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The Irrelevance of Organised Religions in the Modern World: Varghese Pamplanil

December 2, 2020

William Kilpatrick, in Life Style, has quoted, the apparently, “monstrous” words of a seemingly “fanatic” Cardinal Robert Sarah.

“Islamism is a monstrous fanaticism, which must be fought with force and determination” the Cardinal has said.

Cardinal Robert Sarah
Born 15 June 1945, at Qurous, French Guinea, Cardinal since 23 November 2014. He grew up and studied for priesthood in countries with Islamic majorities. Initially he appreciated Islam, but later became a harsh critic of that religion.

The Cardinal is a diehard conservative, a staunch defender of traditional Catholic teachings. He vehemently denounces Islamic radicalism and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). In his view, the “two radicalisations” that threaten family; (1)divorce, same sex marriage, and abortion, and(2) child marriage, polygamy and subjugation of women

The Cardinal seems to be at odds with the real world of today. Most of his ideas seemed to be moored in the past; discarded by men and women of today’s world; they don’t care about the pontifications of conservative and orthodox views of the Church

The Original Sin of Terrors?

The crusades.

Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, and supported, and some times directed by the Church of Rome, in the medieval period. The term refers mainly to Eastern Mediterranean military campaigns between 1096 and 1271with the objective of recovering the Holy Land from Islamic rule as well as taking control of the territories occupied by Muslims in the Middle East. With the collapse of the Crusades, the attention of the Church came to be directed at combating ideas that it considered heretic. The real motives ranged from settling scores, plundering and stealing the wealth of the hunted, in addition to, gaining political and territorial advantages.

In 1095, Pope Urban II proclaimed the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont. Initial successes establishedfour Crusader states in the Near East; the Country of Edessa; the Principality of Antioch; the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Country of Tripoli. The crusades were extremely violent In nature with much blood being spilled; thousands slaughter- ered or maimed. The suzerainty that the crusades could establish in the region lasted only till the fal lof the City of Acre in 1291. The loss of the remaining territories in the Levant, was rapid.

Another crusade proclaimed in 1133aimed at the prosecution of Jews and Muslims, who were forced to be converted to Catholicism — “Reconquista”— in the Iberian peninsula.

The horrible atrocities of the Crusades, particularly during the Children’s Crusade, are beyond imagination. The killing sprees in the Islam controlled regions particularly in Jerusalem are beyond description; ankle deep blood flowed in the streets of the city?

The Albigensian Crusades

By the beginning of the 12th century, the Crusaders lost control over Jerusalem and the Holy Land. This set back led to the change of the direction of the Crusades inward with the papa cydeclaring wars against its own folk, perceived as enemies of the faith in Europe.

In the heart of Europe, a very serious threat was encountered by the Church —heresies —viewed by the medieval world, not as benign religious diversity, but dire threats to the salvation of souls. Heresy was perceived to be more dangerous than the far away Islam because it harmed the body of “Christ within”.

One of the most vibrant heresy in the Europe was Catharism, also known as Albigensian or Albi heresy. Catharism viewed the universe as a battleground between good spirit and evil matter. Human beings were believed to be “spirits trapped in physical bodies”.

The leader of the movement — the “perfect”—lived in great austerity; remaining chaste and avoiding all food that came from sexual union.

Rome had attempted for years to root out Catharism from Southern France, where it had been very popular, more particularly among the nobility. All efforts to eradicate it had failed. The baron, Raymond VI of Toulouse, the votary of Catharism, was ex-communicated for alleged abetting of heretics; he was also implicated in a trumped up charge of murdering a papal legate.

In March 1208, Pope Innocent III called a crusade against Raymond and the people of Languedoc.

In 1215, the Crusaders captured Beziers in heart of Cathar territory. Following the instructions of a papal legate, Arnaud Amalric,who allegedly shouted “Kill them all, God will know his own”, when asked how to distinguish the heretics from true Christians. The entire population of Beziers was slaughtered; infants and young; girls and boys, the frail and the sick and the elderly too, Catholics including. The fellow delegate with Amalric —Milo —in a letter to the pope, claimed that the Crusaders “put to sword 20,000 people” This crusade lasted for 20 years with much blood shed and destruction all around.

