Church urged to listen to ‘people of God’ who chose Duterte
DAVAO CITY – The dominant Roman Catholic Church should take a “very, very humble” stance as it is engaged in a word war with presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
This is the advice of Ateneo de Davao President Fr. Joel Tabora S.J. to the hierarchy of the Filipino clergy as Duterte continued his offensive against the institution.
Speaking to reporters after a forum held in the university here on Wednesday, Tabora said that Duterte’s pronouncements show the vulnerability of the Church.
“I think the Church has to take a very, very humble stance, a very, very reflective stance, [as] the public pronouncements [of Duterte show] that may be a bit more reflective of the sinfulness of the catholic church. [The remarks show] the vulnerability of Catholic Church to its own sins so we don’t be so judgmental and absolute in our condemnatory statements,” Tabora said.
The esteemed Jesuit educator and scholar said that the Church should listen to Duterte, adding that many Catholics opted to choose the tough-talking mayor despite negative remarks hurled against him.
“I think we have to see that a great number of people who voted for Mr. Duterte are Catholics. [This is] despite the fact that some bishops are saying don’t vote for him, they still voted for him. The hierarchy has to listen to this. What is the people of God saying?” he said.
While Duterte tends to lock horns with the Filipino clergy on some key issues, Tabora said that the word war is a time for reflection for the Church.
“I think that this President is ushering in for us all who are Catholics a period of deep reflection on what we are saying about ourselves and how we are actually implementing it,” he added.
Duterte has slammed the Church for alleged corruption and asked it in various occasions to seek penance on the abuses it committed against the people.
“Hindi niyo nga ma-correct yung abuses ng mga pari. Until now you haven’t done anything. There are so many abuses that the Church has committed. Better go down on bended knees and pray to God and ask for pardon for the Filipino people,” Duterte said in a late-night press conference recently.
While the word war rages on, Tabora said that he is hopeful that reconciliation of the two sides is within reach.
“[I am] very optimistic [that] there will be reconciliation. I think that even the leaders of the Church will have to see where the people are. As I’m saying, the leaders of the Church will have to listen to what people are saying in their vote,” he said.
The incoming President, the first from Mindanao, has garnered more than 15.9 million votes.
He has weathered various issues on his ascent to the presidency as he drew flak for his devil-may-care attitude of spewing expletives and statements perceived to be crass. In particular, he survived the firestorm that resulted from his “rape joke” against the late Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill and his expletives against Pope Francis.