Dear President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,
We are Grade 12 students who have recently come across some of your statements regarding women and the Church as reported by Manila Standard, with the article entitled: “Rody resumes tirade vs. priests”, posted on March 11, 2019.
However, we would like to recognize your wonderful efforts to ameliorate the state of our beloved country. We appreciate that you have become very responsive to the needs of society, that because of some of your programs, safety has increased, which is very beneficial for high school students, just like us. We would also like to show our appreciation for the improved efficiency of the economy. This is seen in multiple projects such as the clean ups in certain places in the country, improved relations with other nations, leading to more resources, and the significant changes with the infrastructure sector of the country.
While your efforts in improving the country are highly commendable, your statements concerning women and the Church have come to our attention. Although we cannot deny the fact that there are some priests who have committed actions that are beyond what is expected of them, we would like to highlight that most, if not all, ordained ministers of the Catholic Church are men of character, genuine love, and empathy. In fact, these priests become more of a “man” as they voluntarily choose to resist lust, sin, and other pleasures in order to serve the Lord and the country, similar as to what you are doing.
Their manhood, then, is not defined by their vocation, but rather the humble choices they decide to make. Therefore, on behalf of the entire church community, we humbly ask ─ if it is possible─ to avoid the act of generalizing priests. Additionally, despite the genuine care and love you show to both Filipino women and your family members, we would like to clarify the misunderstanding that you may have had about the roles of women in men’s lives.
Even if women play an important role in reproduction, we have a greater purpose and can contribute greatly to the improvement of the country. As some of the women who make up half of the nation you lead, we would like you to understand that we are more than objects for pleasure, that we are people with feelings.
We wrote this letter to clear a misunderstanding that you may have had regarding the Church, its people, and its teachings. The Catholic community wishes to spread the value of compassion, and we hope that you do the same by avoiding any rash generalizations.
We sincerely believe that you will continue to do an impressive job in applying the Church’s teachings in your works as a government official and including the Catholic community in the implementation of policies and laws in the future as you are such a charismatic and well-loved leader.
We hope that we have shed light on your previous understanding about the Catholic Church, and have altered your perspective about our own regulations and standards in some way or another. As you are a role model in terms of responsiveness, we sincerely believe that this letter will become a catalyst in mending the relationship of the Church and the state.
Again, we would like to commend for all your honorable efforts in truly helping the Philippines. May you continue to inspire aspiring future leaders as you are doing to us.
Thea Saria, Daniela Lorenzo, Patricia Alfonso, Mina Mata, and Sachiko Palaganas
Grade 12 PAREF Woodrose Students