segunda-feira, 15 de outubro de 2018

In defense of Pope Francis

Right from the beginning I declare myself unbiased to defend Pope Francis since, I regret to say, I have no religious convictions of any nature, either direct or indirect interest, regarding the Catholic faith or the Vatican State as a public entity.

In this articled I herewith defend  in the most noble sense of the term "a man"; the Argentine Jorge Mário Bergoglio, by means of my weak dialectic lights, characteristic of the merely intuitive materialist, by natural tendency, not having been indoctrinated in such sense. Perhaps, I am a deceived materialist, victim of a limited investigation of an abstract "total reality", ignorance which could only be surpassed by hundreds of hours studying philosophy and theology. If this is the case and if later I find myself persuaded of the survival of what is called "soul," I will most happily correct my "mistake" on the deathbed - not coerced I hope, by fear of an eternal damnation.

I make this digression considering that presently the scientific knowledge held by mankind, although impressive, is still inevitably primary, if compared with the unavoidable future advances. We still "shoot" a lot in the dark, in physics and astronomy, deliberating on Black Holes; earthworms’ holes; antiparticle; antimatter; Big Crunch (not a crisp sandwich or any of the Golden Arches sandwiches); dark matter; dark energy and the Big Bang - enthusiastically supported by many clerical as it reinforces the idea of the universe having been created by divine snapping, extracting everything from nothing, but which in my opinion is a ridiculous hypothesis.

Some theorists claim the existence of parallel universes. If this is possible, the power of prayer will most likely be strong. Who knows – and I say this without any irony – millions of believers, praying for something particular, as Francis frequently asks, may change reality. At least just a mere mental reality, changing the thought, or the object of the prayers, for example, the decision of a head of state when choosing whether or not to push the nuclear button.

Just speculating, perhaps every sincere prayer emitting energy - the neurons transmit "microscopic" electricity - may be able to transpose the cranial cavity, just like when inside the house, we can trigger the car alarm, despite the thickness of the stone and brick wall separating us from the vehicle. Who knows, millions of brains longing ardent and simultaneously, so to speak, this confluence of energies can influence distant minds. Until recently, the features of children did not depend on their parents' wishes. But soon, very soon the baby, genetically manipulated in the womb, may be born shaped according to the parents' fancy wishes, color of eyes, and math skills. Just guess how our planet will be two thousand years from now, if it escapes self-destruction. I can imagine the scenario: scientists and even lay curious, chuckling about "how stupid our ancestral 'experts' were in the twenty-first century."

Materialism, based only on a now timeline, capable of being measurable, verifiable  - in science, whatever - may be the least misconceived conception of reality; but it is a sad, shallow philosophy: - "Are we then just bugs? Selfish and flesh? Death and obliteration? Not even in another life, will there be justice for all, with punishment for the wicked and reward for the good? That would be illogical! I refuse to be a mere smart pig, eating, sleeping, making sex and thinking just about profit! "

This arid materialistic philosophy does not satisfy the moral thirst of millions of people who, through religion, yearn for something vague and yet strong: the feeling that human beings are worth more than they weigh, have, or seek to look like on a daily basis. It is not only fear that explains religion. There are also people, though in a smaller number, who even without fear, are believes. With all materialistic indoctrination, in the Soviet Russia, the religious belief has not been eradicated. It was just stifled. I say all of this just to reinforce to the materialists and  skeptics, like myself, that we should be tolerant regarding religious belief when we see, on television, the Pope Francis asking the faithful to pray for this or for that.

With my apologies for the digression, let us return to Francis' defense, in the matter of his supposed tolerance or inertia in punishing some high dignitaries of the Catholic Church accused of pedophilia.

I defend Pope Francis  as  a duty of justice, just as I would defend him if he were a mere politician, of any given country, interested in doing good, deeply concerned in making the human being a better person, whoever he may be.

I have read much of what comes in the media about him and also heard his words addressing the faithful in St. Peter's Square. And I have only seen, until now, his impressive sincerity, his courage, his intelligence and coherence. It is unfortunate that Francis is affected by what commonly happens with people of exceptional value. They soon become object of envy, jealousy, and disgruntled interests.

