Posted by: minz | January 23, 2009

Another one will bite the dust

Since I discovered blogging almost two years ago, some of my closest friends have decided to follow (rather closely) my daily rants,raves and what-nots in my corner here to the point that I urge them  to consider starting their own  blog. Well, one or two have done so but chose to keep their blogs private. The others, like my wingwoman C, still need some prodding. But I think she will soon bite the dust. I feel so because some days ago she emailed me and asked to have it reproduced here in my domain.

She wants her opinion to be heard (which is what blogs are for!) and I am only too happy to obliged.  For me, this is her first stab at blogging and I think, taking the controversiality of the topic aside, she has a lot of promise.  Heaps, actually:)

So here goes. Enjoy everyone! (NB: English translation of Filipino words supplied!)

Dear Minz,

Dear Minz,

I’d like to share with you an event in my life – not so major, but perhaps life-defining for someone – that transpired fairly recently: I tormented a priest.

I’m still not full throttle into blogging mode, considering that my musings are very, shall we say, intermittent, at this point. I’ll just have to take a free ride on your wordpress and maybe you can post this one.

So, there I was, driving along the length of SLEX. A priest who I met through another priest-friend of mine very recently was my passenger. Let’s back track a little bit. This priest-friend of mine (high school classmate, actually), Father B., who I haven’t seen in years, happened to be my seatmate on the plane to Manila. During the entire ride, we were discussing about canon law, how hard it is to get a church annulment, and then we moved on to more serious topics like, population control, Church dogmas and teachings, and the Shroud of Turin being a hoax. The one-hour plane ride turned out to be too bitin for our discussion, so we decided to hook up again in Manila. So we did a few days later. He took with him his longtime priest-friend, Father E.

This story is really about Father E. He had barely shoved the spoon into his mouth when I began rattling about their vow of celibacy. I asked, “Do you really believe that priests are not supposed to have girlfriends? Or even get married?”

He said, “Yes. That’s our vow.”

“Says who?Jesus?”

“Of course.”

“Nah-ah, ” I said, “It was the edict of Pope Gregory XXIII. Before that, priests had wives and families. However, Pope Gregory saw that they were neglecting their priestly duties due mainly to the demands of a family life. Jesus, by the way, was married to Mary Magdalene.”

Stunned silence.

Finally, he said to Father B, “B, I thought you guys went to a Catholic school?”

“Of couse we did, ” I answered for Father B. “However, that’s one of our history lessons. I never forgot that one. So, father, you think if you actually got yourself a girlfriend you’ll go to hell?”

“Kumain ka na, gutom ka lang.” (Just eat, you must be hungry)

“Can you take my confession?”

“NO.”

A few days after that supposedly horrid night for Father E, I got a text message:

Father E: Psst.. Magsimba ka ngayon, linggo. (Go to mass, it’s Sunday)
Me: Di ako nagsisimba. Masyadong madaldal ung pari dito sa amin. (I don’t go to church. The priest here in our place talks too much.)
Father E: Well, choice mo naman yan. Hatid mo na lang ako sa Tagaytay bukas. (Well, that’s your choice. Drop me off Tagaytay tomorrow.)

So there we were on the SLEX. ‘Til now I couldn’t quite figure out why Father E chose me to drive him there. He was probably hoping to save my soul from imminent doom and chose that particularly long drive to try his luck. I, on my part, thought it might make up for my lack of desire to hear mass, choosing, instead, the longer route to salvation by doing a servant of God a favor. Fair enough of a sacrifice, I thought.

Anyway, so I began about the reproductive health bill, a hot topic today. We were arguing about whether it is a sin to use condoms and birth control pills. The difference between abortion and merely preventing conception, with reference to the 10 commandments, particularly, “Thou shalt not kill.”

Then we moved on to other Church dogmas and teachings. I told him about the gnostic gospels that were disregarded by the Catholic Church, how they were hunted to extinction by the Church, including the gospels of Thomas, Judas and Mary Magdalene. He was, at this point, shaking his head for the nth time, but still, surprisingly keeping his cool and smiling a lot.

The argument went on until lunch. We ignored the breathtaking view at Leslie’s and obliviously sipped the renowned Bulalo soup.

Once, I challenged him,”Why do you guys threaten excommunication up to this time? Like those politicians who advocate reproductive health. Why do you refuse them communion?”

He said, “Because for us, these politicians are not at peace with the teachings of the Church.”

“I am at peace with my God,” was my answer.

The debate went on for another hour. Then, finally, he said, “Iha, I’d like to ask you a favor.”

Thinking that it might be a masked attempt for my penance, I just raised an eyebrow.

“I put up this foundation for retired priests. Did you know that we do not have any retirement plan? In my province alone, there are about 20 priests who are left to die penniless. One of them couldn’t even shell out 500 pesos for his medicines.”

I was dumb-struck. Then finally, I said, sure. Then we discussed about how to improve their marketing strategies, how we can get more sponsors and that I will ask a friend of mine who runs a publication for senior citizens to feature Father E’s foundation.

On a final note, I said, “Father, I hope you don’t become a bishop. And that you will just remain a priest.”

He asked why. I said, “Because by then you will be let in on the dark secrets of the Catholic Church. Right now, you priests are just their pawns. But your faith and your love for your fellow men is what makes you holy. I can see that in you. Pawns, because more than half of your collections are siphoned off by the Vatican.”

He wiped an invisible sweat on his brow and muttered, “Haay naku (Oh my), I think I’m the one who needs to go to confession.”

On the way to the seminary where he was to spend two weeks for his doctorate thesis, we drove in silence. When we finally reached our destination, he said, “Iha, you have a good heart. God bless you.”

“Father,” I said, not wanting to leave a priest in a pool of agnosticism, “Whenever you begin to doubt, just read the Bible.”

So there, Minz. Perhaps you might start ranting about the need for me to find a boyfriend. Na-ah. Tormenting priests will do for now.

                    C

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