Posted by Joe Torres
“Part of my decision to join a religious order is my frustration with the institutional Church,” said Catholic priest Robert Reyes.
Reyes became known as “the running priest” after initiating a long series of protest runs, hunger strikes and prayer rallies, on a variety of social and political issues.
He first caught the attention of the media in 1995 when he led protest rallies during the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference summit in Subic.
He said later that his unconventional approach has led him into trouble with his superiors.
“Their idea of priesthood was that of the typical parish priest, who is expected primarily to do housekeeping, make sure the church roof is not leaking, and most of all that the collection is coming in,” Reyes said.
When he came to Palawan, a province known for its pristine environment and natural resources, Reyes said his belief that “a priest cannot separate his commitment to God’s kingdom [from his] active involvement in environmental issues” was reinforced.
Reyes did his farewell run in Palawan last Tuesday, to call for justice after last year’s killing of the environmental journalist Gerry Ortega.
“Have you gone nuts, Father?” the citizen journalism site Rappler asked the priest, on learning of his decision to join a religious order.
“No, I’m pursuing my faith,” he said.
What would you say to Father Reyes if you had the chance?