Monday, June 9, 2014


In a recent comment, I was chided by a kiko about the number of people who went forward for a "vocations call" at the recent Party in Paranaque. As we know, the kiko's are monstrously obsessed with numbers (which in itself should tell us something about the authenticity of their Christianity). 

The kiko chided me that he didn't see my daughters go forward. I answered that my daughters listen to God not Kiko. (Of course it is quite easy to see how the kiko's can confuse the two.) But the issue of these "Kiko-calls" at these "Kiko-spectacles" is something that needs to be addressed in a larger way. And so I have.


The Kiko call for vocations at these big ritual Kiko-spectacles uses both the psychology and form of the protestant-fundamentalist "altar-call": towards the end of a stirring session of preaching and music, the emotionally elevated crowd is told to stand and come forward for Christ. 

I have sat through several of these. The pressure to stand is enormous. Not to stand is to NOT want to give your life to Jesus. Music is playing, the preacher is pacing and preaching, pacing and preaching, you see your friends go up, the pressure mounts, the music crescendoes, the preacher becomes more impassioned, pacing and preaching, pacing and preaching, people start crying, you stand, the current sucks you in, you stumble forward, burying your mind...

For all of Kiko's wanting to restore the church of the first centuries, the "altar call" method of invitation is not only a completely protestant invention, it is relatively new. The 19th century evangelist Charles Finney is credited with creating it during what became known as the Finney crusades (c. 1830). Finney wrote:
"Preach to him, and at the moment he thinks he is willing to do anything . . . bring him to the test; call on him to do one thing, to make one step that shall identify him with the people of God."
The method was developed by Finney to force a decision. It didn't matter if the decision was real or lasting. What mattered was the spectacle of people physically standing up and going forward. It allowed Finney, and all the other evangelical imitators since then, to point to visible results and thus serve as an immediate resume enhancement, making news and attracting larger crowds at his next stop. 

In the world of evangelical protestantism the numbers of those who "went forward" is the currency with which preachers buy power and influence. In the Catholic world, power and influence resides with the bishops - whose currency is vocations since their number is normally how the health of a diocese is measured. And this is something Kiko supremely understands and masterfully employs.

Of course the "altar call" or mass invitation is not unique to protestants or Kiko. "Herd mentality" or - more politely - "crowd psychology" is used by everything and everyone from dictators to advertisers to born-again preachers to Kiko. It is the ultimate use of "peer pressure", and psychologists, social scientists, political strategists, teachers and parents have long understood its use and power.

The use of it, however, in stimulating vocations is anything but what Jesus would do. Christ's call to follow him is always individual. This is so because God is Love, and Love, at its core, is absolute freedom. That freedom, freedom of the will, is compromised by emotions, particularly those stirred up in the context of mass motivation ritual events like Kiko's.  

The sad thing is that if anyone knows this the bishops know this, but yet allow themselves to serve as pawns in Kiko's march to self-glorification anyway. Why do they do this? It's easy to see. Vocations, real vocations, like raising good children, is a lot of work and rarely glamorous. How much easier it is to let Kiko, with his mastery of ritual motivation, to do it for them. He gives them vocations, they give him the keys to wealth and power, and everyone goes to brunch.

But the truly sad thing is the young people who are damaged by this. Publicly making a commitment to become a priest or a nun or to enter religious life before one has had any serious opportunity to discern or availed themselves of objective spiritual guidance is dangerous, for the fall is long and hard. 

And one suspects that many "kiko-vocations", made in the throes of a purposely orchestrated emotion-laced event, probably went through with ordination or a profession of vows, with the help of a Kiko-bought bishop in need of his own resume enhancement, simply because of the fear of humiliation. And we are just beginning to see the wreckage. 


  1. ANONYMOUS TO DIANA: "Tim Rohr is carelessly looking for a flaw. I hope the guy don't get a stroke swinging at the air. His audience don't realize little by little he is punking out."
    When I read this comment the other day I at first thought is was about Kiko. Not Tim. The Call this time had nothing to it. You could tell. Kiko is Punking Out.
    Excellent exlplanation, Tim. The call is very personal and takes time to discern and not decided by your catechisis. Yes, the wreckage is already evident.

