Kevin D. Annett
The Ten Thousand and more of us wound slowly through downtown London, past the stony Imperial edifices that seemed to frown on our banners and placards calling for the arrest of the Pope.
Amidst the cheering, singing, drumming throng, I and three strangers held aloft the banner that has flown proudly outside churches and the Vatican, as hundreds of Londoners smiled from the sidewalks and waved their support. It was a moment, to quote Nelson Mandela, when hope and history became one.
Nobody had ever challenged the oldest criminals on the planet like that, so clearly and proudly. Our numbers might have been as many as 20,000 on September 18, for we were more than a mile long, and fifteen abreast.
Most of it was unorganized. Young and old showed up in unexpected numbers, from everywhere, revolted at the child rapists and murderers in “holy” garb. Something about our own violated innocence bellowed that day, unafraid, and echoed all over the City, and beyond.
At one point, our march came close to Charing Cross, where my ancestor Peter Annett had been locked in the public stocks and pelted with garbage in 1769 after he had been charged with “blasphemous libel” for publicly challenging the Bible and the church’s authority. My tearful pride in him caused me to turn to the stranger next to me and tell her about Peter.
“It never changes, does it?” she replied in a thick Cockney accent. “Those bloody Christians and their bloody hypocrisy.”
Then she added,
“How brave he was.”
Her words jolted me deeply, and clarity came after that with each footstep, as we moved towards 10 Downing street to hear speeches.
This is not about human rights, or the latest victims of the Lie, something spoke to me. This is about ending that Lie, once and for all.
Jesus the Christ, and the Cowichan Indians of Vancouver Island, taught simply that whoever violates a child should be killed, immediately. But most of the Cowichans were wiped out by the Christians, and Jesus’ prescription of tying a ten ton millstone around the neck of the violator and casting him into the sea is one of those, you know, inconvenient scriptural passages relegated to about where the command to “Give all that you have to the poor” finds itself within church doctrine.
Jesus once called children the ones who were closest to the kingdom of heaven. So when a Christian Pope, and his church, protects child rapists and is publicly honoured and funded for doing so by a government and its leashed public media, the Lie is not simply exposed, but parades itself around naked, like some arrogant pervert displaying himself atop Nelson’s column for the world to see.
I don’t know how many of the speakers that day grasped this simple truth. The usual moral outrage was heard, the naïve alarm at taxpayers’ money being wasted on a criminal. Some very eloquent atheists reminded us that, well, this is what comes from believing in an unseen deity. But no-one used the word Lie.
I remember once in an aboriginal healing circle hearing an old man say,
“The first time I was touched by a priest, my innocence died. After that my whole life became a lie.”
His words have plagued me ever since, maybe because they reminded me of what I, like you, want to forget: how terribly vulnerable we are – and how the precious sanctity within us can be punctured and destroyed in a moment. We don’t heal from that first violence. We don’t recover our original innocence. We learn to cope. We learn to rely on mere words, and protests.
But I have seen dead men and women stand up and walk, and I did that day we marched in London for the children, and for an end to the Lie that hides convincingly behind papal pretense, incense and prayers. The miracle of being human is that we do carry on, despite what has been done to us, and we find answers not in a doctrine but in one another.
I served a Public Summons on Joseph Ratzinger, “the pope”, the day after our march. It calls on him to appear before a Tribunal we’re holding in London next April 4, and explain to us why he shouldn’t be behind bars. But think for a moment of who and what else will stand in the dock with him that day, and you will begin to grasp the epic enormity of what we are doing.
Our third and final exorcism of the Thing that inhabits the church takes place this October 11, one year to the day that I held presence outside the Vatican, and called on the Thing to reveal itself, and depart. The ground has been tilled, and the soil made new to receive the first seeds of our recovered humanity. But who will plant them, and care for what is emerging so beautifully among us? When will we truly leave the dead to bury their dead, and choose a new world?
Kevin Annett can be found at www.hiddenfromhistory.org