Catholic bishops in the Philippines called for several days of prayer and fasting to invoke “God’s mercy and justice” on Philippine’s president Rodrigo Duterte.
Archbishop Romulo Valles, speaking for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, called for Catholic faithful to participate in a day of prayer on July 16 following Duterte’s public declarationthat God was “stupid” and a “son of a b****.” Valles and the conference of bishops, which he leads, said the prayers that day are to ask for “God’s mercy and justice on those who have blasphemed God’s holy name, those who slander and bear false witness and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality,” according to the Associated Press.
Duterte not only insulted the God of the Christian faith, but also declared that he would resign immediately if anyone could prove God’s existence. The Catholic church has also criticized Duterte for what they see as his brutal and bloody war on drug offenders. Valles’s call to prayer and a “pastoral exhortation” from the Catholic bishops were seen as direct allusions to Duterte. (RELATED: Duterte Declares He Will Resign If Someone Can Prove God’s Existence)
For “those who arrogantly regard themselves as wise in their own estimation and the Christian faith as nonsense, those who blaspheme our God as stupid, Saint Paul’s words are to the point: ‘For the stupidity of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength,'” the bishops’ exhortation read, according to AP.
The bishops’ conference also asked Filipino Catholics to join them in three more days of prayer, fasting and alms-giving starting July 17, although they did not specify whether it was a continuation of the July 16 day of prayer.
Duterte’s office invited Valles to speak with the president. Duterte’s aides announced later that Valles and the president had spoken and that Duterte had agreed “to a moratorium on statements about the church.
The bishops, in turn, denied accusations levied against them by Duterte’s supporters they sought to overthrow or destabilize the government for their own ends. They said they respect and support governmental authorities “as long as they do not contradict the basic spiritual and moral principles we hold dear, such as respect for the sacredness of life,” according to AP.
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