Culture and Choices. Digital Image. Trevor Blake. 2014. Public Domain.
The itsy-bitsy Holy See (aka The Vatican) holds a seat at the United Nations. They were squirming in that seat this week as the UN them they must dismiss clergy who rape children rather than reward them with a new parish to plunder.
Imagine if Prince Albert II, head of state in the Principality of Monaco, sent out a policy paper to all his embassies detailing what to do if any of his ambassadors were accused of raping a child: force the raped child to remain silent and move the rapist ambassador to a new embassy. Without a doubt the nations of the world would protest, if not invade, this tiny city-state nation.
That is in part the situation that occurred when Pope John XXIII sent out the ‘Criminie Solicitaciones’ on 16 March 1962. The Criminie Solicitaciones was issued as the formal policy of the Roman Catholic Church when any of its clergy (who have claimed diplomatic immunity when charged) are accused of raping a child: force the raped child to remain silent and move the rapist clergy to a new parish. So far the imagined and the real situation are the same, but there is one difference: no nation in the world has protested against the Holy See.
Perhaps for a while the lack of a response could be attributed to the secret nature of the Criminie Solicitaciones. It was marked ‘strictly confidential’ and obliged clergy to promise ‘to observe the inviolably the secret in all matters and details which will take place in exercising the aforesaid duty.’ but the Criminie Solicitaciones was published by no less than the BBC in August of 2003, generating eleven years of no response. Perhaps some might have been able to say the policy was not official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Fair enough, as long as one does not read signature to the document: “Our Most Holy Father, John XXIII, in an audience granted to the most eminent Cardinal Secretary of the Holy Office on March 16, 1962, deigned to approve and confirm this instruction, ordering upon those to whom it pertains to keep and observe it in the minutest detail.” Or perhaps some might have excused Pope John XXIII for a temporary injustice – an excuse that holds until one reads of Cardinal Ratzinger confirming the Criminie Solicitaciones was still in effect (a towing of the party line surely not at all related to his later becoming Pope Benedict XVI).
The Criminie Solicitaciones describes sex or attempted sex between a cleric and a youth as ‘the worst crime.’ For ‘the common good of the Church’ such clergy are to observe secrecy ‘inviolably.’ Raped children are to to also keep the secret, ‘threatening him, if there is a need, with an excommunication.’ But don’t worry about the poor rapist clergy being put upon to honestly confess during internal investigations: ‘In every way, the judge [the bishop or his designate] is to remember that it is never right for him to bind the accused by an oath to tell the truth.’ No, instead rapist clergy are to be given fresh new hunting grounds: ‘As often as, in the prudent judgment of the Ordinary, it seems necessary for [...] the prevention of scandal or reparation for it, there should be added a prescription for a prohibition of remaining in a certain place.’ What has been called a scandal (oh, those impish Roman Catholic Priest and their naughty ways!) is actually an international child rape shelter ring, condoned and coordinated by the Vatican.
Attempts have been made to hold the Holy See accountable for their actions. Attorney Jeffrey Anderson of Oregon served the Vatican legal notice for clergy abuse of children. To do so, he had to pay US $40,000 to have the papers translated into Latin, the official language of the Holy See. Judge John Heyburn II of Kentucky heard claims against clergy but dismissed them, ruling that as a foreign nation the Holy See and its representatives are subject to diplomatic immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Indeed, Archbishop Josef Weslolowski was whisked to the Vatican in August 2013 to prevent any further public investigation into child rape charges. This week the Vatican denied extradition papers for Archbishop Weslolowski as he is (according to the New York Times) ‘a citizen of the Vatican.’ But recently has the Holy See been questioned – not invaded, not fined, not boycotted, not denounced, merely questioned – by the highest levels of international law.
The New York Times reported on 16 January 2014 that the United Nations was considering holding the Holy See to its membership in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. As a signatory, the Vatican is bound to protect children from harm such as, say, being raped by clergy. Should the United Nations find the Roman Catholic Church as guilty as its own internal documents make it out to be, it will have no power to punish and its resolution will not be binding. But after half a century of the organized shelter of clergy child rapists, the smallest first slap on the wrist is long overdue.
Pax Corvus by Trevor Blake. Based on a photograph by Gregorio Borgia / Associated Press. Block print. 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches. Edition of nine. February 2014.
