I don’t remember when it was the last time I attended mass.
Being born and raised a Catholic, I am not proud of my action.
But, I have never been at peace with myself and with the people around me than I am now, being in communion with God alone and always – one on one – without a middle person, called priest or prelate, intervening.
It is the sickening and excessive behavior of priests like Bishop Ramon Villena, head of the Bayombong diocese in Nueva Vizcaya province, that has forced me to distance myself from the church.
In a newswire sent to ABS-CBN, it was reported that Bishop Villena, who happened to be visiting Herndon, Virginia, about half an hour’s drive from Washington DC, officiated an anticipated mass on July 2 (Saturday) at the St. Joseph Church.
The church, which is run by Franciscan friars, caters to a small Fil-Am population in Herndon and is said to have links with the Bayombong diocese, which occasionally send priests there to raise funds to help calamity victims and finance church projects in Nueva Vizcaya.
Being Villena’s first time to say mass at St. Joseph Church, he was welcomed, but to the consternation of the parishioners, he was going way over the time limit that any priest would normally do in his homily.
What aggravated it was that he was talking outside the realm of his faith that did not interest the faithful present.
“He was very critical of the government,” said one parishioner. “Some of the churchgoers were already restless because his sermon was running very long and they didn’t really understand what he was talking about.”
Apparently, Villena was talking about the PCSO scam involving a number of bishops, including himself, and he was telling everyone that President Benigno Aquino is out to persecute the bishops.
Villena was reported to be not only “abusing the parish church’s hospitality,” but, to me, he was tactless as he was hypocritical.
Is unearthing an anomaly involving the Catholic Church and its hierarchy a form of persecution? Don’t we want to find the truth? Are bishops above the law, untouchable, infallible and incorruptible?
C’mon! What is the difference between this and the high military hierarchy scam?
I really won’t wonder if more and more people are turned off and walking away from the church.
If CBCP wants to stop this exodus of malcontent Catholics, then talk about religion, where it matters most and leave the subject of politics to the state.