|PETRAS ESSAYS IN ENGLISH|
March 30, 2002
He came out of a trap door flashlight in hand, without his elegant vestments and his rings - impediments for the task at hand . In his nightshirt and slippers he slipped into the bathroom next to the dormitory and sat on the toilet waiting. In a few moments a young seminarian slipped into the stall and the archbishop squeezed his thighs, turned him around and buggered him, ignoring his Hail Marys. Archbishop Edward Putz slept soundly that night and dreamed of angelic young boys in paradise bending over a bed of flowes, their tunics rolled up their alabaster thighs. The following day he gave a solemn sermon on the virtues of abstinence before marriage.
Putz had a voracious appetite, something well known from his early days in the Vatican where he was active in the Secretariat of the Pope's household - along with a dozen other young men. Young Edward fresh from a small church in Lubon, a town near Poznan, was greatly taken by the intrigues and politics of the Vatican, especially the skills of his mentor, the future Pope John Paul. It was in Rome, more specifically in the basement of the Vatican, where Putz was introduced to the joys of the flesh. Putz's initiation took place in the dormitory showers under the able direction and tutelage of an experienced older Italian prelate. It started with a game that Father Luigi jokingly called "dropping the soap " and ended up in mutual buggering. Subsequently Luigi organized Saturday night suppers with other members of the Secretariat who also had a taste for good food, wine and buggering. As Father Luigi explained, " the activity is designed to purge the soul of unhealthy desires, morbosity and sinful thoughts and acts" He emphasized that " such acts, when directed at the flock were worse sins than occasional 'purges' among the spiritual keepers of the faith."
Edward observed the saintly look on Luigi's face during high mass following a particularly vigorous bout of buggering. " The road to beatitude", he thought, "begins through strange orifices."
Thus the once celibate and grim Polish prelate blossomed. He turned from being an obedient and passive underling to becoming a vigorous extrovert and clever practitioner of the art of identifying the emerging power brokers and serving their spiritual and other needs.
He became indispensable to the new Polish pope. He excoriated the Church reformers as more insidious than the known Communist enemies of the Church. He castigated those who suggested the introduction of women prelates - accusing them of violating the spiritual purity of the Holy Mother - a non sequiter that pleased the Pope but befuddled the theologians. Above all it was Putz's political activity in demonizing Communists, Socialists and philo-communist Christian Democrats which earned him a bishop's appointment by the Holy Father, and a one-way-ticket back to Poland.
"Go, my son, and be worthy of my blessing. Go to the Polish working people and turn them from the false prophets of the welfare state and communism. Fear not to take material resources from Western intelligence agencies, because whatever their sins they are serving the Holy Evangelical Church. To fight Communism we have to borrow its methods. To those who dissent - purge them; to those who obey and follow the One and True Faith, bless them so they shall prosper and be good in the eyes of God."
The Pope paused and ran his hand through Putz's hair and rested it on his shoulder. He looked Putz in the eye. "Remember , Poznan is not Rome. Be careful of the devil's temptation." He stopped. "You are my beloved son, but…" the Pope's kind soft voice turned stern , " rein in your appetite. Find a loyal housekeeper, preferably an older widow. Don't do anything to prejudice the Church."
At first Bishop Edward Putz followed the Holy Father's commands to the letter. He was the financial intermediary ( bagman ) for the trade union, Soldoutery. He transferred funds from the German and American intelligence agencies and handed most of it to the most clerical minded trade union leaders. When he was questioned by the C.I.A. about the shortfalls in the payouts, he claimed he used the money for "other church-related charities" that he couldn't reveal because of "confessional confidentiality". Western intelligence observers noted that the bishop had a special hot tub and sauna installed in the basement of his private residence. "Not bad - he skimmed only 10%," one cynical operative commented, " the going take in the Middle East is double."
The inauguration of his new hygienic facilities coincided with the tumultuous visit of His Eminence accompanied by a large entourage from Rome, which included two of Edward's former playmates from the Vatican basement days. After an exhausting day giving communion to some of the leaders of Soldoutery, the boys enjoyed frolicking in Putz's warm sudsy hot tub, after testing their sexual prowess in the sauna.