The Inquisitions.

The Inquisition was the powerful office set up by the Church to punish those who did not follow its diktats to the letter. The wanton killings of those suspect in the eyes of the draconian Church, continued throughout Europe and the Americas and lasted for hundreds of years..

Beginning in the 12thcentury, the Inquisition became notorious for the severity of tortures it devised. The prosecution was directed mainly against Jews and Muslims and the newly converted Catholics.

The Inquisitors would arrive in a town and announce their presence giving citizens chance to admit heresy. Those who confessed were forced to undergo penance, made to offer money to the Church; whipped or compelled to undertake pilgrimages.

Those accused of heresy were forced to testify. If the suspected heretic did not confess, cruel torture such as water boarding, quartering of limbs, stretching of the body at the rake and many other inhuman methods were applied till the suspects admitted their heretical views. Suspects were not allowed to face the accusers; received no counsel and often were victims of false accusations.

There were countless instances of abuses of power. In 1307,Inquisitors were involved in the mass arrests and tortures of 15,000 Knight Templars in France, resulting in hundreds of executions.

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431, an example of the cruel inquisition.

Inquisition bared it’s ferocious pangs throughout Europe and South America.

The Spanish Inquisition.

In the late 15thcentury, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain believed that the corruption in the Spanish Catholic Church was caused by Jews who had opted for conversion to Christianity to survive centuries of anti-Semitism.

Known as Converos, they were viewed with suspicion by the old powerful Christian families. Converos were blamed for many things such as plagues; they were also accused of poisoning peoples’ water and abduction of Christian boys.

Ferdinand and Isabella feared that even trusted Converos in the Court were secretly practicing their old religion. The royal couple feared loosing support of Christians for the upcoming crusade against Muslims in Granada, if harsher steps were not taken against the Converos.Ferdinand also felt that the best way to fund the crusades was to seize the wealth of the Converos.


In 1478, under the influence of clergyman Tomas de Torquemada, the monarchs created the “Tribunal of Castile” to investigate heresy among Conversos and by 1480 the Inquisition was formed. That same year, Jews in Castile were forced into ghettos separated from Christians. The Inquisition expanded to Seville resulting in mass exodus of Conversos.

In 1481, 20,000 Conversos confessed to heresy hoping to avoid execution. The Inquisitors decreed that their penitence required them to name other heretics. By the year’s end, hundreds of Conversos were BURNED AT THE STAKE.

Inquisition of Christian Converts from Spanish Muslims, the Moriscos.

Moriscos — in Spanish “Little Moor” — the nomenclature for Muslims who became baptised Christians and their descendants.

During the Christian reconquest of Muslim Spain, the surrendered Muslim (Mudejar) communities in Argon (1118), Valencia (1238) and Granada (1498) were guaranteed freedom of religion by treaties. This tolerant policy was abandoned in the late 15th century; Christian authorities began the destruction of Islamic theological books and demolition of mosques. The Muslims of Granada who rebelled In 1502, was offered the choice of exile or getting themselves baptised. Many of them became converts, but continued to practice Islam secretly. In 1526, Muslims of Valencia and Aragon were also forced to convert to Catholicism. Islam was officially prohibited in Spain; the Muslims rebelled

In 1506, King Philip issued an edict forbidding the Granada Moriscos their language, customs, and costumes. They revolted in 1569; after two years of war, they were removed from Granada and scattered throughout northern Spain. The deportation of Muslims by a royal order began from22 September 1609 .

The expulsion involved 300,000 Moriscos. Over a period of 3 days, Moriscos families and communities in Spain frantically attempted to gather their possessions and sell them to their Christian neighbours before being escorted to designated ports to their destination, Barbary. Many had to wait for days and weeks before their transportation. Thousand were robbed and even murdered by their escorts or Christian bandits before they could reach the Spanish coast. Hundreds and perhaps thousands, Moriscos were attacked by pirates on the high seas or were killed by their own crews.

In 1482 Pope appointed a Council to take command of the Inquisition. Torquemada was named Inquisitor General; he established Inquisition courts all across Spain.

Torture became systemised and routinely used to elicit confessions. Sentencing of confessed heretics was done as a public event called Auto-da-Fe. All heretics wore sack cloths with single eye holes over their heads. Those who refused to confess were burned at stakes.

