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Duterte urges Catholics to stop going to church

In his latest salvo against the Catholic Church, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said Catholics should stop going to church and should just express their faith by setting up chapels in their homes.

"You build a chapel on your own house and pray there. You do not have to go to church to pray for these idiots," Duterte said in a speech during the groundbreaking of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project.

He added that he counts some priests among his friends. "Pero ‘yung obispo? Ay susmaryosep," he said.

The President also criticized the Church's "archaic" teachings and the collection of fees for baptisms, marriages and services for the dead.

"What do they know about the world today? Tapos pasundin mo sa mga sinusulat ninyo? Totoo. How can the people there 3,000 years ago predict or project what is happening today? It's only the archaic church [that is] getting money," he said.

He again brought up the supposed hypocrisy of bishops who asked for vehicles from government "knowing fully well that it is corruption because there is separation of Church and State."

"You have the balls, brave as you are, to ask property of the government tapos magsalita kayong mga p_____ ina ninyo, akala mo kung sino kayo," he said.

Duterte was referring to an incident in 2009 when the late Butuan City Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos requested a vehicle from former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for his 66th birthday.

It was also during the Arroyo regime when Malacañang had an office for "religious and ecclesiastical affairs" which was headed by a Cabinet-level functionary.

The President also stepped up his tirade against a member of a clergy he accused of stealing donations from parishioners.

Duterte, in a speech in Tanza, Cavite, mentioned a certain "David" while recounting his misgivings on the teachings of the Catholic Church including the concept of heaven and hell and the "sins of bishops here."

"David, nagdududa nga ako bakit ka sige ikot dyan ng gabi. Nagduda ako tuloy p____ ina sa droga ka," the President said in his Davao City speech. 

Athough the President did not mention him directly, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said that he was the only "David" among the prelates in the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

David said his parents never taught him to steal and that "people who are sick sometimes do not know what they are talking about, so we should just bear with them."

David had earlier asked Filipinos to pray for Duterte, whom he called "very sick." 

Tirades against the Church

Duterte has launched tirades against religion and the Church in the past, calling it "the most hypocritical institution in the Philippines." In June, his rant against God led to Church leaders, lawmakers and groups condemning his remarks.

This led to Duterte promising to stop his rhetoric against the Church and God—a vow he broke the next day—and even agreeing to a "dialogue" between Malacañang and the Church.

Even in the wake of Typhoon Ompong, Duterte took a swipe at the Church, blaming the local priest for a church building's collapse in Benguet.

Duterte might not be averse to all worship, however, proposing an "Iglesia Ni Rodrigo" during an event in South Korea where he was later criticized for kissing a woman onstage. — BM, GMA News