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Pope sentences child molesters to a “lifetime of prayer”

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  

I am scared. Because, in India, talking about such things is fraught with danger. So, if you are a professional victim who thinks that the sanctity of your superstition supersedes the rights of child abuse victims, kindly ignore this article.

In an absolutely shocking move, Pope Francis has decided to grant “mercy” to certified child molesters. You would think that a story like this would take our breath away and lead to a collective gasp of condemnation


We are talking about pedophiles here, people! And here is the head of the world’s largest religion making an open gesture of “mercy” to child molesters. How horrible is this?

Can you imagine the message sent out by something like this? If more people were to know about this, can you imagine how unsafe the millions of Catholics in India would feel? If more people were to know about this, can you imagine the effect on the minds of millions of Indian parents who send their kids to Catholic institutions of learning?

You would think this story would get some traction in the Indian media. But I am willing to wager that you haven’t even heard about this story.

The reasons are not hard to imagine. Because this is about a so called “minority religion”. In India, the system of public morality enforced by liberals is not blind to who you are: it checks the caste, religion and gender of each person before judging him/her. And if injustices to victims of child abuse have to be swept under the carpet to defer to so called minority sentiments, so be it.

I’m going to be even more of a heretic in the rest of this article, this time challenging the beliefs of the Hindu right.

This story about the Vatican getting merciful towards child molesters and the lack of outrage surrounding it also undercuts the belief of the Hindu right that Muslims are always treated with kid gloves by mainstream discourse. Sometimes, Muslims do get the short end of the stick and this story is a great example of how. If this had been some kind of Muslim Mufti or Maulvi instead of the Pope, it seems to me that the reaction from the media would have been much sharper. The stereotype of the bearded Mullah out to destroy civilization would have played in the minds of the people. Anti-Islamic politicians everywhere from India to Europe to the United States would have harped on the theory of a “war of civilizations”. But this is genteel Pope Francis and the Catholic Church and so we are simply not going to see that kind of rhetoric.

In India, if you go by the numbers, it is actually the  Commies rather than the radical Jihadis who are the greatest internal security threat of all. Communist armies have occupied large portions of several Indian states : Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh being the prime victims, but also parts of Bihar and even Maharashtra. In Kerala, the Communist party hunts down its opponents at will. In Bengal, the Communist party rounded up its opponents on an island and massacred them all (read here the story of the Marichjhapi massacre). Add to that the Communist stranglehold on several elite colleges, art and film institutes and large sections of media. The radical Islamist in India simply doesn’t have that kind of bandwidth and is more of a little brother who needs hand-holding from Communists to get into campuses and on TV. Communists openly operate two national parties, while ISIS clones are still in their infancy, tactically disavowed even by their sympathizers for the sake of keeping up appearances. The Communist in India needs no such disguises or pretenses. He operates openly under his original banner with the dreaded hammer and sickle.

So, there’s my heresy.

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  
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