Pampanga priest in affair with married woman barred from celebrating Mass outside home
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Pampanga Archbishop Florentino Lavarias has removed a Roman Catholic priest from a parish as the Archdiocese of San Fernando began investigating the public disclosure of a man who accused the cleric of having an affair with his wife.
“I removed him from the parish and allowed him to celebrate Mass only in his house for his spiritual sustenance,” Lavarias told the INQUIRER in a text message when asked on Wednesday (May 5) for the official actions of the Church on the issue.
The scandal broke out last Monday (May 3) through the release of a five-minute video that showed a man furiously confronting his wife and the priest. All that the priest uttered was “I’m sorry” while the woman stayed mum all the time.
First circulated on Facebook’s Private Message, the video has trended on YouTube. The footage was said to have been recorded and uploaded by one of the man’s sons.
It was not exactly clear if the investigation was meant to determine a violation of the vow of celibacy or the truth in the adultery allegation or both.
Asked if the priest has been suspended, Lavarias clarified: “Suspension is a removal of faculties. Not in this sense.”
According to him, the priest can “celebrate Mass each day only in his house, while the process is ongoing.”
“He cannot celebrate Mass outside,” the prelate said.
The issue has shocked many Catholics in Pampanga, with several of them turning to social media to defend the priest or seek understanding for him. They knew him to be devoted to his duties and close to parishioners.
One priest posted on social media: “Priests are people too.”
A Catholic priest who was sued in an adultery case in 2012 had been cleared in 2019 and has been returned to a parish after eight years of reformation in New Zealand.
The Angeles City prosecutor dismissed the case for insufficiency of evidence.
The late Pampanga archbishop Oscar Cruz was said to have observed that “this hands-off culture, prevalent in Pampanga, only prodded other priests to violate their celibacy vow. It was like a virus that surreptitiously infected others.”
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