Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mexico's rock 'n roll priest

He's a priest who likes rock 'n roll but he's not Padre Jony (Spain). He rides a motorcycle, but he's not Padre Chiqui (Peru). Meet Padre Gofo from Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico -- the newest "cura rockero" to be featured on Iglesia Descalza. A new kind of priest for a new generation of Catholics, who even has his own Facebook page.

by Jesús Castro (English translation by Rebel Girl)

The charisma of Father Adolfo, better known as 'Gofo', has shaken up more than 10 souls who already have warned that unless he changes his way they will leave his parish.

Within the week that a new priest came to the parish of Nuestra Señora de Atocha, located in the Lomas de Lourdes colonia, a couple came looking for the pastor, Erasmo Treviño, but only found the young priest who tried to assist them attentively.

"We want to tell you that if you continue wearing these outfits and telling jokes during Mass, we will leave this parish," they said. The priest they spoke with is Father "Gofo." "Adolfo Huerta Alemán" is what his mother 30 years ago named the one who later became a pious seminarian whom the Diocese of Saltillo sent to specialize in philosophy at the Pontifical University of Mexico.

There, in Mexico City, he combined his studies with the social apostolate in the Tepito neighborhood, along with a group of women religious. Their work was to visit streets that had become brothels; they didn't proselytize to the prostitutes there, they taught them human rights and fought to make them appreciate their dignity as human beings again.

Celebrating Mass while wearing black shirts of heavy metal bands, with long hair and sometimes polished nails, has provoked outrage among the more reactionary and traditionalist Catholics, some of whom left the church, but then returned.

In his room, Gofo keeps a crucifix, as well as the image of Che Guevara and the poster of Silvio Rodriguez. The table beside his bed and the shelf above his desk are always full of books. The Second Vatican Council shares space with the works of theologian Leonardo Boff, Sigmund Freud, futuristic novels, existentialist philosophers, authors of liberation theology, papal documents, comics, magazines, newspapers, the Liturgy of the Hours and the Bible.

In addition, there is a skull on the desk that he says has nothing to do with the cult of Santa Muerte, but is a way to remember that death is part of life and that to live forever, you have to die with Christ in order to rise with Him. Huerta Alemán asserts that he deeply loves the Catholic Church, which is why he is its number one critic. He tells, for example, about a day when his own sister explained to him with a simple example the lack of communion in Catholic Masses.

"She told that there was more communion in the young people's fiestas than at my masses. She said to me, at my fiestas from the moment you arrive, even if you're unknown, everyone will shake hands with you, but in your church, when you come to Mass, nobody greets you, they shake hands with you during the passing of the peace, but merely out of obligation." He chats a little and then continues, "What I am saying may sound sacrilegious, but my sister tells me that there is more communion in the carne asada at the fiestas than in taking Communion, because at the fiestas everyone shares, they talk while they eat, but in the Masses, people take Communion single file, they leave the church and even though they see each other every week, they certainly never talk to the person next to them."

Since then, he goes out on a motorcycle, to visit the sick as well as to bless homes, and if he sees a fiesta of young people, even if they don't know him, he goes and gets into it, he hangs out with them, without talking about the Bible or anything, until for some reason the fact that he is a priest comes out in conversation, and the young people get interested in going to church, and thus his flock has increased.

He believes that it is time for the Church to be near the people, understand their reality, therefore he approaches young people in their fiestas or through his radio program on Infonor, where he talks about movies every day. He addresses young people in their language, who suddenly come to his masses uninvited, attracted by the charisma of Gofo, the motorcycle priest.

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