“You’re full of shit… and you smell,” Duterte’s message to church leaders

President Rodrigo R. Duterte meets with Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle
Duterte meets with Cardinal Tagle, the Archbishop of Manila.

has launched a foul-mouthed tirade against church leaders, saying that they are “full of shit” and smell.

The president’s latest rant against religious leaders came yesterday (Tuesday, January 24) as he met families of 44 police commandos who died in the Mamasapano massacre.

The president claimed that Catholic leaders had no right to preach against extrajudicial killings when many of them were guilty of other sins.

“I challenge you now, I challenge the Catholic church, you are full of shit and you all stink too, corruption and all,” he said. “I’ll tell bishops, their conferences, we have the same stink, women. You are full of corruption.”

His rebuke came a day after one of his top advisers met Pope Francis at the Vatican. Jesus Dureza said the pontiff had told him he would bless the Philippines, and “also bless your president”. Presumably the pontiff has already forgiven the president for previously calling him “a son of bitch” for causing chaos during a papal visit.

The tirade also comes during National Bible Month, a new annual scheme launched by Duterte this month. Presidential Proclamation No. 124 aims to recognise the “religious nature of the Filipino people and the elevating influence of religion in human society.” (See our report here.)

We have also recently reported how boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao invoked Biblical support for the reinstitution of the death penalty. “Even Jesus Christ was sentenced to death by the government,” the part-time pastor said. (See our report here.)

Later in the speech, he challenged bishops to resign with him since they were both guilty of wrongdoing.

“I challenge all the bishops, let’s resign at the same time, ok? I’ll go first. I will deliver my letter of resignation on bended knees,’ he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

He presented as proof a book called Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church by Aries Rufo, a veteran journalist who died in 2015.

“I’ll make you a deal — read this book and if I feel all of you have read it, then go back to me and tell me I blasphemed my religion and I lied, I will resign.”

He again brought up the sexual abuse of priests on young men, something he claims he himself experienced when an Ateneo de Davao high school student.

“I was an Atenean and there was mass every Friday, then confession. The priests would take us, believe me. In my Cabinet, I have two or three former classmates. When we talk – there would be sexual abuses by priest every day.”

Getting more specific, he then alleged that Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani had two wives. Bacani recently described Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs as a “bringer of death”.

In recent days, Duterte has demanded that church leaders help his campaign against illegal drugs instead of criticising from the sidelines. He also suggested that the clergy should try the drug “shabu” themselves in order to better understand the situation.

However, church leaders hit back by pointing out that their drug rehabilitation programmes had turned around thousands of lives and predated his administration.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has made no immediate comment about the latest verbal .