(Note: Omerta is an Italian word meaning secrecy sworn to by oath; code of silence.
It is widely used and abused by people all over the world. Our columnist Pamplani explains its use in India, especially in the Syromalabar Kerala church for you to make your own judgement for or against.
Churches in general are notorious for censorship in all church publications, although it is an “Anathema” according to journalistic ethics. These publications rightly deserve to be called “their masters’ voice” acting like caged birds. The latest example was the silence on ‘Ernakulam land sale controversy’ which appeared in all secular media but not in the Catholic press.
Even the International Catholic weekly “The Indian currents” of which this writer was Associate Editor for years, from Delhi had prepared a balanced cover story on it for public consumption. At the last minute the editor was asked to cancel it under obedience and direction from above. He had to cancel it in Toto.
That did not prevent it from reaching the public in India and abroad. The CCV published them all with editorial comments and sent them to all Indian bishops. Those articles were published also in “Daily news” New York to prove the biblical truth that all Truths maliciously buried will break open all barriers and resurrect, as Jesus did for the whole world to see.
Jesus’ own instruction to his followers was: “I have said all things in public” not in secret or under cover of darkness and so to follow that example. But church men don’t believe in transparency when it comes to unflattering news. They act like Nicademus meeting Jesus (Truth incarnate to use a church phrase) under cover of darkness. Here they follow the worldly example of the CBI of India controlled by governments in power.
Even little drops of water, falling constantly on a rock, can make a hole in it. Similarly these repeated revelations of hidden truth may one day change attitude to truths they deliberately and repeatedly bury. The best service is the thank-less service. So we try to continue. james kottoor, editor ccv).
Please read below Pamplanil’s Omerta
The media in India, particularly that of Kerala, and especially the vernacular press, keep studied silence on matters critical of faith and religion.The desire to be in the good books of the establishment may be the motivating factor.
Retaining the lucrative advertisements from religious outfits could also be the reason for this approach. For instance, did any news paper publish the findings of the Royal Commission of Australia which enquired about the rampant child abuse cases in that country? Nope. One has to search CNN, BBC or the Guardian for information. Such “Conspiracy of Silence” is not seen anywhere else in the world. Religious publications especially that of the Catholic Church vie with each other in parading half truths, false propaganda, disinformation and innuendo.
Remember the hue and cry and furore created over Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code“. People who never saw the book from miles away, let alone aware of its contents, were at the forefront of vociferously condemning it. The book was perceived as a threat to the very survival of the Catholic Church. The Church’s pretence that it is a divine created holy religion is hollow as its history testifies. It’s posture is that of an unsullied maiden; even glancing at her would violate her modesty and chastity!
In the twenty first century, the rulers of the Catholic Church have suffered an earthquake of crumbling credibility. Nearly a decade ago, the sexual abuse of the young children by Catholic priests in U.S came out in the open. The Church argued that the problem was limited to time and place since most of the abuse cases had occurred in a specific place in United States thirty or forty years ago. But fresh horrors came to light in Wisconsin, Arizona and many other places in the US. Ten years later, all across the globe the problem has shown a stubborn refusal to subside.
Pedophile scandal has devastated the Church in the Ireland. Investigations by civil authorities in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Italy, United Kingdom etc. have brought to light the horrors of child abuse by pedophile clergy. But the Church tried its best to keep every thing under the wraps; the policy of “keeping things in the family” and projecting the errand clerics as harmed and aggrieved parties, not the children they preyed on. The hierarchy resorted to denial, evasion, defensiveness, unfounded accusations and protestations of innocence. Each and every Tom, Dick and Harry of the clerics have the tendency to run for cover in jungle of “Pius IX’s aberration, the infallibility.”
Pope Benedict himself was implicated in the scandals in Germany, which occurred when he was the Archbishop of Munich and the manner in which he dealt with pedophile reports at the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. This had led to calls for his arrest and criminal indictment, things unimaginable till the recent past. Eventually Benedict resigned, could be for various reasons, one of which was reported to be prevalence of rampant homo-sexuality in labyrinths of Vatican; his resignation was a rare event in the history of the Catholic Church.
Leading members of the hierarchy of Church in countries after countries dismissed the US reports of priestly abuse as the doings of hyperthyroid American press driven by anti-Catholic animus and pro-Jewish conspiracy to grab the wealth of the Church. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, at the time second-in-command to Cardinal Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and later second-in-command of Ratzinger as Pope, set the tone in an interview with an Italian magazine: “There is a well founded suspicion that some of these charges (of abuse) that arise well after the fact, serve only for making money in civil litigation”.
The Church casually and callously dealt with the agony of the deepest wounds inflicted on innocent and trusting children by the clerics. Only a “holier than thou pretending” organisation can stoop to such nadir of moral decadence.
