A DOMINICAN priest and instructor of the UST Faculty of Sacred Theology was arrested by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for allegedly mocking the supposed apparition of the Virgin Mary in Lipa City.
Fr. Winston Cabading, also an exorcist of the Archdiocese of Manila, was arrested by police detectives last May 13 for allegedly violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code or the provision on offending religious feelings, the CIDG said in a Facebook post. The penalty for the offense is jail term that lasts from six months and a day to two years and four months.
According to the CIDG, the arrest took place at about 10:10 p.m. at the St. Mary Magdalene House in Nasugbu, Batangas. Cabading was arrested by virtue of a warrant issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 81 Presiding Judge Madonna Concordia Echiverri last May 8. The court recommended a bail of P18,000 for his temporary release. A report by The Philippine Star said Cabading’s arraignment is scheduled on June 1.
Last December, former Commission on Elections chief and Mary Mediatrix of All Grace devotee Harriet Demetriou filed a complaint accusing Cabading of offending religious feelings before the Quezon City prosecutor’s office. She described the Dominican priest as a “rabid critic” of Mary and accused him of “consistently” mocking the Blessed Mother and her devotees. Demetriou argued that it is the duty of the state to safeguard her religious freedom.
Devotees of the Our Lady, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace claim that she appeared before Carmelite postulant Teresing Castillo in Lipa City, Batangas in 1948. In 2015, the Vatican issued a decree stating that the supposed apparitions in Lipa City had no supernatural origin. According to the decree, Pope Pius XII already decided in 1951 that the supposed apparitions of the Virgin Mary were not of supernatural origin.
However, Demetriou insists that the 1951 decree negating the authenticity of the apparition is “nowhere to be found” in the Vatican archives.
Some lawmakers had filed bills seeking to repeal the law against offending religious feelings, saying it violates the right to free expression.
Supporters of Cabading slammed his arrest in a Facebook post, saying the complainant “refused to obey the decrees and guidance of the Catholic Church on extraordinary phenomena.”
According to the Facebook post, Cabading was unable to make an appeal since he was arrested before receiving a copy of the resolution.
The Exorcism Cross and the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism called on the public to pray for a “positive resolution” for the case. F – Aubrey Shane Lim
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to add information about the laygroups that protested Cabading’s arrest.