Yesterday, I had an unpleasant but cathartic flashback experience involving the Catholic Index, so I wondered if anyone else had come across this ludicrous but lethal and fascistic form of mind control? Do let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
I know it was dissolved in 1966, but too late for me – the Knights of St Columba were still using it up to that date and almost certainly beyond.
Anyway, what triggered it was some of my (comic) readers recently started sending me angry, finger-wagging and moralizing tweets about my interest in the block chain (an irrelevant subject for this blog). Whatever its rights or wrongs, they were in essence saying I shouldn’t even think about cryptocurrency and NFTs, they were intrinsically evil etc. They were acting as self-appointed spiritual advisers.
I just shrugged it off as part of my job. They’re entitled to their opinion and I am to mine and it’s hardly a big deal. My readers often feel passionately about any changes in publishing and good luck to them. My wife Lisa – who knows more about NFTS than I do – wrote a very calm and reasoned reply and I really thought that was the end of it. https://www.millsverse.com/response-to-our-little-twitter-storm-about-nfts/
But my psyche felt very differently and you will see how it triggered my childhood recollections of the Catholic Index.
Before I knew it, I had the most powerful ptsd flashback I’ve had in years.
I was around 14, very much under the control of the Knights, still lined up for the seminary, and as rebellious then as I am today, when I was discovered reading a forbidden book. It would be fair enough it was Lady Chatterley – although I doubt it’s on the index – and it would be far too readable anyway. No, it’s dreary and boring books that challenge the Church’s core teaching that were on the Index – although I know there are some novels, too, like Dumas and Hugo. Anyway, it was one of those books I’d gotten hold of.
As a form of resistance, I was hanging out with an esoteric group opposed to Catholics. Pretty stupid, and going out of the frying pan into the fire, but when you’re 14, you do what you have to do to survive. I needed some artillery on my side against the Knights, otherwise they might have crushed my spirit. This was the Knights’ clear intention, although they would have used more flattering words to describe their form of mind control.
As far as I can recall, the group, who called themselves the Cathars (‘Pure Ones’), gave me a book by Swedenborg: History of the Devil aka Heaven and Hell. In their own way they were grooming me, too, just like the Knights. I found it a bit tedious to read today, but I bet I loved it as a kid because – apart from its click-bait title – I knew it was against the Catholic Church. It was a symbol of defiance. Being on the Index, Swedenborg’s tome was regarded as a work of evil and anyone who read it would be excommunicated and go to Hell. The usual Catholic attempt to bully their followers into submission.
The Catholic Knight in charge of my spiritual welfare – and my fake stepdad – absolutely freaked! He went totally nuts! (Just like my comic readers did when I talked about NFTs). I don’t know exactly how I responded, but it was definitely with the kind of defiance that any 14 year old kid does up when they come up against a bullying and violent ‘stepdad’. I probably didn’t swear like I do today, but the gist of my response was undoubtedly ‘fuck off’.
He wouldn’t calm down or back down and neither would I, but there was a limit to how violent he could be in front of my mum. In any event, I was probably egging him on– the way kids do. ‘Go on. Hit me. Let’s see what a bastard you really are.’ Controlling himself with some difficulty, he found another punishment for my dreadful crime: He locked me out in the garden so I had to spend the night in the coal shed.
Hence the flashback. Although my office is warm, and I live in Spain, yesterday I suddenly found myself wearing three heavy jumpers, gloves, hugging an electric fire and a hot water bottle with a thick blanket thrown over me. And I still couldn’t get warm!
Only when I relived the original event did my temperature return to normal.
So what happened at the end of my punishment? The next morning, when this typically noble Catholic Knight let me in from the garden? Was I suitably subdued? Did I say, ‘I’m sorry, sir. I won’t do it again. I’ve learnt my lesson.’
I think you know the answer.
It’s a useful reminder to me that the Knights of St Columba are currently under investigation by Operation Hydrant – two prime examples of their crimes against children have been forwarded to the police by Catholic Safeguarding. And, I’m pleased to say, it is regularly being progressed. So, whatever the final outcome, it’s being taken very seriously. And let’s bear in mind that the Knights’ corruption of children didn’t stop in my era. As is well documented, there are current Knights that need further investigation.
This organization really needs thorough investigation, not just by the police but by investigative reporters. It has a lot to answer for and to explain.
And the Knights also need to pay compound interest on their organisation’s crimes from the time of the Catholic Index.
Perhaps a night in the coal shed might do them some good.