After the ordination

My dress forever reminds me of the ordination. After that ordination, there were temptation, death of vocation and criminal activities.

My dress forever reminds me of the ordination. After that ordination, there were temptation, death of vocation and criminal activities.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – What I was wearing.

While de-cluttering my wardrobe, I came across a Vinnie’s dress I worn long ago. It was given to me early on in our relationship, when Sister Night was grooming me to become her ‘daughter’.

It was a long, white, knitted Spring dress with a drawstring waist. Vertical pink lines ran down the left top portion, and a pink branch of flowers on the right one. The dress brought back the memories of that long trip during a late 80s Summer.

Brother Shorty and Sister Night took turn to drive one car while Sister Cheese drove by herself in another; four Vietnamese refugee girls in my house, another Vietnamese refugee girl that Father Fatty sent and I all headed to Brisbane from Melbourne for the ordination of Brother Hippie.

On the ordination day, wearing my knitted dress, I ran into Brother Hippie and asked: “Third Brother, where do I sit?”. Brother Hippie was being helped by Summer-scent to get into his vestment for the ceremony, and replied in a panicked voice: “Anywhere you like, hiMe!”. Only then I realised that how trivial and silly my worry was compared to the enormously solemn ceremony that Brother Hippie was to go through.

Vietnamese Catholic Brothers – Brother Hippie, Brother Shorty and Brother Meek all came from an order nearby and were regular visitors.

Father Hippie blended easily into the crowd just like any other. He was in his late 30s, never wore a Roman collar nor a cross on his shirt, preferring jeans and staying comfortable in his shabby Brogue Oxford style shoes. His hair was grown long to cover the back of his neck and his fringe was shaggy. He had one droopy eye which made him looked shady and sinister.

Father Hippie was a jolly, dominant, and familiar figure at our house whose major time was spent correcting Summer-scent’s writings for a monthly Vietnamese youth magazine. Even after ordination, he insisted that the girls call him ‘Third Brother’, an address for a brother who is the second born in a family.

Four years after Father Hippie’s ordination, a man knocked on his priory’s door and complained to his Australian superior that Father Hippie used the opportunity to give his wife marriage counselling to seduce and have sexual relations with her. Father Hippie fled interstate and became a University librarian, working anonymously amongst young and trusting people. Later, a young girl came to the order to report that Father Hippie, through his pastoral work, isolated her and sexually assaulted her just after his ordination. He then used his power to deceive, manipulate and frighten her into silence for years. Father Hippie’s superior knew for many years that Father Hippie had been working near a college that his order manage but only forced him to sign a form declaring his formal departure from the priesthood after his second sexual abuse reported. It is believed that more victims of Father Hippie – in Australia, the US, Canada and Vietnam – are to come forward and report.

After the ordination, Brother Shorty – in his late 20s – refused to go back to his priory and often stayed at our house all day, sleeping on the couch at night. During the day, he chatted with the girls or traded dirty jokes with Foxy. After a few weeks, he decided to leave the priesthood. Soon after, he married and was on unemployment benefit for a number of years before doing odd jobs.

After the ordination, it was observed that Brother Meek – an innocent-looking man in his mid 20s – was attracted to Foxy. He would stand very close to her, eyes glued to her face and wouldn’t want to stop conversing with her. Even though Foxy wasn’t interested in him, she seemed delighted in capturing the monk’s affection and tried to appear more sexually alluring to him. Confronted with her brother’s ‘temptation’ and her housemate’s seduction, Brother Meek’s younger sister who stayed with us, was often sighted crying. I guessed his sister was afraid that the Vietnamese community would lose a priest and her family would lose the pride of having a priest. However, Foxy got married afterwards then divorced soon and had various partners since. Brother Meek is now Father Meek.

My dress is forever reminds me of the ordination as well as the temptation, the death of vocation and criminal activities that happened after it.

When sin visits the man of God,
Layman disguise would get a nod,
Whether it’s during day or night,
Whether it’s in or out of sight,

In places that ain’t thought as odd,
When sin visits the man of God,
He blithely leads a double life,
In it, criminal acts are rife.

His victims are always set up,
So it looks like he is chased up,
When sin visits the man of God,
Whether it’s here or it’s abroad.

His name’s big, victims are afraid,
His comfort life, his order’s aid
His skill’s sharpen so to defraud,
When sin visits the man of God.
(Quatern-style poem)

Image credit
by Lawrence OP.

My dress forever reminds me of the ordination. After that ordination, there were temptation, death of vocation and criminal activities.

My dress forever reminds me of the ordination. After that ordination, there were temptation, death of vocation and criminal activities.

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