Various methods of torture were employed during the Inquisition trials. A popular torture method was the rack which would stretch victims limbs; others included suspending a person from the ceiling by the wrists. The accused could also be forced to ingest water with a cloth in the mouth; they felt they were drowning.

Sometimes people fought back against Inquisitions. In 1485, an Inquisitor died after being poisoned; another was stabbed to death in a church. Torquemada managed to round up the assassins; burning at least 42 people at the stake .

The number of people put to death was estimated at, as high as300,000; the number of people burned at the stake was around 125,000

Portuguese Inquisition.

The Portuguese Inquisition, known as “General Council of the Holy Office of the Inquisition”, headed by Grand Inquisitor, was formally established in 1536. The major targets of the Portuguese Inquisition were those who had converted from Judaism to Catholicism — the Conversos or Marranos — also known as New Christians —suspected of secretly practicing Judaism or Islam. Many of the erstwhile Jews had left Spain for Portugal. The number of victims was estimated at 40,000. The Inquisitor courts resorted to censure of books. Charges included cases of divination, witchcraft and bigamy. In short it had influence on almost every aspect of Portuguese life — political, cultural and social.

The Portuguese inquisition spread from Portugal to its colonies — Brazil, Cape Verde and Goa in India, involving investigations of supposed breaches of orthodox Roman Catholicism until 1821.

The Goan Inquisition turned its attention to the Indian converts from Hinduism or Islam denouncing them as Crypto-Hindus. It also prosecuted Hindus and Muslims who resisted forceful conversions to Catholicism. Thousands were forced out of Goa. Hindu temples were looted and razed to the ground, their wealth and prosperities as well that of the Hindu population were seized.


(The Roma-phobic Syro-Malabar Cardinal and the bishopsmay take note of this historical bastardy)

A section of Nasranis rebelled against the Portuguese imposed Roman Catholicism and parted from it; continued affiliation to their erstwhile Eastern Church traditions in the famous “bent cross oath” which declared in equivocally that they would have nothing to with the “Parankies”

Inquisitions in the New World.

The institution developed by the Roman Church to combat heresy in the Old World operated in several forms in the New World. Beginning with the delegation of authority to a series of bishops and missionaries, the Holy Office of the Inquisition expanded its presence with periodic visitations, networks of operatives and autonomous tribunals to stamp out heterodoxy of religious practices in the colonies. The Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions operated in tandem. Those who confessed to minor heresy were flogged and publicly humiliated. Those convicted of major heresies had their assets confiscated and exiled.

The Roman Inquisition

The Roman Inquisition — the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition — was established in the second half of the 16thcentury to try those charged with following alternative religious doctrines or beliefs; lumped together as heresy, sorcery, blasphemy, witchcraft, Protestantism and judazing.

The tribunals of the Roman Inquisition covered most of the Italian peninsula, Malta, the isolated pockets of papal jurisdiction in Europe and Avignon in France.

The Roman Inquisition began as part of Catholic Church’s Counter Reformation measures against the spread of Protestantism.

In 1616 the Roman Inquisition’s consultants judged the proposition that the Earth revolves around the Sun to be ”foolish and absurd of philosophy” and “formally heretical” and “at least erroneous in faith”

Galileo revised the Copernican theories; he was admonish- ed for his views on heliocentrism in 1615 and tried by the inquisition in 1633; found “vehemently of heresy” ;forced to recant and his book “Dialogue Concerning the Chief World Systems” was placed on the “Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Index of Forbidden Books). He spent the rest of his life under house arrest in his villa in Arcetri near Florence.

Others put to inquisition were: Franciscus Patricius, Tommaso Campanella, Gerolamo Cardano and Cesare Cremonini.

The miller Domencio Scandella was inquisitioned and burned at the stake for his belief that “God was created out of chaos”.

The Frier Fulgenezio Manfredi who had preached against the Pope was was tried by the Inquisition and executed in 1610.

