Vatican-affiliated exorcists group backs Dominican priest in alleged religious mockery case

Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P. a former UST Secretary-General and now an 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. Art by Dawn Solano/THE FLAME

A VATICAN-AFFILIATED exorcists group voiced out its support for a UST Faculty of Sacred Theology instructor and Dominican priest who was arrested recently for allegedly mocking the supposed apparition of the Virgin Mary in Lipa City.

In a statement, the Philippine Association of Catholic Exorcists (PACE) said Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P., as a member of the Archdiocese of Manila Commission on Extraordinary Phenomena, has helped clear confusion, dispel doubts, and answer questions about the alleged apparition of the Virgin Mary in a Lipa Carmelite monastery in 1948.

Cabading did the “challenging” task to remain one with the mind and stand of the Church, which has made a final verdict that the supposed apparition is not from God and is therefore not worthy of belief, the group added.

“We […] stand with Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P. in his obedience and union with the Pope and the Philippine Bishops of the Catholic Church,” the PACE said in a statement released on Friday.

According to the group, Cabading served faithfully in the ministry of Exorcism in the Archdiocese of Manila and showed dedication to preaching and teaching Catholic teachings.

“He (Cabading) has consistently been proven to be a true shepherd guiding his flock to always be united in the truth,” it said.

Cabading was arrested last May 13 for allegedly violating  Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code or the provision on offending religious feelings, which is punishable by a jail term that lasts from six months and a day to two years and four months.

The arrest was carried out by virtue of a warrant issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 81 Presiding Judge Madonna Concordia Echiverri last May 8. A bail of P18,000 was recommended for his temporary release. Cabading’s arraignment will be held on June 1.

The case stemmed from an allegation of former Sandiganbayan associate justice and Commission on Elections chief Harriet Demetriou that Cabading consistently mocked the Our Lady, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, whom she believes appeared in Lipa.

Demetriou added that Cabading is a “rabid” critic of the Virgin Mary.

Allegation denied

Cabading clarified in a Radio Veritas interview that he did not violate the law againat offending religious feelings.

“According to the law, this crime will occur if someone does an act that hurts the feelings of the believers during a religious ceremony,” he said.

The Dominican priest pointed out that the May 2022 online talk show where he made statements about the alleged Lipa apparition was not a religious ceremony.

“It is clear in the Catholic Church that the religious ceremony is attached to the worship of God through approved rights of the Church,” Cabading added.

A Batangas-based lay group also released a statement supporting Cabading, saying he has only shown obedience to the Church.

“We unite likewise our voice to that of our brother, Fr. Winston Cabading, and all the Catholic Faithful, who are in charity are obedient to the Church, calling the flock to heed the voice of their shepherds to be guided by them to the safe path,”  the Dominicans of St. Mary Magdalene said in a Facebook post on May 25.

Other lay groups, such as the Diocese of Libmanan Office of Exorcism, the Exorcism Cross, and the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism, also backed Cabading and called on everyone to pray for a “positive resolution” for the case.

Devotees of the Our Lady, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace like Demetriou insist that the Blessed Mother appeared before Carmelite postulant Teresing Castillo in Lipa City, Batangas in 1948.

However,  the Vatican ruled in 2015 that the supposed apparitions in Lipa City had no supernatural origin, citing  a similar ruling made by Pope Pius XII in 1951.

But Demetriou argued that the 1951 decree cannot be found in the archives if the Vatican. F

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