- CBCP President Socrates Villegas refused to engage in a word war with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte
- Duterte previously blasted bishops for allegedly releasing a pastoral letter against him during the election
- Villegas said he will remain silent instead despite the criticisms
The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, refused to engage in a word war with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte who recently made scathing remarks against Filipino bishops and priests.
Villegas, instead, said he will offer his silence as a way to give “respect for those who consider us their enemies but whose good we truly pray for and whose happiness we want to see unfold.”
“Mine is the silence of Jesus before the arrogance of Pilate. Mine is the language of peace that refuses the dark magic of revenge. Mine is the silence of respect for those who consider us their enemies but whose good we truly pray for and whose happiness we want to see unfold. There is virtue in silence. There is virtue in speech. Wisdom is knowing when it is time for silence and when is the timing for speech,” he told ABS-CBN News.
Earlier, Duterte called the Catholic Church as the “most hypocritical institution” after he alleged that bishops released a pastoral letter against him days before the May 9 elections.
“They campaigned against me, everybody was saying ‘Do not vote for Duterte.’ Fine. I said, let this election be a referendum between me and the Catholic Church… Sabi ko, this will be a referendum kung sinong tama sa atin. [I said, this will be a referendum as to who is right among us.] Look, were you able to stop me? Iilan lang kayong mga obispo diyan. [There are only a few of you bishops],” he said.
The CBCP clarified that there was no such letter mentioning any specific candidate to vote or not vote.