Pope John Paul II and the Vatican sex scandal cover-up – Saxasalt

The Cover-up Popes : John Paul II, Francis, and Benedict XVI

Boy in the dark shadow of a predatory priest.Governments around the world have come to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church is incapable of restraining the bestial impulses of its clergy and cannot be trusted to act properly toward victims when their cases come to light. In other words, government authorities no longer have any confidence that the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church can be counted on to do much more than cover up evil behaviour. – Saxasalt

The Roman Catholic Church has fallen upon hard times of late. Although it is important to recognise that most Catholics find the sexual abuse scandals utterly abhorrent it is still difficult to feel much sympathy for an organisation that could be described as a manufactory of perversion and morally negligent in caring for the vulnerable.

Once again, the Roman Catholic Church is mired in sexual scandals that are rocking it to the core. Chile, Australia, Pennsylvania, Guam, and Honduras just in this year alone. There are dozens of victims – if not hundreds – going back over decades. Investigators have identified hundreds of perpetrators including some of the highest ranked clergy – bishops and cardinals. Some of these have been convicted in courts around the world. A cardinal awaits sentencing in Australia.

And it is not only children who have suffered, but also seminarians. These young men, some of them scarcely more than teenagers were sexually harassed, groomed, and abused by men who claimed to be their shepherds. Rampant homosexuality in some seminaries around the world have been directly connected with some of the aforementioned clergy. In fact, some priestly training houses have resembled male-only brothels. These places do not bear the slightest resemblance to anything that corresponds to the sexual control and purity described by biblical Christianity, and are properly regarded as the overflow of diabolical work.

Deep cesspits have formed within the Catholic organisation, steaming and bubbling away, and enveloped in the fetid odours of sin. Ample numbers of boatmen sail atop this immoral sludge and dive in for a swim. But these are not victimless sins. These are evils that damages people’s lives forever. They inflicts terrible wounds on people’s souls and mangle their capacity for trust and faith. Nothing could be as aptly described as the work of Satan than the sexual abuse of children and young people since it fundamentally destroys and impairs their human flourishing.

Revoltingly, the perpetrators and their abettors are the same men who claim for themselves some kind of apostolic authority; some kind of moral privilege. They even dare to take unto themselves the title alter Christus – that is, “another Christ”. Is there anything that better qualifies as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the one unforgivable sin? To prey upon others like Satan and to pretend to be Christ, is surely a degree of hypocrisy never approached even by the Pharisees.

St. Jude tells us that such men are: “… wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” Indeed, the short Epistle of St. Jude is a powerful guide in understanding these grotesque moral and religious mutants.

And thus, so it is that the Roman Church is now embroiled in another crisis. Yet this time the crisis has another dimension. For now the hierarchy is at war with itself. Cardinals are taking potshots at each other. Bishops and priests are weighing in. Both traditionalists and liberals within the church – who follow the principle that you should never let a good crisis go to waste – have used the chaos as an excuse to turn upon each other in a public way. Some clergy are jockeying for position; others have battened down the hatches in the hope that the storm will pass and their careers will be unaffected; and still others are spinning their wheels so fast in an effort to rewrite history that they could nearly start a small tornado. These latter are desperate to explain their amazing ignorance of sexual offenders on their watch, when many others saw it from a country mile.

Amongst all of this, a former Apostolic Nuncio, Carlo Maria Viganò has released a lengthy testimony that has named prominent and powerful clergy – archbishops and cardinals – who knew of the deplorable behaviour of Cardinal McCarrick who has experienced a spectacular fall from grace this year as his sins have come to light. Most damning of all, Viganò has named Pope Francis as part of the hierarchical cover-up of McCarrick.

It is the first time in living memory that any highly-placed member of the hierarchy has publicly denounced the head of the pyramid: the pope himself. The supporters of Pope Francis argue that the accusations have arisen from the traditionalist camp of the church, many of whom loathe Francis. Viganò is often described as a traditionalist. The traditionalists, it is claimed, want to turn the clock back to the medieval period and see Pope Francis as a threat to their power. There is probably some truth in this.

The opponents of Pope Francis – and there are many – claim that something shady has been going on, that Pope Francis has done little to combat these abuses, and that public speeches of contrition and prayers are not enough to deal with the problem. The opponents sometimes accuse Pope Francis of being a scarcely-Catholic ultra-liberal, influenced by liberation theology, unclear in his theology, and an incurable political animal who will stack the Vatican with his own “yes men” if it helps his cause.

But the question on everyone’s lips, and one Pope Francis has so far publicly refused to answer, is: “What did the Pope know and when did he know it?” According to the Spectator, the evidence is mounting that Pope Francis knew about McCarrick. Pope Francis has refused to address the Viganò testimony, telling journalists that they should judge the credibility of the accusations. He has also preached a homily recently in which he spoke of silence sometimes being the only acceptable response to false accusations.

It is quite possible that Pope Francis is a casualty of the internecine conflict within the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis has quite probably made enemies by auditing the finances of the Vatican – doubtless an uncomfortable exercise for some stakeholders – and by attempting to soften the church’s stance toward divorced and remarried people. There are quite a number of conservative Catholics who see this as an effort to change the unchangeable doctrine of the church, and they see Pope Francis as dangerous and even heretical. Some have even prayed for the death of Pope Francis.

There’s a lot of water left to flow under this bridge. We must let the situation run its course and wait for evidence to emerge. For nobody deserves a trial by media, not even a pope. In fairness, one thing we can say definitively is that Pope Francis did not create the mess he has been left with. Most of the sexual abuse and certainly the development of a culture of cover-up happened long before his pontificate.

By the same token, we cannot say that Pope Benedict XVI created the situation. This feeble, white-haired theologian turned Successor of St. Peter did quite a bit to clean up the disastrous wasteland he was left with – although it was an imperfect effort. The sight of this frail old man travelling the world and apologising for abuses left and centre at least demonstrated a public moral resolve that matched some of the action behind the scenes.

Both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI can be criticised for many things, but neither can be held accountable for the emergence of a culture of abuse and a horrifying lack of regard for the victims.

But what of the sainted Pope John Paul II?

Pope John Paul II reigned for nearly 30 years. Much of the abuse that is now coming to light occurred under his pontificate. Moreover, many of the abusers that are being exposed were trained and nourished in the priestly arts while he was pope. A lot of these were flushed down the drain when the abuse scandal exploded in 2002. That year, and those following, the scandal was covered relentlessly by the media and the Catholic Church parted with countless millions of dollars in compensation and legal fees. A slow and shuddering change started to occur – it turns out to be very expensive to harbour perverted animals in your organisation – although many perpetrators remained hidden in the vast spiderweb of the Roman Catholic organisation.

What this means is that of the last three popes, Pope John Paul II sat on the biggest powder keg of them all. He was in charge before the secular authorities began the house cleaning; before the dirty linen started to get aired; before the law came after them. The question legitimately applies to Pope John Paul II. What did the Pope know and when did he know it? All of the evidence seems to indicate that John Paul II presided over a deeply corrupt, money-focused Vatican, and that he not only was disinterested in the issue of child abuse, but would not listen to reports that were sent to him about it.

There is no earthly way Pope John Paul II could not have known. The fact that nothing was done gives us a deep insight into the true nature of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope John Paul II & Fr. Marcial Maciel

John Paul: The consummate politician

Let’s turn the clock back to 1978. Karol Wojtyla, a youngish Polish archbishop was elected by the conclave of the Roman Catholic Church. He took the papal name of Pope John Paul II. In short order, he proved to be wily and cunning politician.

