The Roman Catholic Priesthood, Tyrannical as a Majority,
Is Intrinsically Perverse
P R E F A C E
For centuries upon centuries, The Doyens of Political Religion—through print and radio, through instant electronic transmitting—have leaned heftily to consolidate their “temporal powers” which, frequently, were amassed at the expense of those lesser mortals who, exceptionally pliant, have continued to suck in the oldest examples of the category’s persistent lines of thought often heavy-handedly biased. Politics and religion make good bedfellows and the more so in modern times. (John Gray: “Modern politics is a chapter in the history of religion. The greatest of the revolutionary upheavals that have shaped so much of the history of the past two centuries were episodes in the history of faith—moments in the long dissolution of Christianity and the rise of modern political religion” [Black Mass, Allen Lane Publishers].) Before the printing press, it was the monks who painstakingly copied out doctrine and Scriptures to disseminate them to the Christian masses. Gutenberg is said to have printed first the Mazarin and Bamberg bibles before he attempted any other printing project. Furthermore, wise men in Sassanian times (third century Anno Domini) surmised that “religion and kingship are two brothers, and neither can dispense with the other.” (A. K. S. Lambton, State and Government in Medieval Islam [Oxford, 1981], p45.) Christianity was in alliance with PR-minded secular powers almost from the beginning.
This religio-politico bond is so influential that with the on-going conflict between vying factions in the Middle East (read Islam) and a sufficient number of Western (read Christian) industrialized nations, no one can deny that the West’s mass media—with powerful satellite networks in the forefront—is decidedly pro-Christian in its editorialising, and it is not uncommon to detect outright propagandising in support of the universal Church of Christ and all the denominations which subscribe to its teachings. Politics and religion crisscross more and more each and every day. We are bombarded with the idea that affairs of state and religion go hand in hand. That there exists a higher Authority. Not only a prominent political say-so for flesh and bones, but one which overseers corrupt and licentious legislators when they attend vote-getting churches. The language of politics is pickled with theological moralisms. Just listen to George Bush II and his goofballish, self-righteous advisers pandering to the Religious Right in the Northamerican constituency of fanatical fringe elements. Religion is of prime importance to United States' political theory. (“It was Harold Laski who pointed this out: the history of religion yields the crucial clues to social and political science.” [David Martin, The Disorders of Faith and the Death of Utopia, The Times Literary Supplement, 8 August 2007].)
Of all the Christian denominations, the Roman Catholic Church has traditionally been the most skilled at keeping itself in power—until now! These days, it is continually losing its full-nelson hold on the do's and don't's of what it considers Christian morality, and this ever-present convention is disbanding in a manner unheard of before in its olden times. The RCC, an enormous chunk of the Christian ethos, figures prominently in the existing dangerous mixture of state and church—that what once before was hoped to be, at best, something to be left happily separated. The RCC is desperate. It needs partnerships. It is in retreat. This totalitarian entity has ruled, so often with an iron fist, for so long it now is in shock seeing its powers diluted—for sure by Science which is making of its doctrines substance for fairy tales. Once confident of possessing a faithful, docile flock, the RCC now is scurrying to hold on to its dwindling membership. The all-too-obvious meeting point of politics with the Roman Catholic religion has deterred along the way many loyal and wishy-washy Roman Catholic supporters. Octopus Dei is on the move to invent a lay clergy because priest and nun vocations are stagnant. The wealth of the RCC will eventually be managed by sanctified MBAs and not chubby, gay, jewel-bedecked, chauffeured bishops and cardinals. Amen for them!