Every Sunday the Bishop of Rome recites the Angelus Prayer. This practice has roots more than seven hundred years old but in it’s current form was established by Pope John XXIII (1958 – 1963). Pope John XXIII is also responsible for the Crimine Solicitaciones, which directs Roman Catholic clergy who rape children to be moved to a fresh parish. If you’re wondering why rapist clergy are such a bountiful international multi-decade orchard of one-bad-apples, Pope John XXIII is the reason.
During the Angelus of 26 January 2014 the current Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, released doves in front of two children and before thousands watching in St. Peter’s Square and on television. The doves were immediately attacked by other birds. These doves are bred to be unnaturally white and are therefore especially appealing for other birds to attack. Pure white doves are attractive to Christians, in the way they consider incest with one’s virginal sister to be comparable to a dove (Song of Solomon 5:2). The prior Pope also released doves to St. Peter’s Square and those birds were also attacked. Knowing that wild birds would attack these bred doves, Pope Francis might as well have wrung their heads off with his hands (as prescribed in Leviticus 5:7-8) to complete his animal sacrifice.
I like the idea of a wild animal disrupting a Christian ceremony, and that is some part of the reason I made this image. But these doves didn’t ask to be a captive, to come from an inbred line, and to be sacrificed to appease an invisible monster that lives in the sky. Some part of the reason I made this image is to capture Pope Francis’ cruelty, to keep that ugliness alive for those who would be his apologists. Religion goes on about being a foundation for morality. Sacrifice is the clear opposite of morality, be it animal or human or even god-man. In a moral system a person who has done wrong would be held accountable for his or her actions. In religion, the guilty person is absolved by punishing… someone else. Shop as you please, because someone else can be made to pay the bill. It is difficult to think of a way more pinched and poisoned than the religious life.
I am not a believer in animal rights. Like all forms of natural rights, the meat falls off the bones with the application of the slightest heat and pressure. The crow had as much right to attack the dove as the dove had a right to not be attacked. And yes even the animal in the window who set the doves flying for their lives had as much of a natural right to do so as not. Legal rights among the two-legged can be both fair and foul and perhaps through law future Popes can be persuaded to throw out coins to the crowd instead of terrified birds. But if you want to talk about what is natural, what we saw is the most natural thing in the world. The strong and sound cull the weak and damaged. The curves of the dove and the lines of the crow, the black eye of the dove and the white eye of the crow, a unified system of violence defining life at every level. That’s pax corvus, the peace of the crow. Right as rain. Let this be a reminder not to confuse the natural and the good.
Offense! The gift no one wants to give but once received everyone loves to share. And not even feminists can sputter and shout as loudly as our official officers of oriental offense, the Muslim world.
Jesus and Mo is a comic strip by Mohammed Jones. Each week these best of friends meet for an innocent pint and a laugh. Some Muslims can laugh right along, such as Liberal Democrat candidate for Hapstead and Killburn (UK) Maajid Nawaz. On 12 January Mr. Nawaz posted a panel from Jesus and Mo to twitter as evidence that he, for one, had a faith strong enough to withstand a gentle ribbing from a self-confessed “bad artist.” Mr. Nawaz also represents Quilliam, the Muslim group that Tommy Robinson aligned himself with after leaving the English Defense League and before going to prison for mortgage fraud. Quilliam writes: “With Islamist extremism in particular, we believe a more self-critical approach must be adopted by Muslims. Westophobic ideological influences and social insularity needs to be challenged within Muslim communities by Muslims themselves whilst simultaneously, an active drive towards creating an inclusive civic identity must be pursued by all members of society.”
Religion brings people together. No sooner had Mr. Nawaz distributed a drawing to a small self-selected audience than the non-Muslim Respect MP George Galloway joined hundreds of Muslims to call for Mr. Nawaz to be withdrawn from the running. Having been offended (or perhaps offended by proxy), these brave soldiers for Allah were willing to lay down Mr. Nawaz’ career lest another offense issue from his offending office.
And oh you more moderate Muslims, don’t think you’re off the hook. Prepare your diversity smelling salts – Sheikh Dr. Usama Hasan (also of Quilliam) did not draw a cartoon, nor did he tweet a cartoon, but he did refrain from objecting to the tweeting of the drawing of a cartoon. Dozens of protestors therefore assembled in mostly-silent protest at a recent lecture by Dr. Hasan. How dare he not draw deep from the same offense-fountain as they! Does he have something against people having something against people who have something against something or someone, somewhere?
