Each time I see the Laity Forward Movement and the Concerned Catholics of Guam organizations in the news, they remind me I should feel shame and disgrace for our church. Moreover, they tell everyone (including Protestant church members) that our church has no dignity. They claim membership of the Catholic community, which is easily misconstrued as representation for all Catholics on Guam.
I want to say they do not represent me, a proud Chamorro Catholic.
I understand members of both esteemed organizations want retribution for those who may have done wrong. But do they realize that each time they picket and each time they speak up in the media or are seen out in public as a group, they are nourishing that same division in our church that they themselves are praying to heal? They drag the face of our Catholic Church — the whole church — in the mud in the eyes of everyone, even in front of the Protestant churches and their members.
It says, “Take a look at how bad our church is,” and they say it over and over and over again. Is that really what they are trying to accomplish, and deliberately so? Do they realize this is the image they are conveying, or perhaps they do realize it and just don’t care? Well, whether they realize it or not, it is what it is.
As a child, when one of my siblings got in trouble, I didn’t have to be told that I better get out of the room and be quiet, or else. We were also taught that no matter what, we respect our elders, most especially those in authority. All living beings deserve respect from everyone. That is what being Chamorro means to me.
As they say, “Påkaka’ ya un intrega hulo’ as Yu’us ya guiya hu arekla todu ni i malago’ña” (Be quiet and offer it up to God and he will fix it all according to his will). We already know that all those who may have done wrong will be dealt with accordingly by our Lord. This is our faith, and this is our culture. Respect our church by letting it go already and trust in the Lord.
So, with all due respect to these fine organizations, I say enough already!
Pat Oliva is a resident of Chalan Pago.