A Catholic priest from the Diocese of Libmanan was suspended from his clerical duties for seeking public office.
Libmanan Bishop Jose Rojas said Fr. Granwell Pitapit action merits suspension as canon law is clear that priests can’t play a role in politics.
Pitapit will run for the mayoralty in Libmanan, the largest town of Camarines Sur, in the May 2022 polls.
“Such suspension is deemed irreversible, thus preventing him permanently from returning to the priestly ministry,” CBCP News quoted Rojas circular letter dated Oct. 22.
The bishop informed the public that with Pitapit’s departure from the priestly ministry, he no longer represents the diocese and the Church “in any way.”
Rojas said the priest will no longer be involved with the social action programs of the diocese.
“He is, therefore, not authorized to make any solicitations in the name of the Church, and neither in relation to any pro-poor programs sponsored by the Church and the diocese,” he said.
The prelate, however, stressed that the cleric’s suspension does not necessarily mean dispensation from his priestly vows such as celibacy.
“Such vows, therefore, continue to bind him and can only be completely suppressed through the process of laicization,” said Rojas.
“Nonetheless, Fr. Pitapit is now free, without incurring further canonical censure, to engage in secular undertakings that do not violate his priestly vows,” he added.