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Pope Francis dismisses Filipino priest due to alleged sexual abuse of minors

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Sep 18, 2023 10:45 am

Warning: This article contains mentions of sexual abuse.

Pope Francis expelled a Filipino priest from Borongan, Eastern Samar due to allegations of sexual abuse involving minors.

The Diocese of Borongan—where Pio Cultura Aclon was incardinated—made the announcement in a Facebook post on Sunday, Sept. 17, noting that it was the Pope's decision to dismiss him from the clerical state. The official statement was signed by chancellor Fr. James Abella dated July 18.

“Notice is hereby given that the Holy Father Pope Francis has dismissed from the clerical state Pio Cultura Aclon of the Diocese of Borongan,” the diocese said. 

“He [Aclon] is, therefore, no longer a cleric and cannot exercise priestly ministry in the Church,” it added.

According to a report by CBCP, the advisory was read on Sunday in all parish churches, chaplaincies, and chapels of the diocese but they did not get into much detail about the priest and what happened.

The CBCP assured that there will be no cover-up on the sexual abuse cases involving the clergy as it has already created an office aimed at protecting minors from them.

In response to the move against him, Aclon is asking Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez for a copy of Pope Francis' letter within 10 days and said that "matters like this are communicated to the concerned individual and not in the social media platform." 

"The social media platform is never part of the procedural process on matters like this. The Bishop of Borongan should explain regarding this matter because he violated again not only my canonical right but also my civil right," Aclon wrote in a social media post.

In a separate post, the accused priest also claimed that sexual abuses committed by the priests in the Diocese of Borongan are being covered up by their superior.

"Just give me the Letter of Pope Francis. You know that, and we know it all, that sexual abuses committed by priests in the Diocese of Borongan are rampant, covered up, and tolerated by the Superior!" he said. 

Aclon served at a minor seminary in Borongan before the diocese suspended him from his clerical duties.

Pope Francis has repeatedly apologized for the abuses in the Catholic Church, according to the CBCP, and "vowed to confront abusers and restore justice."

In June 2021, the Pope updated the Catholic Church’s criminal code with information on punishing priests who would sexually abuse minors. The revisions came after a years-long call from sex abuse victims to change it as its previous wording was outdated and intransparent.