Catholic Church allows baptism of unwed couples' kids

Posted at 07/08/14 10:05 PM

MANILA -- No Catholic Church law prohibits the baptism of children of unwed couples, a priest said.

Fr. Francis Lucas, executive director of the Catholic Media Network, told radio dzMM on Tuesday that it is common misconception that children of unwed couples cannot be baptized as Catholics.

"May mga nagkakamali, 'aba, hindi pwede binyagan 'yan dahil anak yan sa pagkakasala," Lucas said.

He said this erroneous belief should be corrected.

Lucas issued the statement after a priest in Cebu humiliated an unwed teen mom who had her baby baptized.

He said what Fr. Romeo Obach did was wrong and made amends by apologizing right away and and admitting his fault.

A video clip that spread on Facebook shows Obach of the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy in Eversely Child Sanitarium rebuking the 17-year-old single mother.

Speaking in Cebuano, the priest castigated the woman for having a baby with a man who is not her husband.

Obach also warned the mother that the consequences of her actions may be passed on to her child, as her child was "born in sin."

"Hindi ganyan ang magiging reaksyon ni Kristo. Sabi nga ni Pope Francis: we are not here to condemn, but to redeem," Lucas said, referring to Obach's actions.

Pope Francis baptized the baby of an unmarried couple at the Sistine Chapel during a mass at the Vatican in January.

The pope also encouraged priests to do the same to spread the Christian faith.

He described those who refuse to baptize children of unwed couples "hypocrites."

"You parents have the baby boy or girl to be baptized, but in a few years it will be they who will have a baby to be baptized or a grandchild... And so goes the chain of faith," the pope declared, according to the Vatican Network.

Lucas said the pope's act should serve as a lesson for all priests.

"Maging halimbawa sana 'yung ginawa ni Pope Francis, na siya mismo ang nagbinyag," he added.

Obach has apologized to the young woman and her family.

In his letter, the priest acknowledged his fault and expressed deep regret. Obach admitted that he used "cruel" ways to "educate and impart lessons."

Fr. Alfonso Suico, media liaison of the Redemptorist Church, said Obach is barred from celebrating Mass and other religious activities pending an internal investigation.

The teen mother, however, said it is difficult for her to forgive him at this time.

She said she was deeply hurt by the incident.