Priests should be allowed to marry, says Duterte

Paterno Esmaquel II
President Rodrigo Duterte says 'even the gay ones' among priests should be allowed to have same-sex marriage

CAMPAIGN RALLY. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the PDP-Laban campaign rally at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City on February 24, 2019. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said Catholic priests “should be allowed to marry” because this is the “only solution” to a problem he did not elaborate before he shifted topics again.

“Priests should be allowed to marry. That’s the only solution there. Even the gay ones, allow them to marry, same-sex marriage. I am in favor of that para matapos na, matapos na ang problema (to end the problem once and for all),” Duterte said Sunday, February 24, in a speech in Cebu City.

Duterte did not identify the “problem” to be addressed by allowing priests to marry.

Catholic priests take a vow of celibacy because, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, it “enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner.” 

Even in the Catholic Church, however, certain quarters want Pope Francis to allow married priests because they believe this can solve the sex abuse scandals hounding the clergy.

But the Pope, in an interview with journalists on January 28, said celibacy for priests “is a gift to the Church,” adding, “I don’t think optional celibacy should be allowed. No.” 

Duterte’s remarks come as he lambasts the Catholic Church for sex abuse scandals involving priests. 

“Those bishops deceive people. It’s as if they are the only ones who are knowledgeable. Look at this now, the Pope went to Dubai. What did he say? He said that the abuses are true. The sisters are being used by the priests,” Duterte said. 

Duterte detests the Catholic Church which has been one of the leading critics of his bloody anti-drug campaign. –

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at