the remaining murders were believed to have been committed by vigilantes.
Duterte has even warned of martial law if the situation became worse.
The Catholic Church became Duterte’s target ever since it launched a campaign criticizing the killings, which, according to Duterte, reeked of hypocrisy.
After Pope blessing, Duterte challenges abusive priests to 'showdown' https://t.co/sXoOrS9Jjk
— John Chalmers (@ReutersChalmers) January 20, 2017
Duterte also came under the spotlight for using expletives during the Pope’s visit to the Philippines, which had caused severe traffic issues. However, Duterte apologized later and said that his remarks were originally meant for incompetent officials who failed to manage the chaos.
Duterte is a respected leader, favored by the majority. However, the Catholic Church is just as influential in the country, making this issue seem like a clash of the titans.