The Christmas gift I cannot give

A BISHOP I know pretends to champion social justice, but, right in his own backyard is brewing unrest.

“His true colors now show,” say a group of parish workers.  “He is a moneymaker.”

For instance, he announced that he will celebrate masses in all parishes this Christmas season, and, with over 30 parishes in the diocese, and with the standard Php3,000 stipend the bishop gets per mass, the figures easily translate to Php100,000.  The amount does not include enveloped gifts and the customary bananas and eggs in shiny wrappings.

In the past two years of his administration, fees for church services, e.g. baptism, weddings, funerals, etc., were increased, but salaries of parish workers, i.e. clerks, bookkeepers, and other staff, have stagnated.  Worse, benefits accorded them in the past have been diminished, if not scrapped.  The priests, meanwhile, now enjoy fatter pay envelopes.

The bishop also increased the compulsory contribution of parishes to the diocese from a flexible lower amount to Php8,000, regardless of parish size.

And how about the frequent foreign trips of the bishop and his priests abroad?  How much money have they gathered from unsuspecting overseas Pinoys?

How ironical that the church is always inclined to lambast government for graft and corruption, constantly demanding for transparency and accountability on public funds, yet the church itself is evasive on how it handles church money. A journalist friend says the bishop always dodges questions about the finances of the diocese.

One of his predecessors, who served the diocese for decades, was, in euphemistic terms, also a financial whiz, but he was known to share his blessings.  The older prelate did a lot of charitable work, including prison apostolate.  He also regularly distributed gifts, in the manner of a true politico, to the poor, especially between December and February, his birth month.

Inversely proportional to church fees is the quality of homilies of our priests.  Rapidly declining in substance, they have become painfully boring.

But maybe they can deliver more interesting, more insightful sermons if they spend more time actually doing meditation, and less time going to bars.

One priest is a known habitué of bar in a town named after Santa Claus.  This priest is also known to carry a gun.  I do not know if he has enemies or if it is just a hobby that he arms himself, but this really alarms me big time.  I wonder if the bishop knows about this, but how could he not?  This priest lives very near him, very, very near, nearer in fact than the swimming pool by the Bishop’s Palace.

But ‘Fr. Bar’ is not the only gun-carrying priest.  In fact, another presbyter figured in a gun-pointing incident the previous year.  His victim was a fellow priest who was so petrified he had to be temporarily adopted by the bishop.  I am not sure why he did it, but I am sure the reason was not spiritual because last time I checked, Jihad was not Christian, but Islamic.

Let me make it clear that going to bars per se is not wrong as priests also ought to loosen up and have some fun, but frequenting sleazy night clubs, like some of them actually do, is, well, not so priestly.

Priests are as human as we all are. They can be weak and vulnerable, and so we should pray for them.  I ask God to bless and enlighten our religious, in the same breath that I pray for my soul.

I never went to mass this 2009, not once, not even when I agreed, on reasons social and not spiritual, to be “ninong” to a child.

My mother asks that I go to mass every Sunday, “that’s the only gift I ask of you,” she begged.

Alas!  It’s a gift that is too much to give.

But let me assure you, dear karikna, that I have a very healthy relationship with the Almighty.  I will not speak too preachy less I sound like a priest, or my mother, so enough be said that I do not need an exorcist.

Happy Christmas, dear karikna.

31 Comments

Filed under Church

31 responses to “The Christmas gift I cannot give

  1. byron

    curious lng, ilan taon n ung priest n to?

  2. This is a case of “behind that beautiful, shiny fence is a dirty and ugly house” situation. Are we going to a Noli Me Tangere era wherein priests feel that they have the highest positions in town – higher than the government – and they dictate the lives of people?

    • Herdy La. Yumul

      guien, the Padre Damasos will come back but if and only if we allow them to.

      Honestly though, priests are not our enemy. Just that their flock must help them become better servants, and vice versa. No man has a monopoly of virtue, not you, not me, not the bishop.

  3. tita lita

    there are priests that are a breath of fresh air.in fact i am friends with them.

  4. bleh

    sorry, but the priest you mentioned who served the diocese for decades is also CORRUPT! Di mo yata napansin na during the the time he served eh walang masyadong nangyayari sa St. Williams, only one renovation or improvement was made during his tenure-flooring. the rest wala. Pansinin mo, when he left, dami napaganda St. williams at daming improvement.

    • Herdy La. Yumul

      bleh, you missed my point. I did say “financial whiz” is a euphemism. In that case, I actually meant it to be “corrupt.” I therefore agree with your observations on the predecessor.

  5. EAglepower

    Happy Christmas… Sir Herdz

  6. tita lita

    eaglepower..happy holidays.healthy prosperous 2010

  7. William S.

    A blessed Christmas and joyous New Year to all. Happy holidays and peace to All.

  8. tita lita

    again like every christmas our family decided not to have the lavish ones we use to have..we agreed to have 1 major present each just so we can donate to the needy here intown.the u.s also have people that are homeless and people that are unemployed due to the economy..so what a better way to receive the newborn king JESUS..THAN TO HELP THE NEEDY and now we can say ..the chrismas gift we can give.merry christmas everyone..let us be good to everyone not only this season but forever and always…

    • Herdy La. Yumul

      Yes, God loves us so much that we are moved to share. Nobody is too poor not to be able to give anything.

      Merry Christmas, folks.

  9. Ate Joy

    Hi Herdy,
    Just dropping by to greet you, “Merry Christmas and wishing you the best and the beautiful this 2010!”

    We thought of waking you up one time when we called…..

    We are all doing well, enjoying beaches, barbeques and lots of fun and goodies…..anyway wishing you all again the happiness this festive season brings.

    Keep in touch ading.

  10. I admit, I have not been on this site in a long time… however it was another enjoy to see It is such great subject and to avoided by so many, even expert. I thank you to succor making people more conscious of possible issues.

  11. tita lita

    i am also human and vulnerable like anyone .all i want is a second chance and a peace of mind but i am being denied of it.

  12. I heard talks about this young frayle (if, he is the one from a town whose mayor is his relative) is gun-toting, bar-habitue, but he is also quite amiable handsome and good, no-nonsense sermon giver. He limits his sermons well within the mass time, unlike the older frayle I know that could talk for hours on end…

  13. Touche, sir Herdz, je,je…

  14. Del

    Wow, you really have balls! You did not mention name but you gave away clues! Unfortunately, I do not even know any of your subject, hahaha. I’ve been out of ilocos for a long time, except for 5 days a year stay at my domicile and I didn’t hear anything like this.

    I commend you for exposing these crooks in the church.

  15. tita lita

    when it comes to exposing leave it to sir herdy.he is so not afraid to do such things but he does it with finesse and have all the right words..

  16. tita lita

    when i came back from vacation i was so pleased to see that we have a new parish priest. gives good sermons(not boring) good sense of humor..he laughs and he high fives the kids ..parishioners are at ease and it is not like the old church that people just sit there and faces without expressions.this priest makes people smile even long after his sermon is over…and as a result the church is always full..during the anticipated mass on saturdays and i also went one sunday morning to see if it is the same and it is also full..some priest are a breath of fresh air and you can tell who the devoted ones are and really love their job!!

  17. Am not sure if the dioceseoflaoag47.blogspot.com is still active. You can see the pictures of the clergy, various activities and blog-bulletins about church activities…

  18. About being a normal human being, I was told that the bishop constructed a swimming pool at his palatial residence to satisfy his athletic prowess even at his age! Surely, the RC (Regal Church, they call) has plenty of money to spend!!!

  19. rc

    I agree that the priest are human also, they can be weak and vulnerable. but the priest must know what is good or bad. but all of us , we have the agency to choose, we can do what we want to do and it follows with a consequences. And for the bishop that was a moneymaker, if he is truly a servant of the lord , he must know what is really a righteous doing.

  20. tc

    There is truth in this article by proven that i read, saw and heard about some priests. Sometimes the private lives of priests drive their followers away from the chuch when they drink, smoke, and commit many more sins as per news paper, magazines and books.
    How i wish that these priests would live in such a way that those who know them but don’t know god will come to know in the real sense, because they know them.
    This is true to some good priests, who really are the shepherds of god. Such a consolation.

  21. Our relationship with our Creator is not measured by how many times we go to the church or how devoted we are to our religion. It is the relationship that matters. It is the connection to Him and how we have him in our hearts. And if the different religious/spiritual leader abuses their role, we should still not hate them. They are still human, and no human is perfect. We should pray for them as we pray for ourselves.

  22. tintin

    Totoo ba ang allegation na yan? Kakahiya naman kuyng ganun. Bat ganun, dapat they are also God-fearing. Bakit may pumatay ng kapwa niya pari? Sabagay mga tao lang naman sila, hindi sila perpekto at nagkakamali din. Pero huwag natin kalimutan na marami pa rin naman ang mabubuting pari sa atin ngayon.

  23. Aji

    I go to church two times a week. Yes I can because I believe in what I have chosen. If the time comes that I can’t even enter once a week in our church, it’s because I had seen something against my belief and not because of an unfavorable act done by a brother or sister.

  24. xtian

    Akoy naalarma at nabigla nang nabasa ko ito at nalamang may bishop palang gumagawa ng karumal dumal na gawain. Sinasarili pala nya ang mga pera at donasyon. Ito ay isang malaking sampal sa simbahan lalo na ang mga pari at bishop kung sakaling maibulgar ang anomalyang ito. Sana hindi lahat ng mga pari at bishop ay katulad ng nabanggit. At hindi naman nangangahulugan na kung hindi ka na pumupunta sa simbahan ay mababawasan na ang pananampalataya mo sa Diyos. Nasa sa yo kuung paano mo patitibayin ang relasyon mo sa Panginoong Diyos.

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