The old devil started laughing. He said, “Calm down. Cool down, young man! I have made my arrangements already. The scholars, the rabbis, the pundits, the priests – all have reached, and they will organize the truth and that is the most subtle way to kill it. Now they are surrounding the man. They will not allow the man a direct approach to humanity. Humanity has to go through their interpretation, through their commentaries. And that has been, for the whole vast humanity, my way of depriving them of the truth: bring the priest in. The priests are in my service! All the organized religions, the churches, are in my service. They are China Walls standing between humanity and the ultimate truth.”
Just a few months ago the pope has brought into the world a new sin. He has declared that anybody confessing to God directly is committing a great sin; confession has to be through the proper channel, through the priest. You cannot directly start writing letters to God – every letter has to be in care of the priest! And the letter never goes beyond that. All your prayers, all your confessions never move beyond the priest.
It happened once, a rabbi and a bishop were very friendly. Their friendship was because both loved golf. They had decided to go on Sunday, but the bishop said, “If I am a little bit late, just wait for me in front of the church, because Sunday is a confessional day also, and one never knows how many people are going to confess.”
It was getting late and the rabbi started feeling that the line of confessors was so long…he went into the church from the back door, went into the cabin where the bishop listened to the confessions. There was a partition; the confessor was behind the partition. There was only a small window so the priest could hear, and could give him the punishment for his sins.
The rabbi said, “We are getting late. I suggest one thing – I don’t know what this confession is, but just do it one or two times and then I will manage. You get ready, and I will finish this line within minutes.”
So he watched; one man came and said, “I have committed a rape.” The bishop said, “Put ten dollars in the charity box and never do such a thing again. And five ‘Hail Marys.’”
The rabbi said, “Don’t be worried – you just go and get ready – it is a business matter!”
Another man came and he said, “I have also committed a rape just like the fellow who has gone ahead.” But he was not aware that now the bishop was not there.
The rabbi said, “Twenty dollars.” The man said, “But I have heard – to the first man you said only ten dollars!”
The rabbi said, “Ten dollars are in advance, so you need not come to confess and waste time. And ten ‘Hail Marys’ – now get lost!”
The function of the priest has not been to convert you into the hands of the cosmos. On the contrary, he has been in every way preventing you to open your eyes and see the stars, to open your ears and hear the breeze passing through the pine trees. He has not allowed you to see the beauty of the planet, the beauty of the skies. Neither has he been helpful to take you in your innermost being where is your eternal home. He has been exploiting.