By Joshua T. Dies
The recently self-published "Vatican Conspiracy Theory" promises to shock and disturb the reader with dramatic new evidence concerning HIV+ priests and the Vatican’s cover-up, but what you actually get when open the book is a load of crap.
Eric Bepots, the pen name for the “author” of this drivel, opens the book with the phrase “what you will read is merely a collection of facts, historical, circumstantial and case file documents all pertaining to problems plaguing the Catholic Church and that will continue to plague the Catholic Church. Disturbing, yes; undeniable, no." Unfortunately what I read was page after page making the exact same allegations over and over and over – but not one shred of solid proof other than facts about the end of one man’s life.
I want to believe his allegations. When the recent firestorm erupted in the Catholic Church involving the repeated cases of clergy abuse, centuries of denial came crashing down. It’s easy to give credibility to a story that sounds similar to hundreds more you’ve read about in the past decade. Maybe the problem is the author assumes you’ll believe what he’s feeding you. And if the allegations are true, my heart truly goes out to this man and what he’s had to go through. Perhaps in these modern times, with "A Thousand Little Pieces" turning out to be a thousand little fibs, my naiveté has finally been broken. I want to see some proof. Not only does Bepots fail to prove the case, he doesn’t even bother trying to prove the allegations that start the whole mess in the first place.
His claim goes something like this: in 1977, a then 16-year-old Bepots accepted a ride from a man he’d seen around town and assumed to be a priest. At the man’s apartment, he alleges he was coerced into having alcohol that he claims was drugged. When he awoke, the man was raping him. He leaves. Fast forward to 1991, when Bepots is diagnosed as HIV+. Through research, he learns that the man he believes raped him has recently passed away – he believes of AIDS related causes, although he offers no proof other than sketchy corroboration. Fast forward another ten years, and Bepots contacts an attorney with intent to sue the Vatican. However, the attorneys are making millions of dollars off settlements that the Vatican is quick to offer when cases of abuse are pursued. The attorneys, he alleges, drop the ball in their representation and coerce him into signing a settlement for $490,000.
Now that you’ve read the synopsis – you’ve basically read the book. The first ten or so pages are essentially, through his own admission, information he’s pulled from the Internet. The next hundred is page after page of legal documents that all say almost exactly what I stated in the synopsis. However, not one of these documents has any damning evidence to any party involved. Newspaper obituaries, standard contracts, a spattering of bitchy e-mails and you’ve got the entire case in your hands. And when that falls apart, I start to look at the broader picture. He cannot prove his lawyers misrepresented him. He cannot prove the Vatican was involved with the failure of his case. He cannot prove he got HIV from the priest. He cannot prove he was raped by the priest. This proves a global conspiracy? I think not. I sincerely hope that the name Eric Bepots is retired forever and never again spoken in polite circles. Regrettably, the author also promises this to be the first in a series. First in a series of what? Photocopies of the contents of your filing cabinet? Is your DVD instruction manual also responsible for the global spread of AIDS?