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Apr 4, 2016

Popular Catholic Priest Supports Garifuna Spirituality

Sebastian Cayetano

Appalling remarks made by Pastor Scott Stirm during his testimonial abroad continue to reverberate across the Garifuna community, in Belize and in the Diaspora.  While he has been candid in his convictions, as well as his perspective on the Dugu ceremony, Stirm’s description of the sacred ritual as witchcraft has raised the ire of many, including members of the Catholic Church.  On Sunday, Father Matthew Ruhl, a Diocesan priest at Saint Martin’s de Porres Parish, delivered a homily in support of Garifuna spirituality.  Father Matt, as he is popularly known, has devoted many years to working with the black community and understands their deeply-rooted connection to their ancestry.  Parishioner Sebastian Cayetano spoke about the homily.


Sebastian Cayetano, Garifuna Activist

“Father Matt has spent, before coming to Belize, most of his missionaries among black Americans in the United States.  So he is aware, fully aware, deeply aware of ancestral works, you know.  He has worked with them, you know, and so when it comes to Garifuna he works with us and works with us happily, proudly and he lifts us.  Now, at Father Matt’s homilies, he has three homilies on Sundays.  Six-thirty a.m., nine and seven p.m.  He really brought across to us the message that what the pastor said, what Pastor Stirm said was totally wrong and out of context.  He’s not only attacking Garinagus but attacking Catholics and Christians, Christians, you know.  He said that he sees nothing wrong about honoring our ancestors, nothing wrong about honoring our ancestors.  The bible speaks a lot about ancestors.  He also talks about All Souls, All Saints Day.  The souls, we have to help the souls, you know.  So he does not agree [any] at all with what was said by the Evangelical pastors.”

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2 Responses for “Popular Catholic Priest Supports Garifuna Spirituality”

  1. Refinery says:

    After reading this. It makes me feel good for leaving this “Religion” I was baptized into and just seeking a personal relationship with Jesus, and attending to a Bible believing church.

    How one can think that calling down spirits and praying to other beings besides Jesus is beyond me. Believe me, I am not fan of Mr. Stirm, but he said nothing wrong. Hopefully it pricks the heart of some people and give them the urge to seek the truth.

  2. David N. Ruiz says:

    The pastor’s remarks about the Garifuna spirituality is bad enough, but when he alludes the state of Haiti to a covenant with the devil that is outrageous. Isn’t this a way of exonerating or perhaps condoning the colonial and neo-colonial evils that have kept this nation enslaved and impoverished? Come on!

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