When a priest is not a priest

When Fr. Ed Panlilio became the Governor of the province of Pampanga, he knew that he had lost his priestly powers – to say mass, to administer the sacraments – hear confession, grant absolution, etc. Although he had remained a priest, he knew very well that the Vatican would not allow him to wear two hats, i.e., as governor of a province and as minister of the Church. He complied with what was expected of him.

Now that Fr. Panlilio is no longer a governor, he had to reapply with the Vatican in Rome to regain his status as a priest and perform normal priestly functions. Until that permission is granted, “Among Ed” as he is popularly known, cannot say mass. When he visited Sydney last year, Fr. Panlilio admitted that he was still waiting for the Vatican to approve his application.

It is has been alleged that Fr. Raul del Prado, for whatever reason, does not have the necessary “faculty” from his bishop in the Philippines to be able to function as a priest in Australia. This allegation appears to be true because Fr. Raul has so far not been recognised as a priest in any diocese in Australia. If it were so, then he should have been assigned to a parish.

Until then, Fr. Raul is not authorised to say mass, anywhere in Australia. But it was learned and reported by many that he has been saying mass left and right, not in churches or in any parish, but in private places such as the Kapitbahayan Cooperative complex in Leumeah, among others.

Without the required faculty or authority from an Australian bishop, the legitimacy of the Eucharist that he performs becomes questionable.

When a priest celebrates mass, there is that portion called “consecration.” It is during consecration that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Catholics call this episode “Transubstantiation” or “Real Presence” when the substance (of bread and wine) becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. Distribution of Holy Communion follows.

Now the question arises: Was the consecration performed by Fr. Raul valid? Some priests say it is, for so long as Fr. del Prado is indeed an ordained priest. If he is not authorised to say mass in Australia, did he have the power to convert the substance of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ? If it were not so, then it follows that those who received communion merely received bread and not the Body of Christ. – ? DMC

(Any comment or reaction to this editorial is welcome and may be posted on the following website www.philippinesentinel.org or sent directly to dinocres2@hotmail.com)