Mindanao bishop warns against ‘irregular priests’ administering sacraments

A Catholic bishop in the southern Philippines has warned against what he described as “irregular priests” who continue to administer sacraments to the faithful in his diocese.

Bishop Medel Aseo of Tagum in Mindanao said the priests were suspended and removed from the diocese after violations of their priestly vows of celibacy.

The prelate has issued a canonical circular last month disallowing 26 priests from conducting sacraments and sacramental duties.

He warned the faithful that the priests were “no longer in communion” with the Church “and therefore not connected with the Diocese of Tagum.”

He said 18 other priests have also no faculty “to administer sacraments and sacramental due to the pain of censures and expiatory penalties they incurred.”

Bishop Aseo said the former priests were under pain of excommunication due to “heresy, apostasy, and schism” for siring children and for getting married.

A source who asked not to be named said one of the suspended priests has even left the country with church money.

A group of “Catholics” who call themselves Santisima Trinidad Catholic Community (STCC), however, adopted the “married priests.”

Frank Cinco, council chairman of the group, said five of the eight priests listed by Bishop Aseo in his circular are serving as priests of STCC.

“While they’re married, they’re models in their respective communities,” said Cinco, adding that his group is affiliated with the North American Old Roman Catholic Church.

Bishop Aseo, however, said that it is his “fervent prayer” that everyone “must observe greater caution in accommodating the teachings and participating in the liturgical celebrations” of the priests.

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