Archbishop Jose Cabantan of Cagayan de Oro warned the faithful against a suspended priest who is still saying Mass, despite being defrocked.
Archbishop Cabantan said that Fr. Melvin Clapano has been barred from his priestly duties for “attempting to contract a civil marriage.”
The archbishop gave the warning in a memo he issued on June 22 amid reports that Clapano is still being invited to officiate Mass in homes and in office blessings.
“Catholics should not knowingly join Masses celebrated by Fr. Melvin Clapano or receive the sacraments from him or invite him to office blessings,” Archbishop Cabantan said.
Citing church law, he said that a cleric who attempts marriage incurs “automatic suspension.”
He further stated that a priest who attempts marriage “ipso facto loses any ecclesiastical office he may have.”
“There were attempts in the past that he expressed his desire to return to active ministry but he’s impeded due to a latae sententiae suspension, which only the Vatican can lift the penalty,” he added.
The archbishop also revealed that Clapano recently joined the North American Old Catholic Church in the US, whose members “are not in full communion with the true Roman Catholic Church.”
“Therefore it is a schismatic group,” he said.