John Paul II was able to be a good politician because he was a perplexing blend of inconsistent energies. His personality crackled with oddities. On the one hand, he yearned for traditional Catholic family values. He was particularly wont to glorify both the figure of mother and motherhood. He refused to buckle on the issue of birth control.

Yet, despite this staunch conservatism when it came to women he was exceedingly liberal in his views of other religions. He wanted Catholics to join forces with Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and virtually any other halfway sizeable religion in order to influence the world for the better. After all, to engineer social justice you need numbers. If you get a bunch of religions on the same wagon, you have a lot of social justice warriors. And if John Paul II taught anything, it was definitely the Social Gospel.

Pragmatic and calculating when it came to inter-faith alliances, John Paul II was also a decided mystic. It was said that each morning he would crawl around a large map of the world praying for different nations. He is reported to have had “prophetic visions”, and to talk with the Virgin Mary. This tendency is not surprising since he was fiercely dedicated to the cult of the Virgin Mary, even giving her the attribution for saving his life during the assassination attempt by Mehmet Ali Agca:

Could I forget that the event in St. Peter’s Square took place on the day and at the hour when the first appearance of the Mother of Christ to the poor little peasants has been remembered for over sixty years at Fátima, Portugal? For in everything that happened to me on that very day, I felt that extraordinary motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullet.

He was also an exceedingly clever politician.

It was the commensurate political skill of Pope John Paul II – who combined both liberal and conservative impulses in an inconsistent amalgam – that satisfied the two wings of the church for decades and kept them from tearing each other apart.

He achieved this state of cold war by giving both sides theological morsels in turn. One month, for example, he would thunder out canonical law with the fire of a desert prophet and fiercely condemn liberation theology, birth control, and communism. The traditionalists would throw up their hands and cry, “Great is Pope John Paul II! He is our man.” Yet the liberals would mutter darkly and the shadows would begin to stir.

Then, a few months down the track, John Paul II would issue apologies for past crimes, or beatify national saints (which he did by the truckload), or soften the official stance on liturgical issues. He would talk about world peace, condemn consumerism, and proclaim St. Francis of Assisi the patron saints of ecologists. The liberals would throw up their hands and cry, “All is forgiven! We were in error. Great is John Paul II. He is our man.”

Shortly afterwards, he would simply wash, rinse, and repeat the process.

By this means he kept both traditionalists and liberals in stasis. He had a forceful and charismatic temper which when combined with his contradictory and unsystematic theological views, enabled everyone to claim him as his own. For example, I have an exceedingly liberal grandmother who firmly believed that Pope John Paul II was a great “spiritual man” and a liberal leader who held views similar to her own. By the same token, Father John Zuhlsdorf, a convinced traditionalist who trumpets the value of Latin and wants to revive countless archaic Catholic traditions, regards Pope John Paul II with similar reverence and respect. Zuhlsdorf counts him as a traditionalist defender of Catholic morality and of a tidy Catholic liturgy.

Pope John Paul II also managed to keep the Roman Curia – the secretive bureaucracy of the Vatican – on his side. He did this by never rocking the boat. During his 28 year pontificate, he did little to reform, investigate, or change the curia’s processes or privileges even following the nearly Hollywoodeque Banco Ambrosiano scandal and exposure of the crooked dealings of Roberto Calvi – the Italian known as “God’s banker” – who was connected with the Vatican.

The Banco Ambrosiano, of which the Vatican Bank was a majority shareholder, was used by the Mafia to run a money laundering operation and also by the Masonic Lodge Propaganda Due (P2). Propaganda Due was later found by a parliamentary investigation to be a secret criminal organisation with links to Argentina and numerous corrupt dealings involving banks. Propaganda Due was sometimes called a “state within a state” or a “shadow government” due to the large number of journalists, politicians, industrialists and military leaders who were involved with it.

Roberto Calvi was discovered in 1982 hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London with his clothes stuffed with bricks and cash in three different currencies totalling $14,000 (US). In 2007, Italian magistrates ruled his death a murder – not a suicide as it may have been intended to appear – and said the case was effectively closed and the five people charged with his murder were acquitted. The defence argued that too many people had an interest in his death, such as the mafia and Vatican officials.

The scandal should have torpedoed any remaining illusions that the Roman Curia and the Vatican administrative apparatus was “the most perfect government on earth”, as it has liked to present itself. In fact, it was an episode that should have troubled all but the most hardened consciences. For during the 25 years in which Calvi’s murder was repeatedly investigated by private and public investigators, time and again the Vatican was spoken of in connection to extreme corruption. Vatican business dealings with the Banco Ambrosiano meant that, through the nexus of the bank, they were commercially rubbing shoulders with criminal organisations that were implicated in murders.

One demonstration of its corruption was revealed more recently by Cardinal George Pell (who is awaiting sentencing following a trial for historic sexual abuse). Pell admitted that during his audit of Vatican finances, he had discovered hundreds of millions of euros that had not appeared on balance sheets. Moreover, he also admitted in an interview with the Catholic Herald that one of the problems of auditing Vatican finances was the resistance of each department to transparency. Naturally Pell used the euphemism “independence” but it is clear what is implied. Pell said:

I once read that Pope Leo XIII sent an apostolic visitor to Ireland to report on the Catholic Church there,” he writes. “On his return, the Holy Father’s first question was: ‘How did you find the Irish bishops?’ The visitor replied that he could not find any bishops, but only 25 popes.

So it was with the Vatican finances. Congregations, Councils and, especially, the Secretariat of State enjoyed and defended a healthy independence. Problems were kept ‘in house’ (as was the custom in most institutions, secular and religious, until recently). Very few were tempted to tell the outside world what was happening, except when they needed extra help.

Pell went on to drop a bombshell. Not only were Vatican finances healthy, but large pools of money were washing around the Vatican completely unaccounted for. One must ask the question, “Where did this money come from?” and “Who was profiting from this money while it was sitting unaccounted for?”. Pell, of course, gives no inkling about this:

It is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke. Apart from the pension fund, which needs to be strengthened for the demands on it in 15 or 20 years, the Holy See is paying its way, while possessing substantial assets and investments.

In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed, because some hundreds of millions of euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet. It is another question, impossible to answer, whether the Vatican should have much larger reserves.

Pell then frankly admits that the Vatican was involved with criminal activity, to such an extent that other European banks would not deal with it. He says:

Many will remember the scandals at the Vatican bank (IOR) in the early 1980s, with Archbishop Paul Marcinkus and the lay bankers Michele Sindona and Roberto Calvi (who was famously found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge), and the Vatican being constrained to pay $406 million (£259 million) in compensation. Comparative quiet then returned, until the international laws against money laundering needed to be applied within the Vatican.

The authorities supervising the Vatican bank did not move swiftly enough, and some tens of millions of euros were frozen by the Bank of Italy, with many European banks refusing to deal with the Vatican. It was a grave situation where the worst was narrowly averted. It was only this November [2014], after years of dialogue and good work, that the €23 million (£18.3 million) were released.

All of this developed under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II who showed little interest in doing much about Vatican finances and this reflected his preference for the dirty linen of the Catholic Church to be kept under wraps – until it exploded.

Given the wretched condition of the Vatican administration under his reign, it is not at all surprising that there are significant numbers of people today who believe that Pope John Paul II was well aware of the abuse that ran like a plague through his church, and yet he did not take concerted action against it.

His supporters argue he did not know. Like the common peasant myth in Tsarist Russia, it was not the king himself who did not wish to act, but rather his evil officials who kept the truth from him. Likewise, supporters of John Paul II have said that had he known – had he been told – he would have vigorously sought to root it out. Unfortunately the corrupt curia prevented the knowledge from flowing through.

Such an argument (if true) confirms the rottenness of the Vatican administration, something that is now acknowledged even by the most ardent Catholics, but it is not really a credible argument. To claim that Pope John Paul II was actively denied knowledge of the prevalence of abuse, or that he had no knowledge of abuse during a 30 year period when literally thousands of abuse cases occurred and were reported, requires a faith that exceeds that of a simple believer in God. You would need to believe in supernatural ignorance, for that is what it would take for this argument to hold.

Contrarily, there is striking evidence that not only did Pope John Paul II know about the abuse, he actively sought to suppress its exposure.

The pontiff “turned a blind eye to the problems that were happening in Los Angeles,” said Joelle Casteix, Western Regional Director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

“The canonization of Pope John Paul II is very traumatic for victims of sexual abuse in the catholic church because they don’t see him as the unifying figure that many other Catholics do,” Casteix said. “They see him as someone who knew about sexual abuse, covered it up, promoted wrong doers and allowed more priests to molest kids.”

It is difficult not to come to the same conclusion articulated by Joelle Casteix, given that the Vatican has virtually drowned in cases of sickening child abuse for nearly two decades.

In February last year, the Business Standard magazine reported the comments made by Thomas Doyle to the Royal Commission inquiry into historical sexual abuse in Australia. Doyle alleges that Pope John Paul II had indeed known about the abuse:

Late Pope John Paul II was aware of priests sexually abusing children, and of efforts by the Catholic Church to cover up the allegations, an American canon lawyer claimed on Tuesday.

Thomas Doyle, an expert on cases of sexual abuse by the clergy, said this while testifying at a hearing here in Australia, EFE news reported.

Doyle is deposing before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in public and religious institutions.

He also said that in 1985 at least four US dioceses sent reports to the Vatican on child sexual abuse by priests.

Doyle went on to describe his personal involvement in trying to solicit support from Pope John Paul II for stamping out abusers within the Roman clergy:

One of these reports were prepared by Doyle himself, who requested a bishop be sent down to Luisiana to deal with cases of paedophilia.

The report was sent by courier to the Cardinal Archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal John Krol, who took it to the Vatican the next day, said Doyle.

He added Krol handed the report to the Pope, who read the document and named a bishop for the purpose – A.J. Quinn – within three days.

However, Quinn, he said: “turned out to be part of the problem, not part of the solution, because he was trying to figure how to continue with the cover-up.”

After being informed, Pope John Paul II appointed a bishop who proceeded to cover up the abuse. Given John Paul II’s political instincts, it is again questionable whether this could be an accident. If Thomas Doyle can be believed – and there is no reason to question his integrity – there are only two possibilities here. Either John Paul II wanted to minimise the fallout and scotch tape the situation up, and therefore gave implicit or explicit instructions to that effect, or the culture in the Vatican was so noxious that the bishop concluded off his own bat that his sole duty in being awarded the task was to cover it up as best as possible.

Doyle went on to say:

Doyle’s claims came a day after a detailed report by the Australian Catholic Church that revealed around 4,500 people reported cases of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy between 1980 and 2015.

Presented by Gail Furness, the counsel assisting the commission, the report said between 1950 and 2010, 1,880 alleged perpetrators were identified — 572 priests, 597 religious brothers, and 96 religious sisters and others.

These figures are mind-blowing. The numbers provided by the Australian Catholic Church themselves, indicate that in the space of 60 years there were 1,880 perpetrators of sexual abuse. Given that each perpetrator probably offended many times, and despite the fact that perpetrators would not have been identified in consistent batches, it still provides an average of 31 offenders per year over a 60 year period. Or, to word it another way, it means that on average two clerics began to abuse children in the Roman Catholic Church every single month across a 60 year period.

This is not including the physical abuse that was documented by the Royal Commission, or the frequent efforts to get justice from the victims.

Even supporters of Pope John Paul II admit that his response to endemic levels of horrific abuse was “slow”:

Supporters of the late Polish Pope say he was slow to wake up to the enormity of the sex abuse scandal because in his homeland he had witnessed the Communist authorities use trumped-up allegations against the clergy to attack the Church.

They also claim that his aides may have known of the scandals but kept them from the Pope – an argument discounted by victims’ groups.

The Telegraph article continues:

In Austria, the Church has paid token compensation to 1,800 victims of sex abuse in return for their silence, and not a single priest has been defrocked or removed, he said.

Nicky Davis, 50, from Australia, another member of SNAP and a former victim, said: “All of us here were abused because John Paul II chose not to act in the way that the Vatican claims he acted. We don’t believe it’s saintly behaviour to allow sex abuse to continue for a 27-year reign. He could have used his enormous power to save children but instead he decided to save the reputation of the Church.

And victims ominously comment on Pope Francis’ response as far back as 2014:

Victims’ groups are also highly critical of Pope Francis, saying that he has taken no tangible steps during his 13-month papacy to crack down on abusive clergy, instead simply forming a committee to address the issue.

In an interview in March which prompted outrage from survivors of sexual abuse, he claimed that “no one else has done more” than the Catholic Church to root out paedophilia.

The Church was “perhaps the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility,” he told Corriere della Sera, the Italian newspaper. “Yet the Church is the only one to have been attacked.”

Mrs Blaine said: “Francis is cleaning up the Vatican bureaucracy and demoting bishops who live in luxurious mansions but he has taken no action to protect children. Sexual predators remain in the Church today. Rather than turn them over to the police, and release the Vatican’s documents on predators priests, he has just set up a commission.”

Pope John Paul II also seemed to keep company with some very shady characters, some of whom were later found to be abusers of children and rank hypocrites, even by the rock-bottom standards of the Roman Catholic clergy. One of these was the leader and founder of the Legion of Christ, a Mexican priest by the name of Marcial Maciel Degollado. He was eventually exposed as once being addicted to drugs, being expelled twice from seminary as a young man, and having kept two mistresses – one of which was given a luxury apartment in Madrid with funds not disclosed. He is also known to have fathered six children – although there could well be others – and to have abused possibly a hundred children, two of them his own.

Bizarrely, the order he founded – the Legion of Christ – was meant to form the character of priests and seminarians. It is little wonder it has come under scrutiny given the consistently weak moral calibre of its founder. Nonetheless, the Legion of Christ now describes Macial’s actions as “reprehensible”. The Vatican also has described him as “immoral” and labelled his behaviour “true crimes”. Yet, for all of this outrage and fury, the Vatican was well aware of the accusations of child abuse that accompanied the man wherever he went.

In 2013, GlobalPost did a feature expose on Macial:

Dozens of victims in multiple countries made sexual abuse allegations against Maciel over the course of several decades, dating back to the 1950s.

Though he was suspended in 1956 from his leadership of the Legion by Pope Pius XII after being accused of abusing youths in Mexico, Cardinal Clemente Micara, the Vicar of Rome, reinstated him in 1958 after his predecessor’s death and Maciel enjoyed a long and prosperous career despite the claims of as many as 100 victims.

As the claims mounted, Pope John Paul II knuckled down. He offered praise and protection for a man about which there was no possible way he could not have been aware of the allegations against him. How are we to understand this gaping lapse in judgement?

