Saturday, November 17, 2007

Celestial class

Dear God: I am a mother with two sons. How can I make sure that they will not run amok when they discover sex?

Dear Mother: Let them become priests.

Dear God: I mean no disrespect, Lord, but have you been reading the papers? One man of God—begging your pardon again, Lord—toyed with the baby bra straps of teenagers while they were confessing to him.

Dear Mother: I should ask you the same question, Woman. The priest in that case was cleared.

Dear God: Pardon, Lord! Your mercy is truly infinite and Your love, all-embracing—

Dear Mother: No, no, no (celestial light impatiently flickers) It was not I who pardoned the goat. According to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office, touching confessors’ body parts is just all in a day’s work for someone that’s “not ordinary,” in other words: an “alter ego of Jesus Christ.”

Dear God: Oh… where do I line up my sons, Lord?

As an ordinary, grubby member of the flock and a woman at that, I stumble along life’s pathways, the paved, the all-weather and the spiritual. The knowledge that there are extra-ordinary human beings that don’t stub their toes or dent their souls, no matter what rut their material bodies end up in, should inspire me to repent, do good, be holy. Perhaps, in my next life, I will be destined, too, for sinless blessedness by an accident of gender and vocation.

My envy, though, blocks me from moving up to first class. I cannot lie, steal, kill, glance at another man that is not my husband without committing sin in my heart. I do not have priestly immunity. I am just a child of the dark while priests acting lascivious and lewd in broad daylight “require an unreasonable overstretching of one’s imagination,” says the law.

Understandably, I have not been too charitable in my thoughts to Fr. Benedicto Zozobrado Ejares, the Roman Catholic priest cleared of charges of lascivious acts last Nov. 14 by the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.

Yesterday, Sun.Star Cebu’s Karlon N. Rama reported that a psychologist report found the five teenagers traumatized by their encounter with Fr. Ejares. Their suffering had effects similar to that undergone “by victims of poisoning or those who have witnessed classmates die.”

I do not know if the psychologist’s report will reopen the case. I am even less hopeful that the girls will look at any man of the cloth again without recalling certain swines in sheep’s clothing.

So that the faithful will not be prone to mixed metaphors and daylight nightmares, I suggest that the Church reviews its screening process for seminarians.

To ensure that the alter egos of Jesus are actually as perfect as they are cracked up to be, the Church can, on top of applying the usual psychological testing protocols, send out its emissaries to an applicant’s home, school, even the local sari-sari hangout. Possible line of questioning:

To the next-door neighbor: Did you ever see Mr. Alter Ego steal glances at your daughter’s undies while you were hanging these on the clothesline?

To the sari-sari owner: How long is his credit list for beer, cigarettes, Trust condom? Does he pay his debts?

To the fellow lodger: What name does JC Jr. mumble in his sleep? How many names? How often are the names changed? Opposite sex, same sex, undefined?

To his teachers: Do his essays show an overweening sense of self? Does his writing reveal some confusion with nouns and pronouns, for instance, mistaking “I” for “God”?

To the college yearbook photographer: Did he specify refracted rays and halo for his portrait? 09173226131

* Published in Sun.Star Cebu’s Nov. 18 issue

No comments: