Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, known for cursing critics in public speeches, renewed his attacks on the country’s Catholic bishops this week.
Speaking to members of the Philippine Baptist Church, the president expressed wonder at the apparent silence of Catholic Church leaders despite his attacks.
“I cannot tell you why but they are now ordered to… There’s an… I cannot — it’s supposed to be in confidence. But you notice they are no longer complaining,” said Duterte.
“Even if you say b******, they don’t respond anymore. That is — that is how to win the war against the Catholic Church. All you have to say, m***** f*****. You’re a winner.”
In 2016, then-candidate Duterte cursed Pope Francis for causing traffic jams when he visited Manila the previous year.
Despite criticism for allegedly disrespecting the pontiff, Duterte still scored a landslide victory at the election.
“When the results of the election came, I got seven — six million over the next. And so, maybe — maybe it’s good to b***s*** the bishops. It might make you win,” he said.
In the speech to mark the 120th anniversary of the Baptist Church’s presence in the Philippines, Duterte boasted that he was the first politician to win a war against church officials.
“When we quarreled openly, I b**s***ted them. And I’m — I think I’m the first politician who spoke against the church,” he said.
“If these idiot bishops here. They are. I do not hide my contempt,” he added.
Duterte has repeatedly claimed he was molested by a priest when he was in high school.
He has called God “stupid,” characterized as “silly” the Catholic doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and accused bishops of concealing their homosexuality.
He once asked drug addicts in jest to rob and steal from rich bishops amid his tirade against alleged clerical abuses.
In a pastoral letter last year, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines asked for forgiveness over its silence on the president’s “war on drugs” and his attacks on the church.