Duterte questions crucial Catholic teaching in latest outburst

MANILA, Philippines — A week after he asked the public to ignore his outbursts against bishops, President Rodrigo Duterte lambasted the Catholic Church again and even questioned its teachings about heaven and hell.
Duterte, a Catholic who claims to believe in God but not in religion, said only a “very stupid” God would allow his creation to suffer and to go to hell.
“Do not believe that you will go to hell… There is no such thing as heaven and hell. You know it would need a very stupid God if He creates me as a human being and at the end of my earthly life he would just send me to hell,” the president said during a convention of the Philippine Association of Water Districts.
“God is alpha and omega, the beginning and end. He sees everything. You have free will but just the same, God knows that you’re going to hell so why the heck create me if you let me suffer?” he added.
“If you’re the creator of life then create another one but not me. You know (this is my) universal identity so you can’t tell me to change. Mayor, do not say bad words, be courteous to visitors.”
Duterte has been badmouthing the Catholic Church after some bishops criticized the alleged extrajudicial killings spawned by his war on drugs.
Last week, the president said he is ready to resign if his claims about the corruption and sex scandals that hounded the Church are proven false. He went as far as accusing retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani of having two wives and priests of having bad breath and dirty hands. Duterte, later on, asked the public to ignore his outbursts, saying they are part of his identity.
The president asked the public to “pray to the true God” as he took a jab at the Church, which he described as “all pageantry and drama.”
“In the meantime, we try to survive in this planet and we can only pray to the true God. Their God, with all the pageantry, look at their gold cross,” he said.
“I thought Christ was crucified on a wooden cross?”
Duterte then rehashed his rhetoric on the supposed hypocrisy of the Catholic clergy as well as their supposed sexual indiscretions. He narrated again how he was molested by a Jesuit priest when he was still a student of Ateneo de Davao.
The president also accused bishops of spending billions for their travels and for failing to account for the money collected during masses.
“You keep on collecting but where’s the money?” the president said.
Duterte promoted anew “Altar of Secrets,” the book by the late journalist Aries Rufo that discussed the sex and corruption scandals involving some Catholic clergymen.
“If this is read by all college students, the Catholic Church would be gone in the next generation.”