Pope Francis says he will pray for bishop critical of Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis has acknowledged the situation of Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, who is a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, and said he would pray for the bishop.
In a Facebook post titled “Confirmed by Peter’s Embrace,” David narrated his experience meeting Francis. David said he approached the Pope and asked for his prayers.
“He [Pope Francis] looked into my eyes as I spoke. I was surprised when he interrupted me in the middle of my sentence and said, ‘I want you to know that I know your situation; I know what you are going through. I am praying for you. Please continue,’” David wrote on Friday.
David then said Francis’ words made his eyes “blurred with tears” and that he had to clear his throat to continue speaking.
After their brief conversation, David also gave Francis his personal gift, which is a book titled, “ El Evangelio del Amor De Acuerdo a Juan/a.” The book is the Spanish version of “The Gospel of Love According to Juan/a,” which David co-authored with Nina Tomen.
Before departing, David said Francis’ told him: “I want you [David] to know I am with you as you face trials in your ministry in your diocese.”
Duterte has criticized David many times during his speeches and accused him of many things, including stealing Church donations for personal use. He also called the bishop’s mother a whore.
David, who criticized the drug-related killings under the Duterte administration, has also been receiving death threats and even decided to skip the Ka Pepe Diokno Human Rights Awards at De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila in February this year.
In November 2018, Duterte threatened to kill the Caloocan bishop and even accused him of doing drugs.
“David! I’m beginning to suspect why you’re frequently roaming around at night. You could be into drugs,” the 74-year-old President said in a speech in Davao City. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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