In one instance as relayed in the Gospel of John, Jesus asked Peter the question “Do you love me?” Jesus asked Peter with the same question three times. Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, I love you.” With that answer, Jesus gave Peter the task of feeding His lambs, whatever that means. There was a song relating this encounter between Jesus and Peter. I remember it was one song that we sung during an ordination to the priesthood. A priest, who is supposed to love and follow Jesus, is given the task to be a shepherd to his flock. An anomaly happens when, instead of feeding the lambs or tending the flock, a priest sexually abuses somebody from the flock. I remember how Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J., a priest and a Jesuit, sexually abused me. Perhaps, that was how he interprets Jesus’ command to feed the lambs. Instead of feeding the lambs, Fr. Tanseco sucked my dick. Instead of feeding the lambs, Fr. Tanseco fondled my genitals. Instead of feeding the lambs, Fr. Tanseco masturbated my penis until I cum. Instead of feeding the lambs, he exerted his power and stature and authority to sexually abuse me. I read somewhere that sexual abuse is not about sex, but it is about power.
Not all Jesuits are bad. However, one of the good Jesuits and one of my few Jesuit friends died recently. This post is a tribute to somebody who knew what justice is. He is too young to die. He is a promising Jesuit to die soon. I just had a rare chance to open up to him about how I was sexually abused by his fellow Jesuit. He was so sorry about my experience of sexual abuse from his fellow religious and Jesuit he once respected and looked up to. He was so sorry to hear about how I am badly treated by his fellow Jesuits when told him some of my bad experiences with senior Jesuits in my quest for justice. He told me I do not deserve the kind of treatment I am receiving. He further told me that, in a way, the Jesuits would want to cover up the case of sexual abuse by this respectable Jesuit. It is part of cover up to send me to a therapist chosen for me by the Jesuit Provincial Superior, Fr. Jun Viray, S.J. After all, Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. is a big name in the Society of Jesus. He was just helpless that he really cannot do much to help me find justice because he is not in a leadership position in the religious congregation. He found it stupid for some of his fellow Jesuits to think that my struggle for justice is all about money. He agreed with me that even if I am given all the wealth of the Jesuits I will not regain what I lost. He found it ridiculous for the Jesuit leadership to require me to liquidate any amount given to me to be used for my therapy. By the way, there is nothing to liquidate when until now I received nothing from the current Jesuit leadership. Besides, my dignity cannot be subject to liquidation. The Jesuits are working on making Richie Fernando a saint. He told me how Richie was an advocate of justice in the real sense, through his work and not mere rhetoric. In his death, I lost a friend. In his death, I lost somebody who knew the sufferings of a sexual abuse victim. In his death, I lost somebody who understood what justice should be for a victim of sexual abuse by his fellow Jesuit, Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. I can only think of how many young Jesuits need to die before its leadership realize how the victims of sexual abuse by “many” Jesuits deserve real justice.
How is the veneration of the cross done during Good Friday? I would see people line up to kiss the cross. Thinking of veneration by kissing, I would always remember how the supposed to be the holy lips of the Jesuit priest, Fr. Ruben Tanseco, kissed and sucked my dick. I stopped venerating the cross if that means kissing. I would remember how I was sexually abused by Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. by using his lips in exploring my genital area. If there was one event that led to the crucifixion, it was the Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. My experience of sexual abuse from a Jesuit was an experience of betrayal. In sexually abusing me, Fr. Ruben Tanseco betrayed me. I trusted him all along because was a priest and a Jesuit. I would look up to him and his fellow Jesuits who are known for being brilliant men. In sexually abusing me, Fr. Ruben Tanseco betrayed his priesthood and his vow of chastity. In sexually abusing me, Fr. Ruben Tanseco betrayed his mission of leading people to God. In sexually abusing me, Fr. Ruben Tanseco betrayed his advocacy for justice. His life was a double life, a life with a lot of betrayals. I cannot venerate a cross brought about by betrayal.
The weather is just warm but depressing. I can sense I start to feel jittery and my breathing start to become faster. I know something is going on inside that wants to be released, some kind of a poison I just have to expel from my system. I would remember how Holy Thursday was for me. It has been years that I have not considered this week holy. I can remember the washing of the feet being re-enacted on Holy Thursday services. However, it has ceased to be meaningful to me. I would imagine Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. re-enacting the washing of the feet using his hands consecrated to make things holy at ordination. But I think of the same hands that fondled my genitals and masturbated my penis until I ejaculate. I would imagine Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. kissing the feet of the apostles after washing them. The lips he used to kiss the apostles’ feet were the same lips that sucked my dick. These flashbacks make me shudder. These images make me tremble in anger and hate. I know something is wrong somewhere. But that is what a Holy Thursday simply is.
