For those who place a high value on diversity of opinion expressed publicly, it is actually quite liberating for those who read newspaper columns to attempt to fill that large gap which exists between the two ends while ripping us to shreds if either of our views fall outside of their respective range of 'reasonableness'.
POPE BENEDICT XVI... may have covered up incidents of priestly paedophilia
POPE BENEDICT XVI... may have covered up incidents of priestly paedophilia 1/1
In his columns Burke is more a Catholic who just happens to be a columnist than a columnist who just happens to be a defender of the faith, and his weekly pieces reflect that position unapologetically. On the other hand, I subscribe to no religion and none of the widely accepted deities.
As one of two main purveyors of Catholicism through regular newspaper columns, Burke could not escape wading headlong into commenting on the embarrassing international sex scandal presently plaguing the Catholic Church, especially because of journalistic investigations which indicate that the pope may have covered up incidents of priestly paedophilia while he held a lesser position years ago and was in charge of some of the men so accused.
Last Thursday Burke expressed in his column, "Unacceptable, no matter who does it", a position which indicated little in the way of an objective examination of the sex scandal, but rather doled out a dogma which rendered him much too deeply immersed in Catholicism to see anything but the stale political and religious doctrines of the church. In the second paragraph of his column he stated, "There have even been attempts to sully the name of the pope by accusing him of covering up such deeds when he was an archbishop in Germany. God alone is his judge as to whether this was so. Is this an attempt to discredit the pope no matter what he does or says? Who but the devil himself would want to do that, especially as the pope speaks in the name of Jesus Christ? But Jesus Christ did promise that the gates of hell shall never prevail against the church."
One of the troubling doctrines of the church is priestly celibacy, and increasingly it is thought by many outside of the Catholic faith that celibacy as a requirement for its priesthood encourages into its ranks a higher percentage of men who initially had no natural desire for the opposite sex, coupled with a host of other sexually related neuroses developed from the wrong signals being triggered at puberty.
Burke is of the view that the criticism of the church was unfair and he may well be correct, because I have never sensed among our people a great outpouring of love for the Church of Rome. But Burke hardly assists his cause when he estimates that only about 1.5 per cent of Catholic priests are paedophiles then states, "If there are a million Roman Catholic priests worldwide, 1.5 per cent is 10,500. That is enough to talk about one paedophile priest every day for 21 years and give the impression that everyone is involved."
Burke makes the admission that in the religious hierarchy, God is first, Jesus is second and the pope, who is infallible in ecclesiastical matters, is Jesus' representative on Earth. After all, he said, the pope need not bother himself with plebs outside the church who criticise the well-established political nature of its cultic-like religion and the papacy because it is only God whom he recognises as the one he should answer to.
According to Burke, having 10,500 Catholic priests who are sexually attracted to little boys does not fall outside of the sexually deviant norm for other denominations, but he fails to appreciate that in any religious entity which claims a hermetically sealed personal relationship between its leader and God/Jesus Christ, the presence of just 10 paedophile priests would be scandalous.
This is the hook on which all organised religions are eventually caught - their claim of divine proximity, then when those among their leadership cadre are caught surreptitiously removing the undergarments of others outside of their established relationships, whether those garments belong to men, women or little boys, the leaders automatically claim a mortality that is subject to human frailty, then beg their gullible followers to forgive them.
The history of the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church is one filled with murder (the Inquisition) and personal debaucheries such as via Pope Alexander VI -- previously named Roderigo Borgia - who came to the papacy in the same year that Christopher Columbus was making his trek to the Americas. The Catholic Church has been inextricably linked to strategically playing cards with the secular princes of its early days and although one pope was even imprisoned by Napoleon, the papacy's survival through much political intrigue to modern times says more about its political manoeuvring, huge financial base and income than its claim to a divine link.
The papacy and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church are more political than they are a guide to mankind's betterment.
That said, it is my view that any organised entity that requires its members to be celibate must face more than the possibility that some of those members, faced with a lifetime denial of sexual pleasure, could one day arrive at a place where only sexual deviance can exist. The Catholic Church's insistence that a human being's natural sexual urges must be suppressed and denied as the price to be paid for 'service to God' has exploded in their face and we can only wonder at the number of priests who are still yet unmasked in this grand deceit.
Catholic writers like Burke are obviously reluctant to face up to these realities, but it is shameful to reduce it to a numbers game as a method of defence.
Was I wrong to criticise Minister James Robertson?
Last Wednesday evening I spent the better part of two hours seated at a round table with James Robertson, minister of mining and energy, discussing important matters taking place in the ministry.
Previously, I had taken the minister to task for his 'silence' on what's been happening in his ministry. It was my view that the silence was directly linked to inaction in his portfolio. After exactly one year in the ministry, what did the minister have to show? A lot.
In truth, after my first column criticising the minister, Information Minister Daryl Vaz had contacted me and conveyed the information that much of what was being worked on in the ministry by the minister and his technical, legal and administrative team were highly sensitive matters that could not be reported on in a blow-by-blow fashion. Vaz had promised that the minister would make contact with me as soon as the time was opportune to release the information.
My impatience, however, got the better of me, and again I took the minister to task in another column.
Much of what takes place in developing policies, sourcing the funding for such policies and ironing out the intricacies and the possible pitfalls require an investment of time with regard to negotiations, travel to overseas destinations and long hours spent drafting documents before the signers come on board.
My meeting with him was indeed a lesson to me on the time-consuming nature of the inner workings of government.
I submit my Sunday column on Thursdays and did not have the time to fully comprehend many of the finer points of the technical aspects of various projects. A list titled Achievements/Developments in the Jamaican Energy Sector, drawn up in his first year in that post, included among many other items, the National Energy Policy 2009-2030; the utilisation of LNG as an addition to Jamaica's energy mix; the collaboration with an overseas funding agency to conduct wind assessment and mapping and feasibility studies to develop solar/wind farms in the country; the Petrojam refinery upgrade; technical cooperation for the implementation of a bio-fuels policy; and the development of a bio-fuels industry in Jamaica. Much of the work was in an advanced state.
Read the rest HERE