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13th Jan,2011

Pope on Pedophilia & Caste in India


- Child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society..
- In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children

Those statements were part of the Christmas address he made to priests at the Vatican. Was he trying to justify the acts of some of his priests who indulged in such acts of violation? We don't think so. We think he was trying to salvage the damage done to the reputation of the Church. That statement however sounded like a politician talking. It can be argued that considering that Vatican is accorded the status of a state he was making a political statement in the interest of his state.

When ISKON had to face similiar charges of child abuse, it responded by forming CPT's (Child protection teams) and adopted a zero tolerance policy towards child abuse.The message was stern to its clergy. In contrast the message pope gave out was "its okay to abuse children"

Barbara Blaine, the head of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said, "The Catholics should be embarrassed to hear their Pope talk again and again about abuse while doing little or nothing to stop it and to mischaracterise this heinous crisis.”

Does it mean that once robed as a priest, you get immunity from such acts? If that is not true then why not other criminals also be showed the same benovolance that pope displayed towards the bad apples of his flock. So would governments world wide set free all pedphoiles who are serving sentences? Does it also mean that all governments would repeal all laws made against child abuse? Italy came close to doing something like that. In 1999, the Italian supreme court made this judgemement, "that a woman wearing jeans cannot be raped" and set the accused free. The decision was reversed following public outrage.

The pope is a poweful figure with many political leaders of the western world willing to take its counsel either direct or indirect. Hence instead of respect there is more of fear of the Vatican among the general public.This fear has percolated to the political leadership of many nations and that has resulted in silence at these recent remarks by him. Imagine a similair statement by an ordinary person. He would be subjected to the harshest of restraining orders by law enforcement authorities.

Pope's statement and Indian Church:
This statement can have a devastating impact on Church goers and put them at the mercy of christian priests in India. In the first place unlike western counterparts, most church goers are innocent converts who got themselves sucked into by the awe factor. That combined with the fact that they dont know how to protest makes them very vulnerable. Moreover in India family honour is critically important and hence acts of depravation are kept under wraps to prevent public humilation and shame. Given the brutal fact that governments are insensitive and often collide with people who can bribe them, its difficult to impossible to bring the bad among the priests to book. The book "Amen -Autobiography of a Nun" by Sister Jesmi in Kerala, South India, was a brave exception in which she musters christian courage to seek the truth in exposing the acts of sexual aggression commited by the catholic church. People like Sister Jesmi come once in a millenium and there is no record of how many more such sexual offences are un-reported. We hope that the Indian Clergy reaches out to the Hindu within them and act with restraint while conducting priestly dutiles on innocent converts. Even as we write this article there is a development that was reported by times of India.

Time of India report January
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A Kerala Christian priest as been arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a minor girl inmate of a hostel run by Orthodox Church at Pothukal in Malappuram district in September last year. The victim is a student of Catholicate Higher Secondary School run by the church. 

Father K G Joseph alias Father Habib Joseph was arrested and produced in a local court on Thursday. He, however, was granted bail. Joseph later denied charges. Crime Branch sources said the priest was charged under Section 354 IPC (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), a bailable offence. 

Police are also probing the "unnatural" death of the girl's elder sister, who "succumbed" to suspected food poisoning at hostel in October last year. A few days after her death, the 14-year-old class IX student had alleged that she and her elder sister Anu were made to wash feet and massage Joseph and another priest who was a regular visitor to the hostel and that it often ended up with them being sexually harassed. 

Though they took up the matter with a nun, she instead of helping, threatened them with dire consequences, the girl had alleged. The two sisters belonging to a poor family of Kelakam in Kannur district thought it better to resign to their fate as otherwise they would have had to discontinue studies. 

Sixteen-year-old Anu, a class XI student, died on October 24, 2009. Soon after her death her younger sister had told reporters in the presence of her father that Anju was taken out in a car by the second priest on October 21 and they returned late in the night. Anu looked very tired and was crying and didn't eat anything the next day. This infuriated the nun who beat her up, she had alleged. 

The torture was so brutal that there were blood stains on the wall of Anu's room.

