[OPINION] An open letter to President Duterte
This is an open letter written by Grade 12 students of a private school in Muntinlupa City.
Dear President Rodrigo Duterte,
Good day! We would like to thank you, as there have been many changes and progress during your administration. We applaud you for the cleanup of Boracay and Manila Bay. In a world where our environment is no longer valued, thank you for taking steps to protect and preserve the beauty of the Philippines. We also admire that you have been a proactive president in achieving your vision of a new and improved Philippines.
However, it was disheartening to read an article in which you talked ill about the priests of the Catholic faith, which more than 80% of Filipinos belong to. As you are the leader of the country, you are also the representative of our nation – a bridge between the people and the government. How can you insult the faith that more than half the nation belongs to? (READ: Duterte said kill the bishops – and his word became flesh)
We recognize that you were hurt by the Catholic Church in your youth and we cannot imagine the traumatic effect this must have had on you. We sincerely apologize on behalf of the Church and pray for your healing. Despite this, we believe that in dealing with the Church, as well as our priests, respect should be given to them, as they serve as instruments of Christ. (READ: After priest killings, Duterte again threatens Church leaders)
As our president, you must be able to deal with each religion respectfully, despite the doubts that you may have regarding them. You are not obligated to follow Catholic teachings, but to insult the leaders of the Catholic Church would be to demoralize the vast number of Catholic Filipinos. In line with your recent words regarding Catholicism, we wish to enlighten you on the faith and explain the stands of the Catholic Church. (READ: Duterte curses bishops, priests who criticize drug war)
The first and foremost responsibility of a priest is to preach the Faith by word and example. This includes proclaiming what is objectively true, regardless of the risk of persecution and criticism. Please try to understand that the priests of the Church are in no way trying to attack you, as they are only trying to fulfill their moral duty to respond clearly and strongly to erroneous fallacies and actions against the teachings of the Catholic Church. Just as you take seriously your duty to protect the country, priests are earnestly committed to defending the Word of God. Regarding original sin, even if you may not have committed the sin of Adam and Eve, all human beings are inherently weak due to their limited powers of reason. (READ: Duterte blasts Bible creation story: 'Who is this stupid God?')
This is why faith is needed in order to shed light on the falsehoods created by reason. Furthermore, the creation of original sin was not meant to condemn humanity, but to show that from the great evil of sin comes an even greater good in the form of Jesus Christ. It was only through original sin that the history of salvation and the experience of God's merciful love became possible.
We wish that you read this letter with an open mind and heart. We simply want to clarify any misconceptions you or anyone else might be having. If you are in doubt about the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church, please allow us to show you the love and compassion that the faith is truly about.
Every Filipino has the common goal of changing our country for the better – even us Catholics. With that said, we think that it would be best if we all respect one another and work together in achieving this dream, because we are more than willing to do so. You have such great influence over the people of our country, and so we hope that you will be one to unite us and propel us forward as a nation. – Rappler.com