Priest apologizes for ‘cruel’ words to unwed mother; 17-year-old mom wants to hear it in person

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Jhunnex Napallacan, Norman V. Mendoza July 09,2014 - 09:18 AM

Priest humiliates unwed mother. (SCREEN GRAB FROM FACEBOOK)

“I am deeply sorry.”

In a signed letter, Redemptorist priest Romeo Obach yesterday apologized to the unwed mother he had scolded and called “shameful” during the baptism of her baby in Mandaue City.

The 59-year-old priest has been barred from saying Mass or conducting church rites while an “internal investigation” is being made by his congregation, said Redemptorist spokesman Fr. Alfonso Suico Jr., who released copies of the letter.

“I deeply regret that I have done this. I only later realized how cruel (were) my ways to educate and impart lessons for the said event. I am deeply sorry to the mother of the child, her relatives, the sponsors, and the witnesses of the incident,” wrote Fr. Obach.

He said he was “rude” and displayed conduct unbecoming of a priest.

He also apologized to Internet viewers who saw the video of his tongue-lashing which was posted on Facebook by the girl’s sister two days earlier and went viral.


The letter was delivered to the 17-year-old mother and her family by another priest.
The teenager said she wanted to hear his apology face to face.

“Para nako dili pa ko maka-forgive gyud. (I can’t forgive him yet.),” she told Cebu Daily News.

“Of course, nalipay ko gamay kay nag-apology siya nako pero akong gusto personal unta ba magkita mi kay personal baya nang gibuhat niya nako. Gusto ko magkita mi ba nga moingon siya’g sorry nako. Aron dunay reconciliation ug makaingon ko nga serious siya.”

(Of course, I’m a little happy that he apologized but I wanted it to be personal because what he did to me was personal. I want us to meet so he can say sorry himself, so there would be reconciliation and I can see that he’s sincere.)

Her mother, a barangay tanod, was out visitng the Basak police station where she asking about how to go about filing a complaint.

A second written apology was issued yesterday by the Redemptorist congregation for their member’s conduct.

“As a religious community, we DO NOT CONDONE such an UNACCEPTABLE ACT,” they said, because it is contrary to their mission of showing “compassion especially to the poor and the most abandoned.”

The statement said they would “reach out to the aggrieved family at the appropriate and most opportune time” but that for now “we respect their situation at the moment and sympathize with their hurt and anger over the matter.”

In a press conference, media liaison Fr. Alfonso Suico Jr. said Fr. Obach was advised to spend more time in prayer and reflection.

He described Fr. Obach as a “jolly and kind person” who has been a priest for 28 years.

“Perhaps, he’s experiencing personal stress and there are some other reasons,” he said. Suico, who is also a physician, recommended that Fr. Obach undergo medical check-ups to ascertain his physical condition.

He said the priest is still in Cebu but no details were given of his whereabouts.

Fr. Obach, a native of Iligan, has been assigned to various mission areas in the Philippines and abroad. He was assigned to the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy in the Eversley Sanitarium in Mandaue City where the July 6 outburst took place. Before that, he was assigned in Davao.

Fr. Obach’s apology letter


Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma yesterday said he was “relieved” that the priest and Redemptorists moved quickly to apologize and correct the situation.

He said he “agreed” with their response.

“It’s very unfortunate that things like this happened. Pope Francis has been reminding us (priests) to be compassionate even to those who are in the periphery. The Holy Father has earlier issued an apology for undesirable acts of priests,” he said in a press conference at his residence.

“We should be understanding and compassionate,” he said, in dealing with unwed mothers.

Asked if he would take separate action, Palma said he trusted the Redemptorists to do the right thing.

Since Fr. Obach belongs to a religious congregation, Palma said that as a general rule the superior general of the community would handle the matter.

“I believe and trust in the capacity of the Redemptorist community considering their track record. Among the congregations, they are the moral theologians,” he said.

The girl’s mother, a barangay tanod

The controversial video recorded Fr. Obach scolding the girl in front of her family and guests as she held her month-old baby in her arms for the baptism in a chapel in barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City on Sunday.

“Maka-uulaw. Magpa-bunyag ka og walay bana. Nakig dug ka og laki nga dili nimo bana. Wala ka mauwaw? Naka dungog ka nako dai? Kining bata, walay sala pero ang mga babaye og lalaki nga makigdug nga wala pay kasal, maoy nagpuyo sa sala. (How shameful. You come here to have your child baptized without a husband. You slept with a man who is not your husband. Are you not ashamed? Do you hear me, girl? This child has no sin. But women and men who sleep together even if they are not married dwell in sin.”

“Hiwi ka, yabag ka. Hinaut pa naay uban nga motabang aron di na mayabag ang bata sama nimo nga di mosunod sa pagtulon-an ni Hesus. (You are twisted, stupid. I hope others would help so that your child won’t turn out like you who doesn’t follow the teachings of Jesus).”

The video was taken by her 12-year-old sister and later uploaded by their mother Jieve in Facebook where she criticized the priest for humiliating them.

Related Stories:

Priest scolds unwed teen mother; draws online rage

Video shows priest humiliating unwed mother in baptism


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TAGS: Catholic, Fr. Romeo Obach, priest

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