It's Too Late
John Paul II To Repent
By Michael Dickinson
05 April, 2005
have a bit of a fetish.
Whenever I come
across a calendar where the month is wrong, at the barber, or in a bank
or a school say it's June and the one on the wall still proclaims May
I either inform them of their tardiness or get up and rectify the situation
myself, turning the page and bringing us into the present, bang up to
date. I don't know why, but it gives me a feeling of satisfaction.
So it was with great
difficulty that I managed to suppress the urge to point out to Father
Vinander that afternoon in 1979 as I bade farewell to him and the brothers
of the Calcutta Missionaries of Charity, that the picture of Pope Paul
V1 on the wall of his office was way out of date. Since his death there'd
been another Pope John Paul the First, who only lasted 33 days before
being found dead in his bed by a nun; and that he'd been replaced by
the present incumbent, Polish John Paul the Second, the first non-Italian
pope since 1542.
I resisted the temptation
to point out the picture needed changing the deaths and takeovers had
all been very sudden and I'm sure he'd catch up - but as I traveled
back overland from India to England by bus I had time to ponder popes
and their power over people born to obey them. Somehow, luckily, after
a lifetime of fear and thrall I had managed to free myself from the
unquestioning obedience demanded by the Church, and gradually over the
years since then, looking at it objectively, I've come to find it very
It seems to me now
that the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy See, contradicts the instructions
of Jesus in very many instances.
According to Matthew,
Jesus said "Call no man your father on earth", and yet you've
got these men of the church swishing around in long skirts, all telling
their 'flock' to address them as "father'.
Jesus also said
"No one is good but one - God." And yet the Pope is called
the 'Holy Father'--double whammy sin!
On prayer, Jesus
"And when ye
pray thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are for they love to stand
praying-- that they may be seen of men.
But when thou prayest,
enter into thy closet, and shut thy door, and pray to thy Father which
is in secret--" and "But when you pray, use not vain repetitions,
as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their
But the Church with
its elaborate Masses and chanted repetitious litanies goes against this
simple advice of the Master.
Again, he says:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth-- but lay up for
yourselves treasures in n heaven For where your treasure is, there will
your heart be also. - Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
And yet the Vatican
has billions of dollars in solid gold in its coffers, mostly stored
in bullion with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank; the rest in bank accounts
in London and Zurich, Switzerland.
With all of its
assets added together, the Church possesses more riches in real estate,
property, stocks and shares than any other single institution, corporation,
bank, government or state, making the Pope, the official ruler of this
vast reserve, the richest man in modern history.
The U.N. World Food
Summit estimates $150 billion a year could significantly eradicate world
Instead of making
proclamations on such "issues" such as the sanctity of marriage
and so-called family values, the pope and his church should regain the
true Christian mission of charity. Imagine the sweeping effect to cure
hunger and sickness around the world of a Church founded on genuine
goodwill, not human hypocrisy.
But it's too late
now for Pope John Paul 2, who has finally shuffled off his mortal coil.
So, while the media is at its sickening feeding-frenzy orgy of eulogies
and sycophancy, let's have a brief look of our own at some of the ideas
of the dead old billionaire and (very likely) those of his successor
on the Vatican throne.
Just a little peek,
because if we got into the whole nitty-gritty of the wherefores of the
Roman Church it could go on for screeds. So let's confine ourselves
to a subject that's close to their hearts - SEX.
not fond of it at all, but you know what I mean!)
Let's start with an innocent wank -
The Catholic Church
condemns masturbation. Catholic teaching is that sexual activity is
intended for conception, thus masturbation is an immoral sexual practice
because it does not permit conception. In addition, the Catholic Church
teaches that masturbation breeds lust and selfishness, which takes one
further from God.
Pope Paul wrote:
" - masturbation is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act...the
deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside normal conjugal relations
essentially contradicts the finality of the faculty. For it lacks the
sexual relationship called for by the moral order, namely the relationship
which realizes 'the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation
in the context of true love.' All deliberate exercise of sexuality must
be reserved to this regular relationship."
How about a fuck?
