– What’s a deacon? A deacon is a Priest who’s a few months away from receiving Priesthood but is of yet to be fulfilled.
– Is it a self-imposed penance to rise to Priesthood?
I don’t know what you mean.
-What does being a knight entail? I saw a pamphlet that read “why become a knight”
It’s a movement by the church. Their apostolate is “Knight of Columbus” they do different activities like taking food to people in need, teaching Sunday school, they help with tasks of the church.
-What does a priest do?
We do a lot of things.
-Is it an administrative duty?
Among other things, it’s mainly a spiritual duty. Our job is to spiritually guide people. And within our spiritual duty there’s also some administrative duties. You have to watch over the caretaking of a Parish, pay the electric bill, pay for water, pay a secretary to do her job, and administrate.
-And the spiritual duty?
The spiritual duties are the confessions, the eucharist celebrations, to accompany the deceased, joining in marriage, first communion, confirmation, and sometimes we’re asked to spiritually accompany people who are going through a difficult situation: the loss of a loved one that they may be struggling to understand. It’s a sort of spiritual assistance. It’s not like going to the psychologist.
Science isn’t at odds with religion, but they are two different processes.
-What comes after Priesthood?
Some are called to a higher duty. The Bishop is called upon, one doesn’t ask to be ordained, it’s something that has to be granted. The order of the Diaconate and that of the Priesthood we ask for. We ask to be admitted to priesthood. But the order of eparchy is granted by the grace of God. Others see towards your talents and choose those who will lead the church. We currently have Bishop Miguel Ángel who’s the third Bishop to the diocese of La Paz. Who’s not governing over the diocese. After that, there’s the order of the Cardenal which is more of a service. The pope himself is a Bishop. But he’s the Bishop of Rome, but has the same order, that of Bishop.
-What would you say is the spirit of Todos Santos? We inherit something from the land. People according to the land have a certain nature.
I believe Todos Santos is a peaceful place. It’s not plagued by big problems that might red light it. That doesn’t exist in todo Santos. It’s true that problems exist, like in any other place, problems as, alcoholism and drug addictions.
-Is the difference clear to someone coming from elsewhere?
It’s clear. It’s obvious. When you come from a place plagued with people, you become anonymous. You don’t have a face. Sometimes you don’t even have a name.
When you arrive in a place like this, you begin to feel you belong to the land. You belong to a family, to a community, to the moment.
-A few will still behave with dignity.
It’s not a big population, although we do now run the risk that it’s become a place attractive to tourism and because of it, it’s growing a lot. We’re at risk of thinking that because we sell more or because we have more economically we can be happier and that’s rarely the case.
-It sounds almost as if the simple degenerative conclusion may be that the more there are the worst it gets.
Rather than quantity it’s the quality of human formation.
-But at home, In the familiar nuclei, we’re always a few. How is it that your social identity gets lost in being surrounded by more people? What you say about the people of Todos Santos y very curious to me, that they in some way bear a certain variety of respect, as if it were a matter of osmosis. How can it be that if I add a thousand people more it atrophies?
It becomes atrophied when you’re not of the land, you weren’t born there, you didn’t grow up with the culture, you don’t know their mannerisms, their way of speaking.
-You invoke a dangerous terminology, we begin to tread among rhetoric implemented against immigration which has been inflicted by the state over many innocent man. But then might one say: well, it’s not at all false?
No. To impede immigration is to impoverish the land and a people. I may feel I don’t belong to this land. But when I arrive I must embrace its ways, their forms of expression, and relate it to myself and my lifestyle. When I embrace all of that, the community embraced me back. When you try to impose your own ways where things are running smoothly you may stir up conflict.
-A seed may destabilize a whole ecosystem.
Exactly. You breed discord, you bring about division, these are the problems of man you see. We man are very strange. We’re designed to love, but somehow are unaware of it. It’s easier for us to hate, to discriminate, to divide.
-Isn’t that odd? In my experience, it’s the contrary that’s true. Every time you hate, every time you act in ill-will you’re punished in your own life. If you are a bad husband to your wife your life is worst because of it.
-I believe it’s not easy to be bad. It makes everything worst. For yourself and for everyone else. How might that be easy? On the contrary, if you go out, give, if you seed the land and care, you’re life becomes better, it becomes objectively better. That’s how it works.
-Nevertheless, they tend to degeneration, despite their suffering. How is this easier?
And we’re now legislating death. We legislate murder. We create law that goes against our own nature. The intelligent being act irrationally. We lack foresight, to see where we’re heading. They forget the value in love.
-I don’t think they forget. From what I can tell, it’s not that they forget it. It’s that some have never felt love purely. They won’t even approach beauty because they’re not even aware of what awaits down that path.
