By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Fe Marie Dumaboc March 03,2017 - 10:51 PM

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma

Palma: Statement untrue

We forgive him.

This was the res-ponse of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to the latest profanity-laced tirades thrown by President Rodrigo Duterte against Catholic bishops and priests.

Answering queries from reporters, the 66-year-old prelate said he is not hurt by the President’s new round of criticism against Catholic Church leaders, because they are untrue.

“If the statements are untrue, why should we get hurt?,” said Palma.

“As Church people, we have to forgive and we should forgive him,” Palma added in an interview after presiding Mass to celebrate the 103rd birthday of the late Cebuano Bishop Teofilo Camomot.

Palma instead urged the people to pray for Duterte as the country’s top executive may be hounded by problems.

While in Cordova town on Thursday, the President again defended the Philippine National Police (PNP) renewed war on drugs saying “Father, monsignors, bishops, this means to say marami pang patayan to kasi lalaban talaga yan (there will be more deaths because they will always resist and fight back.)

His 30-minute speech was focused mostly on defending his war against illegal drugs and his scathing attacks against the Catholic Church, whose bishops and priests have repeatedly condemned the rising death toll of at least 7,000 lives.

“You priests just keep on talking. You have done nothing. From baptism to death and on Sundays, you collect money. Where’s the money of the faithful?” Duterte said.

But Palma is not one to be cowered by the President’s unrelenting criticisms against the Catholic Church.

On Friday, the prelate shot back: “If the President believes that killing people is the way to solve the drug problem in the country, we in the Church believe otherwise. We will not stop talking what we believe is right and true because that’s our mandate,” said Palma.

“ Many have died. In the end, history will judge him,” Palma added.

Palma also stressed that the Catholic Church has done many things to uplift the lives of people, except that they are not well publicized, he said.

“A lot of things are done by the Church even long before he (President Duterte) assumed the Presidency. But we don’t let our left hand know what the right hand is doing,” Palma said alluding to Jesus Christ’s teaching on genuine charity.

“I believe the President knows what the Church has done. Sometimes, he doesn’t mean what he says or even changes what he says,” he noted.

“Deep in our hearts, we know we have done quite a number of things for the good of the people,” Palma added.

On Friday morning, Palma led the graduation rites of the sixth batch of drug surrenderers who underwent a center-based drug rehabilitation program known as Surrender to God (SuGod) in Liloan town.

Since July last year, about a hundred drug surrenderers were cleared of drug use after undergoing the SuGod program and the Lahat Labang programs of the local church.

Two weeks ago, Palma also launched the Cebu Archdiocesan Program for Drug Dependents to expand the Church’s program to save drug surrenderers.

Palma clarified that the Catholic Church is not against Duterte’s war on drugs but on the manner of its implementation.

While in Cebu this week, the President stepped up his attack on priests whom he said were fond of wearing a golden cross on their chests and using golden chalices while living in grand mansions. In contrast, he added, Jesus Christ was nailed to a simple wooden cross and used wooden cups.
So why do priests and bishops use golden chalices instead of wood, asked Cebu Daily News to Palma.

“Wood easily gets rotten… We use materials that would last long,” Cebu’s highest ranking Catholic Church official explained, simply.

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TAGS: attacks, Camomot, Catholic, church, Duterte’s, Philippine National Police, PNP, President Rodrigo Duterte, SCATHING, statement, untrue

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