In light of the recent revelations of the atrocities committed by the Catholic Church, I put up a status message which went “POPE – Paedophilia Orchestrator Par Excellence“. I could not resist the bacronym and I meant it in jest. Anyway it attracted a bit of attention and I started receiving a few comments that I crossed a “line” this time. Here are excerpts from a few of the chats. This is not meant as a libel and I’ve left out details which are not pertinent (after all these are private chats). I’ve also where ever possible tried to(bend over backwards and) paraphrase their views to the best of my understanding. Also I’ve resorted to a dialogue format which I thought would be more engaging and is something which I’d always wanted to do. In penning my thoughts, I was deeply influenced by the works of numerous people, notably the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to whom I owe my deepest of gratitudes.
Simplicio : Hey you there?
Salviati : Yes.
Simplicio : Well, nothing in particular. I just wanted to give my opinion on your status message. I know you don’t love the church or anything, but your status message is very silly.
Salviati : Maybe. I was merely demonstrating a bacronym and making a point. He plays apologetics. Or is that too mild a word? Maybe one should call it “The Great Catholic cover up”.
Simplicio : Well… it’s the ‘making the point’ part that I commented about. Do you really think that the pope would be a paedophile or a paedophile-approver??? What do you mean ‘apologetics’?
Salviati : He was in charge of the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” (formerly known as the Inquisition) who were responsible for the investigation of child rape and torture by Catholic priests. When the news of children getting raped kept on coming to light, he was more worried about protecting the name of the Church rather than the countless victims. He passively condoned the acts. The parents were wrongfully accused for letting their children get raped. He had with the threat of defrocking sworn the priests to secrecy to keep them from going public. This was before he became Pope. So the Church knew exactly well whom they were choosing to represent them. And the Vicar of Christ on Earth was doing a good job in covering up all their rotten crimes until recently.
Simplicio : No. I think I have heard of this already. You may be right. He may even have did something in the way of covering up, thinking that it would hurt the Church, and thinking that protecting the church would do more good than bringing the truth to light. It is true and I certainly consider this as wrong. But seeing so many statements, I seriously doubt you are looking at a conspiracy-theory website. I wouldn’t believe their ‘facts’ any more than i would believe the ‘facts’ brought out by the church. Do you think it is the Church which continues religion???
Salviati : No it’s people who do apologetics like you who allow these religiot misanthropes to thrive and take cover and plead ignorance. I might sound overly aggressive but the situation demands immediate attention. Young children and getting raped here by the very same people whom their community look up to for moral guidance. The parents put their children under these peoples care. And then people like you continue to lend credence to their antediluvean ideologies. Statements like the ones you made, dear sir, are the reason why religion still exists as a festering peri-anal wound on the corpus of human condition.
There is a difference between conspiracy and facts. Look at the court cases. Look at the successful court cases in Malta, in the US. The cases coming up in Ireland, Canada and where not.
Simplicio : I suppose you have never heard of cases brought forth to malign someone, or about wrong convictions. I am not saying that is the case here. I accept a lot was done wrong by the church and I don’t love the church, by any stretch of imagination but I seriously don’t think it is likely that Ratzinger wished to encourage paedophiles or anything. I am sure when he tried to cover it up, indirectly you can say he is at least tainted by association, but I wouldn’t call him a paedophile or a paedophile-assister, myself. Because even if he did the cover-up, his intention would not have been to encourage paedophiles. It would have been to save the church.
Salviati : First of all, that statement was meant in jest. But I’m happy now that I did so because we are having a discussion. And it seems to me that we do agree on a lot of issues. It feels as if you are merely quibbling over a status message. I want you to see beyond that statement into what is really going on. These are the same people who claim to hold the moral high-ground. Hence, it is inexcusable that they come out and then say things like the church is not to blame. You cannot do apologetics for pope and say he couldn’t have known better. Well then, what is he there for?
He is the representative of a religion which feels it has the authority to tell you what is right from wrong. If he was a responsible person, he should have at least had the decency to admit its mistake. in 1992, Pope John Paul finally had the courage to admit to a lot of the ‘sins’ the Church committed in the past. He finally admitted that the Earth does indeed revolve around the sun, even for the Vatican. Thank God for that. Else we would have been fighting another war in the (American) public school system.
Simplicio : If I were in his position, in my present state of mind, I would say I did something very wrong and if I did really have anything to do with the cover-up, I would decide to resign too because it was unpardonable. But as a person accusing the pope, I cannot go that far. I see that you are one of those people in the world who only see ‘black and white’. You don’t even seem to be able to contemplate ‘shades or grey’. Whereas, I would believe even Adolf Hitler had some good qualities, and even his actions may have had some good effects some way or the other.