Ever eager to demonstrate their relevancy outside of pamphlets from the 1800s, some socialists have hitched their wagon to the ghost-stories of illiterate desert horse thieves from one thousand three hundred years ago. Workers Liberty is all about the ‘unity of the working-class socialist left‘ and defends ‘freedom of speech, including the right to criticize religion.’ (One wonders why this is considered a right worth defending in a system that must be overthrown, and in what fashion such a right would be enforced after a working-class socialist left coming to power. But one mustn’t wonder such things too loudly because offense). Workers Liberty will now speak for themselves:
Can there be limitations on our support for free speech? Yes. The class struggle comes first. In a strike, for instance, or when organized fascists are rallying, the need to defend picket lines or defend our communities may trump the general right to freedom of expression… Muslim students suffer something so close to racism as to be in effect, racism.
And nobody wants to be a racist, right? In their struggle against fascism Workers Liberty acknowledges that anyone who refers to Jews as greedy, treacherous, evil, unclean animals and fit only as slave-stock is a friend to defend to the end.
Channel 4 demonstrated their dhimmitude decorum with a report on the story including a large black oval pasted over the drawing of Mohammed.
Closer to home we have Molly Norris, who drew neither Jesus nor Mo but did draw the attention of the Arabic-borne agony auntie brigade when she proposed ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ in 2010. Apparently unable to control their offense-bladders, Muslims peed themselves with offense all over the world at Ms. Norris’ drawing of a cup, a domino, a box of pasta, a dog-faced handbag and a cherry. Yes, a drawing not in part or whole of the Prophet Mohammed! Gasp! It would be funny if the FBI hadn’t adviced Ms. Norris that the ensuing threats on her life were legitimate, causing her to change her name and abandon her career. Writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone were roundly ignored for depicting Mohammed in the Super Best Friends episode of South Park but threatened with death for the non-depiction of Mohammed in episodes 200 and 201 of South Park. Mixed messages on mainstream media messing with Mo – what is our mission statement, oh my brothers?
So far Jesus and Mo and those who would offensively tweet them have harvested death threats but no deaths. Unlike previous protests by the Caliphate Comics Code Authorities (regarding the Jyllands-Posten Muhammadedkrisen), no one has died yet. That’s how much of the Muslim world measures moderation – ‘we haven’t killed each other or outsiders about the offense du jour, yet.’ We take what we can get.
I for one consider Muslims to be mature human beings capable of being offended and then not committing murder because they were offended. How about you?
I begin with a tale sure to embarrass myself, thus winning you to my cause. In 1984 I was listening to experimental music to the exclusion of all other music. Rhythms not produced by machinery were not part of my sonic diet, and songs had to mean something (or at least be mean) to gain audience to my audit time. A high-school friend said he’d been given permission by his parents to see a concert, but only if he could find someone to go with him. He told me the name of the band, and I looked down from the mighty high horse I was riding to deliver an icy no. No, I would not deign to waste my time listening to unintellectual buffoons in circus clothing as they beat stretched skins with wooden sticks and strummed catgut over hollow gourds like mediaeval minstrels. My friend was near tears and begged me to go, saying he would by my ticket. I rolled my eyes, huffed and puffed, then (choke) compromised. Thus I sat in my seat with my arms crossed, shaking my head in disapproval during the entirety of a performance by The Clash.
The notion that if you do like this thing you will also like that thing and you definitely won’t like the other thing is behind all political recruitment. If you’re listening to Throbbing Gristle, you will also like SPK and you definitely won’t like The Clash (or so I thought as a teenager). If you are homosexual, you will also like PETA and you definitely won’t vote Republican (or so some on the left think today). If you are a Christian, you will also like Disney films and you definitely won’t smoke (or so some on the right think today). When you buy a ticket to the buffet but end up with someone else’s left-overs, you have been assimilated. I am here to rend the veil of the temple and show the difference between ensemble and cast. Ensemble assembles, and casts casts us into casts.
Politics makes for some strange bedfellows, but seldom do we brag about who we bagged before. What is said to be sure signs of political alignment left or right shifts, slips, slides and stands anew as the new normal. The young are burdened to learn this through reading, but the elderly – those over twenty – merely have to wait and watch. What makes up the right was once on the left, and what makes up the left was once on the right. If in the left or right you’re looking for truth or beauty, triumph or stability, you might be beholden to hold a third rail.
