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The Superman Priest
Fray Tormenta - Friar Storm - is the priest saying his Mass, above, in a red and gold mask. A clear profanation of the re-enactment of the Sacrifice of Calvary. By day, he works as a priest. By night he is a wrestler, outfitted in a yellow leotard with "FT" in red across his chest, a mask and a gold cape. In the city of Teotihuacan, Mexico, he has thousands of fans.
His name is the Rev. Sergio Gutierrez Benitez, and he lives in Teotihuacan, a village outside Mexico City. After a youth ending in drug addiction, he became interested in the priesthood. At age 22, he was accepted in the Dominican Order. His theological training took him to Rome, and then Spain, and for a while he taught philosophy and history at Roman Catholic universities in Mexico.
Then, he left the Order and became a secular priest in the Diocese of Texcoco, where he founded an orphanage. Under the pretext of raising money for the children, he became a wrestler. "Wrestling," he said, "had been a lifelong passion." Through the years he has participated in around 4,000 bouts.
Fr. Sergio thought he would earn millions as a prizefighter. He suffered dislocated arms, a broken nose, three cracked ribs and several mangled fingers, but never made a fortune, in spite of a career that took him to Japan 14 times and to the US 70 times. He always fought incognito, never revealing that a real priest was behind the mask of Fray Tormenta. "No one would have taken me seriously as a wrestler had they known I was a priest," he explains today.
Below left, on his gold mask the red outline around his eyes rises in the shape of horns; at right, Fr. Sergio without his mask.
Second row, Fr. Sergio with a fellow priest.
Posted November 5, 2006
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