The Catholic Church has long forgiven Carlos Celdran for holding a protest action in the middle of an ecumenical service at the Manila Cathedral on Sept. 30, 2010.
However, Rector Monsignor Nestor Cerbo said Celdran, a tour guide and reproductive health activist, must face the consequences of his actions.
Celdran was sentenced by Manila City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 4 Judge Juan Bermejo to a prison term ranging from two months and 21 days up to 13 months and 11 days after finding him guilty of violating Article 133, Section 4 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
During his protest action at the Cathedral, Celdran raised a placard with the word “Damaso” when he reached the altar. The name refers to Padre Damaso, the abusive friar in Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo.”
Cerbo said that the court decision has rendered justice to the Church as a House of God and a place of faith. The priest added that just like making a confession, God forgives the sins of the faithful but they must still bear the penalties for their misdeeds.
For his part, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said he respects the High Court’s ruling on the Celdran case.