Priest shames unwed mother in public then apologizes

Religion is always a sensitive topic, which is why I am always hesitant about writing it. A recent video, however, has really provoked me and I do not think I can just let it pass in silence. Let me tell you about and then tell me what you think.

Here is the video I am talking about:

This video, which has enraged many viewers, shows a priest scolding and humiliating a 17-year-old girl for having sinned (because of pre-marital sex) and then having her child baptized without being married. This video was taken by the girl’s sister and uploaded by their mother as an expression of protest for what the priest did.

Crying, the mother of the teenager said that the priest didn’t know what her daughter has been through. Her daughter’s boyfriend left her when he found out that she was pregnant and this led to an emotional breakdown. The mother said that it would have been better if the priest advised her daughter in private rather than shame her in front of the congregation.

Soon after, the priest issued a public apology admitting that he made a mistake and is asking for forgiveness.

The priest’s apology, taken from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/617844/priest-who-scolded-unwed-mom-apologizes

His congregation also assures us that appropriate sanctions will be applied.

 

What are your thoughts about this? Is it appropriate for the pulpit to be such a position of power? Or is it? Was the priest that bad or wasn’t he just concerned for the youth of today? Do you agree with the mother that a priest’s advice would have been appreciated if it were in private? Should this indeed go around in social media? After the priest has apologized, should people already let it go? Are there still other things that should be changed in the Roman Catholic Church or are the sanctions enough? Do you think that this is just an isolated case, and there are in fact, more pastorally sensitive priests out there?

 

Sources:

http://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/2014/07/08/priest-scolds-unwed-teen-mother-draws-online-rage/

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/07/07/14/priest-humiliates-unwed-mother-during-babys-baptism#.U7qckbmkdj8.facebook

http://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/2014/07/07/video-shows-priest-humiliating-unwed-mother-in-baptism/

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/617844/priest-who-scolded-unwed-mom-apologizes

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Priest shames unwed mother in public then apologizes

  1. The priest, Honorable Romeo Obach should have taught his victim how The Lord loves her despite her sins. He should have urged her to move on towards holiness., not bring her to another hell I presume Mr Obach learned this, BUT HIS PRIDE and hypocrisy conquered his heart. He got the finest education on religion but not so much of good values. It’s hard to accept that the acts of Mr Obach has no difference from the actions of a common person like me..
    Father Obach you have done a good thing in the eyes of satan

    1. Thanks, Rogelio. Fr. Romeo’s actions also shocked me. I think common people like us shouldn’t be like that either; but yes, somehow, we expect more from a priest who is supposed to be a good example.

  2. Reading your post, I wondered what sanctions were placed on him. Basically, his superior has told him to spend more time in prayer and he’s been barred from officiating at Mass. Being barred from officiating at Mass is a huge deal for a priest, as the Mass is usually for them one of the most rewarding things about their vocation. Can’t get any cooler than participating in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine, right?

    I doubt that the Vatican would get involved with this (they usually don’t get involved with basic parish issues), but I’m surprised there hasn’t been a statement. This very thing was an issue Pope Francis dealt with when he was an Archbishop in Argentina. He told his priests that, “These women made a tremendous sacrifice bringing these children into the world, the least we can do is baptize them.” He called such priests hypocrites who separated people from God instead of bringing people to God. This practice is not only non-Catholic, but simply non-Christian. In my opinion, the man should be laicized (meaning basically kicked out of the priesthood).

    Ideally, the priest should have been aware of the trauma this teenage girl had already gone through and responded appropriately. If he said anything at all, he should have done so in private. Clearly, however, the girl knows that what she did wasn’t right. She had already had an emotional breakdown over it. The truly pastoral thing to do would have been to privately offer to hear her confession and to let her know that God still loves her and wants to be in relationship with her.

    Sources:
    http://davidgibson.religionnews.com/2013/09/06/pope-calls-despairing-single-pregnant-mom-offers-to-baptize-her-child/

    1. Bethany, thank you for taking the time to respond. I also read the article from the link you shared. I heard about this before, but as I read Anna Romano’s story in this context, I do see a striking resemblance. What both women need is compassion. I agree with you that both may have already realized their own mistakes. You are right in pointing out that the girl in the video already had an emotional breakdown, while Anna said that she was feeling betrayed, ashamed and desperate. And if ever an intervention were to be made, indeed, the sacrament of reconciliation in a private and personal manner, would have been much more Christian instead of a public humiliation. All this reminds me of John 8:1-11. There, Jesus was not belittling but empowering.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s