The most cruel deed was the burning ,at the stake, of Giordano Bruno, Italian philosopher, mathematical genius, as well as a Dominican monk, at the age of 52. He was expelled from his Order for heresy, for his non-belief in Trinity, Virginity of Mary etc; his firm belief in the Copernican hypnosis that the universe is infinite; there is no “Absolute Truth”. Brought to trial by the Inquisition in Rome, he refused to recant; was burned alive at the stake, most inhumanly and horribly under the aegis of Pope Clement VII in 1600In Rome’s Campo de Fiori . His ideas later influenced Leibnitz and Spinoza, making him an important philosopher and a beacon of scientific thoughts. Bruno is now the beacon of science; Pope Clement who ordered Bruno’s execution is derided as an arch villain, with the “ mark of Cain” with the blood of Bruno on his forehead

The Inquisition of witches.

Historian Henry Charles Lea describes the torture methods employed to force confessions from the convicted. Elliot P. Currie saw the Inquisitions as one singular ongoing phenomenon, which drove the witch-hunt to its peak. Currie argued that the methods pioneered by the Inquisition guided continental Europe to a series of prosecutions motivated by PROFIT. The number of elderly women branded as witches and executed were between 100,000 to 9,000,0000.

The Italian historian, Andrea Del Col estimates that around 1250 elderly women .charged with witchcraft were put to death in Italy after 1542.

The last notable action of the Roman Inquisition happened in 1858, in the papal state of Bologna; a Jewish boy Edgaro Mortara who was was surreptitiously baptised by a Catholic maid was snatched from his Jewish parents by the Inquisition and brought up by Pope Pious IX as a Catholic despite international opposition.

The prosecution of Templars

Knight Templars— or dimly Templars —was a Catholic military order founded in1119 and headquartered on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Order was active until it was perpetually suppressed by Pope Clement by the bull “Vox in excelso” in 1312

The Templars had become the favoured charity throughout Christendom, and grew rapidly in membership and power. They were prominent in Christian finance too; were the world’s first Multinational Corporation. By the mix of donations and business dealings, the Order accumulated immense wealth; established financial net works across the the whole of Christendom, owned vast tracts of land, both in Europe and the Middle East. Templar Houses were dotted throughout Europe and Near East. They were not subject to local government control.

The Templars were one of the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. Their fate was closely tied with Crusades. When the Holy Land was lost, support for the Order faded. Rumours about the Templar’s secret initiation ceremony created mistrust.

In 1305, the Pope Clement V, of French origin, and a puppet of the French King Philip IV, who was instrumental in making Clement the Pope and under “Avignon captivity”, asked the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and the Hospitallar Grand Master Faulk de Villaret to merge the two Orders into one. But neither was amenable.

King Philip, according to some historians, was in deep debt to the Templars due to his war with England. He began to put pressure on the pope to suppress the Order as a way to free himself from his debts. But the pope tarried..

At dawn on Friday, 13 October 1307, (later became the “13 Friday”, superstition) ordered de Molay and scores of other French Templars to be simultaneously arrested. The arrest warrant stated “God is not pleased. We have enemies of the faith in the Kingdom”. Baseless charges such as secret admission ceremonies; compelling new recruits to spit on the Cross, denial of Christ, and engaging in indecent kissing. The brethren were also accused of worshipping the idol of Baphomet and indulging in homosexual activities. The Templars were also charged with various other offences such as financial corruption, fraud and secret dealings. Underthe worst sort of cruel torture, they confessed of all the charges; later denied vehemently.

Relenting to Philip’s pressure, Clement issued the papal bull Pastoralis praeeminentise on 23 November 1307 instructing all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest imprison all Templars. Fear of Philip’s severe retaliation was the cause of Clement disbanding of the Templar Order.

State within a Sovereign State?

World over organised religions function as “state within a state” flouting the Will of the People, with eaborate bureaucratic apparatus and appurtenances, judicial courts, fees, stamp paper, compulsory collections, unnecessary interference in the political domain and behaving like two maters in one house pulling at different directions. This paradigm seems to be quite illogical, unnecessary, un- wanted, superfluous and unjustified.

A few posers to Cardinal Sarah?

Will you Cardinal wear the sack clothes and self flagellate yourself to a tone the burning alive, at the stake, of Girolamo Savonarola (1452-98). What was his crime Cardinal? Opposing the wayward ways of the clergy and the misdeeds of the powerful Medici family of Florence?

