MANILA - The Catholic Church has long forgiven celebrity tour guide Carlos Celdran for his stunt in the Manila Cathedral back in 2010.
Still, he has to face the consequences now that the court has already issued a decision, Manila Cathedral rector Monsignor Nestor Cerbo told Radio Veritas.
Cerbo said in the same interview: “Patuloy ang pagdarasal sa kanya na sana ay maliwanagan siya na makita ang punto ng ganitong nangyari. Ano nga ba ang nais iparating sa kanya ng Panginoon na maliwanagan siya.”
This comes amid a call from President Benigno Aquino for the Catholic church to forgive Celdran, a reproductive health rights advocate just like the president.
In a decision dated December 14, Manila Metropolitan Trial Court Pairing Judge Juan O. Bermejo Jr., ordered Celdran’s imprisonment for two months and 21 days up to one year, one month and 11 days for violating “religious feelings.”
This was after Celdran pulled a stunt in the Manila Cathedral in September 2010 against the Church’s
intervention in people’s access to reproductive health.
Celdran then used a placard with the word “Damaso,” a character from Jose Rizal's "Noli Me Tangere," and held it up during an ecumenical program before a Mass.
Damaso is a notorious character in Rizal's novel, which touches on the abuses of the Spanish friars during the 19th century.
Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma agreed with Cerbo.
He said the court has spoken, and Celdran should respect the decision, he told Radio Veritas.
“Sa isyu ni Celdran, the court had spoken. Long ago we forgive him and now we respect the court decision. We have learned that respect should be given to all religion, the court has spoken and we say ‘amen’” he said.
Pursuing the case
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Manila denied it was behind the case filed against Celdran.
In a report from the CBCP News, the archdiocese said that then Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales even gave instructions that it does not pursue the case anymore.
“Cardinal Rosales has long forgiven Mr. Celdran,” the archdiocese said. “How the case on appeal proceeds from hereon is not up to the Archdiocese of Manila or the Church but to the Courts.”
Since the case is criminal in nature, anything that goes beyond prosecution will be pursued by the “State.”
Citing the court document, the archdiocese said the fiscals offered three witnesses who testified against Celdran: lay workers of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) and a regular churchgoer.