Catholic Church

Cebuano bishop Teofilo Camomot moves a step closer to sainthood

Paterno R. Esmaquel II
Cebuano bishop Teofilo Camomot moves a step closer to sainthood

HOLY PRIEST. Archbishop Teofilo Camomot, who died in 1988, is on the path to sainthood.

Archdiocese of Cebu

Archbishop Teofilo Camomot, who died in a vehicular accident in 1988, is known for his simplicity and love for the poor

Archbishop Teofilo Camomot, a native of Carcar, Cebu, moved a step closer to sainthood after a Vatican commission unanimously affirmed that the Filipino prelate lived a virtuous life.

The proposal to declare him a saint will now have to be examined by a commission of bishops and cardinals, before it is submitted to Pope Francis for approval. Once the Pope approves it, Camomot will be declared “venerable” – at least two major steps away from becoming a saint.

“The Archdiocese of Cebu has been notified that the Theological Commission of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican gave a unanimous affirmative vote (9 out of 9) to the HEROIC VIRTUES of the Servant of God, Archbishop Teofilo Camomot,” announced the Archdiocese of Cebu on Wednesday evening, November 10.

“With this favorable outcome, the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Bishop Camomot will be forwarded for further examination to the Commission of Bishops and Cardinals of the said Congregation. Upon completion of their study, the cause will be presented to the Holy Father for his approval. Then Bishop Camomot will be considered ‘Venerable,’” the archdiocese said.

“Venerable” is “the title given to a deceased person recognized formally by the Pope as having lived heroic virtues,” explained the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

If at least one miracle is attributed to a “venerable,” then that person is declared “blessed” through a process known as beatification. If a second miracle is attributed to a “blessed,” the “blessed” becomes a saint through a canonization ritual led by the Pope.

Born in Carcar on March 3, 1914, Camomot was known for his simplicity and love for the poor.

He was named coadjutor archbishop of Cagayan de Oro in 1959, resigned from this post in 1968, returned to Cebu in 1970, and later assisted then Cebu archbishop Julio Cardinal Rosales, according to archbishopcamomot.ph. He was named parish priest of Carcar in 1976.

He died in a vehicular accident in San Fernando, Cebu, on September 27, 1988.

The archbishopcamomot.ph website recounted instances that show Camomot’s kindness and humility. According to one account, the late Cebu archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal once noticed that Camomot was not wearing his pectoral cross, which is worn by bishops on their chests and is often made of gold or silver.

“Curious, he asked Monsignor Camomot about it. He made some excuse. Later a priest told the Cardinal that the Archbishop had pawned his cross to give some money to the poor. The Cardinal later gave him a new cross and told him not to give it away,” the website said.

Vidal also reportedly cited testimonies that Camomot can “bilocate,” or be seen in two locations at the same time, an ability attributed to other Catholic saints like Padre Pio.

“We believe that we have in the person of Bishop Camomot a witness of God’s life in his life and person as he was able to do admirable works of charity, mercy, and shepherding of souls in his life, especially the poor and suffering,” said Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, in 2018.

The Philippines currently has two Catholic saints, the martyrs Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod, both missionaries during the Spanish colonial rule. –Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com