Catholic Organizations Defend Fr. Winston Cabading Who Allegedly Offended Religious Sentiments

Pixabay/Arek Socha

Fr. Winston Cabading was recently taken into custody for allegedly offending religious emotions. The priest has been backed by various Catholic organizations, all of which argue that he is simply adhering to the 'definitive ruling' issued by the Church about the legitimacy of the 1948 Lipa Apparitions.

Demetriou's Dilemma

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 81 had issued a warrant for Cabading's arrest, which led to his capture on Saturday, May 13. While on Monday, May 15, he made his bail payment of 18,000 pesos, or around $330. As per MSN Fr. Cabading's views regarding the legitimacy of the 1948 Lipa Apparitions were referenced in a digital Catholic show, which led to an accusation being made against him in December 2022 by the former chief of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Harriet Demetriou. The complaint was submitted because it was believed that he had violated Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code. In her complaint, Demetriou called the priest a "rabid critic" of Mary and excoriated his statement that there was a 1951 Lipa Diocesan Verdict that "negated the authenticity of the 1948 apparition of Our Lady, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace."

Moreover, Inquirer reported that because the law requires that the claimed acts have taken place in a setting that relates to religious activities or during the celebration of a religious event, there is a legal consideration that must be taken into account concerning the case of the priest. According to Demetriou, the fact that prayer and a reading from the Gospel were a part of the conference where Cabading delivered his remarks demonstrates that the event was a religious function. If this line of reasoning is followed, then it follows that religious rites would also include the prayers that are frequently said at the beginning and conclusion of classes at Catholic schools. Demetriou has scrutinized even an online show in which Cabading's statements were solely displayed. However, according to the canonical teachings of the Church, neither radio broadcasts nor conferences can be considered acts of religious worship.

According to PhilStar Global, the Dominican priest stated in an interview broadcast on Radio Veritas that he did not break Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code. Fr. Cabading argued that an offense of upsetting religious feelings happens if the act was done during an ongoing religious ritual and if the offender does an act that hurts the sentiments of the faithful. In addition, he refuted derogatory comments about the "alleged" Marian apparition in 1948 at the Carmelite convent in Lipa, which is located in the province of Batangas. The priest explained that the organization did not recognize the apparition because of a ruling issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1951. In 1949, the Church investigated the reports that had been made about the apparition.

He also mentioned that Pope Pius XII sanctioned the decision and referred to a statement published on July 9, 2016, by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. In the message, the bishops encouraged devotion to Mother Mary, Mediatrix of Grace, but emphasized that it should not be related to the 1948 apparition. On the other hand, Fr. Cabading asserted that he had forgiven those who brought the complaints against him.

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Catholic Organizations Defended the Exorcist Priest

GMA News Online reported that after Fr. Winston Cabading was recently arrested for allegedly insulting the religious emotions of a Marian devotee; several Catholic organizations, including the Philippine Association of Catholic Exorcists (PACE), as well as several other Catholic organizations, voiced their support for him on Friday, May 27. The PACE, the Archdiocese of Manila Commission on Extraordinary Phenomena, and the AMOE supported the 57-year-old priest. According to the statements made by these three organizations, the priest just reiterated the Church's "definitive ruling" on the authenticity of the 1948 Lipa Apparitions.

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