(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
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
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
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.