Pope Francis has expelled Father Pio Aclon, widely recognized for his devotion to Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, from the priesthood due to alleged sexual abuse involving minors. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reported this news on Sunday, September 17.
Father Aclon, who was based in Borongan, Eastern Samar, was removed “for sexual abuse involving minors,” according to CBCP News. He had most recently served at a minor seminary in Borongan before being suspended from clerical duties by the diocese.
The Diocese of Borongan had previously issued an announcement on July 18, stating, “Notice is hereby given that the Holy Father Pope Francis has dismissed from the clerical state PIO CULTURA ACLON of the Diocese of Borongan. He is, therefore, no longer a cleric and cannot exercise priestly ministry in the Church.” The notice was signed by Father James Abella, chancellor of the diocese, on behalf of the Bishop of Borongan, Most Reverend Crispin B. Varquez, DD.
CBCP News reported that this advisory was read in all parish churches, chaplaincies, and chapels of the diocese.
Father Aclon was known for his devotion to Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, based on the reported 1948 apparition of Mary in Lipa, Batangas. Although the Vatican had previously declared nothing miraculous about the Lipa apparition, it had continued to be a point of contention among devotees and the church hierarchy.
The Mediatrix devotion gained recent attention when retired Sandiganbayan justice Harriet Demetriou filed an “offending religious feelings” case against Father Winston Cabading, an exorcist priest and a critic of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace.
Rappler reached out to Father Aclon for comment but had not received a response at the time of this report. However, Aclon took to Facebook to challenge the Diocese of Borongan, stating, “You announce this, Bishop Crispin Varquez and the Diocese of Borongan, now where is the letter of Pope Francis? I give you 10 days to provide us the letter.”
Demetriou, who serves as Aclon’s legal adviser and is also a fellow Mediatrix devotee, asserted that Aclon “has not received any communication from the Vatican about his alleged removal from priesthood.” She further argued that the Diocese of Borongan should have provided Aclon with a copy of the Vatican communication before posting a public advisory on the matter, calling it an “act of bad faith meant to publicly shame Fr. Pio Aclon.”
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