Duterte makes fun of Catholic Church’s practices


MANILA, Philippines — President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on Monday made fun of the practices of the Roman Catholic Church, which has been critical of his stance on family planning and death penalty.

Duterte, in particular, joked about the Catholic practice of venerating saints, people officially recognized by the Church as models of the faith.

“I believe in one God Allah. Period,” he said during his last flag ceremony as Davao City mayor. Allah is the name of the God worshipped by Muslims.

Duterte’s discomfort with Catholicism, it seems, stemmed from his unpleasant experiences when he was still a child. He recalled that when he was a child, his mother Soledad would punish him by asking him to kneel before an altar.

"I told Jesus, help me. He said I can’t help a naughty boy,” he said in jest.

Duterte said in the Catholic faith, there are about 5,000 saints to choose from.  

“You choose your saint: San Tiago, Santo Isabelo, Santo Roman, Santilmo, Santo Rodrigo,” the next Philippine president said, drawing laughs from the audience.

“St. Peter himself loves cockfighting,” he said in jest, referring to the apostle whose symbol in art is the rooster.

According to the Christian Bible, a rooster crowed after St. Peter disowned Jesus Christ.

Roman Catholicism is a monotheistic religion, which means that it worships only one God, Jesus Christ. Catholics do not worship saints but only venerate or respect them.

Duterte said he has been at odds with the Catholic Church because of its opposition to artificial family planning methods. He noted that in Davao City, pills, ligation and other birth control methods are accessible to couples.

“I go against the Church because its position is not realistic,” the tough-talking leader said.

Duterte has called the Catholic Church “the most hypocritical institution” for its supposed failure to practice what it teaches. He claimed that bishops continue to teach morality but has failed to address clergy sexual abuses.

Last December, Duterte revealed that a Jesuit priest molested him when he was in high school but was too afraid to file a complaint.

Duterte, however, went beyond Catholic doctrines and questioned the relevance of the scriptures themselves.

“Those were written 3,000 years ago.  Ano ba pakialam natin sa kanilang sinulat?” he said. — Video edited by Efigenio Toledo IV

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