Salviati : If you ask me he should not resign. He epitomizes what that whole institution stands for . And besides, why should religion be given a special status? Why should it be made immune from criticism? Consider the following scenario. A child was molested by a priest. What would be your first instinct:
(i) to protect the child and make sure the priest gets punished, or
(ii) to make sure that the church gets saved.
Simplicio : I might be a person who feels bad for the child, feels angry at the priest, but also think protecting the church might be the best thing to do. That is what i mean by shades of grey.
Salviati : You would make a much better pope. But you make an even better apologetic. You speak of shades of grey. I ask you how it is that any moral person in his right mind can defend someone who has time and again proved to be a child molester. Vatican has provided asylum to many such paedophiles. Top Vatican officials — including the Pope Ratzi — did not defrock a priest (Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy) who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Why would you want to protect an organization which actively connives to such evil deeds?
Simplicio : I would do that if I thought the organization was good in itself, and its general effect on the entire society was much more positive than negative. And especially, if I spent my whole life for the organization, forgetting family life and pleasures, I would probably think that way He would honestly believe it is what he thinks that matters not what you and I think see. I can see your perspective. But what i am saying is this. Look at it from his perspective. There is truth in what you say. There is truth in what all the accusers say. But there is also truth in what the Church says. You cannot let this single incident represent the entirety of what the Church stands for.
Salviati : Will that argument hold in a court of law? You kill someone and then go to a court and say that you felt like it. Will you get away with it? I don’t think so. But if you then say I did so because my religion permits such events, then it becomes a whole new matter. Would such a person hold moral authority anywhere?
Simplicio : Maybe I could get away. That is up to the court. The court might let me go, or not let me go and I should not complain either ways. I am just sensible enough to be able to think of the other person too. If it was not the pope, but an ordinary murder case, I could still make this argument.
Salviati : You are sounding more and more more fundamentalist in you attempt to play the advocatus diaboli (I hope you are doing that). By the way, there are cases where doctors and staff running abortion clinics where shot down in the name of religion. Such anti-abortion crimes are pretty common in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. So can you still say that the Catholic church a positive force in the world?
Simplicio : I don’t claim to know. I may have heard of facts saying it is good and it bad, but I havent done a detailed study of its 2000 years of existence. I would be a fool to say it is, or it is not. I don’t know, and since I have nothing to gain by finding it out, I don’t care.
Salviati : I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood my question. My question was is the Catholic church a positive force in the world today, in the 21st century? Does it hold the right to tell people what to do and what not? Let us look at some facts. The Pope warns people that condomn use is bad in AIDS stricken Africa where it has taken a toll of over 25 million lives. Aid from the church is contingent on not using condoms. The Pope in fact claimed on his visit to Africa that the use of condoms increases the chances of catching AIDS. Pope’s chief exorcist Father Gabriel Amorth says the sex abuse scandals are ‘evidence the Devil is in the Vatican’. All I can say to him is, Amen.
Simplicio : The Church most certainly doesn’t hold any moral high ground.
Salviati : THANK YOU.
Simplicio : Let me finish. The Church gives moral statements and the people have the freedom to accept or reject those statements if they think they are worth it. The church might even be hypocritic, but people might still accept their statements if they think they are actually good.
Salviati : But my dear friend, things are not that simple. They wield positions of power, a clout gained by medieval barbarism in the dark ages. Countless intelligent people were burned at stake for heresy. It was convert, subjugate or kill. But sorry I’m being hypocritic by speaking about the past.
Simplicio : Yes you are. What ‘positions of power’ do you mean??
Salviati : The Pope is ex officio head of state and the head of government of Vatican City. Millions of people look up to him and other priests for moral advice on a daily basis. He influences political decisions. Many member countries of the UN genuflect in the direction of Vatican city. It is one of the richest institutions in the world yet with a tax exemption status in many countries. These pompous, arrogant , supercilious, pugnacious, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic pricks should learn to lose their holier-than-thou attitude and accept responsibility for their misdeeds. Oh, and they wear a costume. What is that supposed to mean? It’s like wearing cowboy hats or carrying light sabres. NOT COOL ANYMORE.
Simplicio : Yes. I agree they must take responsibility for their actions and I see a lot of bad in what they do, but I see a lot of bad in pretty much every organization in the world. I don’t see why anyone should isolate this particular organization. You might say they do the most damage. But if you simply say that, I cannot take your word for it.