Another Church scandal: Priest sued for affair

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08:43 PM October 14th, 2011

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October 14th, 2011 08:43 PM

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—A man has sued his wife and her supposed lover, a Catholic priest, for alleged adultery and unjust vexation at the Angeles City prosecutor’s office.

The man on Wednesday went ahead with filing the complaint although Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, head of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, had suspended Fr. Jeffrey Louie Maghirang in July after receiving the complainant’s appeal, according to Fr. Larry Sarmiento, head of the archdiocese’s conciliation and arbitration committee.

Adultery carries a penalty of eight years to 12 years in prison.

The controversy broke out as Aniceto was less than a year away from mandatory retirement.

Maghirang, who was just in his first year in the priesthood, could not be reached for comment. “He’s in a discernment period,” Sarmiento said, assuring that the priest would appear in court hearings.

“We will not obstruct justice because we preach truth,” said Sarmiento, the designated spokesperson in the case.

This is known to be the first case in the 50-year-old archdiocese that has reached the court although members of the laity have information about priests who have sired children, keep families, practice homosexuality, abuse minors, gamble habitually or mismanage finances.

In at least two cases, Aniceto is known to give his erring priests chances to reform.

The complainant asked not to be named to protect his son. Last Sept. 20, the court approved an arrangement for the man and his wife to share custody of the boy.

Married in 2009, the couple has separated, with the man blaming the priest for turning a “once happy family into a miserable one.”

In the three-page complaint released to Inquirer on Friday, the man submitted proof of the alleged illicit affair that he said he documented through electronic gadgets he installed in the family’s computer.

He claimed to have confirmed the romantic relationship of the two last April.

To convince the priest’s immediate superior, Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, to believe him, the man showed a text message, with the priest purportedly saying, “Sige na babes, sleep na tayo, gagawa pa ko ng homily (Let’s sleep babes, I still have to make my homily).”

In the complaint, he said the priest should be dismissed, saying his “continuous service in the priesthood would destroy the high respect of Catholics and other religious members of our society to the Catholic religion.”

The complainant served as a member of the Knights of the Altar when he was a boy. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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