As are all totalitarian states, the RCC is/has been basically a will to power: a recurrently ruthless, autocratic establishment with an obsession for timeless sanctuary for itself and its pastorate. A dictatorial enjoining to have faith. You are with us, or you are against us. For what seems like forever, it militarised and uniformed its priests and nuns in the colour of Death and Dictatorship in rectories, monasteries, convents and universities throughout the world logolizing itself with images of crucifixes, Virgin Mary's, rosary beads, and what have you. For aeons it rode high on the winds of influence and manipulation. It manoeuvred here, held sway over there. Sought popularity. Stage-managed it. (Who might fill the more, one night, two huge stadiums? Michael Jackson? The Pope?) Avoided taxes here. Avoided taxes there. Controlled minds. Put old black-clad ladies on their knees in churches where they voodooed themselves into trances with rosary beads betwixt their fingers. Ordered millions of men and women to use a “rhythm” method for birth control. Told priests not to touch women. Told women not to touch priests. The RCC, the religion that justifies poverty, connived a hocus-pocus that has kept millions subservient to its orphic bunkum, outlandish and petty.
Another significant element which highlights the despotic-like character of the stringent RCC is the slew of martyrs it holds up for all to view. The “best” saints are those who have been tortured to death. Those who have given their lives to the Cause. Is not giving one’s existence for a higher Cause the best of forfeitures? (They named a ship after the five Sullivan brothers who were killed together during a Japanese attack in World War II. There are now more canonized saints in the RCC than there are pasta sauces. Soldiers for the State; Saints for the Church.) Self-flagellation is one of the most compelling instruments of thought control, and the RCC has used it with aplomb. Sinners must confess. Admit their guilt. Submit to an Authority. But in a self-indulgent modern world setting, the RCC comes off absurd. This power, now rent with outlandish out-datedness and preposterously bent on staying its futile line, has but one option: it must align itself the more to that what is political. It has no choice. It must infiltrate itself into a political nexus which will guarantee its survival and offer it the possibility of resurging anew. It has oodles of capital to try to reach its objective and is fighting, perhaps, its very last crusade to do so.
Let us rewind fast into history and click around ancient and medieval authentic stretches to come up with an identity kit for the RCC and its oldies-but-goodies incantations. If we scrutinize with care the RCC’s past, we close in on something that resembles the police rap sheet of an international criminal organization with tentacles hooked onto profitable places in all four corners of the globe. An incredible array of un-Christian-like behaviour. Just to name a few: The Inquisition; the collaboration with Spanish marauders who committed the most heinous “holocaust” of all time when they cut a swathe through 14,000,000 Central- and Southamerican indigents; the attempt, often successful, to denigrate women; the collusions with emperors and dictators to accumulate power; the monopolization of tax-free real estate retained throughout the RCC’s world-wide dioceses…ad infinitum. History has not been Christian to the RCC, granted. Yet who can deny that the RCC has more than gone out of its way to deny and cover up its peccadilloes never even hinting at asking for forgiveness. Right-wingers are always “right” (United States Army adage: Might makes Right!) because it is their insidious intention to control and, naturally, admitting guilt, as one might imagine, is the least of their virtues. Compromising documents in the Vatican’s vaults have long been shredded, and it is useless to still query about them. Photos snapped of priests and bishops during World War II cavorting with the Nazi hierarchy in Italy and Germany have long been burned. How many times have I heard that Pope Pius XII was “The Nazis' Pope?”
It is said that we learn little from our Past. It might yet be futile to pass over the contemporary chronicles of the RCC’s bullying tactics: the complicity of the RCC in the killings of left-wing “agitators” in Argentina; the outright support of the murdering Pinochet regime in Chile in cahoots with Henry “The Carpet Bomber” Kissinger; the pictures of ribbon-cutting bishops blessing banks all over Southamerica; Jesuit military prep schools to indoctrinate well-to-do kids; United States’ government officials faking that they are not secret members of Opus Dei…ad infinitum, again! (I have saved some of my own personal observations for the later part of this article.)
