The strong leader and an avid critic of Catholic church, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said in his speech that the church will disappear after 25 years.
However, bishops from Manila have rebuked the President and said Catholic faith will continue to live for centuries despite the current controversies it faces, including the sexual abuses by clergymen.
The Philippine prelates downplayed the prediction of President Duterte that the Church would disappear after 25 years because of the string of sexual abuse cases and corruption within its ranks.
Bishop Pablo David, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines who has been critical of the Duterte administration’s drug war, said the President’s forecast is no longer new to the Church.
“A lot of people have said the same thing many centuries ago. Some have even tried to deliberately destroy the Catholic Church,” he said in a Facebook post.
David recalled how such threats to the Church did not prosper and actually even made it stronger.
“It appears that not even the sins and human weaknesses of her own members could destroy the Church, as long as we have the humility to admit such wrongdoings and do something to correct them, as Pope Francis is now asking us to do,” David pointed out.
“She remains in existence, not because of us, or perhaps even in spite of us. Ironically, it is when the Church behaves like a worldly empire that she becomes irrelevant. There have been times when she got diminished or reduced to a minority, as is already happening in some countries,” the prelate stressed.
Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani and Bishop Honesto Ongtioco agreed with David.
“The Catholic Church will survive a hundred Dutertes,” Bacani said.
Malacanang has not yet to respond on prelates statements. However, they already said that the death threats agains Bishop David was merely “frabricated.”