From the exploits of colonisers to demanding subservience of free people, Church has its own share of mischief and crimes. It is high time when we need our own national Bharatiya Church which represents real Christian values
When German historian and author Karlheinz Deschner wrote his book Criminal History of Christianity (Original in German: Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums) it ran into ten volumes. When he was taken to court for “Insults against the Church” the weight of his scholarship prevailed in court and he was acquitted. When we look at the baby-selling scandals recently exposing M Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, we have to remember that this is not an aberration for the Church. The Church has been involved in criminal activities for centuries.
John Jay Report
In the United States the 2004 John Jay Report, commissioned from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and funded by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), was based on volunteer surveys completed by the Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States. The 2004 John Jay Report was based on a study of 10,667 allegations against 4,392 priests accused of engaging in sexual abuse of a minor between 1950 and 2002
The surveys filtered provided information from diocesan files on each priest accused of sexual abuse and on each of the priest's victims to the research team, in a format which did not disclose the names of the accused priests or the dioceses where they worked. The dioceses were encouraged to issue reports of their own based on the surveys that they had completed.
When Constantine made the Christian Church an arm of the State, it served the purpose of imperial power. The Catholic Church ran parallel to the Roman Army; it was even organised in a similar manner, with ranks parallel to the army. Even the vestments of the Bishops & priests are from that of time, reflecting the clothes of the Roman aristocracy. What use did Constantine have for Christianity? It was for the expansion of Empire. While the army conquered nations physically, the Church ensured they were brought into mental and spiritual subservience. Institutions like the “confessional” helped create a network of spies to serve the cause of Empire.
As the Roman Empire disintegrated, the Church itself became the powerful institution controlling people and kingdoms. Even during Constantine’s time and earlier, murder and intrigue were part of the Church. Every criminal enterprise, from outright assassination to human trafficking, to subjugation of native peoples and the “ownership” of their land, leading to their outright genocide, were on authority of the Church. In the Americas alone, Christian conquest resulted in the extermination of nearly 100 million natives over multiple generations. Was this merely an accident, or merely individual criminal acts, opposed to the “spirit of Christianity” and the Church, as Christian apologists often proclaim? Not, if we see how the expansionist element of Christianity was directly responsible for this and other holocausts.
It is time for Bharat to support nationalists within the Christian community and move towards creating a Bharatiya Church, as China has
Church of Colonisers
This is equally true by doctrine as it is by actual actions. In 1493, The Papal Bull "Inter Caetera," in effect, authorised the genocide of native peoples “discovered” by Catholics, and possession of their lands: “The Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself…”
The Pope authorised and gave the “legal” authority to the Christian conquistadors—they owned the land because the Christian god owned the earth, the native peoples were merely squatters with no title. Of course, the Church had a clear eye on the loot—“In the islands and countries already discovered are found gold, spices, and many other precious things of diverse kinds and qualities. Wherefore, as becomes Catholic kings and Princes… you have purposed with the favour of divine clemency to bring under your sway the said mainlands and islands with their residents and inhabitants…”
So just like Jesus Christ absolves “sins” the Church offered the blank cheque of “divine clemency” for the criminal acts of the conquerors. Catholic apologists say that today many of these bulls have been repudiated by the Church. That is a scant help to native people who were subjected to genocides and whose lands are still held by the conquerors, while the “Doctrine of discovery” on which this theft rests forms the basis of the countries of North and South America. Protestants, on the other hand, would repudiate the crimes of the Catholic Church as “un-Christian”, but equally hold tight to the monopolistic expansion of Christianity in the modern evangelical war. The charter of World Evangelism is justified directly from the Bible—“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations.”
The expansionist project of Christianity is essentially a political project. This political project is also monopolistic, aiming for the eradication of all others, and is thus inherently criminal. The selling of babies by the Missionaries of Charity is merely a tip of the iceberg. While the Church is a political organisation, it exercises deep mind-control over its flock. Thus, Church criminality hurts not only non-Christians; Christian laity is the first victims.
This reality is reflected in the widespread sexual abuse of children by Catholic Priests, protected by Church institutions. Every diocese in the US had instances of children abused by priests. Because for Indian media this is an “unsecular” fact, abuse by Christian priests is often under-reported in India. Even when the State takes reluctant action, it is demonised by international agencies as “persecuting Christians.” The case of Pastor John, who ran an orphanage in Rajasthan and raped dozens of tribal children over the years, but was shown as being a “victim” by the US State Department is documented in the IndiaFacts Hindu Human Rights report. In the meanwhile, the Catholic Church in India has no qualms in reinstating priest Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaula, who was man convicted for child rape in the US and deported to India. It was done on the orders of the Vatican. It knows it can get away with this in India, where a Church spokesman argued in the Jeyapaula case that the first responsibility of the Church is towards protecting priests, not their victims.
Child Abuse and the Holy See
In 1990 the Holy See acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), agreeing to take a number of initiatives to protect children. However, its accession was made subject to several important reservations based on its status as a church which crucially undermined its accountability – even though it was acceding as a state.
The Church is faced with huge numbers of victims of child abuse worldwide extending over decades. In the USA alone, nearly US$3 billion has been paid out in compensation. Even in Ireland with a population of only 5 million, more than Euros 1 billion have been paid out (of which only 10% have been borne by the Church).
Evidence submitted to the UN in 2003 sets out typical consequences in later life for abused children: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, vulnerability to further re-victimisation, difficulties with interpersonal relationships, materially increased risk of self-harm or suicide, aggravated by persistent denials of responsibility by Church authorities.
-Report on International Humanist and Ethical Union- Criticism of the Holy See over Child Abuse, UNHRC, Geneva
Let’s Create Bharatiya Church
It is time for Bharat to question the “secularism” which lets a serial child abuser continue as a Catholic priest per “Canon Law”—the Church’s Sharia—which stands above the secular law. It must question the media, which fails to highlight these crimes. Most of all the Christian laity must stand up against Church priesthood, and not fall to their threats and manipulation. A shocking case from Kerala shows the extent of mind-manipulation where when priest Fr Robin Vadakkuncheril raped a minor girl, he got the girl’s father to “confess” to the crime when the girl got pregnant, and the rape was discovered.
The Vatican, via its control of the Church, is the largest private landowner in Bharat and exercises disproportionate control over Bharat through its institutions. It is time for Bharat to support nationalists within the Christian community and move towards creating a Bharatiya Church, as China has. The Church must also be regulated to be transparent and lay Indian Christians given more control over Church matters and finances. Secularism was invented to curb the power of the Church. India “secularism”, under the pretext of “minority rights” has done the exact opposite—enables the Church’s dominance in education and other areas.
My criticism of the Church and the institutions and doctrine of Christianity is, in no way, against ordinary lay Christians. Criminals are found in every religion and background, and Christians are no worse or better than others in that regard. But two central Christian doctrines—the monopoly of “Jesus Christ” for salvation, and the necessity of converting all others—continue to result in the destroying the beautiful diversity and plurality of human traditions throughout the world. Modern-day Christians must question these doctrines and the resulting evangelical war, to not inherit the karma of the crimes of Christianity.
(The writer is an entrepreneur, writer and researcher based in Seattle and Gurgaon)