But wait! Some other disgusting thoughts just crossed my mind: In 1966, a friend, who was one of the stockbrokers for the Diocese of Brooklyn in the United States, told me that the diocese’s portfolio amounted to $80,000,000; when I was flying to Saigon in August 1967 on a Continental Airlines flight, a Trappist monk, who had sought a sabbatical from his monastery “to help the boys in Vietnam,” fanned crosses over rows and rows of B-52s as we landed at Guam for refuelling; in the United States, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, a program which polishes university students to be active duty officers in the US Army, gives money to the RCC if the US government’s syllabi are incorporated on Christian college campuses…. Roman Catholic Business! Roman Catholic Business!! Roman Catholic Business!!! The coffers of Vatican, Inc are brimming with the goodies of hard cash and paper equities which are often cashed in to keep the Christian Kingdom (e.g., the Italian nation) on its wobbling feet and which pay hordes of its workers their monthly stipends. Visit www.transparency.org and see where Poland and Italy, Europe's to-the-highest-degree Roman Catholic countries, are listed among the most corrupt of nations!
In Italy, in Tuscany, I know of a refuge dumpster for plastic bottles, and written on it is this graffito: Morte a Israele! Some of us have tried to have the obnoxious maxim removed—even if we tend to disagree with the political stance of Israel in the Middle East. (I personally believe the
Israelis will be forced to flee—again; and, this will be a tragedy for all Israelis, Arabs and fellow members of the human race.) There is something horrible in the idea that individuals would want the totality of a nation annihilated to satisfy some ancient religious prejudice. The carabinieri have been notified. City hall (comune) representatives have been called upon. The company that collects waste products has been notified. A representative from the Florence synagogue has photographed the location and has made a formal complaint to Italian police officials. Our efforts, to get an Italian authority to eliminate the graffito, have been continuing for three years now without success. The British consulate in Firenze does not want to touch the problem with a ten-foot pole! Hating Jews in Italy is not a novel phenomena. (Hating anyone who is other than Italian is not, either.) Tuscany is probably the most tolerant of societies in Italy, so one can only imagine how strong the disgust for others is in other parts of The Boot. This repugnance is buried in the psyches of the Italians, and that enormous defect has lain there for centuries. It is very difficult to even think about changing it. Morte a Israele is what the Italians have been brainwashed to believe since the crucifixion of their Christ. (Pope Benedict XVI, The German Shepherd: “Islam is a risk for Europe. Mohammed has brought only bad things, that Islam wishes to defend its faith with the sword. The solution: reinforce Christianity, i.e. the Roman Catholic Church which is the only one that offers salvation.”) It is well to remember that the RCC is a political entity for Italians; it is not a place where Italians go to worship their god. Churches in Italy are either falling down or empty. Only the elderly, with some exceptions, might be seen at mass on Sundays. The fact that the pope garners rock star exposure throughout the world is more important to Italians than the pleas for peace and harmony across the world he mumbles every Sunday on his bullet-proofed perch in tax-free Vatican City. Italians are lip-service Christians, but passionate, even rabid, devotees of the economic and political power of the RCC. (From Outrageously Offensive Jokes II: Maude Thickett; Pocket Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, 1984, pps. 81-83: When the mate of a female gorilla in the Chicago zoo dies suddenly, a replacement is desperately needed. After all attempts to get another male gorilla fail, the zookeeper is frantic. The female’s heat is almost over, and it will be months before she can be mated again. Travelling home one day, the zookeeper sees an Italian construction worker without his shirt on. The man is covered with hair. “Why not?” thinks the zookeeper and he approaches the construction worker. “How would you like to make an easy 25,000 bucks?” asks the zookeeper. “Who do you want killed?” asks the Italian warily. “No one. You just got to make it with a gorilla at the zoo. No one would even have to know.” “What, are you fuckin’ crazy? Get the hell out of here!” yells the Italian. “Well, if you change your mind, here’s my card.” When the Italian gets home he is still angry and he tells his wife what happened. “Stupid! You know what I could do with an extra 25,000 bucks! Call that nice gentleman up and tell him you’ll do the job.” So, reluctantly, he calls the zookeeper. “Okay, I’ll do it,” says the Italian. “But I want you to know there are three conditions.” The zookeeper is ecstatic and says, “Anything, you name it.” “One, I’m only doing it once.” “Fine,” says the zookeeper. “Two, I’m not gonna kiss her.” “No problem.” “And three, if there are any children, they must be brought up Catholic.”)
