The Archdiocese of Manila Exorcism Office and the Philippine Association of Catholic Exorcists have expressed appreciation for the support from people for Fr. Winston Cabading, who was charged with violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code.
"We wish to express our profound gratitude to all who have assisted or supported Fr. Winston Cabading, OP, one of our exorcist priests," the groups said in a social media status on June 7. "Your prayers and efforts are much appreciated, and we pray that our Lord himself will reward you for your loving care and concern.
The arraignment of Cabading was previously scheduled for June but was later moved to August.
"The arraignment of Fr. Winston was rescheduled for August 1, pending a decision from the Department of Justice on a petition for review, specifying the errors committed by the assistant city prosecutor of Quezon City," the group said. "Fr. Winston was also allowed to travel to the United States to visit his mother and father. He will return [to the Philippines] before the above-mentioned date."
The groups of exorcists view the charge against Cabading as an assault on the Church.
"We see this act against Fr. Winston as a spiritual battle and an attack on our mother, the Church itself, and its hierarchy," the groups said. "We thank you for harkening to the call to be one with us in this battle by offering your prayers and acts of mortification. Please pray for those who oppose us so that we may be one as the Father desires."
Cabading was arrested on May 13 after former election chief and anti-graft Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Harriet Demetriou filed a complaint in December 2022.
In her 15-page complaint, Demetriou, a devout Catholic, alleged that Cabading a crime:
1. “that the acts complained of were performed either in a place devoted to religious (sic) or during the celebration of any religious ceremony; and
2. “that the acts must be notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful."
Demetriou called Cabading a "rabid critic of Our Lady, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace."
Mary Mediatrix of All Grace is associated with the reported 1948 apparition in Batangas, a province more than 100 kilometers south of Manila.
Cabading stated at a national conference on spiritual liberation and exorcism in August 2019 that said an apparition of Mary in 1948 was not authentic.
In March 1951, the Vatican declared no apparition in Lipa, Batangas, in 1948, citing no supernatural character or origin. Pope Pius XII confirmed the decision.
In 2016, the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith also invited the devotees of Mother Mary, Mediatrix of Grace, to continue their devotion. Still, it discouraged them from identifying with the report's apparition in 1948.
Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes "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."
The penalty involves two years and four months in prison.
Cabading posted bail amounting to P18,000 [US$320] on May 15.
"We beg for continued prayers and acts of mortification from you and your prayer groups for a positive decision as soon as possible," the exorcist groups said. "May our Church's hierarchy be guided by the Holy Spirit to act and end this matter."- Oliver Samson
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