Priest Berates Teenage Single Mother at Baptism

Very sad.

Priest berates ma, 17; video goes viral on FB
By Kevin A. Lagunda
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A VIDEO posted on Facebook of a priest berating a young mother during last Sunday’s baptism of her son in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City went viral with 20,506 shares and 4,071 likes as of 10:30 last night.

The mother, 17, lamented she did not deserve to be berated by Fr. Christopher Romeo Obach of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.Ss.R) in front of more than 30 guests, including her classmates, the child's sponsors, barangay officials, relatives and neighbors.

Kaye (not her real name) said she was humiliated and hurt by the priest, who also told guests during the ceremony at the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy of the Redemptorist Church in Barangay Jagobiao not to follow her example.

“Hiwi ka. Yabag ka. Hinaot pa naa’y uban nga motabang aron di na mayabag ang bata sama nimo nga di mosunod sa pagtulun-an ni Hesus (You are a sinner. I hope someone would make sure that your child will not become like you who do not follow the teachings of Jesus Christ),” the priest was captured on a mobile phone video telling Kaye.

Sun.Star Cebu tried to reach Fr. Obach, but a staff of the Redemptorist Church said the priests were on a retreat in Busay yesterday. Another staff member said they have reported the incident to the C.Ss.R superior yesterday and they will issue later a statement on the issue.


When Sun.Star Cebu told Msgr. Esteban Binghay, the episcopal vicar of the Cebu Archdiocese said Obach should “respect a solo mother.” He said priests cannot withhold the sacrament of baptism to an an illegitimate child.

“Being a son of a single mother does not exclude him from being baptized because God wants all to be saved,” he said. “Baptism is a necessary sacrament for salvation, whether the child is legitimate or illegitimate.”

At the Sistine Chapel in Rome last January, Pope Francis baptized the child of an unmarried couple to set an example for priests.

Kaye and her mother want Obach to be kicked out from priesthood. They also planned to file complaints against him.

But Binghay suggested that Kaye's family settle the issue with Obach instead of going to court.

He said archdiocese can investigate the matter if Kaye's parents file a complaint with the Cebu Archdiocese. They can complain directly to the C.Ss.R. superior, he added.


The Archdiocese can remind the priest “how to say things not to embarrass” another person, said Binghay.

In the video, Obach further said: “Ipanghambog ba ta ni, Day? Nga naa kay anak pero wa kay bana? Kaulaw ani, Day. Motago gani unta ka karon (Are you proud to be a mother without a husband? This is shameful. You should hide in shame).”

Lawyer Noemi Abarientos of the Children's Legal Bureau (CLB) said Obach violated Republic Act (RA) 7610, or the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

“It diminished the self-worth of the child,” she said. “The family went to the church to receive the grace of the Lord, but what was given to them was public humiliation.”

RA 7610 defines child abuse as “any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being.”

Abarientos urges Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to investigate the incident and exert efforts to create a “child-friendly church.” “Wearing a priestly garment (does not provide) authority to abuse,” she said.

Legal aid

She said CLB can give legal assistance to the parents of the minor who was berated by the priest.

Kaye’s mother said that it was unfair for the priest to humiliate her daughter.

“Masayop man gyud ang taw. Napaangkan ni siya pero dili ni siya maglaroy-laroy (Humans err. My daughter may have gotten pregnant out of wedlock but she is not promiscuous),” she added.

She said the video was only two minutes and four seconds long but Obach’s sermon lasted for more than five minutes.

Despite the humiliation she got, Kaye said she is determined to get back on her feet so she can provide for her son’s needs. She plans to return to her studies at a university in Cebu City.

The child’s father is in a relationship with another woman.

Kaye’s parents said they will not bolt the Catholic Church because of their experience with Obach.


Teen mom decides to keep child after suicide attempt
By Kevin A. Lagunda
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

THE past three months have not been kind to 17-year-old Kaye (real name withheld).

She tried to commit suicide by hanging inside her house in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City last March 16, after she learned that she was pregnant and saw on Facebook that her boyfriend has another girlfriend.