It could be understood as an instance of Pope John Paul II’s pigheadedness, as his supporters claim. The pope was a stubborn old man, and like many stubborn old men could not be told. Maybe he was just firmly placing his head in the sand, and that because he had come to believe the best of Maciel he would not hear a word spoken against him. If this is true, then the pope was strikingly naive to the point of utter stupidity. Had his long pontificate with the thousands of accusations of child abuse against “upstanding” clergy not taught him anything?

Or, is it more likely that this is a case of Pope John Paul II’s razor-sharp pragmatism at work? After all, Maciel sent streams of money to the Vatican. Was toleration of a serial child abuser the price that had to be paid for the church coffers to be filled?

The GlobalPost goes on describing an extraordinary pattern of apparently inexplicable protection, which involved not just the pope but the Vatican administration as well:

A man of great charisma, and the greatest fundraiser of the modern church, Maciel cultivated a relationship with John Paul II, using scenes of the two men in video-tapes that the Legion distributed to its growing base of benefactors. Maciel accompanied John Paul on papal visits to Mexico in 1979, 1990 and 1993, and in 1994 he was celebrated in “an open letter by Pope John Paul II celebrating Maciel’s 50th anniversary as a priest, appeared in major newspapers of Mexico City, as a paid advertisement, celebrating Maciel as ‘an efficacious guide to youth.’”

In 1997 a Hartford Courant investigation by Gerald Renner and Jason Berry identified nine seminary victims of Maciel in on-the-record interviews. The Vatican refused to comment. In 1998, the ex-Legionaries filed a recourse in Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s tribunal seeking Maciel’s ouster. But John Paul continued praising him, and the canon law case went nowhere.

Letters sent directly to the Vatican in a diplomatic bag were never acted upon:

Vaca entered the Legion in Mexico in 1947, at age 10. Repeatedly abused by Maciel in Spain from age 12 through adolescence in Rome, the young priest went to Orange, Conn., as the Legion’s U.S. director. In 1976, when Vaca left the Legion, joining the Diocese of be Rockville Centre, Long Island, N.Y., he sent a blistering 12-page letter to Maciel, naming 20 other victims.

With support of Bishop John R. McGann, he sent the letter to the Vatican in a formal protest, which achieved nothing. With McGann’s support he petitioned the Vatican to punish Maciel again, sent via diplomatic pouch from the Vatican Embassy, without action. His final attempt in 1989, again through Vatican channels, included an impassioned cover letter to John Paul specifying what Maciel did.”

According to a Newsweek feature article published in 2013, Marciel was swimming in cash, regularly carrying $10,000 on his person:

Meanwhile, he held great prominence in Rome. Cardinals relished the grand dinners with a mariachi band at the Legion college. He traveled relentlessly, each time taking $10,000 in cash with no questions asked from his subalterns.

He also cleverly directed cash into the right pockets, not only giving insight into the calculated nature of his corruption, but into the corruption that exists at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic Church amongst people who are supposedly charged with the oversight of the eternal souls of other people. Newsweek reports:

Gaining access to the small chapel in the Apostolic Palace turned on a flow of donations Maciel allegedly orchestrated to Monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Polish assistant to John Paul and gatekeeper of attendance at the private masses, who admitted only a few world leaders.

In 1995, according to former Legion insiders, Maciel sent $1 million via Dziwisz in advance of a papal trip to Poland. In 1997, according to a priest who left the Legion and spoke on the condition of anonymity, a wealthy family from Mexico gave Dziwisz $50,000 to attend a private papal mass. Dziwisz, now a cardinal in Kraków, did not answer my questions about the incident, sent by fax in 2010 and translated into Polish. “This happened all the time,” the ex-Legionary told me. “It was always in cash. And in dollars.”

While the Vatican has no constitution or statutes that would make such transactions illegal, a second priest who says he gave funds to Dziwisz said, “You don’t know where the money is going. It’s an elegant way of giving a bribe.”

He targeted powerful cardinals:

In Rome, Sodano was a “cheerleader for the Legion,” as several ex-Legion priests told me. “He’d come give a talk at Christmas, and they’d give him $10,000,” said one. Another recalled a $5,000 donation to Sodano. (Sodano has also declined my interview requests.)

And when he finally was kicked out of his position, he left an organisation that was worth more than the economy of several small island nations combined:

The Legion had a $650 million annual budget and $1 billion in assets by May 2006, when Ratzinger, as Benedict, banished Maciel to “a life of prayer and penitence.” The Vatican communiqué did not stipulate what he had done. But Maciel had “more than 20 and less than 100” victims, according to an unnamed Vatican official quoted by John Allen in the National Catholic Reporter.

The abuser was never punished by the Roman Catholic Church, unless retiring to a villa to pray is considered a form of punishment:

Maciel retired to Jacksonville, Florida, and a house with a pool in a gated community the Legion bought to comply with Rome’s penitential order. He died January 30, 2008, surrounded by several priests, his daughter Normita, and her mother, Norma Hilda Baños. Several days later he was buried at a family crypt in his hometown, Cotija de la Paz.

His son Raul watched the news on TV in Cuernavaca; several years had passed since he had been heard from, though Raul in subsequent interviews said he never forgot how the man he knew as dad sexually abused him through adolescence, a charge now pending in a civil lawsuit against the Legion in Connecticut.

The Legion website announced that Maciel had gone to heaven. It took them another year to disclose his paternity, which sent shock waves through the movement, at which point top Legionaries began apologizing to the pedophilia victims whom they had attacked for years as participants in a dark conspiracy.

At that point the Vatican, which had known about the daughter for four and a half years, announced an investigation of the Legion. In 2010 the Vatican took the scandal-battered order into receivership, something unique in the modern church.

According to Raul Gonzalez, his father seemed well aware that his time would be up after John Paul II died:

“My dad told my mom that when John Paul II dies, he was going to be in trouble,” said Raul Gonzalez, who filed a lawsuit in 2010 claiming that he is one of Maciel’s children and alleging the late priest molested him beginning when he was 7 years old.

If true, this suggests a deep and disturbing relationship between the pope and Marciel.

The Roman Catholic Church now faces the circling wolves of secular authority. Governments around the world have come to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church is incapable of restraining the bestial impulses of its clergy and cannot be trusted to act properly toward victims when their cases come to light. In other words, government authorities no longer have any confidence that the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church can be counted on to do much more than cover up evil behaviour.

In Australia, state governments are determined to pass laws that would force priests to divulge the secrets of the confessional to the police when they hear confessions involving sexual abuse. This would mean that priests would have to violate the much-ballyhooed “seal of the confession” which forbids priests from revealing anything mentioned in the confessional booth on pain of excommunication. The Roman Catholic Church is quite robust in its rejection of the new laws; more robust, indeed, than it ever has been in rooting out and disposing of the evil people who have infested its hierarchy.

To some extent, the new laws are symbolic because they are unenforceable. If something is revealed in the confession, who would know? And if a confession is anonymous, how can it be reported? It has also been pointed out that sexual predators do not generally confess their sins to priests because they have no conscience. They have rationalised their abuse and justified it to themselves. Finally, the popular image of Catholics regularly going up to a confessional booth to spill the beans to Father McHellfire is far from the reality for most modern Catholics in the Western World. Confession is no longer the norm for most Catholics.

But Australian state governments are – understandably – determined to send a message to a church that has been gravely implicated in scandals involving children. The message is this: the days of your power are fading and like it or not your church will be ruled by secular law because you clearly cannot govern your own. It is, in one sense, the assertion of the primacy of parliament over the Catholic church. And if there was any hesitation on the part of lawmakers about implementing these laws, the disgraceful spectacle over the last few weeks will have dispelled any doubt. – Arid Landscapes, 5 September 2018

» Saxasalt is an anonymous Christian blogger.

