FOLLOWING the admission of Pope Francis that clerics have sexually abused nuns, President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, February 8, stressed the need for the Catholic Church to undergo reforms.
In a speech delivered in Legazpi City, Albay, the President lamented that sexual abuse is a common practice by some leaders of the Catholic Church.
"Ako, wala akong Diyos. May Diyos ako, different from yours. Kanya-kanya tayong image ng Diyos. Now makita ninyo, the Pope is in Dubai. He admitted yesterday na 'yung mga madre, 'yun ang kunsumo ng mga pari, really," Duterte, who claimed to have been abused by a priest when he was a teenager, said.
(I have no God. My God is different from yours. There are different images of God. Now, the Pope is in Dubai. He admitted yesterday that nuns are sex slaves of priests, really.)
"I will not joke or crack a joke about that. Sinasabi ko na sa inyo (I am telling you). The Church has to reform," he added.
Pope Francis on Tuesday, February 5, admitted that nuns are sexually abused by priests and bishops.
The Pope, however, guaranteed that the Church was doing its best to stop the abuse within its hierarchy.
"It is true. There have been priests and even bishops who have done this. I think it is still going on because something does not stop just because you have become aware of it," Pope Francis reportedly said, referring to the sexual abuse of nuns.
"We have been working on this for a long time. We have suspended some priests because of this," he added.
Duterte, for his part, was not surprised by the Pope's pronouncement, recounting anew that he was also once a victim of sexual abuse by a priest when he was young.
"Early on sinabi ko in-abuse kami ng mga pari. Ilan kami, ewan ko. Basta ang mga classmate ko diyan kasama ko pa sa, the most prominent is [Finance] Secretary [Carlos] Dominguez III... They were groping our b**** while we were in confession. Sabi ko na nga tao lang yan eh," he said.
(I said, early on, we were abused by priests. How many were we? I don't know. But the most prominent among my classmates who were also abused is Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. They were groping our b**** while we were in confession. As I said, they (Catholic Church leaders) are also human.)
"I apologize to the nuns. Meron akong apat na madre na tiyahin (I have four aunts who are nuns). But you know, I'm just telling you the truth," he added.
Duterte has been critical of the Catholic Church leaders, who persistently express strong opposition to his policies and programs, including his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs.
While admitting that he is also a sinner, the Chief Executive maintained that the clergy should acknowledge the "separation of church and state."
"You know, separation of church and state. I've been telling you that. You can attack me outside the realm of the religion. If you are a Filipino priest, go out of the pulpit. Do not use religion as a platform to criticize us," he said. (SunStar Philippines)