MANILA, Oct. 2, 2012— A Catholic priest in Quezon City was stripped of his clerical obligations after he was caught on camera inside a nightclub.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco has suspended Fr. Alfredo “Bong” Guerrero of his duties last week and at the same time, replaced him as parish priest of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Fr. Aries Sison, Cubao diocese’s spokesperson, said the suspension order was imposed immediately after the diocese received the information about Guerrero.
“Bishop Honesto Ongtioco lifted Fr. Bong Guerrero’s responsibility as parish priest. Second, the bishop also suspended his faculties as priest,” Sison said over Catholic Church-run Radio Veritas.
“These two things were made in order to avoid further harm, further scandal and to help the priest not to fall into a greater sin,” he said.
The church official added that Guerrero will also undergo a “rehabilitation program” – a standard procedure for erring priests and give them a second chance to reform.
He said that Guerrero is not allowed to officiate Mass or administer other sacraments until Bishop Ongtioco lifts the suspension order.
Following a tip from a concerned citizen and days of surveillance, ABS-CBN’s investigative program “XXX” (explosive, exclusive, exposé)) yesterday showed a video of Guerrero inside a nightclub.
The diocese also asked for compassion and forgiveness from the people scandalized by Guerrero’s behavior and urged the public to pray for all priests that they may be faithful to their vocation.
“We ask pardon for all of the people who have been scandalized for this action of Fr. Bong but at the same time we ask for your understanding and compassion and above all, please pray for Fr. Bong and please pray for the Church,” Sison said. [RL/CBCPNews]