Pope John Paul II & Mother Teresa


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Dalit Speak: Even in death we are apart, away and outcaste – Aleena

Christian priests and a Dalit priest

A Dalit ChristianAll Dalit Christians who came into the Christian fold in the whole of the 20th century were fooled by the fake promise of a spiritual Achha Din. – Aleena

For as long as I can remember, We and They were always different. “I knew I would lose my umbrella when these Pulaya women were standing here … what a bad omen they are,” exclaimed someone in church.

I was in Grade VIII when I heard this. It was all a pompous lie, the tale of the Holy Blood of Christ “healing” our discrimination. It was into deaf ears of the churches that the voice of Poykayil Yohannan made his point about this years ago. Our church has a striking majority of Dalits. The earnings of Protestant church priests are just a tenth of what their believers make in my church. But they can’t ever imagine a Syrian Christian priest living off the offerings of the majority Pulaya and Paraya members of this diocese. No way. That is how strong caste works within the community.

They are liars, as there is no text or manuscript that endorse or validates any racial or caste discrimination in the Bible [1] as in the Manusmriti or cultural history of Hinduism. They lie that they are free of such inhumane practices. They lie that their theological texts are epitomes of equality. All Dalit Christians who came into the fold in the whole of the 20th century were fooled by this fake promise of a spiritual Achha Din. Yes, the sense of caste or notion of caste was absent from the minds of the Dalits, but never had the Syrian Christians given up their pride over their Brahmin and Roman ancestry or their claim of purity of blood.

Just fact check how the Church shamed Dalits for their open support to the Dalit hartal that happened. They forgot that we were the same as how we were when we left the Hindu fold. We were always silenced from speaking up, all our rebellions inside the religion crushed. But not a pinch of this Church wrath was towards the pure blood theories and claims of pride of the Syrians, all that was perfectly Christian. Their pride in their Namboothiri (Hindu) origins were a thing of constant celebration, both for the Syrian Christians and for the Church. No theologist or good Samaritan would raise even a question against this pure blood and royal claims of these great families of the Syrian Christians.[2]

There is discrimination and exclusion right from the choir to the Holy Chairs of the Church. There are even separate prayer services and functions that would even put apartheid to shame. Even in death we are apart, away and outcast.

Very recently a reputed college in Kerala University, which was under the Christian management, rejected a thesis on Poykayil Appachan who was a great Dalit poet and philosopher reformist. They forced the student to edit out the attacks Appachan had launched on the Church. They were too weak to address the truth that he spoke out. The liberal ones who always spoke about caste in Hinduism were also rendered silent. Even Dalit organisations seldom addressed our needs as such.

Kerala government has included the Dalit Christians under Other Eligible Communities (OEC) category which excludes us from the direct benefits of the SC/ST reservation, rendering the whole community into social and economic backwardness. Dalits who constitute the majority of about 70 per cent of the Indian Christian population is given only less than seven per cent in the seats of power at the Church.[3] My mother always wanted to be a nun, but when someone who became one told her about the bad treatment and discrimination one would face, she backed off. But even now she says that she should have been a nun and she adds: “It will always be dreadful thing … aren’t our people already in a dreadful state anyway.” – The Indian Express, 1 June 2008

Notes

  1. For St. Paul on slavery see Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:22-25 & 4:1, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, and PhilemonSee also 1 Peter 2:18-25, which begins: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward.”
  2. The Syrian Christian claim of Namboodiri or Brahmin ancestry is fraudulent, an historical error at best. St Thomas did not come to Kerala and evangelise the Brahmins. He did not get further east that Parthia (Persia) where he established a church at Fars. The first record of Christian immigrants in Kerala is 345 CE, not earlier. And the first record of Namboodiris in Kerala is for Mezhathol Agnihothri,  born in 342 CE. Marxist historians place Namboodiri Brahmins in Kerala not earlier that 6th century CE (they apparently migrated south from the Himalayan foothills). That a Vedic Namboodiri would convert to the Syrian Thomas cult is an absurdity!
  3. Pope Gregory XV (1621-1623) sanctioned caste divisions within the Indian Church and his edict has never been rescinded. Earlier in 1599 the Council of Diamper and again in 1606 the Council of Goa had sanctioned the same. These edicts have governed Catholic practice ever since―though Christians piously maintain that caste is contrary to Christ’s teachings.

Dalits for Equal Rights in Churches

See also


 

Indian churches conspire with Vatican to destabilise govt, says VHP – PTI

Surendra Jain

VHP LogoThe Vatican not only denigrates Hindus all over the world but also India as a nation, and Indian churches are acting as puppets in their hands. – VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain

Amidst veiled criticism of the Modi government by two archbishops, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today accused churches in India of conspiring with the Vatican as “contract killers to destabilise elected governments” and prop up the “puppet” ones.

Weeks within his Delhi counterpart stirred up a debate, the Archbishop of Goa and Daman Father Filipe Neri Ferrao on Monday wrote a letter to churches saying that the Constitution is in danger and most people are living in insecurity.

Reacting sharply to these letters, VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain said it is now amply clear that the “churches in India are in collusion with the Vatican and are trying to create an atmosphere of distrust against the present government.”

“On the contrary, Constitution of India is in danger because of the attacking political stand of the church and its agenda of religious conversions,” he alleged.

“This is not the church’s view-point, but a conspiracy to install governments which can run on the directions of the Vatican. Like the award-wapsi gang, the church too is acting like a contract killer to destabilise the elected governments,” Jain claimed—referring to a group of artists and academicians returning Pope Francis the Actorgovernment awards in protest of perceived intolerance.

He further said the Vatican not only denigrates the Hindus all over the world but also India as a nation and the Indian churches are acting as puppets in their hands.

“The same Church remains a mute spectator when emergency was imposed in the country, Kashmiri Hindus were brutally killed in the valley and Sikhs were butchered in the 1984 riots. For the Church, these events do not put the Constitution in danger,” Jain argued.

“Why does the Church behave in this fashion only when BJP-led government is in office,” he asked.

“A malicious campaign about attacks on churches was started by these people when Modiji took over as Prime Minister. When their falsehood was exposed, they did not show the courtesy of apologising for the same,” Jain added.

In a controversial letter addressed to all the churches in the national capital, the Archbishop of Delhi had last month said that there was a “turbulent political atmosphere” in the country which “threatens” democracy and secularism.

Archbishop Anil Couto, in his letter dated May 8, has also urged all the priests in Delhi to “pray for the country” ahead of the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha election, in which the BJP hopes to retain power.

“We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our constitution and the secular fabric of our nation,” Archbishop Couto had said in his letter.

The letter had triggered a sharp response from the ruling BJP. – The Times of India, 7 June 2018


Filipe Neri Ferrao

Read Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao’s ‘political’ letter to his parishioners HERE

Archbishop Couto is instigating a political conspiracy to destablise Bharat – C.I. Issac

Archbishop Anil Couto of New Delhi

C. I. IssacWhat is the moral right of a parochial and authoritarian Catholic Church to call its believers to pray for secular and democratic principles in our country? – Prof C.I. Issac 

Catholic Archbishop of Delhi Anil J. T. Couto, through a pastoral letter of  May 8th—which was released on  May 12th—calls its laity for prayer campaign—an undeclared civil war?—ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. No doubt, it is an ecclesiastical political melodrama. Anyhow, it should be taken seriously. Consider it as an early warning. His provocative call is for reciting of prayers as a political game until the next general election, with fast and performing of the Eucharistic adoration (Holy Mass) of the faithful of every parish, is not an ignorable move.

