CBCP open to dialogue with gov’t; Malacañang officials defend President Duterte’s remarks about God

2017-12-04 (2)

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CBCP open to dialogue with gov’t
By Ferdinand Patinio

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is open to the proposal for a dialogue with the government and other religious denominations.

CBCP president Archbishop Romulo Valles believes that a dialogue is a good venue for all parties to discuss issues.

“That is most welcome development. To dialogue; is to listen to one another, is always good,” he said in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas on Tuesday.

The Davao prelate made the remarks following the tirades of President Rodrigo Duterte against the Catholic Church.

On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President assigned him to be part of the committee – together with Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella and EDSA People Power Commission member Pastor Boy Saycon.

Meanwhile, former CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma is hoping that their ‘plenary assembly’ this July will tackle the issue involving the President’s remarks against the Catholic Church and God.

“I look (forward) sa meeting namin dahil alam ko na mapag-usapan ito (because I know we will tackle this) and we can make a response. Siguro una, syempre nalulungkot tayo dahil mayroon mga bagay na nasasabi na hindi naman dapat sabihin na parang (First, we are sad because there are things that should not be said and seem to be) sometimes out of place, out of tune. At siguro pangalawa, bakit ganyan, sa isang dako all of us dapat naman magtanong to what extent yung sinasabi niya? (Although) hindi naman (natin) ma-deny na mayroon din tayong kahinaan (And second, why was it like that? At one point, all of us must ask up to what extent are he saying these things? We must be guided by reflection. Although, we cannot deny that we have weaknesses),” he said in a separate radio interview.

“Ang simbahan ay mayroon din mga nagagawa na sabihin nga natin na medyo lihis din sa ating tawag sa ating tungkulin (The Church, at times, do things that are not in line with its duty),” he added.

Palma noted that the response on the tirades by the Chief Executive against the members of the clergy and God should be thoroughly studied.

The Catholic Church in the Philippines consists of 86 archdioceses and dioceses, with over 140 bishops. More than 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholics.

On Monday, Malacañang officials defended President Duterte’s remarks about God, stressing that it was his “personal belief” which he, and anyone else, had the right to express.

While mentioning the Bible’s creation story in his speech at the National Information and Communications (ICT) Summit in Davao City on Friday, Duterte stated: “Adam ate it then malice was born. Who is this stupid God?”

Duterte said that it did not make sense how God created “something perfect” and then “think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work.”

In his speech, however, the President asserted his belief in a “universal mind.”

“Iyan po ay personal na paninindigan ng Pangulo. Alam ninyo iyong ating kalayaan ng malayang pananampalataya, kasama po iyan yun sa wala kang paniniwalaan na pananampalataya (This is the personal belief of the President. You know, the freedom of religion includes the freedom not to believe in religion),” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a radio interview.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, for his part, said that Duterte was not insulting or calling God stupid but merely “questioning” the theory of creation.

“I don’t think he called God stupid. I saw the transcript, it says ‘Who is this stupid God?’ He was actually questioning the theory of creation as narrated by the writers of the Bible. As we all know, there are many theories on the creation of the human species like (Charles) Darwin,” Panelo told reporters in an interview at the Malacañang press room. (PNA)


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