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Politics and the Church

My first schooling took place in Caracas' Colegio Francia. Up to third grade. My family then moved to the Basque country where by grandmother put me in a school of the Antonian's order. Of course I was not accustomed to the brutal way of teaching employed by the Antonian priests or "Los Frailes" as every one used to call them. My grandmother is a devoted catholic. To this day she believes with all her heart that the Church is the house of god and its representatives, i.e. priests, nuns, etc, are holy creatures incapable of harm. The first time one "fraile" gave me a beating, for misbehaviour, I remember having rushed back home to tell my grandparents what had just happened. The rage I had was so oppressive that only swear words and curses came out of my mouth, I was 8 years old. My swearing to refer to 'holy people' made her very upset and without further ado she gave me another beating for she thought I was disrespectful towards the Church and my account could be nothing more than lies. Moreover, she said that if indeed they had hit me it was well deserved for probably it was due to some mischiefs of mine. I just couldn't believe it. There I was, just 8 years old, abused by 'representatives of god' and betrayed by my own family. That day I learned that none of my arguments would ever convince my grandmother about the malicious nature of those who were in charge of my education. And so time went by. About three years ago in a visit to me grandmother I brought up in casual conversation the subject of the abuses I had to withstand during my six years in the Antonian's school. I said to her "grandma, now I'm a father and I can tell you that if ever any of my beloved children comes to me with similar stories I would personally go and beat the crap out of whomever dares to abuse them". She was shocked; she just couldn't believe what I was saying, much less my position, fully shared by my wife, in that respect.

The point is, a devoted catholic will never doubt the integrity, holiness and good intentions of the members of the Church. Historical records show that indeed the Church has had its hands behind much of the wars, conflicts, scandals, assassinations, destruction of entire civilizations, conquering campaigns and so on. Imperialism, power, oppression of dissent are, in my view, only synonyms of the Church. But regardless of how clear and revealing the evidence is my grandmother will never cease to believe in it. Such is the level of conviction, reinforced by years of sermons and unquestioning belief, that the issue is firmly anchored in rock solid faith terrain.

Equally disturbing is the stance of people that have decided to surrender their intellect and reasoning capacity to political ideologies or charismatic leaders. Someone immortalised the phrase "a lie repeated one thousand times becomes reality" however a controversial reality repeated a million times and shown to the converted and the faithful is swiftly dismissed as a lie for it undermines the faith upon which their whole system of values is built.

Thus I held the opinion that it is entirely worthless to even engage with either religious or political fanatics unwilling to begin to question the bases of their beliefs. My grandmother continues to think that I am on the wrong...