‘Take a selfie with God and I’ll resign,’ says Duterte

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during Change of Command ceremonies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City metro Manila Philippines Oct. 26 2017

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during Change of Command ceremonies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City metro Manila Philippines Oct. 26 2017

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday agreed to tone down his tirades against the Catholic Church.

In a pastoral exhortation that dealt with the President's fulminations against the Church, the killings of priests and abuses of the clergy, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Romulo Valles urged the faithful to always strive to be "peacemakers".

But Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, CBCP President, said he is still uncertain if he can come today because work "overflowed" this morning.

Duterte on Friday recalled that experience, when he said he and other students were fondled by a foreign Jesuit priest, who has since died.

Duterte and Valles met at around 4 pm in Malacañang on Monday. "We are a Church of sinners called to conversion and holiness at the same time".

Starting July 17, the bishops asked Filipino Catholics to join bishops in three more days of prayers with fasting and almsgiving without giving other details.

He says if there's "one single witness" who can prove, perhaps with a picture, that they were able to see and talk to God, he will immediately resign.

"God cast [the first humans, Adam and Eve] away for being sinners. You create the flawless thing and then spoil it with a snake and an apple and you give us a sin that we never agreed to commit and that is the original sin", he said. You create a ideal then you spoil it through the snake and an apple. You created ideal human beings, two of them. "I was not even in politics then", Duterte said during the inauguration of Malayan Colleges Mindanao in Davao City yesterday (Saturday, July 7).

"So I do not believe in God?" I will kneel here. I can't accept it.

Days later, Duterte promised to keep silent on his attacks against the Church. But he has a challenge: If anyone can to prove to him that God exists - by showing him a selfie with the Creator - he will resign.

The President said he would never apologize, "not in a million years", for his words.

"We know that we have different faiths, that is why we should respect our differences", said Roque, adding that the president has already called for a dialogue with Church leaders.

The panel consists of Roque, Pastor Saycon, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella and Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr.

The meeting, he said is just an initial step of, hopefully, an ongoing listening and openness with one another.

The presidential palace said it welcomed the cardinal's statement.

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