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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Salesians: Good christians and honest citizens… you sure?

Most of my childhood and teen memories are somehow related to the school in which I spent my 11 years of basic education, the Colegio Salesiano de Breña. I don’t think I can complain about the education and values I received, mostly because I don’t have something else to compare them with. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t many things I would have liked to have happened in a different way.

I remember the motto that identified the Salesians (or at least that’s what they told us), which was to be “ good christians and honest citizens”. I remember that in those years we used to repeat it pretty often, so we wouldn’t forget it and take it as a way of life. Nowadays I find interesting that “good christians” goes before “honest citizens”, as if the second wouldn’t be enough to be the first. Anyway.

To be an honest citizen is a good objective and I think it’s excellent that it be taught in a school. Of course, the idea is that those who preach it be the first ones to do so. Same thing for “good christians”, whatever that means.

That’s why I wonder if this priest was a “good christian” or an ”honest citizen”:

El Salvador: Salesian Priest is condemned for raping a boy
The Priest of the Salesian congregation, Carlos Humberto Hernandez Posada, was condemned on Tuesday night to spend 26 years and 8 months in prison, after the charge of sexually abusing a 9-year-old kid were confirmed.

For a moment I doubted beginning with this news, especially because it involves the institution that, afterwards, had much to do to make me into the person I am nowadays. However, it was evident that not doing so just because the link I have with it would be to approve of the hypocrisy of one of its members, hypocrisy that usually extends to higher spheres of the institution. To start with this was just and necessary.

The attorney of the crimes against children and women unit, said that the religious man used his condition as counselor to ask the kid’s teacher to send him to his office in order to give him orientation. However, when the kid was in the office, the priest would commit different sexual abuses.

A crime like this is horrible, no matter who does it. However, it’s much worse when the one who commits it is a religious man who is in charge of his victim for being supposedly “nearer god”, for supposedly being someone reliable, a second father, and all based in a belief not much different from superstition. A person who betrays the confidence of a minor and his family when that person should be someone who comforts and gives a friendly hand, does not deserve any kind of respect, especially when that confidence is obtained on the basis of religion.

To this point everything goes towards the salesian priest. But there’s more:

After that date, an administrative order was given to detain the priest, but Hernandez Posada was able to escape the justice. He remained a fugitive for 3 years, until he was captured last may in the Salvadorean capital

I find it curious that a priest can escape the authorities for three years. In this case it wouldn’t be strange to suppose that the rapist priest was helped by his superiors, who are usually more concerned about the image that the church projects than in the suffering of a kid. However, nothing of that is mentioned in the news, so it would be unfair to come to that conclusion.

Definitely, there are good salesians and christians, impeccable and admirable. But that’s what is to be expected from them, since that is the message they preach and they should be as a living example. Bad elements as this are proof not that every salesian or christian is a bad person, but that the message (and by extension, the belief, religion or dogma) does not make a person good or bad. Much less, an honest citizen or a good christian, whatever that means.

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"Que esté permitido a cada uno pensar como quiera; pero que nunca le esté permitido perjudicar por su manera de pensar" Barón D'Holbach
"Let everyone be permitted to think as he pleases; but never let him be permitted to injure others for their manner of thinking" Barón D'Holbach