Swearing Priest Tries to Reach Mexican Drug-Addicted Youth
MEXICO CITY — Frederick Loos was cussing like a sailor the other night, which was surprising given that he is a Roman Catholic priest and his foul-mouthed discourse was delivered from the pulpit to hundreds of faithful gathered before him..
He spoke of God, the need to serve him and how he can transform lives. But interspersed in his sermon was the most colorful of street Spanish, which brought smiles to the faces of many of the gang members, addicts and other young people pressed in tight to listen.
“When you go to China you have to speak Chinese,” the priest explained afterward, slipping out of his vestments. “If you’re speaking to kids you use their idioms. I don’t think God is offended if it brings them closer to him.”
Those enmeshed in Mexico’s thriving drug culture — users and traffickers alike — have an unusual relationship with the church. Sniffing glue and making the sign of the cross might not appear to go together any more than killing and the catechism. But for many believers in modern-day Mexico they do.
The huge flock that descends upon San Hipólito Church on the 28th of every month is made up of unconventional churchgoers, to say the least. Tattooed and pierced, the young faithful come from some of the capital’s most rugged neighborhoods, and many of them acknowledge that they run with gangs and use drugs. Drug use, in fact, is rife just outside the church entrance, where marijuana smoke fills the air and glue sniffing is the rage.
But a first-century saint that many Mexican youths have adopted as their own is having a mind-altering effect, as well. Thousands of young people from some of the Mexican capital’s toughest vice-ridden neighborhoods have recently begun making monthly pilgrimages to San Hipólito carrying candles, rosaries and effigies of St. Jude, the patron saint of desperate causes.
Read the rest of the article and watch a video of Father Loos in action HERE.
While I have empathy for the world that these youth live in, and the unfair disadvantages they face compared with someone in my part of the world, I’m not sure a sermon once a month while they are high on glue laced with profanity is going to make too much of a difference. I suppose their choice of Saint says a lot.
There are really no good answers someone in my affluent position can offer. I barely understand the problem so how could I offer any sort of solution? Probably the most disheartening aspect of the entire article is the tag on story at the end.