Letter to the Editor – Pope Francis and Eugenio Scalfari


Varghese Pamplanil



My dear friend Dr. James Kottoor, the typical journalist hound, is again on the prowl. Despite being an apparent Catholic, he seems to have attempted to cut free of the umbilical cord of his beliefs:  Jesus, the Bible, the Church and the Pope. One must appreciate his ceaseless search to unravel the riddles that confront him.


My attempt is to highlight only a few relevant aspects of Dr. Kottoor’s article.


The chemistry between  Pope Francis and Eugenio Scalfari seems to have ruffled the feathers of some angry birds in Vatican. Some of them appear to be afraid to face realities of the world of today.


Scalfari repudiates heaven, hell, purgatory and sin: for him Jesus is neither God nor the Son of God; just a HUMAN BEING.


“In Italy, Eugenio Scalfari is the symbol of secularism and of anti-clericalism” opines Riccardo Cascioli,  the editor and director of the Catholic opinion paper, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. A journalist of the newspaper resorts to the deployment of the often resorted Catholic tactics when cornered : canards and mudslinging,belittling, discrediting to tarnish the reputation of Scalfari.


 Scalfari had observed (2008):  “With regard to the law on abortion. lay people believe that it protects conscious motherhood and freedom of choice for women…..it’s a pure propaganda tool to equate abortion allowed only at certain times and circumstances withdeath penalty”.


I have picked up only a very few gems from Dr. Kottoor’s presentation. Thank you James for your integrity, as a journalist and above all as a rational human being, to call a spade a SPADE , despite your personal inclinations.


It is quite possible that the  above article would upset the equanimity of certain avowed and diehard Catholic believers; may even disturb their somnambulisms. The mere reading of the article by James may have made a few of them hoping mad; they may find it difficult to restrain their innate urge to go for a "bare all auricular confession”  to their parish priest for the atonement of the grave sin of reading the sacrilegious views of Scalfari. They may pray,  on bent knees,  to their god/goddesses to pardon the wayward thinking Pope Francis. They may even undertake fasting and visit holy places on  pilgrimages on bare foot to placate their deities . But horror  of horrors,the arch Satan Covid—19, stands in the way. What a sad plight?


To the obvious discomfort of some believers, let me share certain facts I have gathered:


Our minds manufacture the beliefs in god(s) i.e. human mind is the birthplace of god(s); traits are passed from one generation to the next by DNA copying mechanism. This aspect was identified by James Watson & Francis Crick in 1953. Mind is what brain does.


The word “religion” was probably derived from the Latin word “religare” which means “bind or tie”. Religion is the by-product of adaptations that occurred for other reasons.


Religions are sets of beliefs concerning the cause, the nature and purpose of the universe. Religion begins with the absorption of the teachings of one or more holy figures or teachers. Most of such teachings revolve round a deity or deities, capable of interacting and willing to intervene in people’s lives; willing and able to hear their pleas and to grant them; in short these gods/goddesses  will literally grant  any thing and every thing that the believers seek.


The sky god (“Father in Heaven”) of Abrahamic religion is PATERNAL and like a good father, loves humans unconditionally. He hears the prayers of his faithfuls, if  they worship him hard enough; makes sacrifices of some sort; ACKNOWLEDGES that all humans are born bad. This god makes decisions based on the prayers  of individual believer, as well as the prayers of others of the same kind. Even when this god refuses to heed the prayers of the believer, he or she should  continue to think that everything that happens is in the best interest of the supplicant. A large number of people believe that an omniscient sky parent, if beseeched often and with great intensity, will protect them and their loved ones. This is the promise of a typical religion.


Many are prepared to kill or be killed for their god(s)/beliefs.


Another unique attribute of religion is the ascribing of human like qualities and characteristics to god(s). All normal attributes are given to such god(s).


The Judeo-Christian god is physically everywhere; he knows whether one has been naughty or nice; he can  even read the minds of his believers. EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT HIM IS SIMPLY HUMAN. This god can be surly, impatient and even vengeful. But in most other ways he is a regular guy.


Some countries which are established on the basis of certain religion(s) – Theocratic States — are now armed with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons; they won’t hesitate to deploy them against people who worship other gods and hold other religious beliefs.


There is no doubt that these developments may mark the terminal phase of our credulity.


Many gods of the past have disappeared from the human consciousness namely:

  • Sumerian/Mesopotamian gods/goddesses: Enil, Enki, Ninhursag, Utu,Nanna.
  • Egyptian gods/goddesses: Isis, Osiris, Horus, Amun, Ra, Hathor, Bastet, Thoth, Anubis.
  • Persian gods/goddesses: Mithras, Hvar Ksata, Ardvi Sura Anhita, Rashnu, Verethragna, Tiri and Tishtrya, Atar Haoma 
  • Greece: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares,Aphrodite, Hermes,Hephaestus,Dionysus etc.  
  • Roman gods/goddesses: Jupiter, Juno,Minerva, Neptune, Venus (Aphrodite) , Mars(Ares), Diana.


Gods of the types of  “Yahweh ”Three-in-One One-in-Three God” “Christ”, “Allah” and such others may disappear as has happened to “Bal” “Apollo” “Zeus” and others. Or they will unmake and obliterate our world.


According to Richard Dawkins, author of “God Delusion” some beliefs defy common sense and logic.  For example:

  • In the time of ancestors, a man was born to a Virgin mother with no biological father being involved.  
  • The same fatherless man called out his friend Lazarus who had been dead long enough to stink and Lazarus came out of his burial vault alive. 
  • The same fatherless man came out alive after being buried for three days. 
  • Forty days later this fatherless man went up to the top of a hill and disappeared bodily into the sky. 
  • If one murmurs thoughts privately in one’s head, the fatherless man and his ‘Father God (who is also himself) will hear one’s thoughts and may act upon them. 
  • Simultaneously he is able to hear the thoughts of everyone else in the world.
  • If one does something bad or good, the fatherless man sees all, even if nobody else does; one may be rewarded or punished accordingly,  even after one’s death.
  • The fatherless man’s mother never died but ascended bodily into heaven;
  • Bread and wine, if blessed by a priest (who must have testicles), become the body and blood of the fatherless man;


Belief in Christ the God is a supreme virtue; the more one’s belief defies evidence, the more virtuous the believer would be; the believer who can manage to believe something weird, unsupported and unsupportable in the teeth of evidence and reason will be rewarded highly.




I am extremely sorry and contrite if I have disturbed anyone’s sensitivities and sensibilities.


Varghese Pamplanil


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