Jan Hus (1370-1415), Bohemian religious reformer, Czech national hero, who dared to translate the Vulgate Bible into the Czech language. He had the audacity to point out the rampant corruption and worldliness of the Church and the gross papal abuses. Was it not the worst form of terrorist activity to snare him to the Council of Constance, and offerings him protection to his person. The Church cheated him by imprisoning him, burning him at the stake after a mock trial. Even his charred bones were reduced to ashes and scattered to the wind to wipe out the very memory of his?

Giordano Bruno, (1548-1600) a Dominican monk, a brilliant mathematician believed that “there is no absolute truth”. He refused, forfeiting his life, by refusing to recant his firm conviction of the rationale of the hypothesis of the Polish monk Copernicus, that the earth is not the centre of the Universe, but only a minor planet of a minor star, in the vast expanse of the Universe teeming with thousands and thousands of star constellations and their planets.

Will the Cardinal get out of the cosy comforts of his plush Vatican life, cast off his red garments and the galero on his head and come out with blazing AK 47s and get rid of all the monstrous Islamists. Any one with even an iota of grey matter under his/her skull will dismiss his ravings with utter contempt.

Does the Cardinal expects the faithful to apply war paint, take up poison tipped arrows, and with whooping war cries charge at the hated Islamists in the manner of the savages kill all Muslims, young and old, women and men, and impale their blood dripping heads, at the tip of their lances and howl and dance?

Are there not equally guilty Christians including Catholics who dropped thousands of Napalm bombs on Vietnam villages and saturated its air with mustard gas and the killing spree of “innocents”. Did your conscience pricked on seeing the picture of the adolescent Vietnamese girl, fully naked running on a road for her dear life from bombs; their blistering heat and noxious gas?

What is the root of this evil, Cardinal? Is it not the poison injected to the brains of the befuddled youth of an obsolete “organised religion”, that appeared among the ever fightingferocious tribes of a desert land, on the prowl to locate “martyrs ” promising them with 72 virgins with unlimited sexualappetite, when they reach their heaven after killing the enemies of Islam? Organised religions brainwash the uneducated youth with their gibberish and madness, making them toheartlesskillers. Don’t you agree Cardinal?

Why not humanity throw,into the waste heap, “All Organised Religions” and dump the Pope and Cardinals and bishops into pits crawling with venomous wipers and other poisonous snakes, along with the Ayatollahs and the lot?

Will it not be a more humane world without the obdurate backward minded Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and even the “so called peace loving non-violent”Buddhism. Who is responsible for the merciless killings of other religion followers? Is it not the priesthood of these organised religions that misguide the youth to indulge in bombings, beheadings and stabbings of their perceived foes,kaffirs and apostates?

Dear Cardinal, come out of your somnambulism and see the stark realities of this world? Please stop your raving madness, your“Vehemence”?

The only credible alternative seems: educate every one with the broad vision of humanity and humanness, empathy and understanding of every one and everything; animate and inanimate. The so-called commands of your God, “better be observed by their non-observance”?


This paradigm shift, no doubt, will deny the clerics their comfortable existence as moochers. The time may have arrived to abandon the moth-eaten ideas and attitudes of organised religions and move with the modern world ofenlightenment and progress. The alternative is to become thefossil of history.

An Aside.

The other day, an uneducated, superstitious and excessively religious mindedgrandma was boasting that her kindergarten grand-daughter can recite “Fail” (sorry “Hail’) Mary” before the child leaning to count 10. Wonder where some people are heading for?

An Appeal?

In the name of which ever God you believe,Cardinal, and your meaninglesstitle, therelic of bygone Roman civic office,please get out of the stuffed and stifling Vatican of intrigues , corruption, homosexuality and sexual perversions, Cardinal? Breath some fresh air, imbibe a few fresh ideas and, if possible,walk with the world? And be a considerate human being and not a killer minded one; try to understandthe misguided;correct them and take steps to liberate them from their obscurantist priests.Fanaticism is embedded deep in the blood letting and always fighting Semitic societies and the religions of Christianity and Islam with their roots in them? These religions, founded by two businessmen, will always be fighting each other till the finish.They are headed by religious fanatics fighting for domination egged on by the misguided, obscurantist ignorant priestsof both the religions.


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