Arrogant priest

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Monday, July 7, 2014


JESUS Christ, is this bloke really a priest? He’s wearing a priest’s garment, yes, but the words that flew from his mouth belie any trace of the virtues of humility and tolerance that Pope Francis preaches for men of the cloth.

I wept when I first saw the video of the cleric lambasting an unwed mother, both in anger at the man and in sadness for my Church. He was downright arrogant and judgmental in condemning the poor girl, who is reportedly only 17 and, who according to her own mother, had attempted suicide.

“This was supposed to be a celebration,” the girl’s mother, Jieve Daitol Frias, wrote in the video’s accompanying note. “Pero bastos kaayo ang pari. Can’t he just shut his mouth? Niadto mi sa simbahan para magpabunyag dili kay bastoson ang nagpabunyag.”

The incident happened inside a chapel that is said to be located in one of the barangays of Mandaue City. In the video, the girl was in front of the priest, carrying and bottle-feeding a baby in her arms. Around her stood a number of people, most probably friends and relatives waiting for the baptismal ceremony to start.

Their presence and the fact that they were inside the house of God to witness the sacrament of baptism did not deter the priest from subjecting her to ridicule.

Unluckily for him, someone had the presence of mind to record his mindless and heartless condemnation of the poor girl. The video has gone viral.

Her only fault was that she bore a child without the benefit of marriage but hearing the priest cuss her, one would imagine that she was/is the devil incarnate.

“Ipanghambog ba nato ni, Day,” the priest asked her. “Nga naa kay anak nga wa kay bana? Ikauwaw nato ni, Day. Kay magpabunyag ka nga wa kay bana. Nakigdug kag lalaki nga di nimo bana. Di ka mauwaw?”

Then, addressing the other people present, he says: “Kamo mosunod mo? Bikangkang mo sa lalaki nga mokuhit ninyo? Ha, mao na? Makauuwaw ni.”

But he was not through with the girl yet. “Hinaot kining bataa magtubo nga motuman sa iyang saad sa bunyag. Ikay magmatoto ani bisan ug hiwi ka, yabag ka. Hinaot pa unta naay uban nga motabang nga dili siya mayabag sama nimo.”

The reaction from the Internet crowd was one of shock and condemnation. “Totally
unacceptable,” Melona Cuenco wrote from her vacation abroad. “That priest should not be allowed to do it to another person.” Horrible, Nenette Pritchard exclaimed. “God died so the sinners could be saved. This priest needs a psychiatrist, not a parish.”

Rowena Burden, a cardiologist, expressed compassion for the girl. “He doesn’t even
know what she went through, the courage it took to keep her child. If he thinks she made a mistake or committed a sin, why treat her that way?”

Another doctor, Shawn Espina, was sad that the girl did not appear to have the money. “This would not have happened,” he said.

“This is bigotry in its highest order,” fumed lawyer Lourdes U. Barcenas. Another lawyer, Amay Ong Vaño, suggested that the priest be prosecuted for libel.

Others, like Mylene Lopez were worried about how the incident would affect the faithful. “When people see this, do you think they will see the love of Christ in him?”

Franklin Cuenco, who in my book, is the person closest to a saint, agrees. “Even Christ did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, nor the prostitute. He instead felt compassion for them.”

Marilou Smith’s comment encapsulated the general feeling towards the priest. “Send this video to the Pope,” she urged. That priest should be defrocked.”

The priest is not without defenders though. Most notable are Junabel Cirilo, who is with CFC Youth for Christ-Cebu and Belen Cirilo (I'm not sure if they are related) another lay worker, who is with the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy Youth Ministry of the Redemptorist Church. “A true servant of the Lord must correct the people,” Junabel wrote.

By the way, I checked with the Archdiocese and was told that the priest is not one of them. “Must be a missionary,” they said. Oh, what a mission.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 08, 2014.

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