Duterte: ‘Let spirit of Lent inspire us to move ahead with faith, peace’
MANILA, Philippines — As millions of Catholics around the world observe Holy Week, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to draw inspiration from the spirit of Lent to continue persevering in bringing “lasting and transformative change in our society.”
— Darryl John Esguerra (@DJEsguerraINQ) April 9, 2020
In his Lenten message released on Maundy Thursday, Duterte, who once cursed the Pope and called God “stupid,” said Holy Week gives the faithful the chance to once again “reflect upon the narrative of the ultimate sacrifice that paid the costly price for man’s salvation.”
“By remembering the death of Jesus Christ at the cross, we remind ourselves of the immense power of love and compassion which is able to tear down walls of prejudice, selfishness, and hate,” the leader of Asia’s biggest Catholic nation said.
“Indeed, the opportunity for solemn prayer and reflection gives us a magnified view of victory that is found in enduring sacrifice. Let the spirit of Lent inspire us to move ahead with the faith and peace in our hearts as we persevere in bringing lasting and transformative change in our society,” Duterte added.
The observance of Holy Week depicts the passion and death of Jesus Christ, which Christians around the world commemorate beginning on Palm Sunday.
With a “sense of hope and grace,” Duterte urged the Filipinos to “walk with renewed fervor and faith towards our shared path of a brighter and better future for all.”
All Holy Week rites that involve mass gatherings or those that require the faithful to go outside their homes are disallowed by authorities in light of the extended Luzon-wide lockdown enforced amid the coronavirus crisis.
Duterte earlier said God is “the only one who can really solve the problem” on COVID-19 as the disease from China continues to ravage at least 180 countries and territories globally including the Philippines where as many as 3,870 persons have been infected. Of this number, 182 have died while 96 were able to recover.
Duterte has repeatedly drawn backlash for mocking the beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church.
He had called the doctrine of the Holy Trinity “silly” and branded Jesus Christ as “unimpressive” for allowing himself to be crucified. He had also slammed priests critical of his brutal war on drugs, even asking bystanders to kill and rob them.
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