Chapter 16: Life Is a School
Before he is chosen to be a pope he is not infallible. Just the election by two hundred topmost cardinals, and within minutes the fallible man, through election, becomes infallible. Then whatever he says is absolute truth and whatever he does is absolute truth. And only five minutes before that he was a fallible person!
There is proof and evidence that all these popes were as fallible as any man. One pope denounced Joan of Arc who was one of the most beautiful and one of the most courageous women born anywhere on the earth.. A male chauvinist mind was so against Joan of Arc simply because she proved herself more courageous, more strong than any man. And the chauvinist mind of man feels very inferior; he cannot allow that.
So many reported that she was a witch - all her power.otherwise, women don’t have such strength. All her power and all her charisma, her influence over people was nothing but the devil behind her; otherwise an ordinary girl, a poor girl, uneducated - how could she lead the whole country to freedom? “The devil must be behind her” - and she was burned alive. The evidence was enough, there was no need for any investigation that these were not womanly acts that she had done. They are reserved only for men.
This courage, this charismatic personality, this influence over thousands of people, this quality of inspiration to bring people together to fight for freedom and to bring the fight to a victory - it was enough proof that the woman was possessed and she should be burned alive. And she was burned alive. Thousands of people felt that this was absolutely ugly, because the woman had worked for the freedom of the country and this was not a reward, this was a punishment - and she was not more than twenty years old.
After three hundred years, the sympathy for Joan of Arc became so strong that another pope declared that she was a saint. He had to declare it, because people had started worshipping her grave and they were becoming anti-pope. So the pope had finally to declare that the woman was a saint. Now, one pope declares her a witch; another declares her a saint. Certainly, at least one of them must be fallible? Most probably both are fallible - but both cannot be right.
Now, because the pope declared that she was a saint, her bones were dragged out of the grave, worshipped. A beautiful marble memorial has been made, and now she is known as Saint Joan of Arc. And for three hundred years she remained a witch.
This is not religion. This is politics. And because I called it third-rate, the woman was offended. She is a Western woman, and must be a Christian. I can understand that she feels hurt. But if truth hurts, be a little strong; otherwise, don’t listen to the truth.
If your eyes are weak and you cannot open them in the light, then keep them closed. What else can be suggested to you? Do you want that the light should be destroyed, the sun should be destroyed because your eyes are weak and they feel hurt?