A Philippine priest faces possible sanctions after his scathing condemnation of an unmarried mother in church ignited a social media firestorm, his religious superiors said yesterday.
Father Romeo Obach angrily scolded a young mother in church on Sunday as she held her newborn baby in her arms to be baptized, apparently unaware his comments were being videotaped.
“You should be ashamed of yourself for bringing your child to be baptized when you don’t even have a husband,” the priest is shown telling the visibly shaken young woman in a clip uploaded on YouTube which has since gone viral.
“You are shameless. You slept with a man who is not even your husband,” he said.
Turning to her relatives and friends, the priest asked: “Is she being a good Christian... will you spread your legs for a man you barely know?”
Both the priest and his religious order later issued separate public apologies and the order promised an investigation.
The Philippines is a mainly Catholic nation.
“This priest is a hypocrite. You are not preaching the gospel of Christ,” one comment on YouTube read.
“Hey priest, you should follow the example of your pope,” another read, referring to the less judgemental attitude of Pope Francis.
“As a religious community we do not condone such an unacceptable act,” the order said in its statement, adding it would reach out to the family of the young woman, a parishioner in the central city of Cebu.
The Redemptorists’ media officer in Cebu, Father Alfonso Suico, said Obach would likely be required to “take time for prayer and reflection, and will not be allowed to celebrate sacraments publicly for a duration to be determined by our superiors.”
“The words I said and the rude attitude that I showed before I performed the rite of baptism... was indeed unbecoming,” Obach said in a separate statement.
“I am deeply sorry to the mother of the child, her relatives, the sponsors and the witnesses of the incident,” he added.
The outburst took place a day after the head of the Philippines’ bishops called on the local clergy to listen more and condemn less on issues of abortion, divorce and contraception, in the latest sign of a liberal shift in the powerful institution.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas said a change of tone would be a fitting welcome for the pope, who is visiting the country next year.
Church leaders exert vast influence in the Philippines, Asia’s Catholic bastion and the only state apart from the Vatican that still outlaws both divorce and abortions.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big