Father Priest Baptizes Children of Fellow Priests

A priest who has kids baptized the children of his fellow priests. It sounds odd, but the religious rite really happened over the weekend.

screenshot priest kisses wife
Screengrab from Yahoo! News PH
Fr. Jesus Siva, 54, officiated the baptismal of the babies of priest-fathers Hector Canto and Jose Elmer Cajilig, 53 and 52 years old, respectively. The two also wore liturgical vestments and concelebrated the Mass with the former, INQUIRER.net reported.

The baptism, held at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in Lambunao town, 48 kilometers north of Iloilo City, was attended by at least eighty friends, relatives and parishioners of the Ilonggo priests.

Fr. Siva has two sons, Fr. Cajilig has three children, while Fr. Canto has 3 other kids besides the one who was baptized Sunday as Gabriel Opcel, according to a PhilStar report via Yahoo! News Philippines.

The baby's name, which means "optional celibacy," is quiet significant as they have been calling on the Catholic church to allow priests to marry. The father-priests reportedly reiterated their call for optional celibacy among the clergy, saying that it is "a gift" and should not be mandatory.

Fr. Canto, whose marriage to Cynthia Diamante in 1998 was officiated by Fr. Siva, revealed to the INQUIRER that the baptismal was originally scheduled for December last year but postponed to January 11, nearer to the 5-day apostolic and state visit of Pope Francis to the country.

The married priest sees the Pope as open-minded, but clarified that he does not expect changes in the celibacy rule "during his lifetime."

Last Sunday's event stirred controversy online and netizens have mixed reactions on the issue. Countless argumentative and opinion-laying comments are posted on social media, but this one from a certain Jocor drew our attention:

I'm not sure where, how and when this Catholic's rule originated but one thing for sure, this will cause total mayhem when Catholic starts to approve such marital proposals for priests or nuns.
  • You will see more priests running after gals out there [in] their area;
  • You will see more nuns and priest getting wed;
  • There will be a rise of mistresses among priests;
  • They will have more time outside the church because family requires quality time.
  • They should get out of the church and start looking for a day job not that they depend on people's offerings and just use it for their own family instead of going for the church improvements and its ministries.
All this came out after the LGBT fight for their rights to have same sex marriage. So how do we call this priest associations wanting to have marriage?"