-Are the people of Todo Santos close to the church?
The people here are very close to the church, foreigners who come as well. They have a relationship to God, although their style may differ. Americans for example are very religious.
-How about the others?
The people who come, the visitors that come become amazed. I don’t know what it is that amuses them so.
I believe it’s because they find a sort of peace. The mission is open every day and people come every day. Because there’s tourism every day. They come in, take a photo, I don’t know if that’s the best way of interacting, as they take a photo with the sign that reads Todos a Santos; in the museum, at a party, assuming the temple is a sacred place, we’d have to refer to it as such. As if to something sacred. To enter respectfully, to acknowledge that there’s something above us, it’s a hard thing to express to people.
-And you intrinsically must, well. That’s been a thing I’ve always found admirable. You said it earlier in a way, you said that when one goes to a place where things aren’t the way we’d like them to be, one must be tolerant. In this case, in your house, it’s intrinsically disrespectful, it must hurt a little. But I recognize the capacity of simply accepting it and having faith that it may be that not everyone interacts in this way.
It’s like when someone wants to enter your life. It’s obvious that if someone wants to enter your life in the best way, respecting your situation, you open the door, you let them in, and you discover secrets together. The same thing happens in the sacred space. The sacred is for everyone. It’s for everyone to come in. What’s subjectively interpreted by whoever comes in is a hard thing to manage, there are places where I’d ask of you for a larger amount of respect, because it’s sacred to me, and I won’t allow you to come and violate that.
It’s like when a man violates trust, the same matter happens to our homes, with our bodies and temples which we care for greatly, because they’re exactly that, because we’re sacred. And it is a complicated matter to tend to adequately. Nevertheless, we’re always open. The Catholic Church will always be available to welcome any sort of matter of men, to shepherded and accompany. That’s what the church is. A teacher of the Conscience. It won’t make you do anything, it won’t take anything from you. It only educates the conscience and through these means will make you a free man so that you may choose how to live your life. That’s the church. It’s not a bureaucratic apparatus, it’s not limiting as many young see it.
-What’s Santeria like around here? It’s present, no?
Yes. From what I’ve heard.
I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never had any kind of experience with that because in principle it’s not something I’m interested in getting involved with. I’ve heard from the people of these sort of expressions and it’s worrying to me as an agent with the mission of educating the conscience, we must help man live well and thrive, to live happy and free. That’s our mission and it’s my mission with myself.
There’s the good and the bad, there’s a good and a bad choice. And as so far as you allow it there will be a dramatic affect. There are things that aren’t good for you, that don’t make you happy nor help you live freely. And so would be the case with Santeria.
-And Santeria is in fact a peculiar one, it thrives on your ribs. It utilizes the symbology of your order. Judas, the Virgen Mary but it also implements artifacts far from the church. And that’s a very different matter altogether. So I ask, is it that when, for example, the people of Todos Santos show a certain devotion to these embodied symbologies, is it that they’re in fact devoted to the church, or might it be they’re devoted to Santeria as its the same iconography, so they come to you with secondary agendas. Yes, there is that religious syncretism.
– I don’t believe its merely coincidental, it’s likely come about with intelligent intent.
We in Mexico, our ancestors were like that you see. In Mexico City right outside of the Cathedral you’ll see people jumping and dancing around smoke, it’s linked with a purpose, a healthy one.
The performing of cleansing rituals, so that you may find a certain equilibrium, it’s linked to part of the culture. The problem is when you unlink it and you then exercise a sort of power over people or use certain ideas to impact their economy.
-There are many ways in which one might interpret the Bible, there’s its intrinsic psychological underpinning, it’s a good book if you want to figure out how to be a good man. You can also see it from the perspective of the collective unconscious in so far as that’s everything in the Bible is real to every man. Have you read it or not, you know. It merely helps us remember or gain confidence. Then there’s the matter of well, magic. The magic. And so on, what’s the spiritual necessity for a “spiritual cleansing” if you must only confess.
Yes, well, I don’t know. People who seek out these expressions, we’d have to know their situation. We’d have to know. It’s too easy to judge from the outside. As many times were often judged by others. For our appearance, for our manner of speaking, the way we sit. When a person seeks out this sort of practice we’d have to be patient enough to accompany their journey to know what’s happening within them, what dramatic gestures are happening that they can’t find solace in their faith. To know what’s happening. I think it goes along these lines. To say you’re a catholic practitioner who seeks out a Chaman to conduct a spiritual cleaning, so that he may read you your future o tell you what’s happening in your life. We should intuitively judge what path is best and who to have on your side. That’s what I understand of the matter.