This summer (July 2007) on the Larry King Live CNN social event, a grouping of victims of priestly paedophilia was hosted by the staid, medicated Larry King—a Larry King tremendously interested in offending people by not offending them! The dupes spilled their emotional beans and acquired the sympathy of the “king's” audience. To “balance” the controversy, LK's behind-the-scenes force inserted a Jesuit priest who once wrote for the order's America magazine—another cogent evidence that politics and religion in the United States are not apart. The “jebbie” went right to the “point”—his point: The United States is suffering from a serious moral decline, and throughout the fourth largest country in the world there has been a sharp increase in sexual abuse within the limits of the family. Nothing here said about Roman Catholic sacerdotal paedophilia and the distressfulness it has caused tens of thousands and tens of thousands of innocent victims and their kin groups throughout the world. The Jesuit switched categories and lead LK's audience on a detour that directed the subject matter of paedophilia off both the RCC agenda and LK's. LK accepted this dodge. He did not contend the fact that the Jesuit reverend purposely omitted any reference to the ethical foibles of Roman Catholic priests. In effect, LK let the RCC off the hook. Three cheers for Father Duffy!
I do not know if Larry King's problem is his malleability in conforming to the rigid controls of the CNN organization. They pay him, don't they? (Is it true LK owns three jets?) I have observed that LK has often been quite despotic using the “cancel button” on the telephone which connects him to viewers calling in with their opinions. Is he, too, too pissed off playing the lackey? When I was a guest of “The King” on his radio show in Miami, he impressed me as being an extremely intelligent person ablaze with curiosity but decidedly domineering. OK. Someone has to be in control, no? But I liked him leading me because he was challenging me and encouraged me to fight on for what I was trying to put across his airwaves. He's brilliant at this. He leads; you follow. You put your hands in his hands. The Fine Edge. LK gambles and takes you along. He is famous for his obsessive gambling. Risk takers are frequently quick thinkers, and quick minds know well how to manipulate, and in conversation they can be overbearing. LK knows how to pull strings, but you feel, with him, to want to be acted upon so that you can, in turn, react. LK, when I knew him, was not one to fudge issues which might offend sensitive souls. He was, in fact, rather gutsy. Why he did not “grill” that Jesuit the more is more than likely due to the fact that LK was conforming to those higher-ups who did not want to offend their Roman Catholic audience—about 25% of the population of “The States” is Roman Catholic.
What should Larry King have asked that hard-nosed priest? How about these queries:
· "Father, because many parish priests practice paedophilia, is it possible that family members in the United States are copying the priests' actions causing an increase in the phenomena?”
· “Father, in your opinion, how many RCC priests are enjoying healthy, normal gay relationships with their colleagues without abusing their parishioners?”
· “Father, what about nuns? Are they abusing girls and women in RCC schools and churches throughout the United States?”
· “Father, how many nuns are enjoying healthy, gay relationships without abusing their students or parishioners?”
· “Father, how many priests and nuns are enjoying healthy, normal heterosexual relationships among themselves without calling upon their students or parishioners?”
· “Father, what about alcohol abuse? How bad is it?” One priest, my brother, told me that priestly alcohol problems were more serious than those sexual maltreatment ones reported in the media. (But he was educated by the jebbies!)
No, Larry King wants The Truth, not The Whole Truth, but nothing but The Truth!
The RCC, LK, and CNN all have a mission: to influence the hoi polloi to their best advantage. The name of the game is power and mightiness relies on control and dominance depends, very frequently, on fear.
