MANILA - The Papal Nuncio in the Philippines has invited President Rodrigo Duterte to the Pope’s Day on Friday, June 29.
June 29 marks the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Peter is the first pope.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte was invited by Papal Nuncio in the Philippines, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, to attend the celebration at the Apostolic Nunciature in Malate, Manila on June 29.
Roque, however, said the President’s attendance to the event is not yet guaranteed.
“I don’t know if the schedule of the president will permit it. I don’t know if the president will ask the three of us to go to represent him,” Roque said, referring to himself, EDSA People Power Commission member Boy Saycon, and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella.
Duterte had already met Caccia last December in Malacañang during a courtesy call.
The Papal Nuncio’s invitation to Duterte comes amid renewed tension between the chief executive and the leaders of the Catholic Church.
Duterte has drawn flak after calling God “stupid” as he mocked the creation story in the Bible.
The President questioned why the Catholic God should created “something perfect” only to “destroy” it later with the original sin committed by Adam and Eve.
Christian groups were outraged by the President’s remarks, but the President did not hit the brakes and maintained his stance on the matter.
Reeling from the public outrage created by his remarks, Duterte formed the three-man team composed of Roque, Saycon and Abella to hold a dialogue with leaders of the Catholic Church and other Christian groups.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, one of Duterte’s staunchest critics, has describe the government’s reaching out to church leaders as a “crisis management move” to contain the fallout from the President’s remarks.