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01/24/2019 Philippines (International Christian Concern) – Despite President Duterte’s continuous attacks against the Catholic Church, Philippine Catholics are hoping to invite the Pope to visit the country again in 2021 in celebration of 500 years of Christianity.

The last time Pope Francis visited Philippines in 2015, Duterte insulted the pontiff for causing traffic problems across Metro Manila for his visit. His words were condemned by the then Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

In the last two years, President Duterte has begun to attack the Catholic Church on its theology, calling God “son of a bitch” and “stupid”, while suggesting bishops should be killed. His disparaging remarks have offended Christians in the country and caused tensions with the CBCP.

Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon told the media he was not sure if the pope would accept the invitation this time, since the Pope visited the country in 2015 already, and it is rare for a pontiff to visit the same country twice.

However, the hostility shown towards the Church by the President might be a deciding factor as well.

For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]