-Do you believe the cards can tell you your way?
No, I don’t. I believe we make of today the capacity of living on tomorrow.
-Then there’s no powers at play when a Chaman does his doing?
There are ideas, expressions, forms, images, all of that. Necessity breeds creation.
-You speak in psicológicas terms. And it is so. But is it to mean that you don’t believe there’s something else? Like an angel that might touch one’s soul?
That’s not what I said.
-that’s why I ask.
I have a degree in psychology you know?
-Ah! That explains it. So then is it you don’t believe in magic?
There’s such a thing as powers that goes beyond our capacity to understand. I don’t know if I would call that magic. I believe I don’t know what we might name it. I’d call it faith. And I’ve been many things in my life, I’ve been at many plateaux which I’ve had the opportunity of studying, so on, I don’t know, I’d call it something greater than magic. There are matters we don’t know how to express.
– It’s incredible to me how the collective unconscious may from a collective dream, which we all know within our soul. Somehow then with great finesse redacted in the poetic compendium that is the Bible.
– This collective narrative we can describe in psychological terms as that, the collective unconscious. But I could call this magic, God, angels, and their way of connecting with a person through the mind and through experience. All to get to if there’s such a thing we can agree upon be it at least: “the collective dream” I would then expect its shadow to exist at well. A “collective nightmare”.
-And if one can through the development of the self, get ever closer to the collective dream, and feel its calling and drive. Then if one were to allow himself to fall ill, for illness of the mind, of the soul, would there be then a way in which one may come into contact with the collective nightmare? As in, If I were to empower certain beings of the mind through Santeria, could be it so that these spirits and powers of the collective nightmare begin to wreak havoc, poses me even?
Of thoughts, It may.
-But might It have the force of God?
-If one where Ill?
God is more. God is most. God goes beyond all our terminology, God escapes the limitations of our expressions. God is beyond our comprehension.
-Holiness I meant to say.
God is beyond it all, however, he wants to be understood. This is the dilemma.
-I meant to speak of that which is Holy and the Unholy and that there are ways in which I perceive Santeria may take man towards Unholiness and to take that to its highest expression, Holiness is what awaits us in the collectives dream and so Unholiness is what would take us to the collective nightmare.
If you want to see it that way, fine.
-You don’t see this as possible? As God can save sick men and recuperate them in his glory, the holy can bring back men from degeneration and save them, if one welcomes it.
And it in fact does.
– Of course.
– But then if one allows
it, in his folly, one may be taken towards that which is opposite to the Holy and there exists something not as powerful as the holly, but none the less potent.
-That may make man further deteriorate, some as, and I’ve coined the term during our conversation: The collective nightmare.
Well, that’s the thing. It’s. We’re freewilled. You’re free. No one is going to make you live that kind of experience, you must go and choose, like a drug addict might. To the drug addict, drugs aren’t bad for him. They’re pleasurable, they grant him satisfaction, they give him a certain kind of emotional stability. It allows him to escape his reality, which he definitely, in accordance to his way of living, cannot understand. This is to say this man is wrong in accordance to my lifestyle but it may not be the subjective case for him.
-That’s not right. I don’t believe that. Well, it’s nice to be open-minded. But I do believe there’s such a thing as an instinctive objective order of the good and bad.
Yes, there’s a supreme order.
-The drug addict is wrong.
The drug addict is wrong. What he does is wrong; how to put it. We’re all addicts of something. And there-fore you and I are also wrong. But no one has told us, and we need someone to tell us. What happens with the drug addict is he’s informed of the matter.
-But not he who fasts.
I don’t understand.
-In spiritual teams.
Fasting isn’t a drug, it’s a habit, it’s an accustom, not something you take.
-That’s what I mean, on a spiritual level, to not take.
To abstain. He who has limits.
-He who is void, who exists in the moment. As I understand it in catholicism it’s done at times, to purify or absolve one self. In other religions, it’s Buda. He truly isn’t an addict. You said you and I, You said everyone. And I believe there are ways to not be it.
t’s because you consider it to be a bad thing?
-I don’t know, not necessarily, no.
A bad thing as in I’m addicted to doing a bad thing. How about someone who does exercise daily, to stay fit. That’s not bad.
-is that an addiction?
Someone who reads. It may be taken as an addiction by some other person. He goes to the gym every single day.
-He went to the church again!
He goes to church every day. What’s going on?!
He’s addicted to god! Now he’s praying! he’s becoming addicted to praying! It’s not that addictions are a bad thing, all man are addicted to something.
