What gives a small cabal of men the moral right to decide who among us should be a saint?
There was more Papal Bull this week.
I’m referring to the two dead guys, Pope John Paul-II and Pope John-XXII who just got canonized as saints. One minute they were just dead humans like countless others and the next they are saints, God’s chosen ones, able to perform miracles, to bring folk back to life and cure you of anything you might have contracted. Isn’t that what saints are supposed to be gifted with? Surely they must have an ability that you and I don’t? Oh, the Catholic Church made sure you can’t find out. You see, the church stipulates that only dead guys can be made saints. Convenient. And a pity. I needed some help with my erectile dysfunction.
If you are the saint-wannabe waiting to be canonized, let me tell you that it will take a while. Canonization is an elaborate process. First you have got to be, not just dead but dead for five years at least, which means that being Christian, you are probably buried somewhere and the maggots have already devoured your flesh, leaving just your skeleton behind. You probably aren’t even aware folk are planning on making you a saint. That is fine with you since you’re sleeping with the fishes anyway.
Then an investigation is launched into how you led your life, a kind of working backwards process. They first decide to make you a saint and then work back to check on your past. The investigation sees whether you were truly holy and virtuous. This is bound to be a qualitative assessment. If the cardinals didn’t like you when you were alive, no way you’re ever going ta be made a saint, forget it. Do you think the cardinals would ever like me? Stupid question, but hey, I’d look great with a halo, no? Radiating all that bright light all the time?
Step-3, the last and most crucial step of the process, is checking if you performed any miracles. Not now, silly, when you were alive. You’re dead, remember? They’ll be nosing around, looking for things that you did that cannot be explained by science. I have performed a few that defied gravity (with regard to girls at our university hostel).
Sigh, Step-2 would defeat me. Besides, I hate going to bed with a light on.
The two dead Popes have been made saints, in spite of the fact that, during their respective tenures, they presided over a vast organization which was nothing but a worldwide pedophilia ring. Things have gotten so bad over the years that if I make a statement that every second Catholic Priest is a child molester, no one will even bat an eyelid. Pedophilia is a crime, is it not? I am of course not suggesting that these two were in any way involved personally in pedophilia, but when there is a systemic malaise, the buck does stop with the chief, does it not?
On their watch, there have been Catholic priests caught with their pants down in the backrooms of churches, behind the alters and in Thai hovels. They have been caught red-handed bringing in laptop computers loaded with videos and images of poor Asian boys and girls as young as five, performing explicit acts of sex on them.
The church has then played a game of merry-go-round, at first transferring those priests around to new parishes where their past proclivities were not known and then hiding them away in remote locations until finally they had been revealed and shamed. The church then paid off the fathers and mothers of the young victims with the millions that you and I placed in their donation boxes.
I don’t think there is a ‘pedo-insurance cover’ specifically designed for the Catholic Church. If I was in the insurance industry, I wouldn’t consider that as a potential business growth area as I would be sure to lose money from all those claims. The Catholic Church can start a Wikipedia page of it’s own, on child pornography. Let’s see, I would call it ‘Cathophelia’. Priests can log in and enter their notches there.
Though they are themselves personally innocent, these two gents who were canonized, have watched, impotently as raw evil has risen through the world during their exalted tenures and they have been able to do absolutely nothing at all, to stop its exponential spread. In this they have failed in their designated task and failed miserably. But heck, the church needed validation. It needed to whistle up some new saints, pronto, to stay relevant. Just the same way that countries need to dole out awards and honors every year, as a way of shoring up morale, attempting to convince citizens and the world that everything is just going great and there are still heroes and there are still exceptional citizens. Even if there might not be.
The Catholic Church is the world’s largest religious fraternity. One in three humans all over the world, is a Christian and one in five, a Catholic. As such, the Catholic Church has held immeasurable sway over us all, directly or indirectly and until the first half of the 20th century, that sway had been a very dark and sinister one, most of the time. We are intimately aware of the decadence and cruelty of the Borgias and the horrendous oppression of the Spanish Inquisition of the dark ages. The ‘dark ages’ were so named, entirely due to the active suppression by the Catholic Church, of any free, enlightened thought.
