CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — A ranking leader of the Roman Catholic Church here reminded priests Thursday (Oct. 10) to coordinate first with the prelate of a certain area before saying a mass or conducting religious activities outside their jurisdiction.
“It is standard procedure for outside priests to ask permission from the local Bishop,” said Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma in a text message.
Ledesma was reacting on the report that Malaybalay Bishop Jose Cabantan has banned the “healing priest” Fr. Ferdinand Suarez and even other church personalities from conducting religious rites in Catholic churches under his jurisdiction.
Cabantan said he has ordered, through a memorandum he issued on Oct. 7, the prohibition of Suarez and priests from other sects who are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church to celebrate mass and other sacraments in his diocese.
Suarez, he said, has been saying mass in churches within the diocese of Malaybalay without his permission.
“We ask their group to secure a ‘celebret’ or an endorsement from his bishop so we can allow him to celebrate Mass and do healing. But we have not received it,” Cabantan told the CBCP News, referring to Suarez and his associates.
A “celebret” or endorsement letter from the bishop or superior must be presented by the priests from other parish or diocese before they can lawfully celebrate the Eucharist as provided by Canon 903 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, or the laws of the Roman Catholic Church.
Canon 903 states that “a priest is to be permitted to celebrate the Eucharist, even if he is not known to the rector of the church, provided either that he presents commendatory letters, not more than a year old, from his own Ordinary or Superior, or that it can be prudently judged that he is not debarred from celebrating.”
“I am calling all the clergy, religious and our lay faithful to be vigilant and cautious about their presence,” Cabantan said referring to the likes of Suarez.
Cabantan is the latest bishop to ban Suarez from officiating religious services in his diocese as other bishops before him had done the same in the past.
Suarez gained popularity after people claimed they were healed when the priest offered them a prayer. (davaotoday.com)