Reading the criticism of Archbishop Carlos Maria Veganò, a former apostolic nuncio in the United States - calling for the resignation of Pope Francis derived from not having punished the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2011, and reading the Vatican's explanations on the subject, it is clear that Francis has been making every effort to purge the church, while at the same time trying to reduce the huge, autonomous evil of the scandal, which is tremendously destructive for a religion which, as a whole, has sought to improve human coexistence.

This concern of the Pope is justified since every deviation of behavior, of a sexual nature, occurring in any religion - not only Catholicism - has a destructive effect in the souls of millions of followers. It is necessary not only to punish crime, the misconduct, but also to preserve the institution.

The enemies of religions, or the rival religions, rave of joy when a Catholic priest is accused of pedophilia. But no one can accuse Pope Francis of being conniving with this. The Pope has insisted on repudiation. He removes the priest from his duties, reproaches him, but is probably inhibited in having the offender criminally prosecuted. Nevertheless the police have not been pressed not to investigate. Besides the damages already caused to the church by some priests - not all of them - the Pope is only trying to avoid the poison of a "destructive propaganda" of the media broadcast inherent in criminal processes of this nature thus harming a belief that has been useful to public morality and to the souls of millions of believers.

Every sensible and honored chief of any institution, be it public or private, when confronted with  internal failures of enormous repercussion - mainly of a sexual nature - removes the offender, punishes him, but avoids as much as possible the media hype. He is aware that the spread of morbid "details" is worth gold - in the proper sense - for newspapers and magazines. The defense of the reputation occurs in the family institution, in public and private companies, in the Three Powers and even in criminal investigation agencies. What parent, or husband, would not try to hide from the media and neighborhood an outrageous sexual act practiced by a son, daughter or wife? Ideally, every investigation of cases of this nature should take place in secret, almost impossible today.

"The media must expose facts with total cruelty!" magazines and newspapers will snarl. Bullshit. If in some magazine, notorious for its severity, a scandal of a sexual nature takes place in its offices, off working hours, the CEO, innocent, will go to great lengths to prevent the fact from public knowledge. And he will certainly have the collaboration of other magazines, even rivals. The good reputation of a magazine or newspaper long fought for, cannot be destroyed by acts of irresponsible ones.

Not being an expert in religion, and not much interested in this subject, I confess my admiration for the last Popes, dating at least from John XXIII. I know little from the previous ones. The most recent, mentioned above, were morally admirable. If Earth becomes atheist one day, they will be well remembered by historians. The planet would have been worse without them.

Concluding, I beg leave for a rather daring suggestion: that Pope Francis takes some advantage of the bad winds blowing against Catholicism: the recent scandals of pedophilia. I am referring to the permission of the priests to marry or, if they prefer, to remain single, but exempt from chastity. Thousands of priests leave the priesthood against their will. Honoured, they know they could not remain chaste for the rest of their lives. It is easy, or relatively easy, for a Pope to remain chaste until he dies because they are usually old. But to force a new, strong priest to go against a natural instinct means increasing the risk of sexual offenses, victimizing innocent people, emptying churches, and demoralizing the effort of two millennia trying to improve the human being.

Nature - through an evolution of billions of years - has never given up, by biological force, the propagation of species. Amphibians, fish, birds, mammals, are all born programmed to bear cubs, who will continue to evolve. For those who do not know, plants also have sex life, some more, some less. Flowers are sex organs. There are male gametes and female gametes. Anyone who has doubts about sex in the plant world should access Google and can read all the tricks that plants use to generate their "equals."  Even attracting insects and birds that can carry, unknowingly, the pollen.

I regret to say, but sex is a harsh reality, which can be curbed, but not for life. And to enable the mechanism of the propagation of the species, nature had to invent a "trigger" - the libido, which when curbed ends up in a wrong, sickly way. Without libido there would be no human being except by artificial insemination. Children would be born, but the children libido would continue to cause hell the human species.

Pope Francis has the highest authority, legitimacy and now, the opportunity to revoke the compulsion of celibacy and the chastity of priests. His name will go down in history if makes this decision, and we will not have this kind of scandal, nor the suffering of young victims and their parents. In all other religions chastity is not mandatory and they do not stop growing. Why torture the few priests who still remain in the church? Courage was never something the Argentine Jesuit lacked. May he also use this noble trait in this endeavor and it will certainly be look upon favourably by a large number of the faithful.

I end up here, apologizing for such frankness, usually omitted in sensitive subjects.

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