I once mini-debated with a Jesuit over the existence of God. “Father, if God is all-powerful, all-intelligent, all-superb, all-knowing and all-generous, how could he have created two imbeciles like you and me?” The snotty Jesuit leaned back in his chair, clasped his hands behind his head, and with a smirk, arrogantly replied: “God works in strange ways.” The Jesuit's way! The Jesuit, who has never seen God, knows how God thinks. The Jesuit has the last say. The final opportunity. Listen to what Stendhal had to say about Jesuits: “Herein lies the crowning achievement of a Jesuitical education: the formation of a habit of paying no attention to those things which are clearer than daylight.” Jesuits beg the question when confronted with a truth not comfortable for them. The RCC's priesthood believes it can have the last word on everything—perpetually! And when the argument goes against them, these princes of the RCC bury their heads in the sands of silence and wait for the fuss to clear the air.
“Father, is there a devil?”
“Of course there is a devil. What a ridiculous question to ask”
“And, father, where is the devil?”
“The devil is in hell. Where else would he be.”
It almost makes no sense today to talk about histories or philosophies or theologies which have been being pressed upon the consciousnesses of societies for centuries upon centuries. There is a genuine desire to escape from the Past, but because no satisfying substitute has been offered to replace it, we are holding ourselves in abeyance waiting for some equivalent to deliver relief. In this state, we have no choice but to turn in on ourselves and seek from within that which might deliver us from the frustrations of our alienation. We are nowhere near that retrieval. Nevertheless, we are searching for it in our subconsciousnesses and we know very well that that break with our Past will be troublesome and lengthily. But it is coming.
Because we have not neither the ideas nor the words to express our anguish, that torment which distinguishes us from others in other times, we force ourselves to see ourselves as best we can. It should come as no surprise that our time is often described as the Age of Narcissism, and in the consumer-conscientious world we live in, with its often ridiculous emphasis on the Self, we might be lead to believe that a return to the Past, to an ordinary life would be what is best for all of us. But no. The grandness we currently give to our appearance is, rather, the symptoms of a search which is in process but which has drawn, until now, no real ratiocinations which might be serviceable.
The value generated on behalf of the image reminds me of my graduate school days at the University of Florida (Gainesville FL, USA). I had come to UF from the University of Miami (Miami FL, USA)in the early 1970s to study literary criticism and film with the intention of later on becoming a book/film reviewer. My thesis director and graduate adviser was Professor W R Robinson, who was already known in Academia for his brilliant Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Poetry of the Act. WRR was a likeable person and was very much respected by both his students and fellow faculty members. We both had undergraduate philosophy degrees and had served in the United States Army. Working during the day, I was limited to taking night courses at UF, and signed up for as many of WRR's literary criticism classes as possible.
I did not know it at the time, but WRR was extricating himself from the analyses of poetry and prose he had dedicated his life to, and was concentrating his efforts on the image—particularly film. In fact, WRR was warring with English language associations throughout the United States to incorporate film in English curricula. He was very successful in his efforts.
WRR claimed that the movies (film) are a revolutionary moral force; and, he explicated his theories in Seeing Beyond: Movies, Visions, and Values and Man and the Movies. (The latter had been judged by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the best books ever about motion pictures.”) These works (www.goldenstringpress.com) elevated the status of film as objects of academic discourse. WRR gave us a film theory and influenced untold others who contributed to the development and history of American academic film theory and criticism.
In this academic environment, I found myself torn between The Word and The Image. On one hand, I was genuinely devoted to writing and the years I spent studying it would never go away. Yet, WRR convinced me, too, that The Image was not something to be taken for granted. To satisfy myself, I have tried faithfully to jell the two aspects into my literary works—whether they be non-fictional fiction, poetry or essay writing. I seek to insert imagery in my writings and strive to give my readers and “viewers” something they might retain both on their intellectual levels and imaginary ones.
