An open letter to President Duterte
DEAR President Duterte, I am writing to you as an individual Filipino and as a priest and not representing any group. You have crossed a line when you called God “stupid”. The line is neither red nor yellow but black and white. The belief inspired by the Genesis story is way beyond your pay grade as it is beyond mine. It is something best left to our grateful living memory of men in the early Church of sober minds who, fired by God’s love and reflecting on Scripture and lived experiences, put two and two together and discovered the unfathomable beauty of God’s mercy in the face of human brokenness called original sin.
When you belittle God, you belittle yourself, you belittle Christians, and you belittle believers. To what end? Do you need to intimidate and humiliate to convey your message? To what end? Why waste your political capital by trying to be a theologian?
As you have said so yourself, you were once subjected to humiliation in the confessional. I feel deeply ashamed of our individual and collective moral failures as priests. Please forgive us. But do you think the feeling of being humiliated will go away by humiliating others? It will only amplify it. Forgiveness releases the pain, the anger, and the stress. Try it.
God has chosen you to help build our nation. Do not complicate matters even more. Stay focused. God bless you. My prayers for you and for all our elected leaders.
With all due respect
Fr. Carmelo O. Diola