Her brother found her unconscious and brought her to the nearby Eversley Childs Sanitarium with the help of their neighbors. Because of her condition, she was later transferred to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.

Kaye said she was six months pregnant when she tried to take her life. “He lives with her (other girlfriend),” she said in Bisaya.

On May 18, Kaye gave birth to a premature baby boy. Her mother Jievelyn posted on Facebook that she is happy and thankful that Kaye had a normal childbirth.

But Kaye and her family received another blow.

Last Sunday, Kaye was berated by Fr. Christopher Romeo Obach during the baptism of her son at the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy of the Redemptorist Church in Jagobiao. The incident was captured on video and posted on Facebook.

More than 20,000 Facebook users shared the video.

Jievelyn said the priest humiliated her daughter. “If I knew we would be treated that way, we would have backed out,” she said in Bisaya.

Jievelyn said she initially thought that the priest was joking.

“When I noticed he used inappropriate words, I walked away crying,” she said. She added that she was tempted to grab Kaye but she did not want to worsen the situation by showing discourtesy to the priest.

A guest at the baptism of Kaye’s son said the priest could be heard even outside the church because he used a microphone.

Kaye said she endured the humiliation by attending to her son who was crying during the priest’s tirade.

“Mora siya’g nakasabot nga gikasab-an ko (It seemed that my son understood I was being berated),” she said.


Priest says sorry, asks for forgiveness
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

CEBU (Updated) -- Fr. Romeo Obach, who was caught on video berating an unwed mother during a baptism in Cebu City, apologized to the 17-year-old woman, her relatives and friends for his conduct he admitted was "unbecoming" of a priest.

"I am now making a public heartfelt apology to the mother of the child and her immediate family. The words I said and the rude attitude that I showed before I performed the rite of baptism last Sunday at the Sacred Heart Chapel was indeed unbecoming," he said in a statement Tuesday.

"I deeply regret that I have done this. I only later realized how cruel my ways to educate and impart lessons for the said event. I am deeply sorry to the mother of the child, her relatives, the sponsors and witnesses of the incident. I am sorry to the internet viewers, to media listeners and viewers for the mistake I personally admit. I am deeply sorry and I humbly ask your forgiveness," Fr. Obach added.

Obach has been suspended by his superior pending investigation.

[Image: priestapology1.JPG]

The video, as of this posting, has been shared by at least 31,700 users and generated at least 7,300 likes on Facebook. It was the 17-year-old woman's mother, Jievelyn Gonzales, 37, who uploaded the video to her Facebook account Sunday night, hours after the baptismal rite.

[Image: priestapology2.JPG]

Jievelyn told Sun.Star on Monday that the video was taken by her 12-year-old daughter, who she said “accidentally” captured the priest's tirades.

The video is 2:03 minutes long and shows Kaye (real name withheld) standing and holding her baby while Obach was delivering his sermon.

Obach was captured telling Kaye and those who were present during the baptism:

"Ayaw mo pagsunod sa hiwi nga binuhatan, nga mosugot lang mo nga modug sa lalaki nga di pa ninyo bana. Ingon ana ba diay ang atong pagtulon-an sa simbahan? Kaning bata, walay ni sala pero ang mga babae ug lalaki nga magdug nga wala pa sa kasal, maoy nagpuyo sa sala. Mapasa usab sa bata ang disgrasya. Hinaot pa nga dili kay naghappy-happy ug naglingaw-lingaw mo kay naay bata. O grasya ni pero nabuhat ni siya sa sala. Wala ni siya buhata sa...Naminyo ba ka, Day? (Girl shakes head) O, tan-awa, maayo ba ni siya nga Kristiyanos? Ipanghambog ba ta ni, Day? Nga naa kay anak pero wa kay bana? Kaulaw ani, Day. Motago gani unta ka karon, kay naa kas simbahan, makaulaw. Kay magpabunyag ka nga wa kay bana, nakigdug ka og laki nga di nimo bana. Nakadungog ka nako, Day? Di ka mauwaw? Dako kaayo ng uwaw. Nya kamo, mosunod mo? Mobikangkang mo sa laki nga mokuhit ninyo? Mao na nga makauwaw ni. Busa kaning bata-a, magpuyo ni sa grasya kay gibunyagan man siya. Ikaw gibunyagan ka pero wa nimo tumana ang imong mga saad sa bunyag. Hinaot ning bataa nga motubo nga motuman sa iyang mga saad sa bunyag. Hiwi ka, yabag ka. Hinaot pa naay uban nga motabang aron di na mayabag ang bata sama nimo nga di mosunod sa pagtulun-an ni Hesus."

