The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Priesthood as vocation – and the mental health professional

Krishen Kak
05 Nov 2008

The Christian priesthood is a vocation (from the Latin for “to call”), quite literally, a calling. The Christian god Jehovah, or more usually his “son” Jesus, speaks to, calls a man (or woman) to His service. To enter His service without this divine call to it is gross hypocrisy and is treating His service as a profane job rather than as a sacred mission.

The Vatican is quite explicit about this:

The priesthood is a vocation. No one can claim this dignity himself, but only those who are called by God……The Bible states: "One does not take upon himself, but he is called by God" (Hebrews 5:4)…..The one who chooses him is also the same who consecrates him and sends him: that is, Christ himself, through the apostles and their successors…… "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16)

The true Christian priest is therefore one who has been selected by God to serve Him. Of this there can and should be no doubt. To ensure the absence of doubt, the proof of calling is the satisfaction of its authenticity by the successors of Christ, who can and should safely be presumed to themselves have been called by Christ.

It is a matter and test of faith. Jesus loves you and selects you, say the official successors of Christ and selectors of priests.

That is the official version. Why then should these successors and selectors need to resort to professional psychological testing, rather than their own faith, to determine whether Jesus has really called you to serve Him? Recently,
The Vatican issued new psychological screening guidelines for seminarians…the latest effort by the Roman Catholic Church to be more selective about its priesthood candidates following a series of sex abuse scandals. The church said it issued the guidelines to help church leaders weed out candidates with "psychopathic disturbances." The scandals have rocked the church in recent years, triggering lawsuits that have cost hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements

Sex abuse? Psychopathic disturbances? Seems your this-worldly love for your human fellows may be more than your other-worldly love for Jesus!

This priestly pre-occupation with the theory and practice of sex-abuse by priests merits pagan attention for more than one reason. To start with, consider how widespread it is:
Catholic American bishops actively lobbied against a proposed Ohio law to extend the statute of limitations in child sex-abuse cases, and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee used a real estate fund to pay a $450,000 settlement to a man who accused its then Archbishop of sex-abuse

In California, settlements totalling about $163.3 million were reached with victims of sex-abuse by priests and lay employees and “an additional 900 or so alleged victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and lay people in California await resolution of their lawsuits”

In Kentucky, a class-action suit that accused the church of a 50-year cover-up of sexual abuse by priests and other employees was settled by the church for $120 million (

Los Angeles records at least 75 years of child sex-abuse by Catholic priests under the benevolent patronage of the cardinals in charge, “case after case in which the church was warned of abuse, but failed to protect its parishioners”. Settlement estimates exceed $500 million (

A grand jury issued a scathing critique yesterday of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, saying its former archbishops and other leaders concealed and facilitated clergy sex abuse of children for decades. The grand jury, which investigated the archdiocese for more than three years, concluded that at least 63 priests - and probably many more - sexually abused hundreds of minors over the past several decades. But even more disturbing, the jurors found, was the coverup by the two previous archbishops, Cardinals John Krol and Anthony J. Bevilacqua who, they concluded, ''excused and enabled the abuse" and put legal and financial interests and moral reputation of the archdiocese ahead of protecting the children entrusted to its care…The cardinals typically removed priests only when faced with the threat of lawsuit or scandal, the report found, and some archdiocesan leaders regularly lied to victims and their families when asked if an abuser had a prior record. Priest abusers were transferred to other parishes to hush up allegations; as a result, other children were victimized, the report found

The Catholic church in Boston agreed to pay $85 million to 560 people to settle their lawsuits and $10 million to 86 victims of one of its priests. Cardinal Bernard Law, the archbishop of Boston, who “resigned in 2002 after media reports publicizing his failure to remove abusive priests provoked public outrage” was Papally “rewarded… with a pleasant retirement sinecure: appointment as chief priest of the St. Mary Major Basilica, one of the greatest churches in Rome” where, “seated on a gilded white throne and wearing a funereal red chasuble with a broad golden stripe, [he] said a Mass of mourning for Pope John Paul II despite objections from clergy abuse victims”
( ;
laws_prominence/ ; ;

In 2007, the Catholic church in America forked out $615 million to settle child sex-abuse cases (

The Vatican instructed Catholic bishops around the world to cover up cases of sexual abuse or risk being thrown out of the Church. The Observer has obtained a 40-year-old confidential document from the secret Vatican archive which lawyers are calling a 'blueprint for deception and concealment'….. The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of 'strictest' secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication… the instructions also cover what it calls the 'worst crime', described as an obscene act perpetrated by a cleric with 'youths of either sex or with brute animals (bestiality)'… 'These instructions went out to every bishop around the globe and would certainly have applied in Britain. It proves there was an international conspiracy by the Church to hush up sexual abuse issues. It is a devious attempt to conceal criminal conduct and is a blueprint for deception and concealment'

Pope Benedict XVI is no different. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he ordered “the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret……'Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,' Ratzinger's letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the…order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication”; publicly, however, he claimed he was “`deeply ashamed’ by the actions of pedophile priests”, actions that have cost his church some $2 billion in settlements
( ;

No, it is not just the United States. Sex-abuse by Christian priests – and its cover-up by their superiors under a Papal fatwa of excommunication - is so widespread that Wikipedia has a lengthy entry on it – Australia, Canada, Austria, Ireland and Britain are just some of the countries involved ( ; ;

The sexual abuse of nuns by priests is rampant “especially in Africa and other parts of the developing world” and is well within the knowledge of the Vatican. Indian nuns are exported to the West where, for example, in the Brigittine Order in Italy, they reportedly suffer “maltreatment, moral violence and working conditions close to slavery”, reminiscent of the infamous Magdalene laundries of Ireland
( ; ;

Christian priests in India are not immune to this-worldly Christian love. The “church in Kerala is rocked by sex scandals” and 63 Kerala priests stand accused of “murder, attempt to murder, rape, molestation, assault, abduction, theft, break-in, cheating…almost every offence under the Indian Penal Code - and of course, the Ten Commandments”. Tamil Nadu priests are trying to catch up. Notorious proselytiser Graham Staines was accused of sex-abuse and, as it happens, “Christian nuns claim false rape in India to defame Hinduism”
( ; ; ; ; ; ; /

“MP nuns rape case: 12 involved are Christians”, The Observer, 24 Oct, 1998).