    1. Glad to be Back to Holy Mother ChurchJune 9, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      Tim - your depiction of the youth who respond to an altar call is filled with truth. Marketers know the value of striking when emotions are vulnerable. A particularly strong and powerful talk of God and His majesty and awe can sweep away many persons. The question is, what happens after the moment is gone. Is the flame sustained? I saw many youth head up to the ampitheater at Ypao Beach last September. It was beautiful to see them respond to a powerful pleading, but it took quite a bit of coercion on Fr Edivaldo's part to get them to come forward. Just as you say, peer pressure seems to play a huge roll. You could see how the people moved in waves. If one person stood to respond, quickly a few others in that group stood. And then it would move to the other side in another wave of falling to peer pressure.

      Again, while it is wonderful to see them answer, one has to question how real the answer truly was. It is almost like an arranged marriage, out of obedience you do what a leader tells you to do, but if the heart is not willing, how long will the mind follow?

      Thank God our Church does not employ this altar call psychological game to marriage as well. The Church is far too wise for this. But a slick marketer could find very fruitful ground, if as an example, he were allowed to prey on a group of kids at a prom. Talking about the magic of marriage, the joy of children, the security of always having a soul mate to be there for you...that would sound very enticing to many couples at the prom. But if that were the reason they decided to get married, if the eloquent words were what caused the guy to pop the big question, how sincere would the desire be to totally commit a long life together, without condition, without fail? Our divorce rate is high, imagine if altar calls were made for marriage as well? How much higher might it be?

      The job of developing and nurturing vocations is a very difficult task. Unfortunately, many dioceses pass this great responsibility as just one of many jobs a person is assigned. The same is true here on Guam. Fr Adrian may have a real desire to be the best vocations director possible, but there are too many other responsibilities given to him for him to have a reasonable chance to succeed in truly running vocations in the way it should be done. Not only is he the pastor of a very large parish, he also is Chancellor, and it is fair to say another big part of his week is spent with his NCW activities. He just cannot dedicate the necessary effort to be a proper vocations director.

      On the other hand, we see a system that seems to be working rather well here on Guam and in Micronesia with the religious orders. The Jesuits have done marvelous works in Micronesia with most new priests coming from Jesuit efforts, especially in the FSM and Palau. It seems like Fr Ken Hezel has the time available to nurture the young men who show a sincere effort, to bring them along slowly but continually. The men who ultimately enter formal studies seem to have a real sense of commitment.

      to be continued

    2. Glad to be Back to Holy Mother ChurchJune 9, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      continuation -

      The same is true of the fantastic work done by the Capuchins here on Guam. They have regular meetings with young men who believe they have a calling. Fr Patrick, Fr Andre and Fr Eric are the primary vocation caretakers and only Fr Andre has a parish assignment so they can dedicate plenty of time to see to it that these young men are formed properly, carefully, and with a real sense of who they want to be.

      It takes dedication, time and a willingness to walk on that journey with each person who hears a calling to serve God in a special way. Unfortunately, Guam has become a rather unfriendly field for diocesan vocations over the past 15 years or so. If you are a part of the NCW then much effort is afforded to developing your vocations, and plenty of staff is provided for this effort. That is wonderful and necessary. But if a young man not in the NCW has a calling the road is often set with setbacks, minor and major.

      We know that many fine deacon candidates left their formation because of the requirement that they all join the NCW. Many resisted, but were told if they did not join the NCW they would not be ordained. Only 12 men remained until ordination. We also know of the case of Aaron Quitugua, who for now has had his formation put on hold because he desires to be a regular diocesan priest rather than a missionary diocesan (NCW) priest. What the general public does not know is how many other men have desired to become priests and deacons on Guam but were turned away because they didn't fit the NCW mold? Many believe these numbers are substantial, but only the Chancery and the men denied know for sure.

      If Guam were a more friendly environment for vocations, how many more priests, deacons and religious sisters would we have?

      Lastly, for the 40 or so youth that answered that altar call back in September, 2013, how many have received continuing care and nurturing to help them discern if the call was real or temporary and fleeting?

