Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

    Pope Francis has dismissed Pio Cultura Aclon, a priest from the Diocese of Borongan in Eastern Samar, from the clerical state for sexual abuse involving minors, according to a notice issued by the diocese on July 18, 2023.

    The notice, signed by Bishop Crispin B. Varquez and Chancellor James B. Abella, stated that Aclon is no longer a cleric and cannot exercise priestly ministry in the Church.

    The news service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reported on Sunday, September 17, that Aclon “last served at a minor seminary in Borongan before the diocese suspended him from his clerical duties.”

    The CBCP also said that Pope Francis has “repeatedly apologized” for the reported abuses and promised to restore justice. The CBCP has created an office that will help protect minors from alleged sexual abuses by the clergy, and each diocese has developed its own system for handling reports of sexual abuse or misconduct.

    Aclon is best known for spreading devotion to Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, based on the reported 1948 apparition of Mary before a Carmelite postulant in Lipa, Batangas. The Vatican has repeatedly stated that nothing is miraculous about the controversial Lipa apparition, but devotees have consistently questioned such pronouncements by the church hierarchy.

    Aclon, however, has denied the allegations and demanded a copy of Pope Francis’ dismissal letter through a Facebook post. He also challenged the diocese to provide him with the 1951 Vatican decree issued against the Lipa apparition.

    He said he would give the diocese 10 days to send the letter to his legal counsel, retired Sandiganbayan justice Harriet Demetriou.

    Demetriou, who also filed an “offending religious feelings” case against an exorcist priest for being a “rabid critic” of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, said Aclon “has not received any communication from the Vatican about his alleged removal from priesthood.”

    The Diocese of Borongan has not issued any further statement on the matter as of posting time.


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