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Filipino prelate explains why accused priest was still in ministry

October 04, 2012

A retired Filipino prelate has told reporters that he accepted a priest for ministry, after he was charged with sexual abuse in the US, under an agreement with the accused priest’s religious order.

Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, the former Archbishop of Cebu, said that Msgr. Cristobal Garcia was given permission for ministry in the Cebu archdiocese years ago. Msgr. Garcia is now under investigation in a probe into the smuggling of ivory. When news of that investigation first became public, the Cebu archdiocese said that the priest was suspended from ministry because of the sex-abuse charges. Police reported that Msgr. Garcia was acting as administrator of a shrine.

Archbishop Jose Palma, the current head of the Cebu archdiocese, says that the case of Msgr. Garcia is now being investigated by the Vatican. He has asked Cardinal Vidal to make no further public statements on the case.


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