The Catholic church has increasingly been accused of attempting to conceal repeated incidents of priests sexually molesting children. While more and more people are accepting the likelihood that the church has been harboring pedophiles, few people are willing to believe that the sexual molestation of children is a fundamental part of church doctrine. In his new book, Original Sin: Ritual Child Rape & The Church, Dr. DCA Hillman strikes at the foundation of Christianity, providing evidence that early priests ritually sodomized young boys during their catechism. Hillman argues that this practice was part of a cultural war early Christians waged against a Roman society that praised sex and nubile girls. He claims that early priests sodomized these boys in order to "save" them from serving in oracle cults, as these popular pagan religions required that the children who participated in their ceremonies be sexually inexperienced. I caught up with Hillman to question some of his radical ideas.
On page 26, you write, "The mystery of the catechumen's initiation was a ritualistic form of sodomy, designed by the church to turn young believers away from the ills of sexual desire." What is the most condemning piece of historical evidence proving that early Christian exorcists ritually raped boys during their catechism?
The most nauseating smoking guns of the child rape ritual are the actual written works of the Catechetical schools that the Christians, in hindsight, probably should not have preserved. Read through the treatises of Cyril of Jerusalem; when you end up in his basement with a room full of naked kids being blindfolded, oiled, fondled and then bent over by some priests and their bishop who ardently apply the "fires of temptation," you will experience a bit of the horror firsthand. The Christian author Prudentius fills in the gaps by telling us the "fires of temptation" are acts of anal sex — the most dreaded enemy of the Christian pilgrim. It will also make you ill to read Cyril's post-initiation counseling advice, where he instructs his priests to make sure these young men — after they are bathed, or baptized — are told that submitting to a sexual encounter does not mean you have sinned if you didn't actually enjoy it; from a textual standpoint, it appears that the majority of them didn't.
On page 94, you write, "The war on sexuality under the Christian hierarchy was not a war on masculine sexuality; it was a war on everything feminine." In the book you repeatedly make the point that Christians saw attractive young women like Eve as the ultimate evil, as they could tempt young men to contaminate themselves with sex. You also point out how the Greco-Roman world praised sex and women, particularly beautiful, young female goddesses, or korai. Did the early Christians not worship Jesus's mother Mary to the degree modern Christians do? Also, if women were held in such reverence in Roman society, why were they not allowed to vote or hold public office?
It is a historical half-truth — a fragment of the Christian lens of modern academia — to say that women were not allowed to vote or hold office in antiquity. For example, ancient priestesses were highly visible public authorities who presided over festivals and holidays, directed public performances, and were given titles that carried genuine civic, social and political power. The oracles alone, in places like Delphi and Dodona, granted permission for war campaigns, endorsed the founding of colonies, presided in cases of extreme judicial difficulty — like an ancient supreme court — and even practiced medicine. They also founded colleges where the first westerners were educated — they called them Museums. Priestesses initiated the overthrow of dictators, guided military expansion, and created careers for unheard of people like Socrates, a man who would have died in complete obscurity if not for the public endorsement of a certain female oracle. We believe women were oppressed in antiquity because our society concentrates power in the hands of voters and the officials they elect. We have no equivalent of the ancient priesthoods, with their extreme social and political influence, so we often fail to grasp the profound impact of women in the ancient world; we lack their perspective.
In modern times, the condemnation of abortion and birth control by Christian leaders makes sense as a political strategy, as it leads Christians to procreate at higher rates, potentially creating more followers. In a society like Rome that celebrated sex, would not the condemnation of sex and women be a huge tactical error in terms of enticing new followers and attempting to grow the religion?
As the pagans who lived during the rise of the early Church said, the draw of Christianity was its fear and exclusivity. Followers of Christianity, in its early years, were not born, they were forged in the fires of temptation. The idea of being bred into Christianity is distinctly post-classical. Nineteen centuries ago, Christians didn't enter the kingdom of heaven by post-natal sprinkling or baptism; they earned the right to sit next to the throne of God by rebuking the Devil and banishing desire. Birth control had nothing to do with Church recruitment in antiquity; it was all about indoctrination and the rejection of the "flesh." After all, (as the pagans pointed out) the Christians were preparing for the imminent return of their messiah and the wholesale slaughter of the Romans. Breeding the next generation of believers took a back seat to recruiting soldiers for Armageddon.
How does the ritual rape of boys by early Christian priests compare to the practices of pedophilia that occurred in the Greco-Roman world, such as in Sparta where older male mentors had sex with the boys they trained?
It's about consent. Laws and customs vary significantly from city to city but you can get into trouble in Greece and Rome for forced intercourse with any age group; you can even be prosecuted for forced sex with a slave. Children were especially protected; as a matter of fact, Artemis and Apollo, two of the most commonly celebrated gods of the ancient world, who had temple complexes everywhere, were the guardians of pre-pubertal children. If you assaulted a kid, you not only brought down the wrath of ancient civic judicial systems, but you could also be dealt with by the religious authorities and their own laws.
But again, the focus in the texts and the famous vase paintings seems to be on consent and post-pubertal goings-on. Ancient physicians even argued that teenage girls who did not have intercourse within the first few years of puberty ended up with psychological damage — so their sexual ethic is based on a natural model and therefore puberty and consent driven. However, assault ("hubris" in Greek) is assault, and what the Christian priests were forcing upon pubertal and pre-pubertal converts bears no resemblance whatsoever to what the Greeks and Romans did — and that's why the Christians were so afraid of the pagans finding out.
On page 103, you write, "Under [the priests'] direction, sexual abuse became a potent means of cementing doctrine in the psyche of new members by reinforcing their teachings with physical and mental trauma." If these priests were willing to physically and mentally brutalize these boys in attempt to save their souls from being contaminated by sex and women, why do you think these exorcists did not simply castrate these boys to achieve the same end?
Ancient priests, bishops and specialized exorcists attached to catechetical schools had to walk a very fine legal line. They were still members of the pagan societies in which they lived and the pagans had been complaining for many decades that the Christians did not respect their laws or their government. Pagans publicly condemned Christians and their leaders for their odd sexual behaviors and the priests — as we see in Cyril of Jerusalem — were forced to keep many of their activities on the down low; otherwise they could be prosecuted, as they freely admit. Origen, a leader of the Christian faith who was also associated with the catechetical school in Alexandria, cut his own dick off to avoid contaminating himself with a woman. Why didn't the early Church castrate en masse? Probably because the Romans had them under constant scrutiny and would have brought charges against them — as they did numerous times.
If sex and women were the ultimate evil to early Christians, why do you think satyrs became the visual archetype for Satan as opposed to a beautiful, young woman, which were depicted with even more abundance in Roman art? Similarly, why do you think women, as opposed to male exorcists, were not employed as the physical embodiment of Satan and used to molest these boys in order to imprint them with a negative association of women and sex?
It's all about beating the competition. When Christianity was young, it was competing with some very heavy religious hitters. Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Etruscans, Phoenicians, and many Middle Eastern cultures — including the Arabs — worshiped the ancient power couple known by the Greeks as Aphrodite and Dionysus. Pan and his rowdy satyrs — who promoted the use of a crazy, designer sex-drug concoction that contained opium, cannabis and hallucinogenic nightshade plants — were the popular guardian figures and functionaries of these universal cults; they promoted the veneration of the Queen of Heaven, or Aphrodite-Urania, the source of sexual desire in the world — Mother Nature, if you will. The symbols of their devotion were the huge erections they dragged around and the dildos that were actually used in their religious practices. It made perfect sense to the Christian authorities who steered Church doctrine that this horny, intoxicated half-goat figure was the obvious equivalent of their masculine woman tempting Devil. Pan and his satyrs literally got demonized so that pagan cult members, who competed with the Christians, could be absorbed by this new religion. It's all about beating the competition.
Considering how controversial this book is, why did you not include a list of bibliographic references at the end in order to point your objectors directly to the first hand evidence in their own doctrine? Was it just a matter of the cost of printing?
I did better than that. At the request of my editors I submitted footnotes with sources for my major assertions and the direct quotes used in the body of the text for the first manuscript. So why didn't the notes make the final cut? Ronin Press is well aware that footnotes, endnotes and references scare people away from books, and they knew that the findings of "Original Sin" were so important that they should be made available to the public at large — rather than the dozen or so academics who would have bothered to purchase a heavily referenced dissertation of the subject; if I had provided an analysis of all my sources, the fact that the early Christians ritually sodomized children would have been completely ignored. Ronin Press wanted the findings to reach the public; and I think they were right.
If humans are simply animals with oversized brains existing without a god, and such concepts as good and evil are only ideas, what does the repeated occurrence of child rape throughout history reveal about human nature?
I have no idea. Maybe some anthropology grad student should figure that out. All I can tell you from the texts I've studied is that child rape is an integral aspect of Christianity. As I work on the sequel to Original Sin, it's looking more and more like ritual rape was not even performed exclusively by pedophiles. What? Is that possible? Yes it is; ancient Christian priests actually believed their own theological justification for sodomizing children, and don't appear to have always acted out of prurience — they, like their victims, were motivated by fear. Don't get me wrong, some of them clearly enjoy talking about naked boys in a way that betrays they are pedophiles, but some seem to be just taken up by their faith. And if fucking a kid into heaven works, then I suppose they were just doing their jobs. What does that say about human nature?
Check out more on Original Sin: Ritual Child Rape & The Church at Ronin Press, and buy it on Amazon here.
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