Note: Okay, I've tamed the original title of my post a bit. No need to add to Efren's words. Sure would be good now though to see our priests rise up so we can see who the real ones are. So far we have Efren and Mike C. Any other takers?
An outraged Archbishop Hon pointed his fingers at him and banged the table during the Presbyteral Council on Friday afternoon. He accused him of being disobedient for not reading the letter from the pulpit. In full view of the other members at the meeting. Why Archbishop Hon singled out Fr. Mike is beyond me. I heard Fr. Jeff also got berated in private earlier. Many priests, including the NCW presbyters, did not read his letter and did not get a scolding. Truth be told, I DID NOT READ THE LETTER EITHER! Did I get called? Well, not yet. Fr. Mike was forced to write a letter of apology. The sad thing in that scenario was that NOT A SINGLE MEMBER STOOD UP IN SUPPORT OF FR. MIKE. Except perhaps for the Amko Msgr. David IA Quitugua. Why am I writing this? Because the gesture of Archbishop Hon is not becoming of one who is trying to establish unity and reconciliation. Because he has disrespected a fellow local priest in public and reduced him to a whimpering bull pup because "he has the power and he was sent by the Vatican"! Given the circumstances surrounding his failure to bring resolution, I sincerely doubt that.
If Archbishop Hon continues to quibble and remains duplicitous, he hampers the process. He is better off admitting that he is the wrong person! He may retire to his office where he can push paper and kiss rings! Archbishop Hon is costing us money we do not have, and is railroading the slow progress towards resolution. He has done a lot of damage just this last weekend, splitting our Catholic people into loyalties and confusion by demanding the reading of his letter. He is blaming priests for something he should have resolved on Week One of his arrival. He failed to act, which is why we are in a bigger mess than if we ousted Archbishop Apuron ourselves! I support Father Mike and I protest this indignity. A pastoral bishop should respect his priests and seek out their welfare, not shame or embarrass them in public because the priest does not conform to his agenda. A pastoral bishop does not hide behind people he had appointed and leaves them to do the dirty job. A pastoral bishop seeks consensus and invites laypeople to be part of the discussion. A pastoral bishop is beyond censure, and if Archbishop Hon cannot accept that, then he is part of the problem. He might try out for a popularity contest instead. I am confident that with the newly-minted law, the local Catholic Church will earn integrity and credibility. The action of our legislators sent a clear message that they stand behind the people but, more importantly, they respect the rule of law and justice.
I stand behind this comment and will accept any consequence of my words and actions. I do not speak for my peers who may need to own up to what they proclaim in public. I often speak my mind, and it does not get me a lot of invite to clergy meetings. I am fine with that. As the saying goes, "you are defined by the company you keep." A Spanish saying is even more apt, "Da me con quien andas y te dire' quien eres." St. Michael, protect us in battle.
Father Efren Adversario