Catholic Cardinal Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI, AD1498. He murdered and raped his way through a short, 31-year life (he was ambushed in battle). There was great rejoicing among commoners when he was killed. The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, likened Borgia to a representation of the Anti-Christ
If we look at contemporary history, the Catholic Church’s massive embrace of evil has been regular and repeated. During and just prior to the start of the Second World War, the Vatican’s myopia with the Nazi atrocities is well documented. Rogue bishops like Austrian, Alois Hudal, sent not only thousands of Jews to the gas chambers but stood mute witness to the murders of even full blooded Catholic Italian and French citizens. The Vatican, fully aware of his notoriety, never once sanctioned him. Hudal even aided the escape of Nazi war criminals after the war and led a comfortable life till his death in 1963.
A bishop who signed a pact with the devil – Alois Hudal, 1943 (Photo courtesy – Wikipedia)
In Canada, the Catholic and Anglican Churches got together and formed a devilish cabal in the 1800s. Beginning in 1876, when they persuaded the Canadian government to pass the ‘Indian Act’. It stated that the native Americans were essentially ‘uncivilized savages’ who needed to be brought into the ‘Canadian mainstream’. And what better way could there be, other than to indoctrinate them early, in western culture and religious practices? The Catholic Clergy wanted to ‘spread the Lord’s word’ among the heathen, amen.
We have all seen over the centuries that gentle persuasion has never been the preferred mode of behavior that ‘civilized’ white folk have shown toward native populations anywhere, ever, especially their clergy.
This time too, they decided on the use of blunt force. Shock and awe. All over Canada, they began snatching new born babies and little children and shoving them forcibly in residential schools, away from their families. Thereafter, the torture, the forcible conversions, the beatings, the starvation and the sexual molestation that followed on an almost assembly-line scale, was one that is even now, difficult to comprehend. A whole people were left permanently scarred. The survivors are now grown folk in their 50s. They are the traumatized, walking dead.
In June 2008, 133 years after the first native American child was torn mercilessly from his mother’s arms, the first apology was heard from the Canadian government, in the form of a watered down, emotionless robotic statement from an already cyborg-like Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. We haven’t heard a ‘sorry’ from any of those Popes yet. Don’t hold your breath.
As regards reform, the Catholic Church has shown the world what it thinks of reform, even murdering a Pope who tried to break the mold and institute reforms. Pope John Paul I, elected in 1978 and affectionately known as ‘the smiling Pope’, died just a month later. He is widely believed to have been poisoned with a heart medication by a cabal of Vatican neo-cons and the Sicilian Mafia, for being ‘dangerously liberal’.
The smiling Pope had wanted to institute reforms such as legalizing contraception. But what actually got him killed were his efforts to clean up the Vatican Bank, a Vatican-owned financial institution that is supposed to oversee the Vatican’s $350 million a year revenue from tourism and donations, but which in fact launders Mafia cash in the hundreds of millions. The Pope had threatened to blow the whistle on the cabal.
Over the decades, as disciples’ perceptions of sexuality have liberalized, the Catholic Church has failed to be in step with the times. While major countries worldwide have legalized same sex relationships and it is now a proven fact that homosexuality is a medical condition and not a choice that one can make about his or her sexual orientation, the Catholic Church continues to ban it as evil. Are we to believe that certain medical conditions are the work of the Satan, while the rest are ‘God’s will’?
I have already spent enough time writing on the amusing antics of the Vatican. Getting a beer from the fridge is a much more spiritual task and I shall immediately set about doing it. If I ever visit Rome, I am going to avoid visiting this joint, even if I have to miss Big Mike’s Sistine Chapel fresco.
(PS: The term ‘Papal Bull’, mentioned in the first para and the photo, is used to mean a Papal edict, like an Islamic ‘fatwa’. I have of course, used it in a more literal sense).