When priest, parishioners quarrel

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Sunday, April 20, 2014


A PARISH in Bago Bantay, Quezon City has a running feud between its priest and some church members. Parishioners who allege in a lawsuit the priest misspent P1.7 million in pastoral council funds were told by bishops and a Vatican’s envoy to “go tell the Pope.”

In return fire, Fr. Aliño allegedly used his pulpit to slander pastoral council officials.

As often happens when people don’t get redress for grievance, the clash becomes ugly and messy.

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Traditionally, church officials want any complaint involving the clergy resolved within the church, quietly and without publicity.

While the veil of secrecy conforms with church practice and protects the innocent priest, it also encourages cover-up and may abet wrongdoing.

Erring priests moved to other parishes can still prey sexually on kids or women or, provided refuge in other parishes, commit more of the same.

The lay community, which helps church work, is not told how cases were closed, whether sanctions were meted and threat was eliminated.

Pope Francis has apologized for sexual abuses of the clergy even as he tries to stop pilferage in the Vatican.

In some parishes, as in the Quezon City situation, it’s about money, which can be just as touchy, especially when parishioners did the fundraising.

Pope, pulpit

Do complainants have to go to the Pope? There must be local church mechanism for relief.

Then there’s the use of the pulpit to answer charges against the priest and defame his accusers. In the homily, the Roman Missal says, when scriptures are read, God himself speaks to the people. A defense about condos and cars doesn’t sound well along with God’s word.

[paseares@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 21, 2014.

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