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HomeVatican UpdatesCamarines Sur Priest Suspended 'Irreversibly' After Running For Mayor In 2022 Elections

Camarines Sur Priest Suspended ‘Irreversibly’ After Running For Mayor In 2022 Elections

"Such suspension is deemed irreversible, thus preventing him permanently from returning to the priestly ministry."

A priest in Bicol has been “irreversibly suspended” from performing any form of clerical duty after he sought for public office. The priest, Fr. Granwell Pitapit, has been serving in the Diocese of Libmanan in Camarines Sur, working in its social action ministry. But in the recent filing of candidacy, he submitted his name for the mayoral race in their town.

However, according to Bishop Jose Rojas, the Church’s canon law is clear that priests cannot enter or play a role in politics. Thus, Fr. Pitapit’s actions forced the diocese to suspend him “irreversibly”. (Read: 3 Prayers For Elections)

“Such suspension is deemed irreversible, thus preventing him permanently from returning to the priestly ministry,” Bishop Rojas said in a statement made public on October 26.

No longer affiliated with the church

priest-suspended-after-running-for-mayor
CBCP Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (Photo from Jannielyn Ann Bigtas)

The bishop added that the priest no longer represents the church or their diocese in “any way”. Fr. Pitapit will also no longer be involved in any of the social action ministry’s programs in their diocese. “He is, therefore, not authorized to make any solicitations in the name of the Church, and neither in relation to any pro-poor programs sponsored by the Church and the diocese,” Bishop Rojas said.

However, the bishop did clear that the suspension doesn’t necessarily mean he is exempted from his priestly vows like celibacy. “Such vows, therefore, continue to bind him and can only be completely suppressed through the process of laicization,” he said. “Nonetheless, Fr. Pitapit is now free, without incurring further canonical censure, to engage in secular undertakings that do not violate his priestly vows.” (Read: Pope’s New Encyclical Offers Voter’s Guide for Upcoming Elections)

Two other priests–Fr. Emmanuel Alparce of Sorsogon and Fr. Emerson Luego of Tagum–are also running in the May 2022 elections. They both previously served in their respective dioceses’ social action ministries as well.

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