Bishops: 'Duterteâs tirades on God his own interpretations'
In a Facebook post yesterday, CBCP vice president and Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said “the criticisms made by the President are his own interpretation of the Bible. That is not how the Catholic Church teaches Catholics.”

Bishops: 'Duterte’s tirades on God his own interpretations'

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - June 27, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte was probably absent in class when his religion teachers at Ateneo de Davao University discussed the biblical interpretation of the creation of the world, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said.

In a Facebook post yesterday, CBCP vice president and Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said “the criticisms made by the President are his own interpretation of the Bible. That is not how the Catholic Church teaches Catholics.”

“I am sure that is not taught in the catechism by our religious education teachers in Ateneo (de Davao University) and San Beda (University),” David added.

Last Friday, Duterte criticized the creation story in the Bible, particularly the part when the serpent tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, which she later gave to Adam.

Duterte called God “stupid” for allowing temptation to destroy His work.

“Who is this stupid God? … You created something perfect and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work,” Duterte said in a speech during the opening of the 2018 National ICT Summit in Davao City.

“So now all of us are born with an original sin. The original sin…what was it? Was it the first kiss? What was the sin? Why original?” he said. “T**** i**** klase. Anong klaseng relihiyon ‘yan (What kind of a son of a b****. What kind of religion is that?)”

Duterte drew flak for calling God stupid.

On Monday, the President stuck to his comment, but argued that he was insulting the God of his critics.

“What I said was your God is not my God because your God is stupid. Mine has a lot of common sense,” he said.

Duterte also claimed again that a priest molested him when he was a teen.

David explained that the stories in the Bible have a deeper meaning and the Bible also did not say that the Lord created a perfect world. 

“The Bible also did not say that the Lord sent the serpent to tempt Eve. I wonder where he (Duterte) read that? The sin was not only about the eating of the forbidden fruit, and it also did not say that it was an apple, and this created malice. This is related to having the ambition to be like God. But instead of being like God, we become distant from God,” the prelate said.

As to Duterte’s claim that a priest molested him when he was young, David said perhaps the President “needs help to process the trauma that he experienced, that became the reason why he has such views on religion, on Catholics and the priests.”

David admitted that there are sinners within the Catholic Church, but there are also those who live in faith and goodness and it is not right that the entire Catholic Church would be condemned for the sins committed by a few.  

The bishop also said that Duterte, as leader of the nation, must learn to respect the Catholic faithful since many of his supporters are Catholics.

“The Catholics would respect him even if he does not agree with their Catholic faith. But it does not mean that just because he disagrees, he already has a license to insult,” he said.

“The Catholics respect him as the president and his mandate as president. We only hope that he would also respect the Catholics even if he does not fully agree with the doctrines of the Catholic Church,” he added.

The Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches (PCEC) said they were also “immensely offended” by Duterte’s remarks.

“PCEC finds it completely inappropriate for our nation’s President to derisively curse at the God of the Christian faith, who is deeply worshipped not only by a majority of Filipinos but also by a vast number of people from all over the world,” PCEC national director Noel Pantoja said in a statement.

Pantoja also pointed out that since the Philippines is a democratic country, each Filipino is mandated to respect different faith traditions because religious intolerance could lead to animosity and violent conflicts.

“We therefore appeal to President Duterte to refrain from issuing insulting statements against the Christian faith. We appeal to the President, as the foremost leader of a nation that is by nature religious, to instead lead in fostering respect toward different religious beliefs,” he added.

‘Past hurts made Duterte spew hate’

For Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, it may have been the hurt and anguish that Duterte had to bear in the past that made Duterte quick to spew out hateful words.

In his message to the youth and the children in his archdiocese, Villegas said Duterte “must have received so much rejection and hurts in the past that he blurts out so much hatred and angst now.”

“Pray for him with compassion. We pray for his healing and for God’s forgiveness on him but we must rebuke his errors about our Christian faith,” the prelate said.

Villegas lamented that social media has exposed the youth to cursing, threats and shaming by the President.

He also pointed out that the President’s erroneous pronouncements on matters of faith might confuse the youth. – With Eva Visperas, Jess Diaz

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