“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

My God and the President

Atty. Ceferino Baquilod

BECAUSE of the recent blasphemous ‘stupid God’ rant by President Duterte, social media had been flooded with varied reactions. Most of these were from Catholics and other Christians, who felt violated and hurt by his utter disrespect and irreverence.

For how could one not be offended when the very God who we not only love but worship and adore, implore, pray and give thanks to everyday, was being mocked and cursed by no less than our country’s president.

Duterte is either just lost and confused in the Christian faith, or just trying impress us by postulating ideas as though he was some religious expert or scholar. Or maybe, he is really pursuing his idea of creating his own brand of religion. But either way, he clearly went too far and crossed the line.  Known for his swearing and obscenities, and speeches that are mostly littered with foul and profane language, Duterte was not content with merely assaulting church leaders. He went for the very core of Catholicism and cursed God.

My initial reaction was similar to most. Only a person who is not in his right mind is capable of saying what he said. At the same time though, despite my disgust in him, I could only pray to God to ‘forgive him for he does not know what he is doing’.

Mocking Catholicism

This country is predominantly Catholic. Any political leader who makes a mockery of the Catholic faith, is courting disaster and will suffer the consequences.

There are those, including the president, who try to deny he cursed God. But his statements were straightforward, unequivocal, unambiguous and recorded. His supporters attempt to validate his behavior by discussing spirituality, freedom of speech, or right to belief and religion. Not only are these arguments lame and beside the point, all these can never justify cursing God. Yes, all of us have rights. But all rights have limitations.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque’s explanation why Duterte did it seems believable. He said Duterte is still fuming mad at the Catholic Church because he was molested by priest when he was young. But come to think of it. If indeed the molestation occured, the logical remedy is for Duterte not to keep the anger boil within him. He needs to seek professional help. By so doing, he can spare the entire nation from the ill effects of his unmanaged madness and hostility. He can also hopefully function well by making better decisions for himself and for this country.  Unless that happens, we can only expect from him the same frame of mind not only against the church but likewise towards killings, rapes, disrespect for women, vile language, etc.

Fearing repercussions, presidential daughter Sara admonished the public not to believe his father’s statements on religion. This to me confirms our president’s attempt to fool us, again. There is a big chance though, that he will say he was just joking, or that you are a fool or ‘buang’ if you believe him, as in the past whenever he was cornered. Right now he seems to have changed gears already by claiming that he did it just to ‘shake up the tree’ or ‘test the limits’ of the people. Clearly by this admission, his utterances were just figments of his imagination, a game, and not even out of conviction.

Steadfast Belief

Going to church on Sundays where masses are constantly overcrowded, one can only conclude that despite Duterte’s mocking our faith, we the faithful have remained steadfast in our belief in God, who we all love above all things. I also believe that Duterte’s shaking up or testing the limit proposition has only made us stronger in our faith and closer to our Creator. And, some of Duterte’s avid followers have finally awakened and had a change of heart.

As one reflects on our Lord’s grace and goodness, it is so inconceivable how some worshippers can even start to think of justifying the cursing and calling God stupid.

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