by Bradley Eli, M.Div., MA.Th.  •  •  June 2, 2016

Duterte: “The most hypocritical institution is the Catholic Church”

MANILA ( – In the largest English speaking Catholic country in the world, where eight out of every ten citizens are Catholic, Catholicism is irrelevant. This claims comes from the Philippines’ newly-elected president, Duterte, and, by all indications, the self-professed dictator is right.

The 71-year-old fallen-away Catholic claims to be spiritual but not religious. He’s openly questioning the relevancy of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, Asia’s former bastion of Catholicism.

Proof for his claim is that he won the office of presidency by a landslide margin of six million votes in spite of the bishops’ weak protest. In a recent interview, he taunted the bishops with the remark, “Look, were you able to stop me?”


Last December he openly promised, “I will destroy the Church.” At that time he threatened to reveal compromising information about various priests and bishops.

Now he’s making good on that claim by accusing bishops of violating their vow of celibacy with women, and seeking monetary favors from government officials. Last month, Duterte admonished the bishops by blurting out: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves, you [expletive]? You know, the most hypocritical institution is the Catholic Church.”

Duterte, nicknamed the Punisher, for his use of vigilante death squads to control crime, his claims he would continue to disclose publicly “the sins of the Catholic Church” and question “whether or not [the Church is] still relevant.”

In 2012, the Philippines passed the Reproductive Health bill which allows for the sale of contraceptives including the abortifacient so-called emergency contraceptive pill. The seven-time mayor of Davao City, Duterte thwarted the Church’s stance on contraception by publicly promoting contraception, going so far as to pay residents to be sterilized.

President-elect Duterte, who takes office June 30, has revealed that he may dissolve congress and install a revolutionary government. He’s calling for a strict separation of Church and State which may not bode well for the future of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

Watch the panel discuss what’s happening in the Philippines as Catholicism becomes irrelevant in “The Download—Faith in the Philippines.”

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Bradley Eli, M.Div., MA.Th. is a staff writer for  Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli

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