      The NCW is a wonderful path for some. But many people on Guam think it is time that the Archdiocese open up the road to vocations through the many different paths it has taken through the past 2,000 years.

      Undoubtedly, some will choose the NCW without having to be forced. Some will be inspired by a parish priest, or a missionary Jesuit, or a Friar. All we ask is that the Archdiocese reopen all the other wonderful avenues available so we may have more and more local vocations. Local men and women who long to serve the people of God in Guam for as long as the Lord allows them.

    3. I would like to agree with you about Fr. Adrian wanting to be a good vocations director, but his commitment is exclusively to the Neocatechumenal Way. And as for having a big parish to run, that was his choice. He was pastor of the smallest parish on the island only a few months ago. But otherwise good points. Thanks.

    4. Fr. Adrian was vocations director he wrecked seminarians .

    5. Fr. Adrian is not a good choice for vocation director. Clergy have a candidate for vocation director.

    6. Good, the sooner the better.

    7. Glad to be Back to Holy Mother ChurchJune 10, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      Just a slight correct Tim...I said Fr Adrian May have a real desire... (but that remains to be seen). I did not presume he was doing an adequate job, but was merely pointing out that not enough importance was giving to the job, as evidenced by assigning a priest who already has many other responsibilities. How could anyone in that position give vocations the attention it deserves?

    8. It was Adrian's choice. He wanted to be the gatekeeper on vocations so he could enforce the neo-only way. Good vocations are not the object. Spreading the way as fast as possible and locking it down with presbyters is all that matters.

    9. Absolutely, Tim. If you disagree with him you will be stabbed in the back in a public forum. Right, Fr. Adrian?

    10. Right, Fr. Adrian????????????????????????????????

  2. As someone who was present in some of these events that called for vocations, it is pretty much as how Tim describes it. It is a calling from God, not Kiko and I do understand that there are many vehicles to help you discern, but the pressure put on by the catechists, responsibles, and fellow neocats are enormous and appalling They want you to conform and to do as they say. I have heard responsibles during certain events castigate, in front of many others, members for not following their "vocations". It is very cultish and incestuous.

  3. One's calling to be a priest is a vocation to spread the Good News by serving, to be a servant, as Jesus served the apostles at the Last Supper. Neo seminarians are cuddled and made to feel special early on in the formation process. Their clothes are washed for them and many things are done for them by neo communities. They do not learn how to survive in the real world. This is why they attract many young men to be seminarians because they are immediately put on a pedestal, which is not conducive for proper discernment. They are not required to obtain a college degree. They lack the rigorous academic formation process which will give them the mental skills to intelligently and vigorously defend our faith. When confronted with questions on matters of morals and faith that fall outside the narrow ambit of what they were taught at the RMS. they do not know how to respond. This is why all their sermons or homilies sound the same. They can't think on their feet. Wreckage it is.

  4. Not the kind of priest the church needs today. The formation of the Guam seminarians aears to be lacking. Conversations and language being heard from the seminars talking is of concern .

  5. Unfortunately the reckless and callous behavior of the archdiocese has not yet been published by Tim Rohr. It does seem however, that each day Tim Rohr comes closer to the truth of the last 25 years. Suspect the neo came to enable the Archbisjop to cover the dark history of the archdiocese.

  6. The Neo came to EVANGELIZE the Pagans of Guam. It is a Mission. An Itinerancy. Did not come to cover for Brother Tony. We came to be the feet of the Church WALKING everywhere. Am I doing OK, Diana? You did say we are the feet of the Church, correct? Yup, she said we are the FEET. Happy Feet! JOY!

  7. Pope Francis had some more strong advice for the Neocatechumenal Way last week in Rome. Click here to read them in their entirety.

    After reading the Pope's words, I immediately thought of this post. Here they are in pertinent part:

    Men and women today experience serious identity problems and have difficulty making proper choices; as a result, they tend to be conditioned and to delegate important decisions about their own lives to others. We need to resist the temptation of usurping individual freedom (emphasis added), of directing them without allowing for their growth in genuine maturity.


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