(Don't follow wrong deeds, allowing yourself to sleep with a man who is not your husband. Is that what the church has taught you? This child did not sin, but the man and the woman who slept together unwed are the ones who are living in sin. The child will bear the mistake. Hope you'll think that this is not just about being happy and amused because the child is here. Yes, this is grace, but conceived through sin. This was not done through...Were you married, Day? (Girl shakes head) Oh, see, is she a good Christian? Is this something you can be proud of, Day? That you have a child, but have no husband? This is shameful, Day. You should have covered yourself, because you are in church, shameful. Because you want this baptism even without a husband, you slept with a man who was not your husband. Do you hear me, Day? Aren't you ashamed? This is so shameless. And you (addresses crowd), are you going to follow what she did? Will you spread your legs for a man you barely know? That's why this is shameful. This child will live in grace because he is baptized. You, on the other hand, was baptized but you did not fulfill the promise of baptism. Hope this child will grow to follow his baptismal promise. You are crooked. I hope that some people will help you and enlighten you so your child will grow up following Christ's teachings, which cannot be said of you.)

The Redemptorist Church, in a statement released Tuesday, said it was "deeply saddened by the incident."

Earlier, Msgr. Esteban Binghay, an episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said Obach should “respect a solo mother.”

Priests are prohibited not to baptize an illegitimate child, he said.

"Being a child of a single mother does not exclude the baby from being baptized because God wants all to be saved," he said. "Baptism is a necessary sacrament for salvation, whether the child is legitimate or illegitimate."


Teenage ma gets handwritten apology from Cebu priest
By Kevin A. Lagunda
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

FR. CHRISTOPHER Romeo Obach, the Redemptorist priest who berated a 17-year-old single mother during the baptism of her son, sent Wednesday a handwritten letter to the girl to reiterate his apology over the incident.

This, as the family of Kaye (real name withheld) told personnel of the Commission on Human Rights-Central Visayas led by Primo Cadampog that they are not filing a case against Fr. Obach.

CHR-Central Visayas personnel visited Kaye and her mother to ask whether they are pursuing charges against the priest.

Fr. Obach's letter to Kaye reads:

Dear Kaye,

Tugoti ako sa pagpadayag sa akong dakong pagbasul sa akong sakit nga nabuhat una sa tanan kanimo ug sa tanan nga mga saksi. Wala gyud nako damha nga makapamulong ako niadto atubangan ninyong tanan. Gihinolsolan nako kini ug nagapakilooy ako nga imo akong pasayloon sa gibuhat ko niadtong Hulyo 6, 2014 sa chapel sa Sacred Heart. (Allow me to express my big regrets for the pain I caused first on you and to those who witnessed the incident. I never hoped to say those words before all of you. I am remorseful and I beg for your forgiveness for what I did last July 6, 2014 at the Sacred Heart Chapel.)

Manghinaot ako nga maalim og dali ang samad sa atong mga dughan tungod niining wala gipalandong nga hitabo. Sa makausa pa, pasayloa intawn ko. Andam usab ako makigkita kanimo sa imong gustong panahon ug lugar aron personal akong makapadayag sa pagpangayog pasaylo. (I hope the wounds in our hearts will heal quickly from this unexpected incident. Once again, please forgive me. I am ready to see you at a time and place that you prefer, so I can personally ask for apology.)

