One of the take away lessons from our retreat is when we discussed about the problem of sexual abuses in the Roman Catholic Church. Though us Marist Brothers are not clerical, the discussion applies to us since we represent a different kind of “face” of the Church (in the words of our Superior General Br. Emili Turu, “a Marian face“). There had been a movement to remove celibacy as a requirement for Priesthood (on the other hand, that will never happen in religious orders since it’s our “sign” of consecration). But really, is celibacy the cause of the sexual abuse problem we have? I have a strong opinion on this one. It is not a problem of celibacy. As Fr. Roland said, it is a problem of commitment. If one is committed, then why a priest or a religious would be “full of himself” and abuse these little ones (one of the most horrible offense or “sin”)? He should not have been a priest in the first place! If us religious vowed celibate chastity, the secular priest promise celibacy. And regardless of the term, that is still synonymous to commitment. Like a counselor sister said to a priest who was once struggling, if you still want to become a Catholic priest use your ” creating energy”, be an Eastern Catholic priest. In truth, there are many many married clergy in the Catholic Church! I was even surprised when I learned about it at first. Any way, to prevent this problem, the Church, the people of God and not just the hierarchy, must be proactive. As Pope Francis once mentioned about the importance of initial formation of seminarians and novices in one of his sermons, hence they create “little monsters“.
I am writing this entry in a secluded area where there’s only three in the community (I, a brother and a lay mission partner). I am far away from my family. I have no girlfriend, no wife, and no children. Is it a lonely life? Yes. I remember my aunt’s reaction when she learned that I am still a Marist Brother. She said that I might have been living a sad life. (In Filipino, the word malungkot may mean alone or sad). But before I go out of the topic, yes I am living a lonely life now but it is not always like that. Yes, my life is becoming lonelier than ever. But that’s not all. Community living and the solidarity of the Brothers who have lived this kind of life is my source of consolation. If the burden of this commitment is becoming heavier, I must admit it though it may be seen as unmanly of me. Emotions must be expressed or else it might manifest somewhere else.
If the way I am (or the lack of my
character) is not anymore congruent to the commitment of being a Brother, then that’s the time to leave. I won’t be able to radiate the joy of the kingdom if that happens. I must not insist anymore if that happens since it is not God’s call that I am listening or responding into; it is myself calling me.
Strangely, I feel like it’s Good Friday on an Easter weekday. But remember, Resurrection is not possible without the Crucifixion. Besides, I’m just carrying the load of the cross. Yes, I feel some burden now but my head is still up. Carry on, Allen! You’ll see the Risen Lord.