âWe pray for himâ: Bishop says Duterte a âvery sick manâ
President Rodrigo Duterte prays during the mass at the wedding of Waldo and Regine Carpio at San Agustin Church in Intramurous, Manila on September 16, 2017.
King Rodriguez/PPD, file

‘We pray for him’: Bishop says Duterte a ‘very sick man’

(Philstar.com) - November 3, 2018 - 11:18am

MANILA, Philippines —  A Manila prelate on Friday urged Catholics to pray for President Rodrigo Duterte, whom he described as a “very sick man” after the firebrand leader called saints “stupid” and “drunkards.”

On November 1, Duterte once again sparked anger in Asia’s biggest Catholic nation for poking fun at Christians’ celebration of “All Saints Day,” saying in jest that the Church should just recognize him as a patron saint instead of observing the holiday.

The acid-tongued leader’s mockery of the All Saints' Day contradicts his presidential message for the Christian festival, where he urged Catholics to “emulate our saints.”  

In a social media post, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines vice president and Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David told the faithful to remember one of Christ’s teachings: “To be merciful when dealing with sick people.”

“There’s nothing new about our saints being called ‘fools and drunkards.’ St. John the Baptist was even called ‘devil-possessed.’ Jesus himself was called a ‘glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners,’” David wrote in a Facebook post.

“I think it should obvious to people by now that our country is being led by a very sick man. We pray for him. We pray for our country,” he added.

The hugely popular Duterte has repeatedly locked horns with the Church, which enjoys a significant political and social clout in the predominantly Catholic Philippines and has actively campaigned against his deadly war on drugs.

Duterte earlier stirred up a hornet’s nest after he called the Christian God a “stupid son of a bitch” for creating Adam and Eve only to allow their purity to be destroyed by temptation.

Amid simmering backlash, Duterte vowed to immediately resign if Christians can prove that their God exists through a selfie. He later issued a public apology and told religious workers to “never use the name of God as a front to attack government.” — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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