The video of a Filipino priest in Cebu Province chastising a single 17-year-old mother during the baptism of her baby has gone viral in YouTube, so far logging more than 14,000 hits in 2 days.
The incident happened on Sunday, July 6, at the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy of the Redemptorist Church in Mandaue City. The Dailypedia identified the priest as Fr Romeo Obach of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, who was quoted as saying in Cebuano dialect, "It's humiliating to have a baptism without a husband. You slept with another man that is not your husband? Aren't you ashamed?"
The video was taken on a cellphone by the 12-year-old sister of the single mum and on the same day was uploaded by the baby's grandmum on her Facebook account.
While what he said was in line with Roman Catholic Church teaching on sin, his choosing to deliver his sermon in a public rite is what caught the ire of the Filipinos who later viewed the 2-minute video clip on social media sites.
Fr Obach stressed that the child did not sin, but the baby will bear the stigma of the mistake, emphasising, "Yes, this is grace, but conceived through sin."
He added the child would live in grace because the infant received the sacrament of baptism, but he underscored that the mum did not fulfill the promise of her own baptism.
Pope Francis blesses the belly of a pregnant woman as he arrives to lead a prayer in Isernia, south of Italy, July 5, 2014. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)
While Pope Francis will surely not argue with the theology, he would certainly disagree with the tactlessness of the priest since the pontiff himself had baptised at the historic Sistine Chapel the baby of a single woman, but he did not condemn her act or humiliate her in public.
Pep.ph reported on Tuesday that the priest has apologised to the unwed mother, the guests and Internet viewers for his action. He said in his apology, "The words I said and the rude attitude that I showed before I performed the rite of baptism last Sunday, July 6, 2014, at the Sacred Heart Chapel, Jagobiao, Mandaue City was indeed unbecoming."
Fr Obach added, "I deeply regret that I have done this. I only later realized how cruel my ways to educate and impart lessons for the said event ... I am deeply sorry and I humbly ask for your forgiveness."
The Redemptorists, in an official statement cited by the CBCP News, said it was saddened by the incident involving Fr Obach.
"Was a religious community we do not condone such an unacceptable act as it is contrary to the Charism and Mission for which our Congregation was founded - compassion especially to the poor and the most abandoned. We sincerely feel for the family and to them we extend our heartfelt apology," the Redemptorist statement said.
The order also said an internal investigation is underway and appropriate sanctions would be made after the probe is completed, according to Fr Alfonso Suico, the media liaison of the Redemptorist.