The Catholic Church leadership in La Union has appealed to the faithful to pray for one of their priests who is joining the Iglesia ni Cristo, a move that they say caused "confusion and scandal".
Romeo Lopez, who recently retired after 35 years in service, told La Union Bishop Daniel Presto in writing that he was transferring to the INC, the Philippines' largest indigenous Christian group after much thought, the diocese said in a statement on June 20.
"We are as of the moment communicating and doing our best to stop Fr. Romy from what he is doing since this has been causing confusion and scandal among the faithful," the statement read.
"While we are doing and exhausting all efforts to do so, we appeal to all the lay faithful to pray for him, and refrain from fanning further the issue."
Lopez or Apo Romy to parishioners retired last Jan. 30, after serving as parish priest of Holy Guadian Angels Parish in Sto. Tomas town.
The Diocese of San Fernando described him as "diligent in his works and apostolate in the different parishes he has been assigned to" and praised his works as "beyond doubt sincere and commendable in all aspects."