MANILA (UPDATED) - Catholic church leaders on Monday urged the faithful to join them next week in 3 days of prayer and fasting for those who blaspheme God.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in its pastoral letter after President Rodrigo Duterte called God stupid, also urged the faithful to be peacemakers amid "troubled times."
"Let us spend a day of prayer and penance invoking God's mercy and justice on those who those blaspheme God's holy name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country," said Bishop Pablo David.
David said the 3 days of prayer, fasting, and alms-giving will be from July 17 to 19 next week.
The bishop also reminded the faithful that as Christians, they should follow the way of Jesus Christ when confronted with angering statements by people in authority.
"Remember what the Lord had taught his disciples. He said, 'but to you who hear, I say bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you, for the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other the cheek,'" he said quoting from the bible.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Malacañang takes note of the concerns of the Church, which it is "currently addressing."
"Like our brothers and sisters in the Church, the President's program of governance is also to actively work for lasting peace by waging a war against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption. This war is our fight for the safety of all Filipino families and for their right to live in a peaceful society," he said.
Roque also said the state is doing its part in "addressing the sufferings of the poor."
"Our people have long recognized that the Administration is one of
'tapang and malasakit,' and we remain undistracted in our goal of bringing more comfortable lives for all Filipinos," he said.
In a speech last June, President Duterte called God stupid for creating something "perfect" and then allowing the first humans, Adam and Eve, to ruin it by bringing sin into existence through the forbidden fruit.
"To those who blaspheme God as stupid, St. Paul's words are to the point. And I quote, 'for the stupidity of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength,'" Bishop David said in a seeming response to Duterte's remarks.
The bishops' conference has been invited by Malacañang to a dialogue with President Duterte today.
But Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, CBCP President, said he is still uncertain if he can come today because work "overflowed" this morning.
"To those who blaspheme God as stupid, St. Paul's words are to the point. And I quote, 'for the stupidity of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength,'" Bishop David said in an apparent response to Duterte's remarks.
The CBCP leadership had been invited by Malacañang to a dialogue with President Duterte today.
According to Roque, Duterte has agreed to stop issuing statements about the church after a one-on-one meeting with the president of the CBCP.
"Meet between PRRD and Arch Valles took place at 4 pm. PRRD agreed to a moratorium on statements about the church after the meeting. It was a one-on-one meeting," he told reporters.