A year after his alleged cursing at Pope Francis, President Rodrigo Duterte once again proves he did not mean any disrespect to the pontiff and that he is in good terms with him.
Duterte's Letter to the Pope:
With profound respect, I have the honor to extend my own and my people's warmest greetings to Your Holiness.
Our countrymen remember Your Holiness' apostolic visit in 2015 with deep appreciation, knowing that it was made with the most sincere regard for the welfare of the Church's flock. The Philippines values its special relations with the Holy See and regards with gratitude Your Holiness' gracious stewardship of the Catholic faith.
Please accept, Your Holiness, the assurances of my highest esteem and respect.
It has been a while since Duterte, who was still running for president at that time, strongly expressed his disappointment when the Pope had his apostolic visit in 2015 and caused heavy traffic in Manila .
Duterte gained a lot of criticisms not only in the Philippines but internationally on his remarks of the event. He said that the government could have handled the preparations well and that it could have avoided the burden it caused the citizens on that day after closing some of the roads.
A few months after, Duterte sent a letter to the Pope stating his utmost apology on the matter, which was soon acknowledged by the Pope in a letter sent by Italian Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu.
"His Holiness Pope Francis has received your letter of 21 January 2016, and he has asked me to respond on his behalf."
"He appreciates the sentiment which you expressed. The Holy Father offers the assurance of his prayers for you, as he invokes upon you the divine blessings of wisdom and peace," Becciu wrote.
Dureza said in his Facebook post, "As Pope Francis approached me, I said: "We are from the Phil, Your Holiness".
"His face suddenly brightened up," he added. And when he finally reached him giving a baciamano, he said, "Bless the Philippines, Your Holiness".
Remarkably, the Pope replied, "I will also bless your President".
Here's the actual letter of the President to the PopePhoto from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process