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A few of my Rants

The Honourable Society of Rapists and Pederasts.

From very early times the Catholic Church has decreed that its priests should be unmarried males (notionally because they should be celibate, but this has always been a polite fiction). This policy has been a strong disincentive for the well rounded men who would be best suited for the role, and a strong attraction to the men looking for an excuse to explain their failure to be married, either because of their social ineptness, or their sexual preferences.

Jesus certainly said all the right things, though it is impossible to know how much he believed of what he preached, but the leaders among his followers very quickly realised that they were onto a good thing.

St Paul may well have been the first to realise this, and the vision he suffered on the road to Damascus was probably the moment when he was struck by the thought "Why the hell are you persecuting these people, you mug: if you go along with them you can have both fame and fortune!" So the early Christians converted lots of monks and priests, and built monasteries to house them, but they were lonely, so they persuaded lots of single women that they should become nuns, and be married to God, and built convents next door to the monasteries, and while God unfortunately was too busy to attend to their sexual needs, the monks were his representatives on earth, so it was perfectly reasonable that they should fill in for God in this important role.

And then they built orphanages alongside the convents to house the resulting accidents, and also schools where they could brainwash the children of the followers. And again it was the duty of the children and the orphans to accept the attentions of the priests whose inclinations ran that way.

At first the authorities tried to stamp out the new religion, but then they had their own vision, and realised that the two groups could work together for their mutual benefit -- as Jesus had said "Render unto God that which is his, and unto Caesar that which is his".

Not long ago we did a tour of Eastern Europe, and in Czestochowa in Poland we were taken to see one of the periodic unveilings of the famous icon of the Black Madonna. The pilgrims had been queueing for hours to see this miraculous event, but we were on an American tour, and had no doubt made a suitable contribution to the coffers of the Church, so five minutes before the unveiling we were led in to stand in front of all the assembled pilgrims, and after we had gawked for a suitable interval we were taken to the museum in the basement where we were shown the treasures of the Church.

Despite the poverty of the general population, there were numerous gold chalices -- some of which must have weighed kilograms, gold dishes, watches and all manner of treasures extorted from the faithful as rewards for so-called miracles. No doubt they were kept in the museum to be used as examples when bargaining: "But you could do better than that, Sir, Count X gave this magnificent chalice, and he only had a broken toe".

Recently the Catholic Church has been at pains to emphasise the anonymity and confidentiality of the confessional, but this was not borne out by one story we were told at Czestochowa. One King had had a liking for the ladies, and every time he confessed to a new affair, he was told to build a cathedral in another Polish city as atonement. If the person confessing had really been anonymous it would not have been possible for the priest to tailor the punishment according to his finances, and if confidentiality had been observed no one would have known this story.

No doubt after each such event the king imposed a new tax on his long-suffering peasants to pay for his latest folly, and if the peasants complained they were reminded that it was their duty to do as they were told, and assured by so doing they would amass brownie points which would be most helpful when their turn came to bargain with St Peter at the Pearly Gates.

 © Roger Riordan 2004-2017

Honorary Society