Unwed mom brings child for baptism, chastised by Cebu priest

Ryan Macasero

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A video of a Catholic priest in Cebu publicly shaming a young unwed mother during her child's baptism goes viral

GONE TOO FAR? A video from Cebu captures a priest publicly shaming a young unwed mother during her child's baptism. Screengrab from Facebook video

MANILA, Philippines – She only wanted her child baptized, but the young, unwed mother got more than she went to church for.

In a video going viral on Facebook, the mother, holding her baby, got a mouthful from the priest: “Ang imong pagkasunod sa dili binuhatan sa kalibutan, nga mo sugot ra mo’g nakig dug ug lalaki nga dili nimo bana. Wala man mauwaw?”

(What you did was worldly. You allowed yourself to sleep with a man who isn’t your husband? Have you no shame?)

It didn’t end there: “Bisan kaning bata wala nisala, pero ang babae ug lalaki nga makigdog nga wala pa giksala mao nagpuyo sa sala. Mapasa unya ni sa bata ang disgrasya. Dili unta nga nag happy happy unya naa’y bata. Oo, grasya ni pero nabuhat siya sa sala.”

(Even if the child has not sinned, the man and woman who slept together without being married lives in sin. She may pass those consequences of her sin on to the child. You don’t succumb to lust. Yes, a baby is a gift from God, but the baby was born in sin.)

While the Facebook page doesn’t identify in which church this happened and who the priest was, local newspaper Cebu Daily News identified the parish priest as Father Romeo Ubach of the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy in Eversely Child Sanitarium in Mandaue City, Cebu.  

The woman who uploaded the video, Jieve Daitol Frias, says she is the baby’s grandmother. Her account says she lives in Mandaue City.

“This was supposed to be a celebration, pero bastos kaayo ang pari. Can’t he just shut his mouth? Niadto mi sa simbahan para magpabunyag dili kay bastoson ang nagpabunyag,” she said.

(This was supposed to be a celebration, but the priest was very rude. Can’t he just shut his mouth? We went to the church to have the child baptized, not to be disrespected.) 

The video was uploaded Sunday, July 6, and has about 11,000 shares as of posting time. 

The mother of the child and those who attended the baptism didn’t seem to react to the priest’s sermon in the video, but they have been sharing their horror story online since the incident. 

About 80 to 90% of Filipinos are Roman Catholic and the church’s influence in society remains strong. The reproductive health law in the Philippines was passed in 2013 only after 13 years due to staunch opposition from the Catholic Church and conservative politicians. (READ: SC declares RH law constitutional

The Cebu priest’s attitude was a direct contrast to Pope Francis’, netizens pointed out. Last January 12, the Pope himself baptized the child of unmarried parents at the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. That same day, the Pope even encouraged mothers to breastfeed their children at the chapel.

According to news reports, he was praised and criticized for including the child among the 32 babies who were baptized that day.

Watch the video of the incident below: 

Post by Jieve Daitol Frias.

Do you agree with the priest or did he take it too far? Share your thoughts below. – Rappler.com 


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Nobuhiko Matsunaka


Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at ryan.macasero@rappler.com