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2003-01-07 10:07:01 (UTC)

history of injustice

LATER that night before Paolo went back to the seminary, he
once again spoke to me about the thoughts that were
plaguing him. About the history of injustice of the Church,
and how this caused millions of people to turn away.

"All religions, in essence, are one and the same," he said.
We sat on the grass outside our humble home and enjoyed the
slightly cool breeze, the stars that twinkled above us, and
the gentle silence that had settled on our town.

"The aim of all religions is to be one with God," he
continued. "Religions struggle and try, once again, to
connect with the Being. When this is reached, the Hindus
call it Reincarnation. The Buddhists call it Nirvana. The
Christians call it Heaven. It is the ultimate attainment.
The ultimate concept of just...being."

I sat quietly beside him, pondering over the ideas he had
given me. I was an ordinary mind. I could not fully
comprehend his thoughts. But still I let him speak.

"All religions are one in essence and heart Ate," he said,
turning to look at me. "It is simply our practices that
make us different. And it is our differences that make us
condemn each other. Our minds...are too mediocre to accept
that most often than not, different does not mean bad. Or
evil. Or demonic. Different simply means different. Nothing
more, nothing less. Ate, do you understand?"

I asked slowly, letting the words roll in my tongue. "Is
that why many people do not want to become Christians?
Because we are all different?"

"Ate, if you were a simple pagan, and a group of Christians
came and abused you, would you want to become a Christian?"

"No," I whispered. "They are evil people. Why would anybody
want to be evil?"

"Exactly," he said gently. "Many people have suffered in
the hands of Christians. Don't get me wrong. Christianity
is not bad. It is beautiful. It is the most perfect way of
living and communing with one another. But because man is
sinful and man has decided to turn Christian, the name of
Christianity has been...soiled." He paused. "The
Christianity that we have now is the corrupted version of
the original. Sort of like...Tang."

I laughed. It was always nice to laugh.

He grinned and exhaled. "I hope I did not bore you, Ate."

"Don't worry, I'm used to you," I said good-naturedly and
reached out to pat his head. "Is this what has been
bothering you lately, Paolo?" I asked seriously. "The fact
that man has corrupted Christianity?"

His eyes brimmed with sadness. "Yes Ate," he said
softly. "Everyday I see it. The priests...the clergies..."
His voice trailed off. "Sometimes I think I am going out of
my mind."

"How long will it take before our souls get it right?" I

He sighed, as if the weight of the world was crushing his
shoulders. "I don't know," he whispered, partly to the
night and partly to me. "I don't know."

We sat there for a few minutes before he decided that it
was getting late and that he best get back to the seminary.

He stood up and kissed me on the forehead, told me to tell
Mother and Father that he had gone, told me not to worry,
told me to have faith. Then he set off on foot and
disappeared into the darkness.