I guess it is not easy being Roman Catholic nowadays. The sect is getting a lot of bad press. As you might be aware, the Catholic Church is headed by a man called the Pope. He tends to be an elderly white man from one of the countries where the roots of the faith are deeply embedded. The new Pope in charge ascended to the throne a little more than two years ago. This followed the demise of another pontiff who had been on the throne for a good number of years. He expired mainly on account of old age. I have never seen a man happier on the brink of death. It was evident he was looking forward to going to heaven, his life?s work done. At his funeral, everyone was there. It was a state funeral in all respects because the Catholics have their own country called the Vatican. Even Old Man went to give the departed pope a send off.
I must say Old Man looked very grave. He was probably wondering why it was not him getting a state funeral. Surely, there is no way in which future inmates of the International Court can get a state funeral. Anyway, a new Pope was soon elected. He was old, but younger than the deceased. I must say the new Pope took to his duties with gusto. He also came across as some intellectual. It was during one of his intellectual discourses that he said something about Islam. And boy did trouble erupt. He was accused of being disrespectful and the poor pontiff had to beat a hasty retreat by issuing an apology. After the Pope apologised, I realised that freedom of expression is not a universal value.
With some religions you can basically say anything you like. But with others, you first need to check if what you intend to say will be acceptable. It must be a tough life for all concerned. I don?t practise religion and, therefore, tend to watch as the various adherents go about their business. I felt sorry for the Pope because it would mean from now onwards he will have to seek permission if he wants to speak about other religions. I am not sure other religions seek permission from the Roman Catholics when their adherents want to speak about it. In light of what has just happened, I am sure they will do. In fact, I foresee a situation whereby the various religions will have to appoint ambassadors at each others headquarters to screen the acceptability of any utterances their leaders may wish to make. As if the pontiff was not in enough trouble, more came.
A chap called Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo decided it was time to have a bit of fun. Milingo is a man who loves his fun. Some years ago he was involved in miracle healing and exorcism sessions at his base in Lusaka. Now, Catholic doctrine does not allow that. Milingo?s sessions were very popular. He soon drew lots of grassroots support. The Vatican was worried. Chaps like Milingo could not be trusted. What if he declared himself Pope of Africa? So he was summoned to the Vatican and given pastoral duties. But before long, Milingo was up to his antics again. He resumed his miracle healing sessions. As the pope was wondering what to do with him, Milingo quit the church. And it would appear Milingo quit because he had had enough of life without sex. You see, when you become a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, you take a vow of celibacy.
That means you agree not to have sex anymore. Milingo couldn?t hack it. A lot of chaps can?t go for three days without sex. How then can people be expected to go without it for an entire life time? Dying for sex, Milingo fled to a church run by some chap from Korea. There, they got him a wife. Korean women look like dolls. His new friends got Milingo the most beautiful doll. And after long years of sexual famine, he finally enjoyed a life of bliss with his doll. After some time Milingo realised he missed the Catholic Church.
He repented and, like the prodigal son, was soon back in the fold. They made a mistake by allowing him back. Lately, he has been reported as having tried to install four married men as bishops. That is not allowed by the church either. And Milingo?s idea of fun is going against church doctrine. Enough was enough. Having had enough of Milingo, the Pope finally fired him from the church. Now, in the wilderness he is most probably back with the Korean wife. I hope Milingo starts his own church. And if I am ever seized by the spirit and want to be a priest that will be the church I join. I won?t join a religion that does not want other people to express their views. Nor will I join a sect that wants me to be celibate. Milingo is my man.
This article is a repeat, first published on September 30, 2006.