If only there’s a way to exorcise “fake” priests who will go to the extent of “praying” for the departed to gain that which had been tagged to be the root of all evil – money.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) warned the public yesterday against people dressed as priests who will troop to cemeteries on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days to ask for money or “donations.”
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on the Laity, called on Catholics to be vigilant by not accepting mass and other offers for their departed ones in exchange for money.
“Priests here in Manila are strict, that’s why I am warning the people not to accept anything from those ‘priests’ making the rounds of cemeteries. They conduct masses in cemeteries where they give benediction to the graves,” Pabillo said.
The bishop added all they can do is to warn people as no criminal cases can be filed against persons impersonating church people.
“What can we do? You can’t arrest them. There are no cases for those,” he said. “All I can say to Catholics is not to entertain them.”
“Whoever they are, just don’t give money. If they want to pray over for your departed ones, then thank them or give them food,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) is all set for the deployment of uniformed and plainclothes policemen to cemeteries and transport terminals within its jurisdiction.
According Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel, head of the QCPD, 1,721 policemen will be deployed to eight cemeteries and 17 columbaria in Quezon City.
Also, 715 tanods, 1,272 security guards and 290 volunteers from non-government organizations, aside from members of the Metro Manila Development Authority and Department of Public Order and Safety, will also be deployed for traffic and security duties.
“We shall also deploy cops and K9 dogs to different public transport terminals and train stations as we expect the exodus of many of our kababayans to the different provinces,” Esquivel said.
“We therefore advise those who shall leave their homes to make sure that their houses are properly locked. Installing burglar alarms and closed circuit televisions will be of help against members of akyat-bahay,” added Esquivel.
He also reminded those going to the cemeteries against bringing prohibited items such as firearms, bladed weapons, liquors, gambling paraphernalia and loud sound systems.
with Kathleen Mae Bulquerin