What was once on the right is now on the left. Ritual contamination and ritual purification used to be the domain of the most orthodox of religious bodies. If you’re a menstruating woman you’re ritually unclean, but if some guy kills two turtles (one by setting it on fire) you’re ritually clean again (Leviticus 15:19-30). If you say the magic word you get help (Genesis 18:14) but if you say the magic word wrong you are to be stoned to death (Leviticus 24:13-16). Seems that everybody catches cooties, but the immunity community is not rooted in eternity. Now it is the left that is ever attentive to ritual contamination, identified by shrieks of ‘racist!’ or ‘sexist!’ It used to be the John Birch Society protested fluoridation of the water supply, but recently a measure to fluoridate the water in Portland was defeated by a group on the left. Food fads (healthy or otherwise) used to be nearly entirely on the left, but the paleo diet (healthy or otherwise) is popular on the right. Ritual contamination on the left can sometimes be abrogated through sensitivity trainings or sex-addition therapy, but in the main to attain ritual cleanliness one must be purged. And one must assuredly never write for an online magazine where some other guy writes who one time wrote an essay about another guy who said something true but unkind. That would invoke the corruption of blood.
It is not new that ideas migrate from right to left. In the first flowering of socialism, a European pro-worker political party emerged (led by a a spiritual but not religious vegetarian) that petitioned for the following…
- All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
- Abolition of unearned incomes. Breaking of debt-slavery.
- In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
- We demand the nationalization of all associated industries.
- We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
- We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
- We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
- We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
- The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
Forgive me, I could not avoid the above reductio ad-nazi-um. Nearly half of the demands of the National Socialist Party Twenty-Five Point Program (1920) are right at home with today’s lefty opponents of National Socialism. Those proto-Nazis sure had a soft spot for getting back to the land, nudism, vegetarian eating, hiking, folk music, all practices taken up by the nature boys and girls only two generations after them. Nor was the plate tectonic shift confined to Germany. In the 1920s the most progressive thinkers in Italy advocated “everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” In the 1960s, the most progressive thinkers in the USA advocated “the personal is political.” Today’s leftists put the ‘totes in totalitarianism.
What was once on the left is now on the right. The Matrix introduced the analogy of the red pill of ugly reality or the blue pill of pretty lies. It was a lefty movie, but the right picked up the red pill. The left used to be hostile to religion, but since the spiritual days of the 1960s it is indifferent or accommodating to faith. Homosexuals slapped by the left hand in the Soviet Union or revolutionary Cuba now get smacked by the right. Advocating for the downfall of culture was a minority practice among left artists one hundred years ago, but the discovery of teenagers, rock & roll and rap made mocking the old for being old a majority practice. The free speech movement that began on the progressive campus was abandoned in favor of political correctness and anti (anti-racism, anti-sexism, etc.). Free speech was ceded to the right, and sometimes the right makes use of it. This year, two men who are not white nationalists have been invited to speak at white nationalist conferences. RamZPaul spoke at the 2013 American Renaissance Conference and Jack Donovan spoke at the National Policy Institute conference. Both men expressly stated before, during and after their presentations that they were not white nationalists, but the conference organizers took the hair-raising risk of listening to someone who might say something they disagree with. While the left at one time did promote free speech, this is no longer the norm. (Disclosure: I am sullied with the ritual contamination of being in Mr. Donovan’s crew.)
The reasonableness of the left didn’t stop The Terror and the compassion of the right didn’t stop the French Indo-China Police Action. What might have slowed down the murder (much less the nonsense) might have been listening to people you disagree with for the very reason that you disagree with them. The recently departed Colin Wilson claimed the most effective means of disabusing captured Nazi officers after World War Two was asking them to explain their beliefs and letting them hear their own contradictions. Ingo Hasselbach was an active neo-Nazi in East Berlin until he saw himself interviewed on television, when once again hearing one’s own words were enough to change one’s tune. Daryl Davis is a black jazz musician who befriends Klan members, some of whom then abandon the Klan. Even the NAACP got in on the act this year, holding a meeting between themselves and the Wyoming Klan.
Sir Karl Popper suggested that tradition was our most important guide in the present, and among those traditions was the tradition of subjecting conjectures to stern refutations. I don’t think we can all get along, but I do think we can have a better class of disputants. As Kerry Thornley used to say, if there were more bloody noses there might be fewer wars.