Generally speaking, Father Ho Lung and his team are inspirations for us all.
But, he badly blotted his copybook by ignoring Christ's entreaty to judge not lest ye be judged. His vicious attack on Lisa Hanna in January 30's Gleaner ('Lisa Hanna: Disappointment of the year 2014') was so out of character, so vitriolic, so unbalanced, that it was almost supernatural.
People are entitled to disapprove of Lisa's photo posting. However, "I am reminded of Lucifer's fall from heaven"? Really? Seriously? "Do you Jamaicans want your children to do what Lisa Hanna has done? If you wish them to be like her - worldly, secular and empty of any values but the self - then we are in for another Sodom and Gomorrah"?
We're all worldly; most of us secular. Because Lisa posted her photo on Instagram she's "empty of any values but the self"? Honestly? If children follow her example of physical and mental discipline leading to international acclaim followed by service to country, Jamaica is "in for another Sodom and Gomorrah"?
Why the hyperbole? In 2014, we endured chik-V; devaluations; recession; scandals; and 1,100-plus unnatural deaths, but Father Ho Lung's greatest disappointment was looking at Lisa in a bikini? He commented: "Why would the minister of youth and culture, just short of complete nudity, strip herself down and post herself on social media ... ?"
Father, "just short of complete nudity"? Puh-leeeeze! "Strip herself down"? C'mon, man! It could be your imagination because that just didn't happen.
However, during 2014, a 'celibate' priest stripped completely naked and committed adultery with a woman. Yet Father Ho Lung's biggest disappointment was Lisa's photo in bikini and wet T-shirt? What does THAT say about Roman Catholic arrogance and hypocrisy?
Since this brutal attack, I've asked myself: Would the Roman Catholic Church allow Father Ho Lung to verbally assault Lisa so viciously just for being true to herself? Father Ho Lung left the Society of Jesus in 1980 but subsequently applied to the Church on the Brothers of the Poor's behalf for 'Pious Union' status in 1982. Would the Church reprimand him or insist he apologise? Or would it be business as usual to the continuing message, "Do as I say, NOT as I do"?
On February 25, my questions were answered. In a rambling, self-indulgent offering ('Whom do I serve?') that read like an attempted justification of his previous rant, Father Ho Lung offered neither apology nor regret. He may, however, have inadvertently given us an insight into possible motivation when he wrote:
"... There are also evils we have had to counter - abortion, the proposition to kill the baby in the womb before they become ghetto youth. There is also hedonism which promotes the flesh market, even while young boys drop their trousers in popular style, and young women prostitute themselves.
"Everything goes in Jamaica and is justifiable, as long as it brings about popularity or notoriety and money. The destruction of morality under the label of productivity and pro-choice is exactly what all of us as Jamaicans must confront today."
Oh, dear. He seems equally obsessed with the "evil" of abortion as the "evil" of Lisa's body. Was his vitriolic condemnation linked to her possible rejection of support for his strict anti-abortion stance? Recently, he's quick to attack her, including for simply repeating what was reported to her by Alpha Boys' School sisters. Does Father Ho Lung believe women, including Lisa, are entitled to minds of their own? Must women oppose abortion regardless?
What's up, Father? Is it forbidden for a beautiful woman to be seen as beautiful? Should we legislate that women wear burqas? Would that cauterise what you've labelled promotion of "the flesh market"?
Here's what I think, Father. Your Church preaches removal of the plank out of our own eyes before looking for splinters in others. Father, now that you've unburdened yourself repeatedly regarding Lisa's Instagram photo, what have you to say about priests' sexual misconduct? For centuries, priests' involvement in "the flesh market" was swept under the carpet and miscreants only transferred. Within this decade, the Roman Catholic Church has shipped off two persons for what the public knows was sexual misconduct of one form or another.
In the USA alone, the Roman Catholic Church has reportedly paid more than US$2.2 billion to families whose 100,000-plus members were victims of sexual abuse. How come Father Ho Lung is silent on these issues? Why hasn't he raised spectres of Lucifer's fall? How come? Surely, these matters are more important than Lisa in a swimsuit. Sheesh!
Peace and love.
- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.