In a private session with the Holy Father, Bishop Putz reported on his mission: he related the close ties with Lick Ballesa, the undisputed leader of Soldoutery; he enumerated the sermons against "Communist" abortion; he detailed the money transfer between " our friends in the West" and "our dear beloved and faithful flock in the trade union."
The Pope patted him on the head and gently asked if he had followed his fatherly advice in hiring a housekeeper. The bishop unconsciously blushed. " Not yet, Father, but I am still looking for the right woman who can perform her duties and is true to the faith."
The Holy Father sized up Putz and with a gentle smile informed him that "when the Communist monster is finally defeated and uprooted you will have to be considered for Archbishop, for your resistance to the atheistic enemy, your service to the Church and your 'rectumtude'."
The Bishop was startled at the Pope's mispronunciation, but he bent over and kissed the hand with the big ring.
It was soon after the departure of the Pope and the general strike preceding martial law when the Bishop began to have sleepless nights, nocturnal emissions and unabated desire. He thought of interviewing the available elderly widows, but his "demon" was asking for fresher flesh. His embrace of visiting clerics and young assistants lasted longer and were accompanied, first by pats on the cheeks, and then the clasping of hands, sometimes held too close to the center of his ardor. But this only served to raise Edward's passion, without quenching his desires. The cleaning lady was ordered to change the stained bed sheets twice a week.
The joyful, but later to be tragic, discovery of the secret tunnel occurred just before the fall of Jaruzelski. The gardener, an old grizzly bearded peasant with red cheeks, stamped the earth in the Bishop's garden. "You know Holy Father, there is a tunnel under here that was used by patriots to escape from Nazi persecution. And later it was said that some of Pilsudski's supporters used the tunnels after the War to hide from the Russians."
The Bishop was less interested in war stories and national saviors, than in finding out where the tunnel led. "What does the tunnel connect with?" he asked, looking hopefully at the nearby seminary.
"I think it heads in that direction," the gardener pointed to the dormitory of the school.
Edward could hardly contain his glee. He turned abruptly and headed to his house and directly to the basement. After several hours search, covered with cobwebs, he found the entrance. He opened the door and with a lamp in hand, he proceeded. Unlike Diogenes, he sought not wisdom, but physical satisfaction. Driven by visions of sleepy young men with round plump buttocks, he went on. At the end of the tunnel, he saw a decaying ladder and the trap door. It was already night and he could hear the bells ringing for evening prayers. He hesitated. His mind told him to return but his loins drove him on. He climbed the steps and lifted the trap door. It opened at the end of a hall in the dormitory, next to a bathroom. He pulled himself up, closed the door and crept along the hall. He heard a door open - so he slipped into the bathroom, entered a stall and stood on the toilet seat. A seminarian slipped in the booth next to him and began to masturbate. The Bishop was on fire. He looked down and decided to make his move. The adventure ended satisfactorily at least for the Bishop. Combining threats of expulsion, hellfire and purgatory with his experienced caresses, he was able to bugger the frightened young man. The Bishop swore him to secrecy and demanded they meet the following day for confession.
The electoral victory of Lick Ballesa and the demise of Communism was celebrated in all the Churches. In Poznan, a high mass was held in the Cathedral, but it spilled out into the main square and all the side streets. The Bishop ordered that all the loud speaker systems seized from the Reds be placed throughout the city to relay the Word of Universal Truth and National Liberation. Well known film makers were invited to record the historic moment. Shortly thereafter, a film was sent to the Dear Father in Rome who was duly impressed. It was not long before the Bishop became an Archbishop - the highest prelate in Poland. When asked if he would move to Warsaw, he declared, lowering his eyes and whispering that, despite his new exalted position, he wished to continue to serve his humble parishioners.
In reality the newly anointed Archbishop had in Poznan a whole network of young men to choose from, during his nocturnal capers and he didn't want to give it up. At the seminary, he was out of the bathroom and into the bedroom. His favorites were two sturdy peasant lads. He initiated them and invited them to his hot tub and sauna, exchanging favors from all orifices.
Putz's promotion could not have occurred at a better moment. A whispering campaign began to spread the word of his sexual abuses. The rector of the seminary and several other lesser servants of the Lord were preparing to file complaints and were discussing the possibility of discretely approaching the Bishops' Council. With his promotion, none of the Bishops dared challenge Putz, since he selected and financed their semi-annual visits to the Vatican.
