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Philippine Bishops Ask for Prayers After President Calls God Stupid


FILE - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while addressing the crowd at the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine at Kawit, Cavite province south of Manila, June 12, 2018.

Catholic bishops in the Philippines have called for prayers and fasting after President Rodrigo Duterte called God "stupid" and questioned his existence.

Archbishop Romulo Valles and the association of bishops on Monday asked Asia's largest Catholic country to observe a day of prayers on July 16, to be followed by three days of fasting and alms giving.

Without naming Duterte, the bishops asked the faithful to invoke "God's mercy and justice on those who have blasphemed God's holy name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality.''

President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines Archbishop Romulo Valles, left, gestures as he answers questions from reporters in Manila, Philippines, July 9, 2018.
President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines Archbishop Romulo Valles, left, gestures as he answers questions from reporters in Manila, Philippines, July 9, 2018.

Duterte has long had a contentious relationship with the church, but the president further rankled the church last month when he concluded that God must be "stupid" if the story about his creation of Adam and Eve was true.

In a televised speech, Duterte questioned the Bible story of man's creation, asking why God would have created the biblical figures Adam and Eve only to allow them to succumb to temptation.

"Who is this stupid God? This [vulgarity] is then really stupid,'' he said.

He followed that up last week with an offer to resign if there's "one single witness'' who can prove, perhaps with a picture or a selfie, that a human was "able to talk and to see God.''

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has defended Duterte's remarks, saying he has the right to express his opinion on religion.

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