The Church of Rome has all along been in a defensive crouch mode and vehemently oppose any thing that seems to diminish its power; it claims as the sole authority to define realty. It defies historical facts and frown upon free enquiries. (Those who are interested to know more about the obfuscation and obscurantism of the Catholic Church on a historical perspective, may read the article “Forgive Not“ by Garry Wills, author of “Papal Sin” which appeared in ‘The New Republic’ magazine of 27 May 2010.)
Australian Royal Commission
On 15 December 2017, the Royal Commission of Australia, after an investigation spread over five years (2012- 2017 ), published a 21 volume report about child abuse cases occurred in Australia. More than 4000 individual Australians reported to the Commission about places where abuses had occurred and 15,000 survivors of horrible institutional abuse or their relatives have contacted the Commission. The Royal Commission had 8000 private sessions with the affected persons and held 444 days of public hearings; examined more than 1,200 witnesses, perused more than 1.2 million documents and generated more than 45,400 pages of transcripts. The amount budgeted for the enquiry was a whopping $372 million.
Tens of thousands of children are reported to have been sexually abused. A significant proportion of the people who contacted the Royal Commission made allegations of sexual abuse occurring in Catholic institutions. As of June 2017, of all people who attended private sessions with a commissioner, 37% reported abuses taking place in institutions managed by the Catholic Church representing 61.8% of survivors.
Explosive allegations made by Peter Fox, a detective chief inspector within New South Wales, gave impetus to the setting up of the Royal Commission by the then Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard in 2012. Fox observes: “Often the church knows, but do nothing other than protect the pedophile and its own reputation. The church covers up, silences the victims, hinder police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and move priests to protect the good names of the church”, Fox says. “The child abuse have been heart-breaking. These are insidious, evil acts, which no child should be subject“ observed Julia Gillard.
The Royal Commission have made far reaching recommendations including lifting of the mandatory celibacy prescription for Catholic priests and removing the secrecy of the confessional. The Australian Church, typically, has rejected the Commission’s recommendations. Omertà rules the Church as always.
We hear talks and unsavoury comments alluding murky goings on in seminaries, inside the nunneries and houses of various religious orders. But they will not come into the open in the “Zero” Malabar Church till the dooms day. The dumb believers have been brainwashed to this abject condition by the Church and the elders egged on by the clerical class.The believers’ mind set is: swallow anything and everything, without even a pinch of salt.
Have the wool in the eye Catholics in Kerala ever heard of one Fr. Maciel of Mexico (died in 2008 aged 70) , founder of Regnum Christi (The Legion of Christ ) with 140,000 members spread over 15 universities. He was a close friend of the late Pope John Paul II; his envoys would deliver envelops containing thousands of dollars frequently to the pope. Maciel also used to contribute US $50000 per visit to Rome for Solidarity. Wealthy women friends of his, dozen at least, had contributed enormous amounts to his Legion. He had a common-law wife, Blance Estala Lara Guierrez (Cuernavaca) with whom he fathered two children.
This sexual pervert had also a daughter with a 19 year old waitress and several children with other partners. He made two of his children with Lara to masturbate him and he even attempted to rape one of them; kept 900 women as quesi-nuns under severe emotional privation and divested of their wealth. He masqueraded as a covert CIA agent. This rabid bigamist, pederast, dope fiend and plagiarist, had four bishops in his family.Vatican ignored heart-wrenching letters sent by eight accusers; a cynical John Paul II went ahead with beatification of Maciel’s mother and his uncle, a bishop at Guizar.
In Mexico, priests keep concubines; homosexuality is rampant. For many Catholics, baptism, confirmation and weekly masses are bureaucratic procedures. (Does it not ring a bell in Syro Malabar Catholics?) Many priests and nuns have sexual partners, homosexual as well as heterosexual. (Reference New York Review of Books dated 24 June 2010 noted at Santa Clara County Library, California, USA).
The incidents and examples narrated above are only tips of icebergs of malice in the Church. They came into the notice of this writer by chance while going through various periodicals, magazines and newspapers in public libraries abroad. As stated ante, nothing may be treated as scared or taboo in an open society. Every aspect that impacts human lives and the world at large are ought to be discussed, analysed, evaluated and some times criticised. No organisation should be free of public oversight; none could run for cover in the name of pretended self proclaimed “holiness”.
There is a tendency among the misguided believers that anyone who raises a little finger against the “establishment” is a bad person, a persona non-grata. Humans by and large are rational by nature, the exception being those with brains atrophied. A society composed of such persons are bound to be traditionalist, conservative, staid, rigid and non-progressive.