The Philippines' own 'Machine Gun Preacher'

Fr Salvado Pablo

Elbows bent, hands clasped close to the chest as if in prayer, the priest whispers: 'Praying position… muscle memory,' he says. 'Extend your arms and pull the trigger,' writes Ucanews.

Salesian Father Salvador Pablo is the Philippines' 'Machine Gun Preacher.' He teaches priests, bishops, soldiers and policemen the proper use of guns.

Unlike Sam Childers, in the movie Machine Gun Preacher, Fr Pablo is no former member of a biker gang. But like Childers, the priest is a defender of orphans, prostitutes and slum dwellers. He heads the Salesian mission in the village of Juan in the province of Laguna, several kilometers south of Manila where slum dwellers are relocated by the government.

'The biggest problems here are depression, malaise and virulence,' the priest says, defining virulence as 'bitter violence.'

With his prescription glasses and clerical collar, the soft-spoken Salesian can be stereotyped as an archetypal provincial priest. But behind his calm demeanor is a real-life machine gun preacher. He shows off his ability to fire a gun with his back turned against an assailant.

He can also fire a machine gun with his left hand and while riding a motorcycle. Aside from teaching soldiers and policemen, Fr Pablo also trains people to become professional security escorts or bodyguards.

In the past three decades, Fr Pablo has served as seminary rector, chaplain for the army, marines and police. He says he also has trained bishops and priests on the use of guns. 'Bishops and priests are also being killed.

'Priests in areas where crime is prevalent should know how to defend themselves.' He says he discovered guns before realising a vocation to the priesthood. His father introduced him to guns at the age of seven.

'My father had his own armoury,' the priest recalls. 'My father did not want me to become a priest. He even hid my application form.'

But the future Fr Pablo persevered, and was ordained a priest. 

FULL STORY Meet the Philippines' own 'Machine Gun Preacher' (Ucanews)

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