Monday, July 12, 2010

Power, Priests, Paedophilia and Corruption

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 07 July 2010)

Though I have never hit another person, if there is one thing above all else that maddens me to the point that I could react in a physical way, it is when I hear of someone hurting a child. It is for this reason, that I consider the ongoing scandal about paedophile priests to be one of the vilest portrayals of human depravity.

The truly ironic part is that this base depravity comes from those who are supposed to champion moral living. Children are innocent, helpless and trusting. How on earth can a “man of morals” crush that innocence just to feed an ache for sex? I know the answer to my own question, no man of morals could.

Regardless of what the Catholic Church says, the priests who rape and sodomise children are not representatives of God on earth. I am not a religious person anymore, but from my decades of religious background I know the church believes in God and Satan and I would say these priests represent the latter far better than the former.

On a Thursday morning two weeks ago, Belgian police raided two Church offices and the home of a former archbishop just as a conference was beginning with local bishops to discuss, among other things, what should be done with old files that proved Belgian priests had raped children.

I have followed this ongoing story that has spanned worldwide for two reasons. The first reason is that it boggles my mind that these supposed men of God could betray their consciences, congregants and God with such pure wickedness.

The second reason I have followed this saga so closely is because I want to see justice for those victims. The fact that most of these child rapists have walked away without so much as a slap on the wrist from a nun is simply unacceptable to me. Just because they wear pretty robes and make an oath to their God should not mean they are exempt from the laws of the land.

Pope Benedict XVI, who had recently vowed to do everything possible to prevent such abuse from occurring again, was quite peeved about the Belgian raid. He called the search, “surprising and regretful” and insisted on the church’s right to conduct internal investigations. As if those “investigations” have amounted to anything more than a bunch of hot air.

It is because these men feel they can commit such atrocities to, in the words of their Bible, “these little ones” and go unpunished that makes this whole situation completely untenable.

What would be a suitable punishment? Here is what Jesus said in Mark 9:42, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” A bit drastic for my taste, but that is straight from the mouth of their God.

Here is the situation in a nutshell, there are priests all over the world who are raping young children and getting away with it. When the world finally says enough is enough, these “men of God” have the gall to say it is “surprising and regretful.” What is truly surprising and regretful is that these rapists are not behind bars.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This quotation was from a letter from John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (first Baron Acton) to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887. Lord Acton then stated, “Great men are almost always bad men.” How appropriate.

This statement is true across the board. Consider those in power in Guyana right now and how that power has corrupted them. Remember the PNC when it was in power and how corruption was rampant. The only way to put a halt to the corruption is to take the power away.

Which is exactly what happened in Belgium. The Church no longer has the power to hide the rapists in Belgium – or in the US, where the Supreme Court ruled that the Vatican enjoys no immunity in cases of alleged molestation by priests. The ruling means that, in theory, even Pope Benedict could be taken to court.

Who knows how long this priestly paedophilia has been practiced in the Church. Decades? Centuries? It makes me sick just to think about it. It is about time these rapists are held accountable for their actions. They may seek forgiveness from their God and their victims, but when priests break the law, they should be punished in accordance to that law.

There is no God-given right for priests to rape children. It is my opinion that the moment that a paedophile priest touches a child in an inappropriate way, he is no longer a representative of God and should be punished just like any other person in society.

Or we could do as the Bible suggested and tie a millstone around his neck and toss him into the sea…that works for me, too.

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