It is a calculated one and part of an international conspiracy against a nation and its people. Above all, it is an order to generate chaos and an insecurity in the nation as well as to defame the Hindu nation with a time-honoured tradition of democracy and peaceful coexistence of religions (upasana systems). The only available weapon of the Archbishop in the Indian specific situation has been unsheathed well through the “pastoral letter”. He knows well the pastoral letter’s power in the Indian scenario. This weapon was tested in Kerala successfully several times, including during the “liberation struggle” against the first democratically elected Communist ministry of Kerala during 1958. Even though the Indian Communists are suffering from amnesia, to the students of history it is a significant milestone in the annals of our history.

The Vatican is a 110 acre sovereign state which is ruled by an absolute monarch, the Pope. Catholic Church is the only religious organisation ruled by a hierarchical structure and has no relevance to democratic principles. This hierarchy is not answerable to any terrestrial authorities, especially in India. But they are being derogatory of the Indian democracy. While talking of India they forget the excesses committed through the Inquisition Court. The Church burned thousands of innocent children and women through the court. The people of Goa have a lot to say about the atrocities of the Church. Francis Xavier was the man solely responsible for the establishment of the Inquisition Court at Goa in 1560, under which Hindu women were raped and burnt alive and the Hindu temples were demolished. (Kanayalal M. Talreja, Holy Vedas and Holy Bible, New Delhi, 2000, p. 170).

So far the Church has not tendered an apology for this excess. Then what is right of the Church to talk about secularism? Is Vatican a secular country? If they are secularist why can’t they invite other religion to Vatican? Why they are not allowing the construction of a mosque or Protestant church or synagogue or temple in Vatican? Are they truly secular? Then what is the locus standi of the Delhi Bishop’s blame on the Indian democracy? No doubt, it is “his master’s voice”.

Then what is the moral right of the Church’s call to its believers to pray for guiding our country in which the poor, tribal and Dalits are considered and respected with  equal dignity.

This pastoral letter is prima facie against the spirit of Bible and teachings of Jesus. Jesus was against religious interference in the politics. Without any hesitation, he cleared this question, “Well, then, pay the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17). Catholic Church from the days of Rome’s conversion to Christianity (325 CE) blatantly interfered in politics. Ecclesiastical interference resulted in the “struggle between empire and papacy”.  After the Italian unification, Pope lost his small name-sake kingdom. From 1861 to 1929 Papacy reduced to ecclesiastical status. For regaining the lost statehood of Vatican, Pope Pius XI opposed Communism and supported all cruelties of Benito Mussolini and his Fascism. Finally, on February 11, 1929, the Lateran (Palace) Treaty between the Holy See (Pope) and the Kingdom of Italy was signed by Benito Mussolini, prime minister of Italy, on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III and by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri for Pope Pius XI.

Hereafter, the Pope became a ruler as seen today. As a gratitude for it, later popes forced to be loyal to the dictators of the day. Pope Pius XII supported the butchering of six million Jews by Hitler and justified Hitler’s invasion in Russia as a “gallant action in the defense of foundation of Christian culture.” The Church justified this stand until 1998. Finally in 1998 the Vatican was forced to apologise to Israel for its eunuch policy towards Hitler’s Jew hunting. (March 17, 1998, Washington Post).

Church and Dalits

Delhi Bishop’s concern about Muslims, tribals, Dalits and the concern of equality are thought-provoking. Hence, he ignores the Church’s approach towards Dalits, tribals in the Christian majority states of India. Untouchable churches are very popular in these areas. “Their churches had started out by encouraging converts from low castes, but after some time Syrian Christians could not stomach former untouchables sitting side by side with them on the same pews, and there had been a cleavage. Now, there were separate churches at some places, though converts were still admitted.” (Nirmala Aravind, Video, a Fridge and a Bride (novel), p. 181).

Bishop’s observation of Indian situation of a “turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation” is a hypocritical one. His lamentation for the cause of Muslims is not sincere but intended to inflame communal turbulence. He is well aware of the condition of Christianity under the Muslim regimes from the medieval times onwards. But he is closing his eyes towards this reality in order to destabilise and balkanise mother India.  Is he satisfied with the condition of Christians in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Middle East, Egypt, China or in the Protestant Countries? Are they better than Hindu India? The freedom to issue such pastoral letter is sufficient proof of the religious freedom guaranteed by all tolerant Hindus.

The image of the Catholic Church in general, particularly in India now-a-days, is at its lowest ebb. Sr. Jesme (52), Congregation of Mother Carmel Convent (CMC), Principal of St. Marys College quit her 30 years nun life in 2008 on the ground of licentious life of in the nunneries, harassment and mental torture. She was in distress out of the “licentious life of priests and nuns”. (Sr. Jesme, Amen: The Autobiography of a Nun).

Paedophilia is the worst virus which hounds the Church all over the world.  Pope Benedict XVI accepted this truth and confessed “shock to me and great sadness”. Pope Francis started the trial of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski (65), a Polish cleric on a charge of paedophilia.  He was placed under house arrest. He was defrocked in June. He had abused minors during 2008-13. He was charged with two counts: sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography. The Christian Priests in India are not above this viciousness.

The vote-bank and money power of the Church bail them out of all sins of the priests and nuns. It is the exclusive Catholic tradition that priest in the Church should be chronic bachelors. Unfortunately, the sky is the limit of their licentious life. Check and balance system of the Church do not function effectively and they are not answerable either to laity or god or inside the hierarchy of the Church. If they are in need of money, they would fulfil their requirements by looting the laity. – Organiser, 28 May 2018

» C.I. Issac is a retired Professor of History, Vice-President of the Bhartheeya Vichara Kendram, Thiruvananthapuram, and member of the Indian Council of Historical Research..

Sri Lankan Catholic priests demonstrate in support of LTTE leader Prabhakaran


 

Architects of the communal divide and the 2019 general elections – George Augustine


Anil Couto - Oswald Gracias

Dr Swamy's Tweet

George AugustineUntil the rise of Narendra Modi, Hindu culture was looked down upon, derided and made fun of by the Western imperial establishment with whom the erstwhile ruling elite in India colluded. … The fate of “pagan” India will be decided in the 2019 elections. Much will depend on how far Modi can hold together the unity that he has forged across religious and caste barriers and how much more he can inculcate a pride in the Hindu nation among ordinary countrymen regardless of their personal faiths. – George Augustine

Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto’s letter to Catholics dated May 8, 2019 (see below), to “pray for democracy” and exhorting his flock to defeat Hindu forces is a battle cry that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party should take to heart very closely. Archbishop Couto is a representative of the most undemocratic organisation in the world and the agent of an alien nation state, the Vatican, which has imperial designs in its operational manifesto. The Christian call for battle bodes ill for India’s democracy and for its majority Hindus.

The strategy of communal divide

For the ruling elite in any nation, democracy or not, keeping the majority in the grip of unrefined, primeval sentiments always pays well. If a sizeable group of people has grown beyond the basic earthly needs, showing carrots stops working and more is asked for. The easiest way is to create quarrels among themselves or with others. Divide people and it pays!

The “divide and rule” tactic the British imperialists experimented with by promoting political divisions between Hindus and Muslims in India is a case study in itself. The British adopted it as a legitimate strategy to govern India and when it was time to leave, divided the country into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India as a parting shot, leaving behind the misery of millions who perished in the tragic consequences without shedding a tear. It ensured that the sub-continent could never remain in peace in the background of the then Cold War and the shadow of a collective Imperial West headed by the USA.