-When you go about, walking on your way, and a dog comes to you as if he’d known you his whole life, plays with you, those are visions, those beautiful moments where your soul interacts with reality.
– I believe in the same way there are situations in which one might get into where one interacts with things that are opposite to this beauty.
– When one asks through the means of Santeria for The Virgen marry to grant a miracle. Is it in fact The Virgen Mary who heads this call? Would it be Mary who replies?
I once met a character, we ended up becoming friends. I’d say to him: Why would you go looking elsewhere for what you already have? Why leave your treasure for something lesser? That doesn’t make sense to me. If we’re called upon to perfect ourselves, to grow, and to reflect ever more finely; why lessen oneself. If you already know the sublime, why would you go towards the obscure? That’s what I can’t wrap my head around. This is what I find incomprehensible of man’s nature. Humans are contradicting. Sometimes where well and because we’re well other people become uncomfortable with us or it may even be so that we become uncomfortable with ourselves. I’m well, but I somehow have to not be well so that I feel at ease. As if they want to be in constant war with themselves. That’s what man is like, we contradict our own existence. One would have to work on the self, to establish and discern the beauty of living a harmonious life.
-What say you of the sea?
The sea is beautiful here in a Todos Santos. You can go lay, sleep and be at peace with yourself, discover nature, it’s
-It’s mystical, the sea is like the Forrest.
If you wanna put it that way.
-No, I meant of the darkness. It inherits mysticism.
Well, the sea has two realities, life, and death. You may even feel it. It’s dangerous, there also lay neath creatures that go beyond our capacities, the sea inherits two natures. It’s beautiful but at the same time, it can injure you. As long as we can we should enjoy it.
-That sounds hedonistic
And even a little selfish too, hu? We should be hedonistic sometimes.
We should be hedonistic sometimes.
-I wasn’t expecting that from a man of order!
No; We should. We should be hedonistic sometimes.
-Please tell me more.
We should stop, they’ll say this priest is too openminded!
– No, not at all. You kept good composure. You’ve spoken with moderation.
– I say it with admiration, too. I’ve come to understand your way of seeing the matter, and you’ve been careful not to answer certain questions I’ve made. You rather reframed my inquiry.
– And that ok. Some things may be best left unanswered.
-I see. Well, then again, I am speaking with a future man of Priesthood, not just any man. I may have had my way with most. To speak of the obscure. It’s not for morbidity’s sake. But I do believe there’s something there. That is my opinion.
Obscure things within the church?
-No. No, no. I mean, and as I said it’s only my own opinion, and I acknowledge why it’s in a way wrong and I comprehend the posture you hold. But it’s that Santeria implements the force of the church to go about its business. To call people towards a nightmare and surely many come to you and ask for holly water to be used in different affairs. And they coast off of the religious infrastructure of this institution. And it’s more than just that, it’s more than an institution. How many of the devoted who come are in fact not devoted to Catholicism.
– Are they In fact something other, who use the church. Whilst you sit here and let it be.
– It may be the right way of doing it.
You said earlier: Man gets lost looking for something, to be assisted. Why doesn’t the church get involved in the darkness and bring them back? But maybe it shouldn’t.
No. That’s not our job.
-And your good name?
Nor is it our mission.
-It becomes atrophied.
When I choose to discern a situation I must first leave myself.
-How is that done?
When I chose to join the church I must leave myself behind. Everything I am, everything I have I must leave behind to serve a different lifestyle. Otherwise, I’d turn a gracious space into that akin to industry or business.
-But then as one loses himself does one lose his will of opposition?
I don’t understand.
-You said one must lose himself, this is like ego death, is it not?
Yes. I mean, there are certain things we must unlearn.
-Which is a fine thing to do for oneself. Ego death that is.
Yes, It is. That doesn’t mean I’m not hedonistic you know? It doesn’t mean I don’t like enjoying things. That would be fatalistic of me. I personally really like hedonism, really. In the best sense of the word. Hedonism is about pleasure. About enjoying things, enjoying creation. To enjoy a beautiful structure, beautiful people, to be in the presence of something greater than myself. Why should I deprive myself of the sun on my skin?
-But now you speak as an artist
I speak as a human being.
-And as far as I understand the order is a thing of purity. Of the mind.
What I mean to express is that we’re not completely dissociated from what it means to live in the world. We live in the world as well. Although my job is something other, we live in this world. To deprive oneself of it would be very fatalistic, to go where a breeze can’t reach you, where the sun won’t shine, where you can’t enjoy. That’s not life. That’s my way of seeing it, it’s my way of thinking and the way I live my life. Some might say I’m too liberal. That I go against many practices. But it’s also not as if I impose my views upon others.