Kanimo matinahuron, (Respectfully yours)

Fr. Oming Obach

The letter was sent through a friend and came a day after Kaye's mother met with Fr. Obach on Tuesday so the latter can personally apologize. Kaye's mother met with Fr. Obach, of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, at the Redemptorist Church on Queen's Road, Barangay Camputhaw, Cebu City.

Kaye said that during the meeting with her mother, Fr. Obach cried while asking for forgiveness. The priest also hugged Kaye's mother.


We cannot encourage single mothers to bring their unborn babies to term and not to abort, and then turn around and shame them when they present their babies to the Church.

The prospect of such shaming is a factor that leads to many abortions.  It is murderous.
Baptism shouldn't be withheld from ANY child because of the sins of the parents. Baptism renders one a child of God by grace, something an unbaptized child is not. A child should not be punished for the sins of his mother. I suppose if I had a child out of wedlock I'd probably just find a sympathetic priest or baptize him myself. No one should be able to withhold the grace of baptism for a child. I guess I even think it's criminal to withhold Holy Communion for a baptized child but that's for another day...
Besides the aggressive tone, it seems inappropriate to address this in the context of the baptism. The priest should have discussed the issue privately with the mother; there's no compelling reason to do this at the baptism.
Well, gee, the priest's attitude used to be common. At the same time his choice of time and place for "admonishing the sinner" was awful.  I'm glad he thought it over and apologized. I feel bad for the girl, but I also feel creepy that one single mistake can end up caught on video and once it goes viral it's out there forever. Becoming the object of public humiliation is too easy these days. Be careful what you say.
(07-09-2014, 09:02 AM)Clare Brigid Wrote: We cannot encourage single mothers to bring their unborn babies to term and not to abort, and then turn around and shame them when they present their babies to the Church.

The prospect of such shaming is a factor that leads to many abortions.  It is murderous.

This is my opinion as well.
My wife's biological mother was 17 when she got pregnant and 18 when she had my wife.  She was Catholic at the time, and was severely shamed by her community to the point that she left the Church.  She considered aborting my wife, but gave her up for adoption, instead.  When my wife turned 18, she started trying to make contact again.  A few years later, she comes and visits us occasionally, and the last time she came, we took her with us to Mass at a Traditional Latin Mass a few months ago.  Since then, she has hinted to my wife in their occasional conversations that she has some interest in going back to Church, and has asked a few questions.

So, clearly, the young girl needed some guidance, but public shaming does seem to potentially do more harm than good for the young woman.

But, God has a plan.  If it hadn't happened to my wife's biological mother, I might not have met my wife, we might not have had the kids we have now, we might not be where we are, in the parish we're in, and we might not be involved in Traditional Catholicism, and who knows where we would be, spiritually?

Sorry about the digression here, but I have been really trying to remember that God allows things for a reason, and recounting this story reminded me of that.

Did the father who planted his seed in her receive the same condemnation?

Perhaps she should have got an abortion? In my country, this is the middle class way of doing things: pay for a discreet 'termination', no one hears of it, no one gets 'shamed'. Whereas those mothers who carry to full term are demonised, as drains on society. And their children are demonised as well, surely they will grow up into criminals and layabouts they say.

Well I am a bastard child, and I am neither a layabout, a drug addict or a criminal.

Why should my mother get all the stick? It was my father who chose to plant his seed in seven times in four different women (that we know off), divorce twice and leave a trail of destruction and broken families behind him. He has never taken responsibility for his children, and consequently, he does not bear the stigma of being a single parent.

You cant blame unwed mothers these days, not in the West anyway. They are a consequence of the culture of contraception. Contraception leads to abortion, it also leads to a break down in marriage, it also leads to adolescent pregnancy and a culture of pre-marital sexual relations.

There was a time bastard babies were stolen and sold to childless wealthy couples. Do we want to go back to this? There was a time we incarcerated women in asylums for this.

If I found out my mother had been treated like this, by a Catholic priest,  I am not sure I would have converted when I was 19.