In 1996 Pope John
Paul said that artificial birth control was ruining people's moral sense
by giving a false idea of sexual freedom. He attacked 'unbridled hedonism'
which was slowly creating 'an eclipse of values'. The Roman Catholic
Church considers artificial birth control and abortion an objectively
grave or "mortal" sin (that is to say it causes the "death"
of the soul by depriving it of the life of grace, when it is committed
with full knowledge and full consent).
To the Vatican Institute
of Bioethics he said: "Worrisome consequences have been produced
in the sexual sphere of life by a false sense of freedom provided by
contraception, which is both an incentive and a tool. He criticized
public health campaigns that promote contraception. "Unbridled
hedonism and a distain for life is at the heart of the modern world's
moral quandary. The 'Gospel of Life' must be maintained by educating
children to recognize their vocation as carriers of life, in responsible
collaboration with the creator."
must be considered to be definitive and irreformable. Contraception
is gravely opposed to marital chastity, it is contrary to the good of
the transmission of life (procreation aspect of marriage), and it is
contrary to the mutual giving of the spouses (union aspect of marriage).
It hurts true love and denies God's sovereign role in the transmission
of human life"
"Even for people
infected with AIDS or for those who want to use condoms to prevent AIDS,"
said John Paul 11 at the International Congress of Moral Theologians
in Rome in 1988, "the Church's moral doctrine allows no exceptions."
the pope's spokesman for marriage and family issues, added that if an
AIDS - infected husband couldn't manage to maintain "total abstinence"
for the rest of his life, then it was better to infect his wife than
to use a condom, "because the preservation of spiritual goods,
such as the sacrament of marriage, is to be preferred to the good of
I'm feeling a little queer--
From Pope John Paul's
1986 "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral
Care of Homosexual Persons"-
particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is
a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil;
thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore
special concern and pastoral attention should be directed to those who
have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out
of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option.
It is not."
Catholic Catechism: #2357 (in part) Basing itself on Sacred Scripture,
which presents homosexual acts as acts of great depravity, tradition
has always declared that "Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered".
They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the
gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual
complimentary. Under no circumstances can they be approved....#2359:
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery
that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested
friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually
and resolutely approach Christian perfection."
So there you have it.
Pope John Paul believed
that it was contrary to God's law for anyone - Catholic or otherwise
- to engage in birth control, abortion, homosexuality, in-vitro fertilization,
masturbation, artificial insemination or sterilization. Intercourse
between married partners, with no barrier to pregnancy and childbirth,
was the only permissible sexual act in his eyes.
And you go to hell
if you believe otherwise.
This was also the
man who condemned 'liberation theology' - the belief that the church
had a moral obligation to engage politically in the struggle for economic
and political justice for the poor.
The man who declared:
"The church cannot approve of this idea of Christ as a political
figure, a revolutionary."
One who declared
that the Church "has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly
ordination on women and that all the faithful are definitively bound
by this judgment."
A man who believed
that he had been saved by the "special protection" of the
Blessed Virgin Mary when shot by a Turkish gunman in St Peter's Square.
"One hand fired," he said, "and another hand guided the
And he who had that
bullet set into the crown of Mary at the Portuguese shrine of Our Lady
of Fatima, and donated the bloodied bandage to the Polish shrine of
Our Lady of Jasna Gora.
A real Lady's man...
During his long
reign within the church, Pope John Paul the second dominated the hierarchy,
appointing like-minded conservatives to important offices and quelling
liberal dissent - so don't hold your breath waiting for the result when
the white smoke rises. More of the same is expected.
It's over 25 years
since I bade goodbye to 'Father' Vinander and the brothers at the Missionaries
of Charity's 'Institute for Sick and Dying Destitutes' in Calcutta.
I'm sure he eventually got round to updating the picture on the wall,
and that now the portrait of a healthy-looking Pope John Paul 2 beams
But this time, despite
my fetish for keeping things up to date, I would that the portrait,
once removed, be not replaced by another...
is a writer and artist who works as an English teacher in Istanbul,