The allegations of paedophilia/sexual abuse by Church functionaries had become so pressing that, in September 2001, a conclave on the subject was convened in St Peter's Church in the Vatican. That, out of 183 Roman Catholic cardinals in the world, 155 attended underscored its importance (Balbir K Punj, “Time for some soul-searching", The Pioneer, Aug 29, 2003).

Which brings us to a second point of pagan interest - more than two billion dollars for sex-abuse in about the last five decades by Christian priests and, given the Vatican's endeavour to silence pardey ke peechey kya hai, this must be only the tip of the iceberg. Just look at the staggering amount of money Christianity can spend to settle, not sex-abuse, but its sex-abuse cases.

And a third point of pagan interest – the whole biblical basis of sex-abuse.

Jehovah Himself has such a weak libido that in all His eternal existence He has chosen to produce only one child, that too a male - well, actually a holy ghost was responsible, but thereafter the biblical reference is "Son of God" and not the ghost's son. This His only Son He fathered without copulating (copula = to join) with the Son's human mother who was someone else's wife. The Son, conceived parthenogenetically, arguably was celibate too.

Actually, it is not so simple. The Bible also describes Jesus as the son of Joseph (St John 1.45) and the Son of Man (St John 1.51). It says too that “Christ cometh of the seed of David" (St John 7.42), which could make David the ancestor of Jehovah. Then, to complicate matters even further, Jesus and his father Jehovah are one (St John 10.30) so that, if Jesus was a historical figure, then in some inscrutable way Mary was impregnated by her own son to give birth to him. As the Bulgarian-French philosopher Julia Kristeva has noted, “Not only is Mary her son’s mother and his daughter, she is also his wife”

However, to make it simple again, recall here the saying attributed to Pope Leo X (who, under the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, would have known), “All ages can testifie enough howe profitable that fable of Christe hath ben to us and our companie", usually quoted as “It has served us well, this myth of Christ” ( In other words, the entire foundation of Christianity, and its Church, is mythological.

However, about 4000 years earlier, Jehovah had created another male named Adam and this He did asexually. Jehovah then, again asexually, made a rib of Adam into a woman, and Adam then copulated with this, his own rib, to start off the entire human race. Unlike to His own Son through that ghost, to Adam and Adam's sons Jehovah gave a high sex drive.

We have said Jesus arguably was celibate; arguably, because there is a serious Gnostic argument that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. The Bible and Church tradition have it that the bride of Jesus is the Church (e.g., Eph.v.22-33; Rev 21.2). There is also that tradition that Jesus was married to his own mother; “in Christian thought the Virgin was understood as the Bride of Christ, her son”(

Now, the Church consists of both monks and nuns and, certainly insofar as the nuns are concerned, they are quite literally the brides of Christ. “Every nun” – past, present, future – is a “Bride of Christ”. So Jesus has hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of wives (

But then what does this make the monks?

The chief monk or priest is Il Papa di Roma, the Pope (literally, father) who represents Christ on earth, so lesser priests (who call the Pope “Holy Father”) can be seen to be lesser representatives (sons?) of Christ.

Now, on the one hand, those sons of Adam who are the Christian god's privileged interpreters, the priesthood, must strive to justify their creation by Him in His own image by being celibate like Him.

On the other hand, He Himself gave them the desire to copulate with the descendants of their own first ancestor and his rib.

So, from a pagan perspective, a priest can choose - sex with a nun as consummating her marriage to Christ, or sex with a man in the manner of the biblically-approved love of David and Jonathan, the wonderful love that surpasses the love of women (2 Sam 1.26 with 1 Sam 18.1, 3-4, 20.4 and 20.17).

And then there is all that original sex-abuse and psychopathology, that adultery and incest. No wonder the priests are confused, and cannot decide whether to have sex with males, females, or not at all.

Which brings us back to the original point. Why should the successors of Christ and selectors of His servants (brides) need to resort to professional psychological testing, rather than rely on their own faith, to determine whether Jesus has really called one to serve Him?

Sex abuse is a sociological construct, not a theological one. A professional psychologist today is quite likely to interpret the ecstasy of St Teresa as masturbatory. The Victorian upper-class male saw no wrong in copulating with a pre-teen female. And one of Christ’s prophetic successors took a number of wives amongst whom was a six-year-old girl.

Psychopathy is a socio-psychological construct, not a theological one. If a psychologist says I am a potential sex abuser, his professional opinion to “weed out” me will over-ride any theological one.

The Bible states: "One does not take upon himself, but he is called by God" (Hebrews 5:4); "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16).

If the Christian god has been calling sex-abusers and psychopaths to His priesthood, evidently He is not infallible. And clearly the Church lacks faith in its own professional theology that it calls in mental health professionals to choose for it. Humans can veto “God”.

Just one more reason to confirm to pagans that the Church continues to use “God” as a cover for its nefarious missionary-colonial enterprise.

Krishen Kak is a Hindu pagan


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