A Turn of the Screw

screw-and-screwdriverCome and listen to 96 seconds of Fr. Edwin “Pius” Sammut O.C.D. doing what he does best…

Fr. Sammut, as you may know, is the lead catechist for the Neocatechumenal Way in Micronesia, and for the last 18 years has been carefully building the sectarian wall of division in the Archdiocese of Agana.  Brick by brick.

In this recording, Fr. Sammut is chiding the region’s Necatechumenal catechists and other senior members about their participation in the 2014 “Beginning of the Year” Convivence.  By his tone and words, you would not guess that he’s speaking to hundreds of men and women with an adult Christian faith!

Click on the blue arrow to listen to the audio recording (96 sec.)

This is why I already want to tell you, please, do not take this, eh, convivence in a stupid way. Okay, please don’t take the convivence in a foolish way. You know, I mean, you know, ah you are here, you are not here, you are here, then you go for work in the morning tomorrow, then you come back. In fact, you know, there were some who were telling me, you know, that they wanted to come for, they couldn’t take off work, eh, tomorrow. I tell them, “Don’t come, don’t come. It’s better, it’s better, if you don’t come, because if you come, you get the impression that you did the convivence and you didn’t get it.”

Tomorrow is very fundamental, you know, if you cannot take the work it’s not a judgment. If you cannot get take the leave or something, okay, stay home. Stay home with your wife and stay there. Okay, but this convivence is very, very important. I hope, by the way, that you will, em, uh, remain here, okay. I don’t want people coming, going, coming, going. It’s for you, not for me. Cuz you lose everything. “Oh just go two hours out.” You lose everything. You lose the spirit. Okay, this is why we started, okay. “But I cannot come because I have work.” Come on, I mean, heh, heh, this convivence we knew that it was going to be such a long time. Heh, heh, okay, if you don’t want to come, what can I tell you? Don’t come. But sometimes God puts us in situations where we need to choose. We need to discover what is in our hearts. Whether work is more important than Jesus Christ. But it’s very simple to speak, “Oh I love God! Oh..[coughing] Jesus Christ is very important…” It’s very simple to speak, but words are very cheap.

As you can hear for yourself, Fr. Sammut is speaking to these leaders as if they were children, not adult Christians.  Note the mocking tone and mimicry, and then the quick punch at the end in the false dichotomy of “work or Jesus Christ”.  He conflates all Neocatechumenal activity with Jesus Christ and sees anything that competes with “the Way”, including family and work, as an idol.

The real challenge for us as adult Christian lay people is how to appropriately bring Jesus Christ into our work, and how to properly apportion our time and energy among our various apostolates, especially our families and work.  A genuine spiritual director can be a great help in this area, but not Fr. Sammut.  From him, one can only expect judgment and a turn of the screw.

5 thoughts on “A Turn of the Screw

  1. He’s very condescending. I’ve had dinner with him a couple of times. He’ll start to pontificate, but will suddenly go quiet when you disagree with his statements and back it up with Biblical citations. He sees Jesus very negatively. Best to just stay away from him.

  2. This kind of introduction it’s not fruit of his own labor (“non è farina del suo sacco” as we say in Italy). Fr. Pius talks, but, as in every NC convivence of the world, it’s Kiko’s mind behind.

    The gestures, the tone, the mocking… all is made in Kiko-land.

    Catechists, especially if high in hierarchy, very rarely extemporize and if they do so, they could be heavily blamed. Every single word said by Fr. Pius has been written by Kiko and memorized by him, you could swear on it. Every year they say the same thing. I have been personally blamed publicly by catechists for the same reason. In a re-traditio convivence, it was impossible to leave our children at home with a babysitter, so I decided to stay at home with them and my wife gone to the convivence because it would be for me the fourth time that I did the same convivence. Catechists severely rebuked her in front of four communities. In that occasion I decided finally to abandon the Neocatechumenal Way: I think that’s absurd to scold and humiliate someone who stay in the Way since 24 years for not having participated to ONE convivence….

  3. Very scary. One of the big points that NCW members seem to always mention when speaking to people is that the Pope approved them. I really think the Pope approved them just like the Popes approved the Christian Mothers Society, and other societies that help bring us closer to God. I don’t think that when the Pope said he approved of the NCW he meant that he approved of an entire paradine retooling of the Catholic church. Has anyone dissected the official record where the Pope approved the changes and whether the approving authorities such as the Cardinals voted on it? I find it hard that the Church would give Aguillo and Fernandez such an approval and not use the infrastructure and resources of the church to make such dramatic changes. Something is off here.

  4. same guilt trip he’s been giving people since he first arrived on guam, eh? attitude unbecoming of a carmelite.

  5. Put his comment into this context. Its imperative for you to be at the convivence absolutely focused but when you leave the NCW after all those years spent in the community not one of the catechists that pressured you will find 30 seconds to call you and see why are you not going to the community or simply see how are you doing. Why?

    Because you are not important…
    Its not because of you…
    Its all because of their inflated ego…

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