Priest apologizes for ‘cruel words’
“I am deeply sorry.”
In a written apology, Redemptorist priest Romeo Obach asked for forgiveness from a 17-year-old unwed mother whom he berated during a baptismal ceremony of her son two days earlier in Mandaue City.
“The words I said and the rude attitude that I showed before I performed the rite of baptism… was indeed unbecoming.”
“I only later realized how cruel my ways to educate and impart lessons for the said event.”
The public apology was addressed as well to the girl’s family, relatives , baptism guests and witnesses as well as “internet viewers” and “media listeners and viewers” after a video of the verbal tongue lashing was posted on Facebook and went viral.
Fr. Obach had scolded the girl for having a child without getting married first, calling her conduct “shameful” and “immoral”.
A spokesman of the Redemptorist order who released the formal apology said Obach has been suspended from celebrating Mass or other church sacraments while an internal investigation is being made.
The letter was delievered by another priest to the girl’s family, but Obach was not present.
The Redemptorist congregation in Cebu province issued a separate apology for the July 6 incident.
It said their religious community has always upheld the rights of the poor and disenfranchised since the first missionaires arrived in Cebu in 1906 and that “we do not condone such an unacceptable act as it is contrary to the charism and mission of their order – compassion for the poor and the most abandoned.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma yesterday expressed dismay over the incident.
“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 (that includes the marginalized, sinners, and the unchurched). The Holy Father has earlier issued an apology for undesirable acts of priests,” he said in a press conference.
Palma said he would leave it to the Redemptorist’s superior general to deal with the erring priest.
I believe and trust the Redemptorist community considering their track record. Among the congregations, they are the moral theologians,” he said.
The video was taken by the young mother’s 12-year-old sister and uploaded by their mother Jieve in her Facebook account where the older woman expressed her rage.
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