If women suspect they will be treated like this in the Philippines, will they present their children for baptism? Saving baptism, without which we cannot be saved.

Will this mother feel welcome sending her child to a Catholic school, and letting her children receive the sacraments? Or will this child drift away from the Church?

How does this priest not know the women has been absolved?

I thought public penance had been abolished in the Church?

I wonder how this priest speaks to people in the confessional?

What is most hypocritical about this, is that the majority of married Catholics in the world are using artificial contraception. They are never berated when they bring their children to Church for baptism. 
(07-09-2014, 03:23 PM)Miles Immaculatae Wrote: Did the father who planted his seed in her receive the same condemnation?

Totally.  Of course, it's obvious when women are pregnant; fatherhood is not so clear. But that fact of nature has always been used to shame women while men get off scot-free. No, not only scot-free, but with a "good on you, boy! You got you some!"

There's a really tricky line in all this, though. I mean, there should be some level of shame attached to promiscuity and what it results in. It is a sin, and kids raised by single mothers are at a big disadvantage. But all of this coming down only on the heads of women is one problem. And other problems are the ones y'all already talked about -- inordinate shaming that chases women out of the Church and keeps their babies unbaptized.

Off the top of my head, and posting after not having slept in a long time, I think one thing to be done in dealing with all this sort of thing is to talk about promiscuity as the Church always has, talk about the problems of single motherhood for both the mother and the kids -- but also focus JUST AS MUCH on the male's role in all this. Just as often as female promiscuity and the shame of unwed motherhood are talked about, male promiscuity, seduction, and how men play a role in producing children deprived of fathers should be talked about, too. 

In the talking, though, no individual should be held up for public humiliation like that. That priest did a bad thing. I'm glad he apologized. (his saying "you're a sinner" especially ticked me off. As if we're not ALL sinners, eh? Sheesh.)

(07-09-2014, 03:23 PM)Miles Immaculatae Wrote: You cant blame unwed mothers these days, not in the West anyway. They are a consequence of the culture of contraception. Contraception leads to abortion, it also leads to a break down in marriage, it also leads to adolescent pregnancy and a culture of pre-marital sexual relations.

I understand the point that you're trying to make, but this just doesn't sit well with me. You can blame the culture all that you want, but responsibility lies with the individual who engages in the action. Single unwed mothers bring the problems on themselves. The culture doesn't help, of course, but it is still their own fault for putting themselves in that position.

It reminds me of one of my favorite songs from Oingo Boingo.

Quote:Johnny was bad, even as a child everybody could tell
Everyone said, "If you don't get straight, you'll surely go to hell"
But Johnny didn't care
He was an outlaw by the time that he was ten years old
He didn't wanna do what he was told
Just a prankster, juvenile gangster

His teachers didn't understand
They kicked him out of school
At a tender early age
Just because he didn't want to learn things
Had other interests
He liked to burn things

The lady down the block
She had a radio
That Johnny wanted oh so bad
So he took it the first chance he had
Then he shot her in the leg
And this is what she said

"Only a lad"
You really can't blame him
"Only a lad"
Society made him
"Only a lad"
He's our responsibility

"Only a lad"
He really couldn't help it
"Only a lad"
He didn't want to do it
"Only a lad"
He's underprivileged and abused
Perhaps a little bit confused

His parents gave up they couldn't influence his attitude
Nobody could help the little man had no gratitude
But when he stole the car
Nobody dreamed that he would
Try to take it so far
He didn't mean to hit the poor man who had to go and die

It made the judge cry
Only a lad
He really couldn't help it
Only a lad
He didn't want to do it
Only a lad
He's underprivileged and abused
Perhaps a little bit confused

It's not his fault that he can't behave
Society's made him go astray
Perhaps if we're nice he'll go away
Perhaps he'll go away
He'll go away

Only a lad
You really can't blame him
Only a lad
Society made him
Only a lad
He's our responsibility

Hey there Johnny you really don't fool me
You get away with murder
And you think it's funny
You don't give a damn if we live or if we die
Hey there Johnny boy
I hope you fry

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