Amid word war: Cardinal Vidal tells CBCP, public to pray for, cooperate with Duterte

  • Cardinal told CBCP and public to pray for president, cooperate with him
  • He also said he wishes for harmony between the gov’t and the Catholic Church
  • He said peace won’t be possible if both institutions find no common ground

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the verbal tussle between President Rodrigo Duterte and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal urged the bishops and the public to pray for the country’s leader and cooperate with him especially during such a crucial time.

“We in the Church, we are all obliged, as citizens, to pray for our President, whether we like him or not. Since he won in the elections, we have to accept that. Let us cooperate with him in whatever way we can,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying.

While understanding where Duterte was coming from with his anti-drug campaign, Vidal, however, stressed that it was the Church’s job to promote the sanctity of life.

“We are pro-life, therefore we have to maintain our love for life that God has given,” he said

The archbishop, who turned 86 on Monday, also revealed his wish for harmony between the government and the Catholic Church; saying there will be no peace if the two institutions continue to bicker.

“There should be understanding between the government and the Church. If there is no harmony, when will peace come?” he said.

Vidal paid Duterte a courtesy visit at the Palace days after the latter took office and established a good rapport.

On Sunday, the CBCP issued a pastoral letter condemning the spate of drug-related killings; sparking furious rebuttal from the president.

Previously, Duterte said Church officials had no moral ascendancy to judge him; saying they too had erring members in their fold.