And so, it is not wise for me to call up philosophical, historical, sociological or economic dry wood from the Past to sustain my argumentation against the Roman Catholic Church. I must remember when I write that my audience wants to see how it fits into this world and is decidedly mistrustful about the Past which it wishes to leave behind high and dry. If I stuck to staid, formalized logical argument, I would lose my audience—and posthaste. To win over the support and appreciation of my readers, I have to infix mental representations which they might latch onto and save for themselves and share with others.
I cannot think of anyone more qualified than myself to write about the Roman Catholic Church! I was born into a die-hard Roman Catholic family; I studied to be a priest for four years; all told, I suffered sixteen years of RCC education; I have a degree in Scholastic Philosophy; and, my brother is a priest on the bishop's promotion list. My dear reader, let me give you some images taken from my unpublished manuscript, Why I Live Beyond the United States of America: “I will never be able to know how many times the word 'Catholic' formed on my lips, and I will never be able to count how many Roman Catholic people crossed the path my life was following when I was a boy. I had been born in a Catholic hospital...I delivered to Catholic homes the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet...I sold a Catholic monthly magazine, The Catholic Digest, outside St Nicholas Church in Brooklyn, New York on Sunday mornings...I went to summer camp managed by Catholic members of the Catholic Youth Organization...my doctor was Catholic...my dentist was Catholic...John, the butcher, was Catholic and his three sons went to Catholic schools...when I came home from a trip to my Catholic uncle's home in the suburbs of Chicago, my mother asked me right off if the friends I had met there were Catholics...I initialled “J.M.J” (Jesus, Mary, Joseph) at the top of every page I wrote on in every Catholic school I attended...I watched Bishop Fulton J Sheen's Catholic television program every Tuesday evening not understanding ever what he was talking about but always wishing to grow up to be like him...my mother and father's friends were Catholic and they talked about their Catholic friends...the sex manual in my parents' bedroom, where I sneaked to read it, was written by a Catholic psychiatrist who advocated a birth control method dependent on continence during the period of female ovulation...I ate fish on Friday because I was a Catholic...I said a prayer for the dead and blessed myself when I passed a Catholic cemetery...I bought Catholic raffle tickets...all the books I read were Catholic and imprimatur and nihil obstat were stamped on their title pages...many of the Catholic authors of these Catholic books were tagged with “SJ” or “OFM” or “OP” ...Catholic priests and nuns dined in my home...my mother chauffeured Catholic nuns to their Catholic doctors and Catholic dentists...my scoutmaster was Catholic...drunken Catholic World War II veterans drank green beer in our kitchen in the early morning hours...my barber was Catholic...I would never have been given permission to work for Irish Catholic William F Buckley's National Review had he been a Jew...my tonsils were extracted in a Catholic hospital and Catholic nuns nursed me...our 1953 Chevrolet was blessed and sprinkled with Catholic holy water...the calendar in our kitchen was decked with saints and their days...we had a poor box in our house to collect money for foreign missionaries...under the rear-view mirror of our Chevy a plastic Jesus, with a magnet under Him, stood firm and fast and His right hand was upped with His blessing...a St Christopher's medal was attached to the sun visor...my father's boss was Catholic...when I left the seminary I was told I would attend a Catholic university—or else...I went to parties with Catholic boys and Catholic girls...my favourite baseball player was Brooklyn Dodgers' first baseman, Gil Hodges, a Catholic...my parents dreamed of a trip to Europe to see the Pope and his cathedrals...I went to Irish Catholic wakes where everyone was drinking Irish whisky...we stopped at Catholic churches along the highway...when away in a hotel, the first question my mother asked the receptionist after registration was: “Where can we hear mass on Sunday?”