-What must one sacrifice to become a priest?
It’s not sacrifices. They’re free choices. Choice you yourself might make someday.
-Can you have a family?
I can’t have a family. I mean I can. As a man, I can. But I accept this fate when I begin my studies. You’re aware you’ll be celibate. And as such, you’ll live alone and you’ll have to work on controlling your sexual impulses. Which exists your whole life and within any lifestyle. Be it married or single, sexual impulses will appear. It’s a human matter. But if you wanna put it as a sacrifice, the fact that I’m celibate, then yes. I take it as a life choice. I’ll be celibate. I understand that being celibate lets me enjoy an afternoon with books without anyone bothering me.
-Now don’t try to convince me!
Ha! Well, maybe that’s the case. Maybe you’re running away from that lifestyle.
-You speak of all the opposite, you speak of love, of the breeze.
No. We also feel love you know?
-I know. But you lose touch of other lively aspects. You won’t have a wife, you won’t have kids, you won’t have a family.
But I do have a family. I have parents, I have brothers, I have nephews, I have a Family. The fact that I won’t procreate is different. But I do have a family and my community becomes my family and some might like me, others not so much, some might say this priest is very strict, others not so. Just like a family. You get along with some family members, with others not so much. This lifestyle grants you a family. You just concede of physical contact.
-That’s what I was going to bring up. At some point, when your mom passes away, will there be anyone who will caress you?
-And to no longer feel. It’s beautiful, how would God not want you to feel the warmth of a caress. Which he’s made so great.
Well, that’s what I choose. When I was young I felt that warmth. That time should have been marvelously warm. As one grows up we grow apart from mother.
-But you may continue to feel warmth from others. The only person left who will still caress you will be your mother, but the day she passes, you’ll be completely deprived of this warmth. How saddening.
But there may be other people.
Yes. There may be others, with who to share a hug. I can give hugs. There’s nothing wrong with it.
-But what you speak of, how is it I’ll never feel the breeze again. How is it I’ll never feel something intimate
A hug, a kiss?
-Yes. There’s something other than the banal superficiality of corporal sex. There’s something deeper when two bodies know each other, love each other and their souls intertwine and the contact might be merely a hand on your neck, a caress down your back. Never could mother make flesh feel so warm, and that’s something that at some point in your life, left. As if a last sunset.
My mom still lives.
– But I speak of touch.
– And that is like a breeze, to never be felt again.
But it’s a choice. You’re not born into Priesthood. Which is to say that I had my time to feel it.
-I’m not at all judging you. I merely ask, of the idea, I find it unimaginable, but I’m of the arts. Which is of warmth. Of beauty. And you recognized its glory, but hold a certain restraint.
No, it is very beautiful. I find it beautiful, I find it very beautiful. That one might share his life with someone. It’s not about the intimacy. Sexuality ends someday. It’s a potential of youth. And therefore ends. You must look for someone to be with.
-Most don’t even realize that potential. The sexual act isn’t the fun part. One must cultivate and be there, like a journey, at the right moment, and then take it to its height. It’s not immediate, it’s not just something you do.
-It’s a flirtation, it takes restraint to wait for the right moment, for the fire to burn bright, and at its hottest, let it consummate itself and burn out.
And do you agree that there’s something mystical about that too? Something spiritual, something beautiful? That’s it. Where created for that. For love. To live in plenitude. That’s our mission, to let our self live in plenitude. It’s not brute, not something you merely take, it’s not something that lasts seconds and then disípales as if nothing happened. If it’s so we should search within in us once more.
-Why is there no place in the church for this?
There’s a place for everything, that’s why we marry.
-Yes, but not as an agent of order.
But that’s because I chose it.
-But if someone like me were to want to serve the order, I wouldn’t be welcomed. Not if I refuse to yield.
The church isn’t at odds with our corpus, with our body. I believe it’s a misunderstanding.
-I don’t understand how it works. That’s why I asked at first how the order works.
Ah, well, inside of the church there’s also the permanent deacon, these can be married men.
-Can they be single?
They do exist, the permanent deacon who is single. But it’ll be the same thing. You’d be like me. A permanent deacon as an adult is a married man, with a wife, with children who are independent adults and take care of themselves. That’s the permanent deacon. It’s a process within the church that the whole family must agree with, the wife must also be a part of the process.
If a young man asks to become a deacon he’ll be asked to be celibate to become a deacon. That’s why many chose not to. They don’t want that life. The church’s job is to accompany man as best as it can. It’s not asked of everyone to be consecrated. We can’t all be concentrated. In the same way we can all be president.
-It’s been a pleasure speaking with you.
Likewise. What’s your name again?