Carlos Celdran formally apologizes for 'Damaso' protest

Posted at 03/11/2011 11:58 AM | Updated as of 03/11/2011 2:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Tour guide and artist Carlos Celdran said he has submitted a letter of apology to Church authorities for protesting against the Church's stance against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill inside the Manila Cathedral last year.

"I submitted my one-page letter of reconciliation to the CBCP (Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines) using the Holy Sacraments as my guide. The bishops are busy throughout Lent said their lawyer and need time to discuss my letter. I have to go back on trial on May 10, 2011," Celdran wrote on his Facebook account on Thursday afternoon.

Celdran was charged of violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code (offending religious feelings) after reportedly disrupting an ecumenical service at the Manila Cathedral on September 30, 2010.

Police said Celdran, wearing a dark suit and top hat, started shouting and held up a placard with the word "Damaso" in the middle of a homily. "Damaso" refers to Father Damaso, an abusive priest who is a character in Jose Rizal's novel Noli Me Tangere.

CBCP News reported that complainant Msgr. Nestor Cerbo, a rector at the Manila Cathedral, said he has not yet seen Celdran's letter of apology.

"It would be up to Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales to decide if it will be accepted. The final decision is not mine," Cerbo said, as quoted by CBCP News in an article posted on Thursday.

He added, "Normally, the Church is always open to (an) apology," but lamented that Celdran had to let 5 months pass before doing so.

Celdran made it clear, however, that he has apologized "a couple of hours after the incident", but the CBCP "rejected it and let me stay in jail for a whole day." He walked free after posting a P6,000 bail.

The tour guide also stressed that what he interrupted was not a mass.

"This is the Manila Cathedral on September 30, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. There are posters onstage, no priest by the altar and several layman speakers sitting around. This was NOT a mass at all, no?" he wrote after posting a photo on his Facebook account. -- Karen Flores, abs-cbnNEWS.com