By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

 

1. Split Loyalty

Father Joeker

Brother Marcus Hipolito SVD from Brazil and I were watching on TV the World Under-17 Football Championship in Ecuador between Ghana and Brazil. It was really exciting. Both teams were giving their best. Brother Marcus, naturally, cheered for Brazil. But in the middle of the game a Brazilian player pulled the shirt of a running Ghanaian player who was two steps ahead and poised for a perfect goal. At that very moment Brother Marcus cursed the Brazilian player for such a disgraceful act and immediately shifted his allegiance to the Ghanaian team. Would you call that ‘inculturation’?

2. Mag-beer muna tayo

Father Joeker

His name was George but I’ve forgotten his surname. He was a police inspector. The work he dreaded most was visiting morgues. He described for me in vivid detail his horrible experience in the morgue of a big hospital in Kumasi, the regional capital of the Ashante Region. There were usually 20 to 30 cadavers just lined up, waiting to be claimed. He had been called to identify a corpse. He went around the different rooms, squeezing in between corpses lined up one after the other.

As he continued his rounds in the big morgue, he met individuals along the corridor. He felt eerie, not knowing whether a person he met was dead or alive. ‘I will never go inside the morgue again,’ he said. However, people who have been working there for years don’t mind putting their beer beside a corpse or inside the refrigerator of the dead.

3. Free Bicycles

Father Joeker

In one of my villages, Kawumpe, a new evangelical church leader came and promised bicycles to all who would join him. People, including some Catholics, indeed flocked to the new religion ‘The Only Religion that Guarantees Salvation’. ‘What do you promise us?’ the remaining Catholics asked me. ‘I cannot promise you bicycles; I can only promise you eternal life,’ I answered. After two months, the new church collapsed and the founder left with enough money to travel.

4. Male Chauvinism

Father Joeker

One priest during a gathering dominated by Sisters remarked blithely, ‘You know, God created the world and rested; God created woman and since then no one has rested.’ ‘Except the men!’ one of the Sisters added with a knowing look at the other Sisters.