Altarpiece of the Manila Cathedral, whose formal name is the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, located in Intramuros, Manila. xiquinhosilva/CC BY

Duterte urges Catholics to promote peace, understanding on Feast of Immaculate Conception
Alexis Romero ( - December 8, 2019 - 6:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday urged Catholics to promote peace and understanding and to help create an inclusive nation as they celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Duterte, who has been at odds with the Catholic Church because of the bishops' critical stance on the deaths tied to his "drug war", said the Virgin Mary's selfless service and devotion to her family and absolute faith in the Almighty "lights the path for all of us to overcome trying times."

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"May you be inspired by the Immaculate Conception to continue fostering peace and understanding among every citizen regardless of their faith or creed. It is my hope that you will remain committed in realizing genuine and lasting change so that everyone may attain their hopes and dreams," Duterte said in a statement for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

"As you embody her holy example in your daily lives, I encourage you to work in solidarity to build a progressive, prosperous, and inclusive nation," he added.

Duterte said Mary's exemplary life of piety and virtue "nourishes the spirituality of our people as they become "agents of compassion and justice in our society."

Immaculate Conception is a Catholic dogma stating that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is conceived without original sin. Christians believe original sin stemmed from the disobedience of humanity's parents Adam and Eve, who ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Last year, Duterte stirred controversy for saying that God must have been stupid for allowing temptation to corrupt his creation. The president has apologized for his remark but called on religious leaders to refrain from using the pulpit to criticize him. 

RELATED: Palace defends Duterte, critics assail him for calling God ‘stupid’

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