Philippine church groups condemn ‘tyrannical’ Duterte

Light of truth

Priests, nuns, and seminarians staged a candle-lit prayer rally on May 17 to protest against what they called the “tyrannical tendencies” of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

The protest came days after Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila released a letter to parishes warning that the Philippines is “facing a crisis of truth.”

The Manila prelate noted that even Philippine legal experts have “given us conflicting interpretations on basic questions of law.” Cardinal Tagle issued the letter to priests and religious in his archdiocese days after the Philippine Supreme Court ousted the country’s chief justice.

The court decision has been widely criticized by various groups, including civil society organizations and Catholic Church leaders.

Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon said the removal of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno could be the start of “another dark period in the country’s history.”

“A real dictatorship of a strong man is emerging,” said the prelate, adding that “more controversial issues are surely coming.” He said the court decision “is the most shameful act in the history of the Philippine judiciary.”

Cardinal Tagle said the “crisis of truth” has already resulted in “suspicion, mistrust, and fragmentation.”

“Partisan politics has turned into political tribalization. The common good is one of the first casualties,” the Manila prelate said.

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