Palma dismisses Duterte’s mockery of saints, souls as ‘yabag’

By: Ador Vincent Mayol, Delta Dyrecka Letigio November 02,2018 - 11:30 PM

CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma described as yabag (out of tune) President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent mockery of the Catholic celebration of All Souls’ Day and Saints’ Day, particularly the belief in saints.

In an interview on Friday, the 68-year-old prelate said President Duterte, though the country’s most powerful man, is not in a position to interpret doctrines based on his own beliefs or out of emotions.

“Ako gani, makadungog sa iyang mga gipangsulti, daw mga yabag ba (When I heard that he was saying, it was so out of tune),” Palma said in an interview before he presided over a Mass to observe All Souls’ Day at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral Mausoleum on Friday morning.

“He is not a theologian nor has he even studied catechesis or theology,” the prelate added.

“He is not an official teacher of doctrine. Every time I hear him saying things like this, I just say to my self, why is he making such remarks when he is not a teacher of doctrine? We better decipher what to believe and what not to believe in what he says.”

President Duterte on Thursday again mocked the Catholic Church, this time about the celebration of All Saints’ Day and Souls’ Day, two of the most important celebrations in the Catholic calendar, to honor the saints and the departed, respectively.

“Happy All Saints‘ … Bakit naman … tarantado talaga itong mga Katoliko ang puta. Bakit ba may All Souls Day at All Saints Day?” Duterte asked
during a post-disaster command conference in Isabela.

(Happy All Saints … Why do we have to … these Catholics are fools. Why is there All Souls Day and All Saints Day?)

“Hindi natin alam kung sino mga santo na ‘yun. Mga gago na iyon, mga lasenggo. Dito na lang kayo. I’ll give you a patron. Get hold of a
picture of mine, iyan lagay niyo sa altar, Santo Rodrigo,” he said.

(We don’t even know who those saints are. Those are fools, drunkards. Just stay here with me. I’ll give you a patron. Get hold of a picture of mine. Put that on the altar, Santo Rodrigo.)

President Duterte’s remarks came on the same day Malacañang issued his message for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, calling on Filipinos to observe a “solemn and meaningful celebration” and urging the public to “emulate our saints.”

“Together, let us emulate our saints, pray for the eternal repose of souls and deepen our engagement with our communities as we work for real and lasting change,” he said in his message.

Strong faith

Palma believed Catholics in the country are mature enough to dismiss the President’s mockery of the saints.

“I think, our faith is strong enough (to withstand attacks on Catholicism). It’s been a long tradition of the Church to commemorate all those in heaven. Because of their great love for God, and how they lived their lives, now they are in heaven,” he said.

“The saints are our inspiration. We seek their help, and their teachings serve as our guide in life. We are happy to ask God’s help through their intercessions,” he added.

Catholic doctrine situates the Church of Jesus Christ in three realities: Church Triumpant, Church Suffering and Church Militant.

Souls in heaven, like those of the martyrs and saints, form the Church Triumphant. These souls include those who were proclaimed by the Church as saints and those whose sins were completely washed away.

Souls suffering in purgatory, which Catholics believe is a place or condition of being purified for sins already forgiven, form the Church Suffering.

These are those who need prayers and sacrifices.

The third group or the “Church Militant” refers to all living human beings.

“If there is a person who tells us that there is no eternal life after death, then I ask him why do we have to live so many years doing good when we will just disappear like bubbles when we die? That kind of thinking is absolutely wrong,” Palma explained.

“We believe that after this life comes eternal life. We hope to unite with our deceased loved ones in the eternal joy in heaven,” he added.

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