MANILA – The bishop of Malaybalay in Bukidnon has joined a number of prelates who have barred "healing priest" Rev. Fr. Fernando Suarez in their dioceses.
In a report from CBCP News on Wednesday, Bishop Jose Cabantan said Suarez had been conducting healing masses in his diocese without the necessary permit.
"We ask their group to secure a 'celebret' or an endorsement from his bishop so we can allow him to celebrate Mass and do healing. But we have not received it," Cabantan said.
A "celebret" is an official document in the Roman Catholic Church given by a bishop or religious superior to a priest as proof that he is in good standing and that he be permitted to celebrate Mass outside the ecclesiastical territory where he is assigned.
In a memorandum issued on Oct. 7, Cabantan urged the clergy and lay people to be vigilant and cautious about Suarez and his group.
"I am calling all the clergy, religious and our lay faithful to be vigilant and cautious about their presence," the bishop said.
"We may always show them the respect that they deserve as persons and fellow Christians but mindful always of the law of the Church concerning the proper minister of the sacraments."
Several bishops had banned Suarez from conducting healing masses in their dioceses for various reasons. Among them is the former archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, who criticized Suarez's style, noting only Jesus can do miracles such as raising people from the dead.
The late Bishop Jose Oliveros of the Diocese of Malolos also barred the controversial priest.
In an interview with ABS-CBN’s "The Bottomline with Boy Abunda" in 2015, Suarez admitted that there have been misunderstandings with other bishops, but noted the main issue was only turf-related.
He said some bishops allow him to freely do healing masses in their dioceses, while others only allow him to do so if he asks for permission.
"Kung pepersonalin ko lahat ng ayaw sa akin, baka ma-paralyze ako. Maging bitter ako," he said.
(If I take personally everyone who doesn't like me, I might get paralyzed. I will get bitter.)