C & I

When Gerontologys Rule

Traditions, whether they are based on thousand year old revealed truths, learned behaviour or indoctrination into the faith of a parent, no matter how abhorrent, die hard, if at all, especially when old men are their guardians. For example, until the 12th century priests were allowed to marry and, on their passing, leave some of their meager belongings and wealth they might have accumulated during their lifetime to their surviving spouse, their children and the Church.

The Church wanted it all. Using the assumed celibacy of Jesus Christ and his first bishop Peter as a fig leaf of credibility, it decreed that henceforth, aspirants to the priesthood would have to take a vow of celibacy. That is when the sexual abuse of children, males mostly, which continues unabated to this day started in earnest.

Don’t expect a cabal of powerful, narrow-minded sexagenarians, septuagenarians and octogenarians who have denied themselves the pleasure of a normal sex life, in their advance age to spare thousands, if not tens of thousand of children from being buggered by priests by changing that tradition anytime soon.

One of my heroes was a priest so don’t assume that this is a rant against priests who do much good work, in spite of the unnatural demands made on them by the old men of the Vatican.

Having never had children and not much sex, if any, don’t expect the Catholic Church’s gerontocracy to do anything to protect the children, for whom they lack a father's love and empathy. And, don't expect them to seek to reduce the number of children born with the HIV virus or orphans because their parents succumbed to this preventable disease.

The current Pope, like his predecessor, thinks using condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS is a sin because it encourages people to have sex just for the fun of it, and not just to procreate. Having led a life with no Joy-of-Sex and no kids His Holiness and his entourage would lecture us on how to handle both.

The gerontocracy that is the Vatican leadership perpetuates itself via what has to be the ultimate old-boys club, the Sacred College of Cardinals. These old men select from among their membership who will lead the faithful when the previous old man dies.

In some ways, the old-men-succession-ritual of the Saudis is superior to the Catholic Church’s for it makes allowances for senility.

In the Saudi royal family power does not pass from father to son (and heaven forbid, a daughter), as is customary in European royal families, but from oldest brother to the next oldest brother when the ruling older brother dies or becomes incapacitated.

If the behaviour of the brother in charge becomes an embarrassment to the family, the next brother in line is given the responsibly for running the Kingdom’s and the family's affairs. In 1995, when King Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke and became increasingly divorced from reality, his half-brother, Abdullah became the de facto head of the Kingdom, and became monarch upon Fahd’s death in August, 2005.

The modern founder of the house of Saud, King Abdulaziz, fathered forty sons and an estimated twenty daughters. To stay within the Koranic limit of four wives while fathering that many children, he divorced one wife to marry another, taking a new wife sometimes every few weeks thereby creating an almost inexhaustible supply of aging kings-in-waiting.

There is one final and obscene irony to be observed in the competition between the two male gerontocracies who would rule the world in the name of God.

One is obsessed with not having sex and the other is obsessed with having sex, even in old age, with the type of girls they knew when they were young men, as a reward from Allah for a lifetime of devotion to His Cause.

Bernard Payeur, Oct 23, 2011