Not too long ago I got the news that from now on the priest missionaries from a certain missionary religious community who come from the Philippines to work in parishes that are heavily dominated by Spanish speaking faithful will have to learn the Spanish language. It's about time. After all they have been entrusted to at least one Southern California parish that I know of for 20 years now and they are still assigning priests there who know no Spanish at the beginning and leave after years with no ability to minister in Spanish. The three who are assigned there now have been told that they have to learn it. The pastor promised two years ago that after one year he would be up to speed in the language. NOT! He's too busy rearranging the furniture and stretching out his hand for ever more money to spend time learning a language that is essential to doing a good job in the parish.
I shake my head at the way the decision was announced. Like it was good news. Like, Hey, there is something you have to know. From now on priests who will come here will have to learn Spanish. Of course this was communicated through an interpreter. Now let me get this straight. It's good news that it took 20 years for someone to make a decision to force missionaries to learn the dominant language of the mission? It's good news that all the bozos between year one and year twenty didn't have enough zeal and courage to take it upon themselves to learn how to communicate the Good News in the dominant language? It's good news that it took a community law to achieve this? Didn't anyone remember that Peter had to learn Latin if not before, at least after, he moved to Rome? Didn't anyone remember that the missionaries who founded the seminaries in the Philippines learned the local languages? Why did it take a decree to make it happen here? Is it that there isn't enough missionary zeal in the hearts and souls of these priests?
Sorry boys. I'm far from impressed. When you arrived here almost three years ago I told you that your missionary group was not doing a very good job in the parish, and this not just by my standards. It hasn't gotten any better, maybe even deteriorated a bit. Deteriorated to the point where the executives have to force you to learn the language that you promised to learn, but didn't.
I have but one question more: Now, are you going to learn English too?