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Exorcists association: Arrested priest only echoed Church's ruling on 1948 Lipa Apparitions

The Philippine Association of Catholic Exorcists (PACE), and several other Catholic organizations on Friday expressed their support for Fr. Winston Cabading following his recent arrest for allegedly offending the religious feelings of a Marian devotee.

In a statement, the PACE, the Archdiocese of Manila Commission on Extraordinary Phenomena, and the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism (AMOE) defended the 57-year-old priest, saying he only echoed the church’s “definitive ruling” on the authenticity of the 1948 Lipa Apparitions.

“As a member of the Archdiocese of Manila Commission on Extraordinary Phenomena, [Cabading] has, when pastorally needed, helped clarify confusion, dispel doubts, and answer questions from the faithful that pertain to the 1948 alleged Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Carmelite Monastery in Lipa, Batangas,” the PACE said.

“He did this challenging task always careful to remain one with the mind and stand of the Church which has made a definitive verdict that ruled that the alleged apparition in the Carmelite Monastery is not supernatural in character and origin, that is, not from God and hence, not worthy of belief.”

“We, therefore, stand with Fr. Winston Cabading OP in his obedience and union with the Pope and the Philippine Bishops of the Catholic Church with regards to this issue,” the association added.

Cabading, an exorcist of the AMOE, was arrested at the Caleruega Church in Batangas on May 13 after a Quezon City court issued an arrest warrant against him. He posted bail and was freed on provisional liberty on May 15.

His arrest stemmed from a December 2022 complaint filed by former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chief Harriet Demetriou for allegedly violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code after his statements on the authenticity of the 1948 Lipa Apparitions were quoted in a digital Catholic show.

Demetriou, in her complaint, accused the priest of being a “rabid critic” of Mary and lambasted his comment that there exists a 1951 Lipa Diocesan Verdict that “negated the authenticity of the 1948 apparition of Our Lady, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace.”

Article 133 punishes "anyone who, in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony, shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful". Violators may face jail time of up to two years.

Demetriou also said in her complain that the state had a duty to to protect her religious freedom. And, as a devotee of Our Lady, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace she felt victimized by Fr. Cabading statements on the alleged apparition.

She recounted that one of the instances when she felt this was a exorcist-priest conference attended by Cabading during which there was discussion whether the apparition was "demonic."

In Sandra Aguinaldo's Friday "24 Oras" report, Cabading denied ever saying this, and neither did he ever discuss the idea in public nor in a place of worship.

"There were no authorized uploading of the documents or the videos," said Cabading.

"Nagtanong ako, 'How about if the particular image is in a church, nakaano na siya sa altar? What is our proper disposition?' Our bishops told us we can use it, provided it is not associated with the apparition."

Cabading added that when this matter was discussed, he was not responding to a question. But rather he was the one asking the question.

GMA News Online sought comment from Demetriou on the matter, but she has yet to respond as of posting time. — DVM, GMA Integrated News