Priest apologises for berating unwed Filipino teen at her baby’s Baptism

A priest in the Philippines who scolded and harangued an unwed teenage mother at her baby’s Baptism has apologised, but may face sanctions.

A video of the incident at a church in Cebu province was posted on Facebook by the 17-year-old’s grandmother.

The video was also posted on Brute Show’s YouTube account, which provided an English translation of the sermon.

The postings drew a barrage of social media criticism and condemnation of the priest.

“I am now making a public heartfelt apology to the mother of the child and her immediate family,” Redemptorist Fr Romeo Obach told media.

Fr Obach said he realised “the rudeness I displayed . . . was indeed unbecoming”.

The teen mother was shown standing apart from other people, her face not clearly seen, holding her baby in front of the priest, who spoke in the Cebuano language

“What you did was worldly. You allowed yourself to sleep with a man who isn’t your husband? Have you no shame?” Fr Obach said before performing the Baptism.

“Even if the child has not sinned, a man and woman who sleep together without being married live in sin. She may pass the consequences of her sin on to the child,” he continued.

“Yes, a baby is a gift from God, but the baby was born in sin,” the priest said.

He also told the teen she should be ashamed and even try to hide herself.

The grandmother said her daughter had already suffered because of her pregnancy and had even attempted to commit suicide, but instead decided to continue the pregnancy.

They did not expect the humiliation by their priest.

Several online critics contrasted Fr Obach’s actions with that of Pope Francis who baptised a child of unmarried parents at the Sistine Chapel in January.

The Pope simply told the parents that they had a duty to pass the faith on to their children.

The Redemptorist congregation in Cebu also issued an apology, saying it was “saddened by the incident”.

It was contrary to the Redemptorists’ charism and mission, which is “compassion especially to the poor and the most abandoned”, the congregation stated.

It added that an internal investigation is underway and gave assurances that “appropriate sanctions” will be applied “so that justice may prevail”.


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