‘Banzon needed more as priest than official’
Fr. Oscar Banzon could have helped more people as a priest than as a barangay captain of Kawit, Medellin town, Cebu Archbishop emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said yesterday.
“As a priest, he could have helped more people especially in administering confessions. Now no more because the archbishop withdrew all his faculties as a priest,” Vidal said at the Carreta cemetery where he was visiting the grave of his father.
The retired archbishop recalled that during his term, he too struggled with dealing with Banzon.
“I pity him because even during my time, I had difficulties with him (Banzon). I gave him several assignments (to keep him busy) because as they say, he was dealing with somebody else.”
Asked who was the “somebody” he referred to the cardinal simply smiled.
Concerning Banzon’s admission that he is “in a relationship” with a Kawit councilwoman, Vidal said “anybody can have an inspiration.”
“But when we are ordained, we should deny all these things already since we have our vows. When a priest makes a vow, he loses his manhood because he surrenders it to the Lord,” Vidal said.
Under canon law, Catholic clerics are “bound to celibacy” and “forbidden to assume public offices” which involve the exercise of civil power.”
The cardinal reminded priests to be faithful to the Lord in carrying on their mission.
“When you see and meet the Lord, you’ll have no one with you. You will not have any lawyer to answer for you. You’re alone and the first question that the Lord will ask you is ’What have you done with your priesthood?’ Hala ka,” Vidal said.
“The same thing goes with married persons. ’What have you done with the sacrament of marriage?’ All of us will have to answer that. And we will be alone when we meet the Lord,” he added.
When asked if Banzon is wasting his opportunity to do good as a priest, Vidal said, “Well, anybody can have his own destiny and he has chosen that.”
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma earlier suspended Banzon after the diocesan priest filed his Certificate of Candidacy before the Commission on Elections in Medellin town last Oct. 16.
He was suspended from his priestly duties and functions, and prohibited from administering the sacraments, which include celebrating Mass, hearing confessions and solemnizing marriages.
Banzon confirmed in an interview with the Cebu Daily News that he has a relationship with a Kawit councilwoman and that this was common knowledge in the area.
At the same time, he said he wanted to remain a priest until he dies.
Archbishop Palma said he has not yet spoken with Banzon after his election.
Banzon earlier asked permission to transfer to the US but he was not accepted there. He decided to return to Cebu in 2011.