Congregation wraps up probe on priest in video-A A +A
Thursday, July 17, 2014
PSYCHOLOGICAL intervention and spiritual guidance.
These are some of the sanctions that will be imposed on Fr. Christopher Romeo Obach after the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.Ss.R) Cebu Province completed its investigation on the priest, who was caught on video berating a 17-year-old single mother during a baptism at Sacred Heart Chapel, Mandaue City last week.
C.Ss.R media liaison Fr. Alfonso Suico Jr. said Obach is still prohibited from celebrating the sacraments—baptism, wedding, etc.—in public.
Suico was informed about the conclusion of investigation last Tuesday; the report has been forwarded to the congregation’s central office in Rome, Italy.
“We continue to pray for him (Obach) and the family,” he said. “We hope to also respect their privacy as they try to move on from this sad incident and come to healing and closure.”
Obach became controversial after he was captured on video last June 6 berating a 17-year-old single mother during her son’s baptism, which Obach was officiating.
Obach called the girl names and told her that she must be ashamed for not following the church’s teachings.
The video was uploaded to the Facebook page of the girl’s mother; hours after it was posted, the video became viral, garnering at least 40,000 shares.
Two days after the incident at the Sacred Heart Chapel, the girl’s mother met with Obach at the Redemptorist Church in Cebu City, where the latter begged for forgiveness.
The following day, Obach went to the girl’s home in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City to personally apologize. He was accompanied by Fr. Tito Pascual and Fr. Cruz Manding, the C.Ss.R provincial head.
The priest bowed before the girl; he embraced her, cried and asked for forgiveness. He told her he was confused why he spoke to her that way during the baptism.
The girl said Obach told her he isn’t mad at her mother for posting the video, which made him realize that there is a need for him to mend his ways.
Obach also told the girl that before performing baptism and wedding rites, he always prays for guidance, something which he forgot to do that fateful day. He said he felt a burning sensation in his body and head that time.
Obach immediately showered and ate out with his sisters after the rites.
After the visit, the girl and her mother took down the video, which they promised to do as soon as Obach personally apologizes to the girl.
The girl’s mother also apologized to Obach for posting the video and told the priest she had no intention to shame him. She said she merely wanted to share the video with her friends on Facebook and did not expect it to go viral.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2014.