Bishops call for support for Digong
DESPITE President Duterte’s strained relationship with the Catholic Church, bishops yesterday expressed support for the new chief executive’s plans for his six-year term, particularly those on criminality and national transformation.
“Let us give him a chance to fulfill his promises but within the parameters of the law,” Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila said a day after Duterte took his oath as the country’s new leader.
Pabillo said he is backing the President for all his good intentions and plans for the country.
Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros said he liked Duterte’s inaugural speech, which he described as “long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting.”
“Of course we are going to support him within the confines of the law. He has the support of our prayers,” Oliveros said.
The pledges of support came as Duterte began warming his seat as the new President on his second day in office.
The tough-talking President has attacked the Catholic Church several times as a “hypocritical institution.”
Last year, he even cursed Pope Francis for causing traffic jams during his five-day visit to the country, which earned him the ire of Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Duterte also promised to aggressively promote birth control at the risk of going against the Catholic Church, which rejects artificial forms of family planning.
Days before the May 9 elections, the CBCP issued a pastoral letter urging its flock to reject a “morally reprehensible” and “politically precarious” candidate.
The pastoral letter did not name any particular candidate.
For his part, Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad is pinning his hopes on the new president, particularly on his fight against drugs and criminality, saying he is tired of lawlessness and kidnappings.
“I would like to see our young normal and our security peaceful… President Duterte has the political will to do it. Luck knocks only once. Let’s cooperate with him,” Jumoad said.
Lipa Bishop Ramon Arguelles also expressed support for Duterte through one of his appointees, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.
“I’m for national transformation. We support all good acts and projects. But we need true and lasting transformation, even of our way of thinking,” Arguelles said.
Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said the Catholic Church will back prolife organizations and oppose antilife groups.
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