Father Sharlo, a Catholic priest from Bangalore came into the spotlight after a video of him surfaced where he was heard passing misogynist and sexist remark on women wearing jeans and t-shirts. Citing the Bible, father Sharlo justified his remarks and emphasized that such a woman must be drowned in the sea. But interestingly, neither the champions of secularism uttered any condemnation nor did the Law and order agencies take any cognizance of the same. Such extreme views inspired by the Semitic philosophies are often selectively ignored by the intelligentsia.
“Women wearing jeans and T-shirts arouse men and that these women should be drowned in the sea. They arouse young men into sin and hence they are sinners”. - : Catholic priest, father Sharlo from the Divine Mercy Retreat Centre, Bangalore
The controversies that surround the church fraternity are often deliberately ignored and the recent Nun Rape case is a standing testimony for that. In the state of Kerala alone, dozens of such cases had been reported in the past where the church had in several instances tried to buy the silence of victims. Instances of the church meddling in the State affairs is not new and the entire narrative of secular state vs. the theocratic state came into existence as a result of a struggle for power between the church and the Kingdoms of Europe around the medieval era. Those kingdoms that revolted against the Theocratic hegemony of the church and ousted it came to be known as secular states as opposed to the idea of the theocracy of the church. But as days went by and democracy prevailed, these Semitic monotheistic worldviews again gathered its influence again and started meddling with the affairs of the state at the behest of its influence between the masses and its monetary might.
As these Semitic theologies are often intolerant to any other philosophical or administrative establishment, their acceptance for the law or other prevalent cultures of the land that is theologically not compatible had been historically absent. The tools employed by the church to psychologically condition their followers have established a complete control of the church in all matters concerning daily affairs of its subjects. This has developed to such an incongruous point that even incidents of rape, molestations and paedophilia often gone unreported or are been resolved without intimidating the Law and order agencies. There also had been instances where the Church had paid huge sums to buy the silence of these victims. It is important here to understand that these huge amounts of money delegated to the victims to unlawfully buy silence is actually a charity that has been received as donations and has been unlawfully diverted without the consent of their donors. The controversies’ surrounding the church is not new and in fact have been widespread throughout the world.
Incognitos of the church
A 2,600-page final report of “The commission to inquire into child abuse ” of Ireland revealed some gruesome details that took the world by storm. A nine-year-long investigation into allegations uncovered some revealing details about hundreds of Catholic priests and nuns in Ireland being involved in an endemic of clerical sex abuse of young Irish boys and Girls lasting for more than seven decades. Around 30,000 children’s from various families considered to be dysfunctional and of unmarried mothers were sent across to more than 250 such church-run institutions. The austere network of industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels remained operational for a brief period from the 1930’s to the 1990’s in Ireland. The report exposed in numerous incidents of rape and molestation in the boy's facilities run by the Christian Brothers order, while the girls supervised by the order of the nuns, chiefly by the sisters of mercy also endured similar harrowing accounts. It was also found that whenever the church was confronted with such acquisitions, the church responded by simply transferring the offenders to other locations. Such Insensitive behaviour of the church not only shielded offenders from being prosecuted but also exposed children’s in other facilities to vulnerabilities. Here, the attempt of the entire church establishment to conceal such incidents from public scrutiny is evident from the fact that Here, the attempt of the entire church establishment to conceal such incidents from public scrutiny is evident from the fact that the Christian borders order deliberately delayed these investigations by tactfully employing a lawsuit that empowered their members with the tool of anonymity. This meant that their names remained anonymous to all references in the report irrespective of convictions.
Another such iniquitous incident that occurred over a brief period was the case of “Magdalene laundries”, where girls were forcibly placed in conditions of forced labour and children’s of unwed mothers were snatched and placed in orphanages while their mothers were still alive. These laundries were initially operated as penitentiaries by the church for rehabilitating prostitutes and later were expanded to care for unwed mothers and other young women who the church though might follow the same way. Even these incidents were suppressed and smothered for a long time by the church owing to the code of silence imposed on all members of the clergy under penalty of excommunication; hence cases of child sexual abuse were hardly ever reported to the law enforcement authorities in the countries where such crimes occurred. Such attempts by the Church to silence allegations of sexual abuse are found throughout its existence of two thousand years and are not new. In fact, one of the first instances of drafting legislature to impose secrecy can be traced back to a council held by the church in 309 AD at a small town of Spain called Alviera. In 1866 and 1922, the church introduced further legislation with similar motifs and enforced secrecy by issuing a procedural decree on any investigation or church persecution of cases involving sexual abuse. The church’s approach towards resolving this endemic has more or less remained unidirectional and had been confined only to damage control.
- August 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury named more than 300 clergies in a report which found more than 1,000 children had been abused
- Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson resigned in July 2018 after being convicted of concealing child sex abuse carried out by another priest
- In June 2018, a former Vatican diplomat was sentenced to five years in prison for child pornography offences
- In Chile, 34 Roman Catholic bishops offered to resign in the wake of a child sex scandal and cover-up.
This systemic cover-up of child sex abuse cases has only further encouraged this endemic and has formed a vicious nexus involving the clergy, various institutions, money and influence. As the entire structure of parishes, diocese and Bishops are tiered in such a fashion that bishops become rulers of their own Dioceses and report directly to the pope alone. This has, in turn, resulted in the formation of two centres of power within any state, one that is being controlled by the church under the kingship of theocracy and another one under the rule of the constitution. The clergy and even victims in most of these cases have been found reporting such incidents to officials within the church and in some cases were found writing letters to the pope, while completely avoiding the involvement of law and order agencies.
“The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has commissioned studies that have revealed that since 1950 around 17,000 minors have been reportedly abused sexually abused by over six thousand clergy ”
The mounting pressure on the theocratic establishment of the church in light of recent accusations and convictions from around the world has finally led the pope into instituting a tribunal in 2015 to investigate the child sex abuse cover-up accusations within the Catholic Church. Successively the Vatican has revealed that since 2004 around eight thousand priests accused of rape and molestation has been defrocked and another two thousand priests were sanctioned with lesser penalties but details regarding their legal persecution were not made public. Since 1950, the Church has approximately spent around $2.5 billion as settlements in the US alone. It is noteworthy here that such incidents are not isolated incidents are almost happening around the globe. Some other incidents like the "Nun from hell" case, the nun abuse case of Chile or the notorious “sex for silence case of Kerala” etc raises a strong demand for introspection among the believers of these centres of theocracy and at the same time raises a challenge to the law and order agencies to monitor and prevent similar incidents in the future.