By Shenali Waduge
This article seeks to clarify and obtain explanation for why the Vatican encourages the spread of the Catholic faith through all channels in majority-Catholic nations whilst in nations where Catholics remain the minority it professes the notion of multiculturalism and equal status to all religions?
The case in point emerges from the Vatican’s message to Sri Lanka at the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review wherein it subtly has placed its opinion that Sri Lanka should place a greater role to promote itself as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural country. It is interesting to note how this same logic is never applied to nations where Catholics emerge the majority.
The lost status to Buddhism in part rests not only with the policies of the colonial rulers but also the lack of sincerity in Sri Lanka’s leaders to unequivocally profess publicly that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country but that it tolerates and continues to tolerate all minority ethnic groups and minority religions. Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heritage is nothing anyone can deny or hide. It is a nation that has over 70% Buddhists and this certainly raises questions as to why Sri Lanka’s leaders feel shy to acknowledge this apart from given media prominence to religious events. This alone is unlikely to protect or preserve Buddhism against the challenges that prevail globally.
Pope’s Message (Spain 2011) : “We cannot encounter Christ and not want to make him know to others. So do not keep Christ to yourselves! Share with others the joy of your faith,”
The same Pope Benedict claims “opposition to Turkey’s joining the European Union on the grounds that a country of 68 million Muslims would dilute Western Europe’s Christian heritage” and that “Muslim but secular Turkey should seek its future in an association of Islamic nations rather than the EU, which has Christian roots”.
Catholics of the World
100% – Vatican City
98% – Malta and East Timor
97% – Honduras
96% – Venezuela
95% – Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, San Marino
94% – Spain
92% – Argentina
90% – Monaco, Andorra, Italy, Colombia, Poland, Paraguay
88% – Croatia
87% – Ireland, Equatorial Guinea, Luxembourg,
85% – Panama, France, Cape Verde, Cuba, Portugal
82% – Seychelles
81% – Peru, Philippines,
80% – Haiti
79% – Lithuania
77% – Mexico
76% – Costa Rica, Liechtenstein
75% – Belgium
74% – Brazil, Austria
70% – Sao Tome and Principe, Chile
69% – Slovakia
68% – St. Lucia
62% – Burundi
61% – Dominica
59% – Nicaragua
58% – Slovenia
57% – El Salvador, Rwanda
55% – Guatemala,
53% – Grenada
52% – Kiribati, Hungary
50% – Fed.States of Micronesia, Dep.Rep of Congo,
It was the Catholic Church that sanctioned the African slave trade centuries ago causing millions of deaths. Natives were subjugated with the gun and the Bible. The Catholic Church also stands accused of its cover up of child molestation by the Church happening around the world with lawsuits filed in 2001 to incidents going back to 1928. The abusers were simply transferred to another Church or to another country and the cases were generally covered up paying billions to victims for their silence.
Some of the recorded crimes by the Catholic Church
§ 1850-1863 – Taiping Rebellion (China), 20m estimated deaths.
§ 1700 years of Inquisition – the punishments included:
¬ Judas Chair – a pyramid shaped seat where accused heretics were placed on top of it with point inserted into their anuses or genitalia then lowered onto point with ropes.
¬ Head Vice – heads of accused put into a specifically fitted vice tightened until teeth are crushed, bones crack and eyes pop out
¬ Pear – a large bulbous gadget inserted in orifice of choice (mouth, anus or vagina) lever causes it to expand whilst inserted
¬ The Wheel – accused heretics strapped to a big wheel, bones clubbed into shards
¬ Sawing – accused heretics hung upside down sawed apart down the middle starting at the crotch.
¬ Disembowelment – small hole is cut in the gut, intestines drawn out slowly whilst keeping victim alive.
¬ The Stake – heretics were burnt/strangled at the stake
§ Pope Damasus 1 (366-384AD) – bought and sold women and children as sex slaves to increase funding for the Church. All those who opposed were tortured and burned alive and had their lands seized by the Church.
§ Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) – famous for carrying out orgy’s in the Vatican
§ Pope Sergius III (904-911) – Carried out many a murder while in office
§ Pope Benedict IX (1032-1048) – Guilty of murder, adultery
§ Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) – Accused of links to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
§ Pope Urban II (1088-1099) – ordered slaughter of ten million Heretics in order to take over Belgrade, Orthodox Church of Constantinople in Yugoslavia, Turkey, Syria, Antioch, Palestine.
§ Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) – Is guilty of slaughtering over a million people supporting the Inquisition.
§ Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) – The Catholic encyclopedia says thus of him “scarcely any possible crime omitted – heresy gross and unnatural, immorality, idolatry, magic, simony… his whole pontificate was one record of evil”.
§ Pope John XXIII (1410-1415) – committed the most heinous crimes that included fornication, adultery, incest, sodomy, simony, theft and murder including a harem of mistresses over 200.
§ Pope Pius XII (1939-1958) – is said to have given Hitler detailed instructions of how to exterminate non-Catholic minorities across Europe, how to construct death camps – that was how Jews met their fate.
§ Pope John Paul II – is said to have sold cyanide gas to Nazis to murder Jews
§ Pope Gregory IX (1227 AD) – Created Inquisition Courts to arrest, try, convict and execute Heretics. These deaths number over 5million.
§ Pope John XXII (1410-15) – committed repeated incest upon all his children and fathered illegitimate children, and murdered Pope Alexander V to take the Papal throne.
Sri Lanka’s case
The Portuguese arrived in Asia for the purpose of trade, to exploit natural resources and convert natives into Christianity as a State policy. The Portuguese arrived in Sri Lanka in 1505 taking over the coastal areas to be replaced in 1658 with the arrival of the Dutch. Harsh and oppressive laws were enforced on Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam in territories under Portuguese control with penal laws in placed prohibiting public practice. Buddhist temples, Hindu Kovils, Muslim Mosques were all ransacked and burnt some of these include temples in Devundara, Trincomalee, Saman Devale, Sunethra Devi Pirivena (Kotte), Vidagama Pirivena(Raigama), Wijebahu Pirivena (Totagamuwa), Nawagamuwa, Kelaniya, Mapitigama and Wattala and it was habit to erect Christian/Catholic churches in their place.
To gage the exact extent of the Portuguese rule in Sri Lanka and the affects to the repression on Buddhism it is advised to read Tikiri Abeysinghe’s book “Portuguese Rule in Ceylon 1594-1612” who says “the persecution of Buddhism during these years of Portuguese rule was more severe than the persecution of Catholicism under the Dutch”. Further reading http://www.globalpolitician.
Pope John Paul II in in 1994 called Buddhism “in large measure an ‘atheistic’ system’.”
The issue remains how morally is the Vatican placed to be denouncing nations for human rights when it has yet to apologize for any of the crimes committed through the Church as policy from time immemorial? It is this same question that is put forward to western nations who having plundered the wealth of Asia and Africa now sit on the throne accusing nations it brought down to poverty.
It is not difficult to conclude that the Catholic Church has gotten away with its crimes because of its recognition as a sovereign state and the luxury it enjoys through a seat in the United Nations. – thus diplomatic immunity. It is the only religion that has itself a declared sovereign country many countries still question the validity of such a position.
However could the Vatican be taken to the International Criminal Court for human rights abuses even those that include sex crimes against children? The human rights abuses over centuries certainly make room for a case – first child sex scandal in the Catholic Church took place in AD153
Bible prophesied that the 10 nation European Union will combine to create the new Roman Empire where the present nations rests on the same terrains as the old Roman Empire some 2000 years ago. EU has two permanent seats (out of 5 permanent and 10 other 2-year elected seats) on the Security Council. Herman Van Rompuy (President of European Council) is rumored to be lead with the omission of Great Britain – obviously a step towards abolishing nation states and having the world led by United States of Europe.
The fact that the Church’s involvement with politics and its influence financially does spell dangers which none of the rhetoric made to appease nations and other religions can or should ignore for the future of their existence.