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  World   Asia  20 Jan 2017  Rodrigo Duterte rebukes priests after Pope blessing

Rodrigo Duterte rebukes priests after Pope blessing

Published : Jan 20, 2017, 1:51 am IST
Updated : Jan 20, 2017, 6:32 am IST

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Philippines had no immediate comment.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte
 Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

Manila: Undeterred by a blessing from Pope Francis, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte launched an angry rebuke on Thursday of priests and bishops critical of his drugs war, accusing them of homosexuality, corruption and abusing children.

Mr Duterte was furious over concerns by the Catholic Church of alleged extrajudicial killings during his crackdown and lambasted clergymen for denouncing him instead of using their influence to get people off drugs.

His no-holds-barred tirade came a day after one of Mr Duterte’s top advisers met Pope Francis at the Vatican and said the Pontiff had told him he would bless the Philippines, and “also bless your President”.

In a speech to cops, the leader of one of only two majority Catholic Asian countries challenged the Church to a “showdown” and threatened to expose priests and bishops for a litany of abuses. “Most people here are Catholics. If you are a good priest, make them understand that they will die,” he said, referring to drug users.

“You criticise the police, you criticise me. For what? You have the money. You are all crazy... when we were making confessions to you, we were being molested. They are touching us. What is your moral ascendancy, religion? What is the meaning of it?”

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Philippines had no immediate comment.

Mr Duterte’s aide, Jesus Dureza, was at the Vatican this week to deliver a letter from the President, thanking the Pope for his 2015 visit to the Philippines.

Mr Duterte had famously called the Pope a “son of a b***h” for causing traffic snarl-ups, and later apologised.

Tags: pope francis, rodrigo duterte, catholic church
Location: Philippines, Central Luzon