Ignatian spirituality is said to be a spirituality for everyday life, with its insistence that God is present in our world and active in our lives. It is a pathway to deep prayer, good decisions guided by keen discernment, and an active life of service to others. I can only look back to how the Jesuit priest, Fr. Ruben Tanseco, sexually abused. I have a lot of questions about how Ignatian spirituality is being lived on a day-to-day basis by this Jesuit priest. I think of those times when Fr. Tanseco would suck my dick and ask if that is how Ignatian spirituality becomes a spirituality of everyday life. I think of those times that Fr. Tanseco would masturbate me and ask if that is how God is present and active in my life. For sure, the sexual abuse done to me by Fr. Tanseco was not a product of deep prayer. There was no good decision guided by keen discernment every time Fr. Tanseco fondled my genitals. In using me as a sexual object, I cannot consider Ignatian spirituality as a pathway to an active life of service to others. I was confronted by the hypocrisy of the whole idea of Ignatian spirituality. My experience of sexual abuse from a Jesuit totally abrogates everything that Ignatian spirituality is. Instead of experiencing God, my experience of sexual abuse was an experience of the devil, an experience of injustice from somebody who preaches “faith that does justice.”
Cura personalis is something I heard from Jesuits. It is supposed to mean respect for all that make up each individual. Everything that makes up an individual is worthy of care and attention. Fr. Ruben Tanseco is a Jesuit. As such, he must be familiar with what cura personalis is. As I experience flashbacks of how Fr. Tanseco played with my genitals and licked my nipples, I think of how he violated the principle of cura personalis. As he sucked my penis, he reduced me to a sexual object, a thing to be used and abused. I cannot think of such acts by a Jesuit as concretely living out the spirit of the cura personalis. As a rector and formator of Jesuit scholastics, he must have talked about what cura personalis is to Jesuit scholastics undergoing formation. I am just puzzled at his capacity to live such a double life of preaching cura personalis and do damage to me by sexually abusing me.
A little past six in the morning, I left home for work. Feeling the warm air as I was traveling on a tricycle, the word “clericalism” entered my mind. Immediately, I remember Pope Francis mentioning that word referring to it as an illness in the Church, blaming it as one of the root causes of crimes and injustices and abuses in the Church. It is an evil in the Church. Clericalism emphasizes the authority of the clergy over their obligation of service. The culture of clericalism fostered the culture of abuse in the Church, highlighting sexual abuse. For a prolonged period of time, I was experiencing flashbacks of my own personal experience of sexual abuse from the Jesuit priest whom I knew and encountered as a seminarian in San Jose Seminary, Ateneo Campus, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. His name is Fr. Ruben Tanseco, S.J. With some intensity, my remembering of this abusive Jesuit priest was just vivid. I cannot help but situate my own experience of sexual abuse in the context of this culture of clericalism. Fr. Tanseco is a Jesuit priest who has his vow of chastity. It means that he is not an ordinary priest but a Jesuit who went through long years of spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation prior to ordination. In sexually abusing me, he simply violated his vow of chastity and betrayed his priesthood. He does not deserve to remain a priest and a Jesuit. Fr. Tanseco was trained in the United States of America and went home to the Philippines to introduce the Marriage Encounter movement. He spent most of his priestly life in family ministry and counseling. I am thinking of how this training made him an expert and a pioneer in his particular ministry and yet he has the capacity to sexually abuse a vulnerable seminarian like me. Fr. Tanseco was also professor of pastoral counseling teaching a lot of seminarians. I am imagining a professor of pastoral counseling sucking my dick. Fr. Tanseco initiated the Center of Family Ministry (CEFAM). His name was already attached to the name of the center to be now called RMT-CEFAM. He would conduct counseling sessions in the center. He also has a programs called “Discovery Weekend” and “Christian Parenting for Peace and Justice.” These must be pioneering works by a Jesuit who fondled my genitals. As a Jesuit, Fr. Tanseco was also assigned as Rector of the Loyola House of Studies. As rector, he was a formator of Jesuit scholastics. And I am imaging a rector masturbating my dick until I ejaculate. That is how clericalism is at work in my experience of sexual abuse from one of those intellectually, morally and spiritually superior Jesuits.