By Managing Director of Dema Games, Mark Rees-Andersen.
After nearly four years of legal proceedings, two weeks ago (November 21st), at the High Maritime and Commercial Court of Denmark, Dema Games and The Prelature of The Holy Cross and Opus Dei, finally met in order to embark on the long awaited judicial battle. Little did we know, that our efforts would have to endure for another month, before a victor can be declared.
It is incredibly emotionally taxing to pay thorough attention to the dire matters of paedophilia, death and corruption. Unexpectedly, these things became a lengthy subject during my testimony. Before the proceedings, I was told that I was best off avoiding to “politicize” the case, and just sticking to our sound legal grounds for winning the case. Things, however, would take a sharp turn to the opposite.
Stumbling across this poor old man’s testament below however, just days after the first court date, was a fresh reminder of why I in fact had to put the legalities aside in court, and direct sincere attention the the “problems” of the Catholic Church:
To imagine a lifetime of psychological torment, due to the perversions and corruption of so-called religious authorities, is not just sickening, it’s spiritual asphyxiation. On top of that, words fail me in describing the atrocious emotion, when one realises that it’s institutionalised within the Catholic Church, to such a level, that it begins to attract paedophiles: “I became aware that some of the other priests were actually paedophiles and were not necessarily becoming priests because they wanted to help people, but because they were paedophiles who wanted the opportunity,”, former catholic priest Kevin Lee says.
It’s almost as if the job-description includes a benefit to child-molesters, when the top-leadership continues to harbour and protect perpetrators, such as Cardinal Ratzinger did for 20 years, up until he became Pope.
For legal reasons, I have limited the use of this blog about such matters, but have been maintaining a micro-blog of sorts on Facebook instead, on the page ARREST THE POPE. This enabled me to relay bite-sized portions of information concerning the vast immorality of the Vatican, in status updates, and thus publish these small, yet revolting, stories under the fan of the stencil campaign, legally separated from the card game. But due to the presence of legal-absolution, I am naturally a little unsure, if I will be able to continue with either of these platforms for much longer. Not to leave out the very sustained existence of the card game… But in a sense, “Opus-Dei: Existence After Religion” has taken a back-seat in the grand scheme of things a long time ago (since the first legal threats), compared to how much I have come to loathe the shameless papacy, and have felt it necessary to spread the disgusting information about his policies and complete lack of humanity. It has become a bastion, I believe, in denying these historical psychopaths the sole right to define “the work of god” (opus dei), as such leads to the exclusiveness of defining “god” — something, even as an atheist, that I cannot live with allowing them without a fight. Not with their record.
We all know the tales of sadistic massacres carried out by the Vatican’s henchmen under the inquisition, that for some unfathomable reason, seems distant towards the degree of fiction (a coping mechanism perhaps?)… But did you know that child-rape (and the policy of secrecy surrounding it) is almost as old as the Catholic Church itself? Anyway, take a look at the highly informative video below.
Despite the David v. Goliath situation, I do actually feel, on a subjective note, quite confident that I will prevail against the Prelature’s attacks – as my lawyer Janne Gæsel has said, she hasn’t lost a case since 2003, “so I’m not planning on losing this one either”. I know she will be a bit squeamish about my quoting her on that, but out of all the brilliance that this incredible woman has uttered, and her 3-woman strong team of sharp-tongued lawyers behind her have uttered – these words are my absolute favourite. Pro bono (for the public good) really takes on a whole new meaning with these women, fighting in this instance, for the public’s legal right to have a say in defining the “work of god” (opus dei) – in essence, defending freedom of speech.
Undergoing the tiresome process of digging through some 900-pages of evidence and other case-material, Janne Glæsel was swift and precise to keep the prosecutor from hand-picking biased and speculative references, relentlessly asking the prosecution to “please read on”, in order to maintain context, and include the stuff he’d rather had left out. My lawyer was well on her way, during the prosecution’s own time, towards proving that The Prelature of The Holy Cross and Opus Dei, simply had never taken use of their 1998 EU-trademark “Opus Dei” — a legal requirement to maintain one’s rights. She was at all times calm and calculating, except when she rarely had to object to the follies of our opponent (“How could he possibly answer that?!”), during my hearing, that took well over an hour.
During my part of the case, I firstly had a chance to explain the game, and its philosophical reasons behind its name “Opus-Dei: Existence After Religion”. I approached the bench, with my trusted lawyer by side, soon met by the prosecutor on the the other — it seemed he felt it necessary to place his hands on the model of a game-in-progress that I had prepared, just like my lawyer had at the other end of it, in order to keep it stable on the edge of the Judges’ counter. It slightly annoyed me that his grubby hands were slightly interfering, but I knew this was also probably his intention, so I smiled at him, the judges, and proceeded.
I explained how the game is played, that players act as godly figures – Zeitgeists – creating historical philosophers and scientists, along with “fools” (if one should be so unlucky), by the point of “Genesis”, and then into their worlds, striving to create “the best of all possible worlds”, given by their sum of points at the end of the game. That both the act of playing the game, was an act of “opus dei” (work of god), and the end result too, was an “opus dei”.
As the prosecution, I noticed, had earlier tried to blur the lines of the game, towards something that could conflict with their rights to “educational materials”, I made a point of explaining the bonus-information on each card, as “no more educational in any extent, than “Monopoly” is educational towards real estate agents.”. At least one of the judges laughed, maybe two. All of them smiled at very least.