Wherever there is a  livid, non-healing laceration among humankind, like India-Pakistan, Israel-Palestine, Northern Ireland (where a tall wall keeps the peace), and so on, orchestrated divisions are the sores that fester. Where there is no religious divide, comes sectarianism like Sunni-Shia and Protestant-Catholic. Ethnic divisions also play a role like Kurds who want Kurdistan for themselves.

Global phenomenon

Communal or religious divides are nurtured in almost every country, and this accounts for most of the human conflicts taking place around the globe. Where communal divides were not possible (as in Palestine before 1948), the Imperial West imported Jews into the new Israel and made sure they were created.

Not many people know that the co-founder of geo-political strategy, H.J. Mackinder, had envisaged the Jewish settlers in Palestine around half a century before the imperialists implemented it. Mackinder would nod satisfactorily in his grave with the goings-on at the present-day White House, with Trump upping the ante for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a spot Mackinder thought was the “navel” on the world map and very important to occupy to control the world.

So, communal divides are necessary all around, for the local leaders as well as for imperialists of all hues whose mortal eyes focus steadfastly on the planet’s resources and for the ultimate control of the world.

Religious divide in India

Distinguished from other countries, India is unique for its high population of Hindus, which phenomenon one cannot come across anywhere else (barring Nepal). There is some kind of contention among scholars and the intelligentsia about the status of Hindus as a religious group, for such is the variety of spiritual endeavour among them—ranging from brainy philosophies and staunch atheists up to the Semitic kind of no-evidence believers who faithfully enact blood sacrifices on a regular basis.

I prefer to call all the Hindus just pagans or heathens or infidels, because that is precisely what their self-proclaimed spiritual enemies such as the Christians and Muslims call them and who have been trying for more than 1500 years to annihilate them, prompted by their respective scriptural injunctions to get rid of them from the face of the earth, instigating their headless footmen by blessing this heinous act as a major religious duty. These scriptures are still deemed “holy” by faithful Christians and Muslims.

In the shadow of these primeval scriptural injunctions, the communal divide in India looks substantial, particularly when religious ideologies divide the human species on the basis of belief systems. Though the Hindus (pagans) amount to nearly 80 per cent of the country’s population, they are outnumbered by Muslims and Christians the world over. The dwindling population of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh in recent times as well as the massacre of scores of Hindus in Myanmar by Rohingya Muslim terrorists in August 2017 (all Hindu countries some centuries ago) in their bid to change their pagan status, indicates that the dynamic scriptural forces of the Abrahamic religions still form a paramount factor in India as well.

Two hundred years of British education in India have made sure that the prejudice against the pagans and the “divide and rule” policy continued to flourish in India. The electoral divides between Hindu and Muslim were carefully nurtured by the Indian polity, since it fetched easy dividends for the ruling party. Add to it another kind of divide they deftly engineered within the Hindus, the so-called low castes and high castes, and the ruling Congress party continued to rule India for 60 years.

This political and social situation was aided and abetted by external forces, mostly through missionary enterprise, which controlled the health care and social welfare organisations, and sometimes funded by imperial spying agencies as in the North East of India. The control of the media and an education system that glorified the [Abrahamic] worldview demeaning the pagans and their worldview also reinforced this power structure, and most educated Hindus themselves were seemingly embarrassed to be pagans at all, so much so that many of these Hindus themselves joined their rivals and engaged heartily in periodic journalistic blitzkriegs around the world that regularly put to shame their own Hindu culture and civilisation before a Abrahamically inclined world audience.

Rise of Hindu nationalism 

A radical change in the political and social scene in India took place with the rise of Narendra Damodardas Modi to power under the banner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a party which came into being in 1980. Modi became successful only because he could unify people across communal lines. In Gujarat where Modi ruled for three terms as chief minister, a substantial number of Muslims regularly voted for his party despite the bloody riots that heralded his reign, which found them at the wrong end of the stick. The bloody riots followed the Godhra massacre where a criminal crowd killed more than 50 pagans, most of them women and kids. But the point to note is that Modi’s Gujarat has never seen a single Hindu-Muslim riot in more than one and half decades, a record none of the previous governments in Gujarat ever managed.

Until the rise of Narendra Modi, Hindu culture was looked down upon, derided and made fun of (like the Hindu rate of economic growth) by the Western imperial establishment with whom the erstwhile ruling elite in India colluded in and joined in the ridicule. The rise of Modi saw the rise of Hindu nationalism like never before. Young men and women, among them many Muslims and Christians, began to come out in public with pride in their eyes and fire in their hearts chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.

Many of these people from the minority religions identified with their ancestral culture, which was still the culture of the majority. The opposition had no answer to this unexpected pride of young people in the old pagan glory and they were shell-shocked. The opposition began to lose one election after the next, so that BJP now rules in over 20 states. However, the opposition is finding new bearings, starting to play new tricks at their old game of divide and divide. Their combined strength is still short of beating the BJP in most places in India, but they are garnering strength from external sources.

One of the mainstays of the opposition has always been the clergymen of Islam and Christianity who colluded with them against the majority pagans whenever they got an opportunity. The existence of nearly a billion Hindus in India today might look like a miracle for religious researchers who can rarely find old pagans anywhere else, but for the professional practitioners of Islam and Christianity, the rise of Hindu nationalism heralds not only a road block for their conversion enterprise, but also the thwarting of their religious mandate as commissioned by their scriptures. On top of it, they also have to answer their minders in places such as Saudi Arabia and the Vatican.

Vatican’s challenge

Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto’s battle cry should be taken as Vatican throwing down the gauntlet, considering the hierarchical discipline of its officials. Hindus have taken the challenge calmly in their characteristic fashion, but this should be taken as a serious warning from the international Christian establishment.

The fate of “pagan” India will be decided in the 2019 elections. Much will depend on how far Modi can hold together the unity that he had been steadily forging across religious and caste barriers and how much more he can inculcate a pride in the Hindu nation among ordinary countrymen regardless of their personal faiths. The motley crowd that have become the opposition is very dangerous indeed considering the media machinery at their disposal, backed by most of the big names in the West and the enormous funds at their disposal from external sources.

Though the guidelines for cow slaughter have been enshrined in the Indian Constitution and had not been brought in by Modi, we can expect more “beef controversies”, “murderous Hindu gangs” and “Hindu rapes” to make the headlines in The Washington PostThe New York Times and the likes. The faster Hindus accept that the 2019 general election is ultimately a showdown between pagans versus Abrahamics, who form the rest of the world, the quicker they will have a grip on the situation. – Vijayvaani, 27 May 2018

» George Augustine is an Indian author and translator who works in Germany.

Anil Couto's Letter

Couto's Prayer

Lingayat EvangelizationNB: The letter above attributed to the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Oswald Cardinal Gracias of Mumbai, has NOT been authenticated by this website.

 

Dr Swamy asks Government to snap ties with Vatican – Ankit Prasad

St Peter's Square & Subramanian Swamy
Ankit PrasadDr Subramanian Swamy has implored Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to cease all diplomatic relations with the Vatican – Ankit Prasad

BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subramanian Swamy has taken strong exception to the Delhi Archbishop’s controversial letter that highlights ‘turbulent political times’ and calls for people to pray for the country, as well as his subsequent comments.

Taking to Twitter, Dr Subramanian Swamy has implored Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to cease all diplomatic relations with the Vatican—the seat of (Catholic) Christianity. Further, Dr Swamy wants the Vatican’s embassy in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri to be sealed as the Archbishop of Delhi is a formal nominee of the Vatican.

