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Malacañang not offended by Pope’s remarks

/ 07:11 AM February 22, 2019
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Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. INQUIRER file photo / JOAN BONDOC

Malacañang is not offended by Pope Francis’ recent statement that those who denounce the Catholic Church are “friends, cousins and relatives of the devil.”

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo even hailed Francis as “one of the better critics of the Church,” in reference to the Pontiff’s criticisms of the misdeeds of priests and bishops.

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At a press briefing on Thursday, Panelo said the Palace did not think that President Duterte was being alluded to by the Pope.

Duterte has been lashing out against men of the cloth involved in sexual abuse. He recently denounced what he described as the “hypocrisy” of the Church and said that bishops should be attacked.

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‘Critics cannot be evil’

Asked if he agreed with the Pope’s statement, Panelo said: “If I will agree with that, then the Pope will be referring to himself also because he is a critic.”

“When you criticize, you cannot be evil,” he added.

“[The Pope] criticizes members of the Church who are engaged in what he perceives to be immorality,” he said.

Panelo said Francis was also a critic when he asked members of the Church to leave if they could not be celibate.

“But it does not mean also that when you criticize you are evil. You’re just expressing concern and opposition to certain irregular behavior,” he said.  —CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO

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TAGS: Church, critics, devil, duterte, Malacañang, Panelo, Pope
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