MANILA, Philippines - The controversial Catholic priest in Cebu who berated a 17-year-old mother at her child's baptismal ceremony issued a public apology on Tuesday.
"I am now making a public apology to the mother of the child and her immediate family. The words I said and the rude attitude that I showed before I performed the rite of Baptism last Sunday, July 6, 2014 at the Sacred Heart chapel, Jagobiao, Mandaue City was indeed unbecoming," said Father Romeo Obach of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Latin: Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris - C.Ss.R). in a statement.
"I deeply regret that I have done this. I only later realised how cruel my ways to educate and impart lessons for the said event. I am deeply sorry to the mother of the child, her relatives, the sponsors and the witness of the incident. I am sorry to the internet viewers, to the media listeners and the viewers for this mistake. I personally admit. I am deeply sorry and I humbly ask your forgiveness. I execute this statement of apology on this 8th day of July 2014 at Cebu City," he added.
A video of the priest made rounds on social media after the baby's grandmother posted it on Sunday to express her resentment.
"How shameful. You come here to have your child baptized without a husband. You slept with a man who is not your husband. Do you hear me, girl? Aren't you ashamed?" the priest told the mother as caught on video.
The video went viral on Facebook and drew enraged netizens. As of 12 noon, it has 31,982 shares, 7,407 likes and has earned 297 comments.
'Appropriate sanctions will be applied'
Meanwhile, the Redemptorists of the Province of Cebu launched an internal investigation and assured that "appropriate sanctions on the part of the involved will be applied once the investigation is complete so that justice may prevail."
Fr. Alfonso Suico Jr., media liaison, said in a statement that they were deeply saddened by the incident.
"As a religious community we do not condone such an unacceptable act as it is contrary to the Charism and Mission for which our Congregation was founded- compassion especially to the poor and the most abandoned. We sincerely feel for the family and to them we extend our heartfelt appology," he said.
Suico said they will reach out to the family at the "appropriate and most opportune time."
"We respect their situation at the moment and sympathize their hurt and anger over this matter," he said.