Philippines

President Duterte’s remarks vs. Church meant to initiate discussion: Palace

PRRD’s remarks vs. Church meant to initiate discussion: Palace

By Azer Parrocha

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MANILA (Philippines News Agency)  — The remarks made by President Rodrigo R. Duterte against the Catholic Church are meant to initiate an “intellectual discussion” for the faithful’s enlightenment, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after the President, in a speech in Kidapawan City last Saturday, asked clergymen to stop criticizing his drug war anew, pointing out that they too had their own share of wrongdoings.

“The latest controversial remarks of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the Church is his way of shaking long-held religious tenets and beliefs that instead of molding them into being righteous individuals make them cling to religion as an opium,” Panelo said in a press statement.

He said in doing so, the President “puts to a test the validity of the religious rituals bordering (on) fanaticism as against the practice of genuine spirituality.”

He noted that instead of being offended by the President’s remarks, the Church and its believers should welcome it as “a process to strengthen further their faith or enlighten those who seek the truth.”

“His intention being to initiate an intellectual discussion for the faithful’s enlightenment and spiritual awakening, which could lead them to tread the path of uprightness so necessary in the moral regeneration of a nation so abundant with religiosity but wanting in spirituality,” Panelo said.

He said the President, known for his unconventional way of speaking, is also trying to “set the limits of the freedom of expression to a notch higher than its common use.”

“In fulfilling his constitutional duty to serve and to protect the people, the President endeavors to be creative, using means that may be unnerving to the conservatives unused to his ways of governance but effective in putting across message he wants to convey to the majority of the people who, surveys show, approves of his maverick methods,” Panelo said.

“In making those unconventional discourses, the President is unmindful (of) any consequential erosion of his public support,” he added. (PNA)

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