Dr Swamy's Tweet

Dr Swamy’s tweet follows a massive controversy being triggered by Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto who on May 8, just days before the Karnataka elections, wrote a letter with political overtones where he said: “We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation.”

His letter (see copy below) went on to mention the 2019 General Elections and he requested that a day of fast be observed each Friday for the spiritual renewal of the nation.

He went on to provide a “Prayer For Our Nation” (see copy below).

Speaking to Republic TV on Tuesday, Anil Couto defended his actions and gave confirmation that they had to do with the “current context”. He listed “pressure on the judiciary and interference in educational institutions” but maintained that he wasn’t targeting the government. He said that the Church wasn’t interfering but it had a role to play.

BJP party president Amit Shah broke his silence on the matter while addressing a news briefing on Tuesday evening when he said that nobody would galvanise support on the basis of religion.

“I personally believe that no one should say things like this. For a religious person to make such comments cannot be accepted and appreciated”, Amit Shah said.

On the other hand, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has backed the Archbishop and his letter, saying:

“We respect all communities, castes, and Archbishops across the country, including that of Kolkata. I think whatever they said, they correctly said. It’s a fact.”

» Article and images from Republic TV, Mumbai, 23 May 2018. Ankit Prasad writes on politics, economy and business.

 

Archbishop Couto's Letter

Catholic Prayer

See also


Church asks Catholics to fast and pray for a new government in 2019 – Sanghamitra

Narendra Modi & Anil Couto

SangamitraThe deep-rooted hatred and rampant condescension Christian organisations show against India and its civilisational heritage is often astounding. – Sanghamitra

The Archbishop of Delhi, Anil Couto, has issued a letter to the Catholics in India. The letter, which was read in all the parishes under the Delhi Archdiocese calls for the Catholics of India to start a campaign of fasting and prayers for the upcoming general elections in 2019. The letter reportedly starts with claiming, “Praying for the country and its political leaders all the time has been a ‘hallowed practice’ in the Archdiocese and it has become all the more important as we approach the general elections.” The letter calls all the Catholics to observe a day of fast on Fridays and an hour of prayers till the next elections.

It is important to note here that the Archdiocese of Delhi is considered to be the face of Catholics in India and the Archbishop holds considerable influence over the Catholic population of the country. Couto hails from Goa and was the bishop of Jalandhar before being appointed as the Archbishop of Delhi in 2013.

The letter states that the prayers, fast and penance should all be offered for the ‘spiritual renewal of our nation’. The prayer that it contained called for God’s grace to always uphold in highest esteem’ the dreams of our founding fathers’ and the values of our constitution that are equality, liberty and fraternity.

So far one might consider that though it is odd for a priest to be so concerned with the general elections, the letter sounds harmless. But wait till we see how The Vatican News has presented it. The website’s article covering the Archbishop’s letter states, “The five-year term of the federal government led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ends in May 2019.” It does not stop at that. It goes ahead to add that “Christian leaders have accused the government led by PM Modi of tacitly supporting Hindu groups working to establish a Hindu Nation ignoring the interests of religious and ethnic minorities.” The article further claims that according to Christian groups, attacks on Christians rose after Modi came to power and have spiralled in recent years. The Archbishop has reportedly written, “We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our constitution and the secular fabric of our nation.” His letter also reportedly asked the people to “bless the nation with the revival of gospel values.”

For organisations that claim that maintenance of the secular fabric of the nation is their only concern, the hatred against BJP and particularly PM Narendra Modi is far too apparent. Not just the general elections, the Church has been far too concerned about many state elections too. Before the Gujarat elections, the Gandhinagar Archbishop sent a similar communique which urged the Christians to save the country from “nationalistic forces”. Before the Nagaland Assembly elections, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council had also urged the believers to choose between “Trishul and the Cross.” The Trishul was not their only concern either. In one earlier instance, they had called Yoga a deeply Hindu practice and had asked their believers to stay away from it. Before the Goa elections, a Catholic magazine asked the voters in the state not to vote for the BJP and claimed that the country is facing a “constitutional holocaust”.

As far as Anil Couto is concerned, he is not new to playing victim politics. He had condemned and cried “religious intolerance” and anti-Christian mentality on random crimes and petty incidents that were fanned by national and international media as “Church attacks”. Be it the Vasant Kunj church vandalism incident or the Dilshad Garden, he had created a hue and cry over the same narrative of Christians and minorities being under attack that is so loved by our secular, liberal media. The fact that the “attack” incidents were the cases of kids playing/petty theft/drunk vandalism and no pattern or communal angle was ever found over these incidents was never acknowledged by the Catholic Church organisations. In fact, Anil Couto was in a celebratory mood when the AAP won the Delhi Assembly Elections. He even hailed AAP’s victory as a result of BJP’s inability to control the Church attacks.

The way the entire “Church attack” narrative was played was spectacular in itself. Even Obama mentioned it while visiting India. This was not the only fake propaganda after all. The whole “Muslim lynching” and “semen balloon” narratives were also peddled in the same way.

While fake hypes and false propaganda by vested interests is not new in any country’s politics, it is quite disturbing when the Catholic Church, of all people and organisations, starts pontificating (pun intended) on issues like equality and upliftment of Dalits and care of the marginalised. When it comes to the helpless and marginalised, the Catholic Church is one of the leading offenders of child sexual abuse all over the world. The worst victims of their wide network of abuse are almost always poor, marginalised kids from socio-economically backward families left in their care. Yet, how many instances are there when the Archdiocese of Delhi, which has so many opinions to give on political power plays and elections, spoken about the Dalit kids in India being abused by their priests? None. Did the Archdiocese call for penance and prayers for their own priests who turn paedophiles and rapists? Never.

The deep-rooted hatred and rampant condescension these organisations show against India and civilisational heritage is often astounding. Notice in the words of the letters how it talks about “spiritual renewal”. The underlying hatred towards indigenous practices of spirituality could not have been more apparent. The Archbishop perhaps forgets that it is India that has given Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism to the world, including the practices of yoga and meditation. So talking about spiritual renewal while worrying over the rise of a Hindu-nationalist party is a bit much.

Apart from the usual tactics of propaganda peddling and fear mongering, it is also unnerving that how such narratives peddled by politically biased individuals are not seen through by the media. Have there been any instances of a government-sponsored drive against any particular religion or community in our country under the BJP rule? No. In the holocaust these people keep citing so often, Jews were driven by the thousands into gas chambers to be killed. Thousands of Sikhs were massacred under the Congress rule. Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits were rendered homeless in their own country under the Congress rule, Then why is it that it is the BJP which is termed communal? Is there any clause in our constitution that bars any citizen of any religion from enjoying the freedom and opportunities a democratic republic offers? no. Then maybe it is the fear of the usual anti-Hindu anti-India propagandas failing to cast the intended effects that have driven these elements to a corner. With the advent of social media and an increasingly politically aware young generation rising in the country, the tried and tested smokescreens are being torn apart and the lies are being exposed. Perhaps that is the reason new terminology and new garbs for the agenda is being invented.

There is nothing wrong in a community observing fast or indulging in prayers, but when the fastings and prayers are directed to be done so that a certain political party loses and a certain party wins, it becomes ridiculous. Hopefully, the Christians of our country will see through the propaganda and vote smart, not according to the political inclinations of their priests. – OpIndia, 21 May 2018

» Sanghamitra is a reader, writer, and dreamer.

Catholic women in procession in India