Encouraged by his successes with the seminarians, the Archbishop began to extend his hand to the alter boys and the members of the choir. It was later reported that he altered the confessional to facilitate more direct communication between God and His sinners. But no one spoke out. The children'' claims of foul play were hushed up by their parents who feared that any public protest would only sully the purity of the Church and pain the Holy Polish Father in Rome.
Putz believed his amorous deceptions went undetected due to his cleverness. In fact, his exploits were generally known and covered up by the faithful in the name of protecting the Church from the unworthy calumnies of the atheistic Communists. As one of Putz's defenders argued, the only beneficiaries of any public revelations would be the Russians and their Polish agents.
The voracious appetite of the Archbishop did not mellow with time - in fact he sought to assure himself of his continued virility by extending his reach to visiting prelates, virtual strangers, who happened to have prominent bottoms.
The Archbishop's downfall coincided with a series of "outside shocks": a sharp drop-off in Church attendance; the end of subsidies from " our Western friends " once the Communist regime fell; the debacle of Lick Ballesa's corrupt regime. The quadrupling of unemployment accompanying the closure of "inefficient" heavy industries led to a decline in contributions. The proliferation of nightclubs, stripjoints and discos distracted youth from the Church's way. The New Rich invested their ill- gained funds from privatizations to off-shore accounts denying the Church its 10%. It was a moment of "moral decay" according to the Archbishop, but no one paid much attention. "Ah, for the good old days of Communisn," the Archbishop reflected.
The decline in revenues, and the loss of hope of any imminent "moral renewal" by the Archbishop, stirred a group of priests to write a list of charges against Putz and to send it to the Vatican. A copy was leaked to the local newspaper, which published the charges of sexual immorality, including the sexual abuse of seminarians, alter boys and others.
The Archbishop protested vigorously, denying everything and sending a letter to all the priests in his dioces to be read at Sunday Mass. Few obeyed. Yet few of the abused faithful came forward to testify against him, for fear of "giving ammunition to the hidden enemies of the Church." New revelations appeared in the local newspapers. The Warsaw media saw fit to send reporters and TV crews. The international news services wired reports around the world.
The Holy Father was pained. His protégé had failed him. Duplicity. The Holy Father was deeply saddened. He prayed for the soul of his straying Archbishop. He prayed for the souls of all the pedophiles and felons "who didn't meet their commitments that came with priestly ordination and who are going through a period of difficulty and crises." He also prayed for those "who knowingly and unknowingly led the Archbishop to stray from the course. " And in the depths of Saint Peter he wondered where and when it all started. He asked why Putz had not taken the righteous path of hiring an elderly widow as a housekeeper as so many others with uncontrolled appetites had done in the past.
"He must go," the kindly Holy Father firmly ordered the Vatican investigatory commission before it left for Poznan.
The day before their arrival the Archbishop went on the offensive issuing a ringing denial of all charges and a denunciation of the "mendacious and massive campaign against my person, the Church and the Polish people."
In less that a week the Commission concluded its interviews and its own site visit, which included the restructured confessional, the tunnel, the sauna and hot tub and the stained pyjamas of a seminarian.
The day after they returned to the Vatican, Archbishop Putz announced his resignation, to the relief of many of the faithful. Others, those who were not of the True Faith, asked why he was not jailed for sex crimes, as was done to ordinary pedophiles and rapists. Others, the more Western- oriented lawyers asked why the parents of the victims did not sue the Church for complicity in covering up Putz's abuses, as was done in the Land of the Free, in Chicago, Boston and elsewhere. On Sunday when Putz announced his resignation a group of Poles stood up in Church and denounced the pedo-priests in the hall of rapists.
But the Polish Church was not in danger. A new Bishop has been appointed, who will only pinch the facial cheeks and not embrace the seminarians. The Vatican announced that the Holy Father, ailing and loving, would travel to Poland to revive the faith, and hopefully stimulate a spiritual rebirth in these times of double-digit unemployment and the flight of young female unemployed textile workers from Krakow to the brothels of Hamburg.