Sunday, May 01, 2011

I will not sing John Paul’s praises

(Originally published in Guyana’s Kaieteur News on 01 May 2011)

Although it was suggested that I should write on a significant global event that occurred this weekend and entitle it, “Royal Love, What women really want, fantasy and reality all at once,” I had already decided to write on the other significant global event to happen this weekend, the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

Today, John Paul will be the first Pope to be beatified by his immediate successor, which is Pope Benedict XVI, and it will be the quickest ascension on the path to sainthood in history.
One would expect such a person to be the epitome of goodness and justice.

While no one, not even this heathen, will deny the good that John Paul did in his life, it would be unbalanced and dishonest of us not to look at the other side of the coin as well.

On this day while many will praise John Paul for the things he did while alive, there are also some who will condemn him for what he did not do.

While I cannot stomach political corruption, it is corruption in the church that at once boggles my mind and boils my blood. 

Religious corruption boggles my mind because religion is supposed to be the embodiment of goodness, rightness and purity. Religious leaders are to be the ambassadors of God on Earth.

We expect those who dedicate their lives to the service of God to be free of the nasty little sins the rest of humanity struggles with such as lies, deceit and, most certainly, sexual perversion.
After all, if religious leaders are seeking after love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – as they are commanded in the Bible – there can be no tolerance for the evils of this world.

Therefore, when we hear of these “ambassadors of God” raping little boys, this is where things get mind boggling.

We are not talking about just one or two priests who gave into their sexual lusts. We are talking about many priests from all around the world raping little boys over and over. This is where my blood starts to boil.

Maureen Dowd, writes on the sex scandals that continue to plague the Catholic Church in an Easter Sunday column last week entitled, “Hold the Halo.” She said, “The latest grotesquerie, amid a cascade of victims coming forward in Belgium, was a TV interview with the former bishop of Bruges, who serenely admitted abusing two nephews.”

Dowd continued, “Sex with the first nephew, he said, started as ‘a game’ when the boy was 5 and lasted 13 years. ‘I had the strong impression that my nephew didn’t mind at all,’ 74-year-old Roger Vangheluwe said, smiling. ‘On the contrary. It was not brutal sex. I never used bodily, physical violence.’ He said he abused the second boy for ‘merely over a year.’ He did not think any of this made him a pedophile.”

This former bishop is one very sick and very messed up person, but the point at hand is that the person who should have been above all of this wickedness, the one who should have stood up and fired each and every child molester in the Church, the one who should have protected the children instead of the rapists – is John Paul II. The very man who is being beatified today.

Does the omission of a necessary good in the face of such immense evil qualify as evil itself? In my opinion, it does. The acts of these rapist priests under the leadership of John Paul alone do not disqualify him for sainthood in my eyes.

It was his decision to sweep this issue under the rug, whereby giving those pedophiles further license to rape little boys, that disqualifies the late Pope from being a saint.

Sadly, the victimisation of the congregants is a practice that permeates all religions. For example, when I mentioned my intention to write on this topic on Facebook, one person responded, “Same goes for lots of Hindu godmen, they abuse children and women and the ignorant masses worship them. It’s the new order, people prostrate before men instead of God.”

Yes, I have heard the same stories everyone else has heard in Guyana about such things. And the “holy” men have the audacity to shake their heads and lament out loud that so many have lost their faith. Isn’t that absolutely ironic? As long as rapists, misogynists, thieves and shysters rule religious institutions, the people will continue to exit the church, temple, synagogue and other religious houses in search of true holiness.

For this reason, John Paul’s beatification today is uncomely. It celebrates the life of a religious leader who turned a blind eye to the evil that he himself could have stopped. I refuse to fall in step to the march of the masses as the religious leaders play their pied piper song today. To do so would be akin to dancing at a concert put on by the government to encourage the people to forget that they have no money, no job and no hope.

I choose to live in reality. I choose to keep my eyes wide open. To close my eyes, plug my ears and tape my mouth shut concerning the obvious evils that religious leaders want to pretend do not exist within their own ranks would equate to intellectual dishonesty – and to me that would be the same as selling my soul.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said in his book, Self Reliance, “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” To parrot the words and ideas of others when those words and ideas are worthy to be repeated is not a sin. However, on this day it would be a sin for me to sing the praises of a man whom I find unworthy of praise.

I would rather take a stand for the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic priests, which is something John Paul did not do.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. It is in the moderation process now and will be posted once it is approved.