After this, I was sat in the middle of the spacious courtroom, on a lonely chair, with prosecution on my right, defence on my left, and the three judges towering in front of me. First I answered my attorney’s questions, beginning with how it came to be, that I ended up publishing this game, and furthermore, the deeper philosophical reasoning behind it… My fellow philosophy-nerds at the back, I was told later, were pleased to make silent Facebook status updates, declaring how much they loved the fact that they were listening to the Problem of Evil, or Theodicy, being recited in court.
All of a sudden, my own lawyer caught me slightly off-guard. She started asking questions regarding when I added the blog to the website, and why. I was under the impression that I was to avoid mentioning any of the pathos-infused idealistic reasons, to why I had started the “ARREST THE POPE” stencil campaign, handing out 900 “ARREST THE POPE” t-shirts during the Pope’s visit in London, and indeed this very blog. But she kept digging, demanding an explanation for these initiatives. I kept it mild to begin with, explained that after being threatened by the Prelature, I started to research the morally and organizationally corrupt practise of the Catholic Church, and became increasingly opposed to their entire premise. After winning the dispute to uphold my rights to the opus-dei.co.uk domain, I explained, I gained enough confidence to start blogging about my new-found insights into the most hideous of crimes, and the institutionalized obstruction of justice, protecting the paedophile perpetrators, from within the Vatican. And then she dug into it some more. Asking for specifics.
So, I let it all out. All the disgust. All the indignation. The burden of proof layed on the prosecution that they had, in a legally satisfying manner, in fact had used their trademark. The burden of proof was now layed upon me, I felt, to prove why the Catholic Church was, and indeed is, an outright evil in this world. At least that’s how it felt.
Now, I hadn’t prepared for this specific matter, so my memory wasn’t quite accurate in court. I will try to correct these errors now.
One news-clip, featuring the great Christopher Hitchens (below), that was central in my motivation towards the ARREST THE POPE campaign, led me to mix up certain names; those of Cardinal Bernard Francis Law (who has not received any punishment in covering up thousands of child-molestation crimes in Boston, now living and working safely out of the law’s reach, within the Vatican, under the protection of Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI) and Rev. Lawrence Murphy (who systematically raped over 200 deaf and dumb boys in Milwaukee, a crime the pope allegedly has concealed awareness about, and even called off punishment for).
I also briefly mentioned the suspicious finding of the dead body of a 13 year-old girl below the Vatican reported by BCC. Her name was Emanuela Orlandi, and she was in fact 15 years old, daughter af a Vatican employee, and publicly kidnapped. Tragically, she was never found. The tomb that was thoroughly investigated, with hopes of finding her sharing a diamond-studded casket of an Italian mobster (Enrico De Pedis, oddly buried next to a cardinal), belonged to the Sant Apollinare basilica, adjacent to the courtyard of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei-run Pontifical Holy Cross University. Bones not belonging to De Pedis were found earlier this year, but they could not be concluded to whom they actually originated from yet.
Even though I was wrong in this matter, it seems very suspicious to me that senior Catholic churchmen appeared to have had closed ranks against the police investigation into this matter for over three decades. The story even goes on to have connections to the 1980s Vatican banking-scandal – and therefore also has connections to the leaked information, provided by now incarcerated Papal Butler, Paolo Gabriele, that “also referred to the death of “God’s banker”, Roberto Calvi, who was found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982″.
And the plot continues to thicken: According to British investigative journalist, Philip Willan, in his book “The Last Supper”, The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei also had some ties to this grim incident. Something that the Prelature, I must point out, has taken an official stance on, declaring that: “‘The Last Supper’ purports to investigate the death of Italian banker Roberto Calvi and the collapse of the Banco Ambrosiano in 1981. Unfortunately it recycles old and discredited claims that Opus Dei was involved somehow. All such theories are totally false. Opus Dei had nothing whatsoever to do with Roberto Calvi or any part of the Banco Ambrosiano affair”.
Naturally, these matters did not come up in court, and as I recall, the other matters I brought up (such as the Vatican’s foolish policy against condoms in AIDS-ridden African countries, amongst other things) didn’t have any factual inconsistencies due to failures of my memory… But nevertheless, it was quite an emotional rant, and something I’m sure the judges had not quite experienced before. It turned out, as it were, that my lawyer had noticed one of the judges’ bafflement and chock towards my stencilized imagery of the pope in handcuffs, and therefore saw it necessary to have explained, and justified, my motives and interests in starting the ARREST THE POPE stencil-campaign. Which I’m quite confident was met.
Janne Glæsel’s final question was whether, considering “all this”, I had ever wanted to be confused with, or thought to be associated with, the Vatican and/or The Prelature of The Holy Cross and Opus Dei. To which my echoing “NO” with full body-language of disgust, had the judges in momentary grins.
After a few deep breaths, it became the prosecution’s turn to fire questions at me. I must admit, it was a quite a satirical moment, almost a cliché taken out of any of television court-drama, when he at one point dramatically stood up, launched towards me with (what he thought was) damning evidence that it was impossible to differ between the game’s website and the part of it that contained the blog, whereafter I had to explain to him, and the court, that when printing the white-lettered blog title “Balloon Belief Battleground” directly from a browser, it vanishes on white paper. Again, court-room laughter seemed less rare than one should think, and a welcome change of atmosphere.
The final court date is set for December 18 2012.
Once again, the matter has been drawn out. Final court-date (confirmed to reach a verdict) is set for March 15 2013.
DEMA GAMES WON! (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130315/opus-dei-loses-danish-court-case-over-card-game)
Now we are currently waiting to see if the Prelature will appeal to the Danish Supreme Court, or not, which has a deadline for May 15th. We will keep you posted.