The Diocese of Cubao in the Philippine capital warned against the priestly status of a certain Rico Sabanal who used to be a member of the Order of Carmelites congregation.
“The faithful of the Diocese of Cubao is hereby informed that Fr. Rico Sabanal is no longer a Roman Catholic Priest and has no priestly faculty to perform any religious activities anywhere in the Philippines,” read a circular released by the diocese.
The priest was reportedly dismissed from his congregation for alleged violation of Canon 694.
“Fr. Rico R. Sabanal is a former Carmelite priest who was dismissed from the congregation since August 30, 2008 in violation of Canon 694 § 2. The Diocese of Cubao issued circulars dated August 18, 2010 and April 27, 2016 regarding the status of Fr. Rico Sabanal,” read the circular.
Canon 694 states that a member of a religious congregation can be dismissed for the following reasons: 1) has defected notoriously from the Catholic faith; 2) has contracted marriage or attempted it, even only civilly; 3) has been illegitimately absent from the religious house, pursuant to Can. 665 §2, for 12 consecutive months, taking into account that the location of the religious himself or herself may be unknown.”
The congregation’s superior and the council can dismiss a member after gathering enough evidence.
Father Esmeraldo Reforial, provincial secretary of the Order of Carmelites, has earlier confirmed that Sabanal is not anymore a member of the congregation.
“Regrettably, we have learned that Fr. Sabanal is being invited to celebrate mass in Quezon City Hall offices, different parishes, and chapels within the Diocese of Cubao,” added the circular.
“Please refrain from inviting him and inform your parishioners and disseminate this information to Administrator/Officer in-Charge of chapels, funeral chapels, schools, hospitals, government and private offices that are within your jurisdiction,” read the diocese’s circular.