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Filipino priest suspended for alleged misconduct

Society of African Missions says ’rebel’ cleric must change ways

Priest suspended from saying Mass Priest suspended from saying Mass
  • ucanews.com reporter, Manila
  • Philippines
  • January 17, 2011
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A Catholic religious order has suspended a priest from ecclesial duties because of alleged misconduct and demanded he change his ways or be kicked out.

Father Romeo Tena, a confrere of the Society of African Missions, is barred from celebrating the Holy Eucharist and all the Sacraments for continuing to breach an order from his superiors not to celebrate Mass.

Father Tena’s suspension was announced by Father Alan De Guzman, SMA Superior-Philippines, in a Jan. 13 letter to Monsignor Juanito Figura, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

In the letter, Father Guzman said Tena began living “outside the SMA environment and priesthood” soon after his ordination in 2000.

Efforts were made to encourage Tena to return to the fold but to no avail, prompting officials to impose a ban on saying Mass.

“We are still receiving complaints that, despite the fact that you [Tena] have no appointment or permission from the SMA, you continue to celebrate Mass, and to collect money in some dioceses,” SMA Superior General Father Jean-Marie Guillaume said in another letter to Father Tena informing him of the new restrictions.*

“Nobody knows in whose name and for what reasons you are doing this,” he added.

A suspended priest is not allowed to celebrate Mass either in public or private, hear confessions, or administer any sacrament, though he may receive them.

Father Guillaume says the order still hopes Father Tena will return to the SMA and return to an “acceptable priestly life,” otherwise they will be obliged to dismiss him from the order.
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*This paragraph has been amended. The earlier version did not identify Father Guillaume as the SMA superior general.
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