‘Priest’ peddles prayers for P250-A A +A
Friday, November 2, 2012
ALL SOULS’ and All Saints’ Days, to enterprising men, are the time to peddle not so usual services, like cleaning and painting the tombs.
However, one man goes around the cemetery posing as a priest and “peddles prayers.”
A lady who visited her departed on All Saints’ Day complained of being victimized by a bogus priest when she asked for the conduct of the holy sacrament for the dead.
The complaint came despite an earlier reminder from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to priests to avoid "commercialism of the sacraments" especially during the commemoration of All Saints’ Day and All Soul's Day.
Maribeth Plaza, who visited the tomb of her departed husband in Tibungco Public Cemetery, told Sun.Star Davao Thursday that a man named Norberto Padonia approached her claiming he is a priest from the Francis Xavier Parish in Tibungco.
Plaza said Padonia offered to celebrate the holy sacrament for P250, adding that the “priest” was with two seemingly altar boys who assisted him.
This was a violation of the circular from Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas which was published in CBCP's official website stating that holy sacraments must be celebrated not in exchange for money.
"The trafficking for money in spiritual things is simony. It is a sin. It is prohibited to collect any donations for the individual blessing of graves. It is prohibited to conduct ‘special blessing of graves' for friends of priests and benefactors of the Church within October 31 to November 2 period," Villegas said in the circular.
Plaza said when he asked Padonia why the fee was too expensive, Padonia said that all the proceeds of the individual grave blessings will go to charity.
A priest in Francis Xavier Parish, who requested anonymity, said he doesn't know a priest or even a lay minister by the name of Padonia in their parish.
Villegas said even copies of "Order of Family Prayers on Visiting the Cemetery" will be distributed to the faithful for free.
No one has yet formally complained against this entrepreneurial “priest”.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 02, 2012.