 

Pope and Caste:
If child abuse is normal then why should caste be a problem at all? While the predecessors of the current pope have smeared Hindusim of a caste problem, this pope has had the wisdom to undo the bad work of his predecessors. For those who are sitting on the fence and pelting caste stones on Hinduism, they should be aware of distinct advantages of the caste system.

Historial Benefits of Caste System in India

Historically, the caste system offerred several advantages to the population of the Indian subcontinent. While Caste is nowadays seen by instances that render it anachronistic, in its original form the caste system served as an important instrument of order in a society in which mutual consent rather than compulsion ruled[19]; where the ritual rights as well as the economic obligations of members of one caste or sub-caste were strictly circumscribed in relation to those of any other caste or sub-caste; where one was born into one's caste and retained one's station in society for life; where merit was inherited, where equality existed within the caste, but inter-caste relations were unequal and heirarchial. Awell-defined system of mutual interdependence through a division of labour created security within a community.

1. Preservation of order in society through the use of institutional stratification of social groups[20].
2. Integration of foreigners and invading forces into Indian culture by assigning a caste to them (a process that historian Jawaharlal Nehru referred to as "Indianization": India has faced repeated invasions from outside the region, dating back to the Macedonian invasion by Alexander the Great. Most invaders were swiftly assimilated into ancient Indian society by assigning them specific castes. Examples include the Kambojas, believed to be of Indo-Scythian descent, who were retroactively assigned a social position in the Manusmriti.
3. The Varna system, with its normative interpretation as a division of labor, had and continues to have a heavy bias towards spiritual evolution. The deep religious proclivities and the urge for spiritual uplift had induced the people to search for simpler and effective ways to achieve the spiritual goal which led to innovations like the Bhakti movement which had a powerful impact on the socio-cultural-spiritual life of the people even at mass level without distinctions of caste or class or other social differences. It is these deeply run cultural roots which caused an abiding following for Hinduism even in the face of unrelenting assaults by other religions and had in fact continued to influence the lives of people even after their conversion to other faiths. Thus, the caste system can be said to have preserved ancient cultural values in Indian society.
4. The caste system played an influential role in shaping economic activities.[ The caste system functioned much like medieval European guilds, ensuring the division of labour, providing for the training of apprentices and, in some cases, allowing manufacturers to achieve narrow specialisation. For instance, in certain regions, producing each variety of cloth was the speciality of a particular sub-caste.
5. Philosophers argue that the majority of people would be comfortable in stratified endogamous groups and have been in ancient times. Membership in a particular caste, with its associated narrative, history and genealogy would instill in its members a sense of group accomplishment and cultural pride. Such sentiments are routinely expressed by the Marathas, for instance.
http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/History_of_the_Indian_caste_sy stem

In today's India the benefits of caste include
- Priority for premium education seats
- Priority for government jobs
- Priority for access to government funding

Problems with caste are more of expolitation of the poor by the rich and that happens worldwide in every society. A example closer home would be that of the powerful religions of the world taking pot shots at peaceful religions. We think that the strong sense of truth that prevades every Hindu makes him / her feel so obliged to acknowledge even the slightest wrong doing happening within themselves. That approach gives others an upper hand in nailing Hindus further. Frankly speaking how are present Hindus in any way responsible for a system that was in place for generations ahead of them. To their credit they have done lot of work in moving away from caste related ills. Most work was done by the one particular upper caste that has had a historically bad press, "The Brahmins"In fact in Cities of India today you would hardly notice any mention of Caste. If it is used it is done mainly by the politicians notably the ruling Congress party of India.

So from this day Hindus need not be on the defensive at all when any one confronts them with Caste. Its a thing of the past and since it has evolved over a long long period it takes a little longer for the bad in caste gets washed away. Advise them to be patient. If they have boundless energies to fix the world then they can direct themselves to more serious problems of the world. If the person who confronts & approaches you with an conversion agenda, kindly point them to this image from the BBC.


Lower caste christian converts buried to the right of the wall and upper caste christian convertes buried the the left of the wall,in a village in Tamilnadu - South India. Let them know that conversion hasn't helped none. Their life was better being a Hindu.



 

   
 
 

   
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
   





 
 



   

 
 
 

   
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