...no room in my house did not possess a Catholic statue or Catholic crucifix or Catholic holy picture...my grandmother from the Soviet Union gave us sips of vodka from bottles blessed by her Orthodox Catholic parish priest...I carried wooden rosary beads, “blessed by the Pope,” wherever I went...I stopped what I was doing at high noon to say three Hail, Marys at the Angelus...when I served masses in real churches, I wished someday I would be able to say my own masses, and I studied carefully the routines of all priests and practised saying mass in my own home using a wine glass as a chalice...I confessed my sins at least once a week...I got my Catholic throat blessed every year on St Blaise's day...each Ash Wednesday I went about with a grey-black spot on my Catholic forehead...I worked cleaning altar rails and altar steps and bronze flower pots and other Catholic accruements in the sacristy and one day, when a nun dropped a 24-hour glass vigil candle on the floor and screamed SHIT!!!, I ran home, in a state of shock, anxious to tell my mother what the Dominican nun had blurted out in church...I filched unconsecrated hosts, ate them by the handfuls, and washed them down with what was left at the bottoms of discarded vin santo bottles...I said the Catholic “grace” before meals to thank God for what had been put on the plate before me...our insurance agent was Catholic...the man who mended my shoes was Catholic...I went on summer vacation to my relatives' homes scattered about the United States and went to their Catholic churches on Sundays...I went to see films only after checking out, in The Tablet, whether or not they were good for me to see...I took home Catholicly-blessed palms on Palm Sunday...I had sport shirts with the names of Catholic universities printed on them...when I served Catholic funeral masses, I listened to the Dies Irae sang so sadly in the choir loft...I put extra charcoals in the thurible so that the church would fill up with billows of smoke from Catholicly-blessed incense...I knew well the smells of nuns and their freshly-starched Catholic habits and their soapy skins...I knew the sound of their huge black Catholic rosary beads rattling as they walked...I knew, too, the blackness of Catholic priests—their black cars, their black bags, their black socks, their black suits, their black pens, their black hats, their black pipes, their black luggage, their black souls...I smiled when I saw “black” priests turned into “green” priests in the Army...I made three-day Catholic retreats far from my home...I bought Catholic birthday gifts for my friends...I collected holy pictures and could not wait to go to another wake and add to my collection—just as other kids collected baseball cards...when I watched the NBA basketball games on TV, I looked for those players who had attended Catholic universities...my mother always pointed out to me who the Catholic actors and actresses were on TV...books with Catholic themes were on our bookshelves at home...I wore something green on St Patrick's Day every year...we had plastic holy water fonts posted near the entrances of our bedrooms...Catholic music...Catholic games... Catholic clubs...Catholic liquors...Catholic boxes for the poor...Catholic jokes...Catholic prayer books...Catholic bibles...Catholic policemen...Catholic firemen...Catholic mailmen and mailwomen...Catholic funeral parlours...Catholic plays...Catholic films...CATHOLIC! CATHOLIC!! CATHOLIC!!!...Amen! Amen!! Amen!!! Yes, Amen for them!
I was not obligated to wear a Catholic burqa! I may as well have, though. Every facet of my life had reference to the Roman Catholic Church, why should they not have put a Catholic masque over my face, too? I bore this cross for more than twenty years before I could escape from it. Break loose from a fanatically religious family. Flee from a nation whose self-imposed moral Authority fed them with the duty to impose their will throughout the world. Take flight from a vicious economic culture that keeps hundreds of millions throughout the world in a state of poverty and boasts of its wealth in the face of starving people on all continents including its own.
