The Catholic bishops’ leadership has taken the blame over a court case surrounding an alleged apparition of the Virgin Mary that the Vatican had long dismissed as “not supernatural origin”.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the contention “may also be indicative of our shortcomings as Church leaders in facilitating dialogues”.
“We beg forgiveness for this shortcoming,” David said.
He admitted they are “perplexed” by the legal battle, especially because Catholics are in conflict with each other over matters of faith.
“It’s extremely disheartening, to say the least,” the bishop said. “It does a scandal to the faithful.”
“This is specially true in the age of digital technology when individuals and groups that are for or against the issue can quickly react against each other in various social media platforms in a manner bereft of Christian charity,” he added.
He was reacting to a case filed by retired justice Harriet Demetriou, a devout Catholic and Marian devotee, against Dominican priest Winston Cabading.
Demetriou accused the priest, who is also an exorcist, of making offensive remarks about the alleged apparitions of Our Lady, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, in Lipa City in 1948.
Authorities recently arrested and detained Cabading for two days over a weekend before he was able to pay bail for temporary freedom.
The CBCP head refused to comment on the case saying that it is now with the court.
The prelate, however, claimed he “wouldn’t be surprised if the court rules it to be beyond its competence”.
While the CBCP is adhering to the 1951 Vatican ruling against the reported apparitions, David warned against branding the phenomenon as “demonic” in nature.
“The judgment as to whether the said events associated with the image were ‘demonic’ requires the serious discernment and guidance of bishops, who, up to now, have merely upheld the decision of Rome on the matter,” he said.