Thursday, September 7, 2006

Fr Reuter and the Philippines

Fr. Reuter is a 90-year-old Jesuit priest who has spent most of his life in the Philippines. He did not need to renounce his US citizenship because he was made an honorary Filipino by an act of Congress. Lately, Fr. Reuter has been under fire for defending 4 US marines accused of raping a Filipina. This has aroused quite an outcry. I personally think the good Fr. Reuter is entitled to his opinion and because after all he is a priest it is his job to minister to the accused.

Seth Mydans wrote in the NY Times: "Beneath its self-doubts and feelings of inferiority, this is a nation that loves America as few others do, and Father Reuter has returned that love. 'It’s the people,' he said. 'The people are the most lovable in the world, very generous. They are suffering but they are very prayerful. They manage to smile no matter how hard things get.'"

This morning, after playing 18 holes of golf (where the recommended fee for caddies is $6) we chanced upon a group of "ball-boys" (lower still in the hierarchy) sharing a communal meal of rice and dried fish. Without hesitation, upon seeing us, they all together invited me and my wife to join them.

And this is what I hope my patients will understand. There is so much work that needs to be done here. Heroes have proclaimed that this country is worth dying for. I think it would be equally patriotic to say that this country is worth living for.

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