I mentioned earlier in this article that the RCC was not too fond of, for centuries, women. Read and listen to what happened to me when, as a minor seminary student aged thirteen or so, I was “caught” talking with Denise on the subway trip from my home to the seminary one winter morning: Two or three days after the last time I was ever to talk to D again, I was in geometry class when a message was passed to my teacher who, in turn, announced to me that the rector of Cathedral Preparatory (Brooklyn, New York) wanted to see me immediately in his office. I was stunned. Everyone in the room turned his head towards me astonished, too. To be called to the rector's office was one of the most unusual things that could befall a seminarian. I could not rhapsodise anything I had done mischievously, so I surmised that I was going to be chastised for my academic performance—which had not been brilliant—and then guessed at for what other reason I could have been summoned to the administrative hub of the school. My gut tensed. The rector: called The Great White Father, Charles Mulrooney, very tall, grey-whitish hair. I sang Gregorian chants with the other members of the Cathedral Prep student body when Mulrooney was consecrated to the rank of auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn. He was a mythical character at Cathedral Prep and to the Roman Catholic colony in Brooklyn. Soft-spoken and unflinching, he reminded me of a general (was his name John Hughes?), deputy commander at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where I graduated from the United States Artillery & Missile School in 1966. Our graduating class had been invited to a formal dinner hosted by the general, and having a good view from one of the tables right up front and near the head table where the general and some of his staff had been positioned, I noticed the one-star signal to one of the servicemen, who was waiting tables, pointing his index finger to an empty wine glass in front of him. A buck private scurried with a wine bottle, wrapped in a linen cloth, to fill the general's glass. I was very impressed. Not a word had been spoken. Unutterable Authority. The Great White Father possessed this cold,silent sovereignty. He could snap his fingers to invoke the dominion that the RCC possessed for centuries. Bishop Mulrooney walked in power and people kowtowed in his presence. The Great White Father told me to shut the door behind me. During the eight years of Roman Catholic education I was to subscribe to under the rule of priests, this “close the door behind you” was to become so frequent, I began to call, to myself, these priests “close the door behind you” priests. And the vast majority of them had Irish names just as Bishop Mulrooney. There was a folder on the rector's desk and when I was seated he opened it. Have you ever seen the interrogation of a suspect in a police station? Then, father Mulrooney went right to the point—without any courteousness. He told me it had been reported to him that I had been seen talking to a girl on the subway on my way to the Clinton-Washington station. Was this true? Yes. What did you talk about? School. Books we had been studying. Sports programs. Do you know you are not supposed to talk to women? No. If you are going to become a priest you must remember that you cannot have any type of relationship with a woman. That includes open social ties. Do you understand? I don't want to have to call you again into this office. Do you understand? You can go now. Yes, father. Out the door I went....
When I was a student at St Bonaventure University trying to study philosophy, there was a Franciscan father called “The Spike.” He taught World History and very frequently came to class tipsy from the high alcoholic content in his blood. On the first day of class, he put us all, with the exception of the five women in our class, in alphabetical order, and the first words he said to us were these: “I take attendance. He, or she, who cuts three classes, will not be promoted.” Then, he called for the five girls and dictated: “You five sit in the first row. And keep your legs crossed. Shut the gates of Hell!” There were chuckles from the thirty-or-so male students in the class, but the women looked mortified. “The Spike” felt proud and thought he was being witty.
It should be noted that not until the Women's Movement in the 1960s did Roman Catholic nuns shed that headgear which had covered all their hair for two millennia!
R E M A R K S
J'accuse! Yes, I accuse the Roman Catholic Church of a host of un-Christian-like activities that have been on-going for centuries! I accuse the RCC of a subliminal spiritual manipulation that would make Madison Avenue jealous. I accuse the RCC of participating, for its advantage, in some of the most horrendous episodes in the history of mankind.
No more crosses will be fanned over the swords of Spanish marauders, nor will they be aired over parked B-52s waiting in line to kill innocent people from the height of 30,000 feet. Amen for them!
J'accuse the following Roman Catholic priests of attempting to engage me, unwillingly, in sexual activity that they deemed natural to themselves, but I believed not to be:
· Father Kirrane, Cathedral Preparatory, Brooklyn, New York
· Father O'Connell, Cathedral Preparatory, Brooklyn, New York
· Father Alvin, St Bonaventure Univesity, Olean, New York
· Father Flanagan, St Bonaventure University, Olean, New York
· Father Luke, St Bonaventure Univerity, Olean, New York
And, Amen to them, too!
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