THE Diocese of Cubao informed the public that Rico Sabanal has been stripped of his role and duties as priest.
In a circular issued Jan. 4, the diocese said that Sabanal is a former Carmelite priest who was dismissed from the congregation in August 2008 in violation of Canon 694.
“Fr. Rico Sabanal is no longer a Roman Catholic Priest and has no priestly faculty to perform any religious activities anywhere in the Philippines,” the circular read.
The Order of Carmelites also confirmed to the diocese that Sabanal is no longer connected with them.
This is the third time that the diocese issued another circular regarding the status of Sabanal. The previous were issued in 2010 and 2016.
Information reaching the diocese revealed that the former priest is being invited to celebrate Mass in Quezon City Hall offices, and in its different parishes and chapels.
“Please refrain from inviting him and inform your parishioners,” the diocese said.
Canon 694 currently states that “a member must be held as ipso facto dismissed from an institute” if they have “defected notoriously from the Catholic faith” or have married or attempted to marry.
Pope Francis in 2019 added a new clause adding the dismissal of a member of an order who is “illegitimately absent” from the community for 12 uninterrupted months and is unreachable.