Dalit Speak: Even in death we are apart, away and outcaste – Aleena

Christian priests and a Dalit priest

A Dalit ChristianAll Dalit Christians who came into the Christian fold in the whole of the 20th century were fooled by the fake promise of a spiritual Achha Din. – Aleena

For as long as I can remember, We and They were always different. “I knew I would lose my umbrella when these Pulaya women were standing here … what a bad omen they are,” exclaimed someone in church.

I was in Grade VIII when I heard this. It was all a pompous lie, the tale of the Holy Blood of Christ “healing” our discrimination. It was into deaf ears of the churches that the voice of Poykayil Yohannan made his point about this years ago. Our church has a striking majority of Dalits. The earnings of Protestant church priests are just a tenth of what their believers make in my church. But they can’t ever imagine a Syrian Christian priest living off the offerings of the majority Pulaya and Paraya members of this diocese. No way. That is how strong caste works within the community.

They are liars, as there is no text or manuscript that endorse or validates any racial or caste discrimination in the Bible [1] as in the Manusmriti or cultural history of Hinduism. They lie that they are free of such inhumane practices. They lie that their theological texts are epitomes of equality. All Dalit Christians who came into the fold in the whole of the 20th century were fooled by this fake promise of a spiritual Achha Din. Yes, the sense of caste or notion of caste was absent from the minds of the Dalits, but never had the Syrian Christians given up their pride over their Brahmin and Roman ancestry or their claim of purity of blood.

Just fact check how the Church shamed Dalits for their open support to the Dalit hartal that happened. They forgot that we were the same as how we were when we left the Hindu fold. We were always silenced from speaking up, all our rebellions inside the religion crushed. But not a pinch of this Church wrath was towards the pure blood theories and claims of pride of the Syrians, all that was perfectly Christian. Their pride in their Namboothiri (Hindu) origins were a thing of constant celebration, both for the Syrian Christians and for the Church. No theologist or good Samaritan would raise even a question against this pure blood and royal claims of these great families of the Syrian Christians.[2]

There is discrimination and exclusion right from the choir to the Holy Chairs of the Church. There are even separate prayer services and functions that would even put apartheid to shame. Even in death we are apart, away and outcast.

Very recently a reputed college in Kerala University, which was under the Christian management, rejected a thesis on Poykayil Appachan who was a great Dalit poet and philosopher reformist. They forced the student to edit out the attacks Appachan had launched on the Church. They were too weak to address the truth that he spoke out. The liberal ones who always spoke about caste in Hinduism were also rendered silent. Even Dalit organisations seldom addressed our needs as such.

Kerala government has included the Dalit Christians under Other Eligible Communities (OEC) category which excludes us from the direct benefits of the SC/ST reservation, rendering the whole community into social and economic backwardness. Dalits who constitute the majority of about 70 per cent of the Indian Christian population is given only less than seven per cent in the seats of power at the Church.[3] My mother always wanted to be a nun, but when someone who became one told her about the bad treatment and discrimination one would face, she backed off. But even now she says that she should have been a nun and she adds: “It will always be dreadful thing … aren’t our people already in a dreadful state anyway.” – The Indian Express, 1 June 2008

Notes

  1. For St. Paul on slavery see Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:22-25 & 4:1, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, and PhilemonSee also 1 Peter 2:18-25, which begins: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward.”
  2. The Syrian Christian claim of Namboodiri or Brahmin ancestry is fraudulent, an historical error at best. St Thomas did not come to Kerala and evangelise the Brahmins. He did not get further east that Parthia (Persia) where he established a church at Fars. The first record of Christian immigrants in Kerala is 345 CE, not earlier. And the first record of Namboodiris in Kerala is for Mezhathol Agnihothri,  born in 342 CE. Marxist historians place Namboodiri Brahmins in Kerala not earlier that 6th century CE (they apparently migrated south from the Himalayan foothills). That a Vedic Namboodiri would convert to the Syrian Thomas cult is an absurdity!
  3. Pope Gregory XV (1621-1623) sanctioned caste divisions within the Indian Church and his edict has never been rescinded. Earlier in 1599 the Council of Diamper and again in 1606 the Council of Goa had sanctioned the same. These edicts have governed Catholic practice ever since―though Christians piously maintain that caste is contrary to Christ’s teachings.

Dalits for Equal Rights in Churches

See also


 

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Indian churches conspire with Vatican to destabilise govt, says VHP – PTI

Surendra Jain

VHP LogoThe Vatican not only denigrates Hindus all over the world but also India as a nation, and Indian churches are acting as puppets in their hands. – VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain

Amidst veiled criticism of the Modi government by two archbishops, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today accused churches in India of conspiring with the Vatican as “contract killers to destabilise elected governments” and prop up the “puppet” ones.

Weeks within his Delhi counterpart stirred up a debate, the Archbishop of Goa and Daman Father Filipe Neri Ferrao on Monday wrote a letter to churches saying that the Constitution is in danger and most people are living in insecurity.

Reacting sharply to these letters, VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain said it is now amply clear that the “churches in India are in collusion with the Vatican and are trying to create an atmosphere of distrust against the present government.”

“On the contrary, Constitution of India is in danger because of the attacking political stand of the church and its agenda of religious conversions,” he alleged.

“This is not the church’s view-point, but a conspiracy to install governments which can run on the directions of the Vatican. Like the award-wapsi gang, the church too is acting like a contract killer to destabilise the elected governments,” Jain claimed—referring to a group of artists and academicians returning Pope Francis the Actorgovernment awards in protest of perceived intolerance.

He further said the Vatican not only denigrates the Hindus all over the world but also India as a nation and the Indian churches are acting as puppets in their hands.

“The same Church remains a mute spectator when emergency was imposed in the country, Kashmiri Hindus were brutally killed in the valley and Sikhs were butchered in the 1984 riots. For the Church, these events do not put the Constitution in danger,” Jain argued.

“Why does the Church behave in this fashion only when BJP-led government is in office,” he asked.

“A malicious campaign about attacks on churches was started by these people when Modiji took over as Prime Minister. When their falsehood was exposed, they did not show the courtesy of apologising for the same,” Jain added.

In a controversial letter addressed to all the churches in the national capital, the Archbishop of Delhi had last month said that there was a “turbulent political atmosphere” in the country which “threatens” democracy and secularism.

Archbishop Anil Couto, in his letter dated May 8, has also urged all the priests in Delhi to “pray for the country” ahead of the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha election, in which the BJP hopes to retain power.

“We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our constitution and the secular fabric of our nation,” Archbishop Couto had said in his letter.

The letter had triggered a sharp response from the ruling BJP. – The Times of India, 7 June 2018


Filipe Neri Ferrao

Read Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao’s ‘political’ letter to his parishioners HERE

Archbishop Couto is instigating a political conspiracy to destablise Bharat – C.I. Issac

Archbishop Anil Couto of New Delhi

C. I. IssacWhat is the moral right of a parochial and authoritarian Catholic Church to call its believers to pray for secular and democratic principles in our country? – Prof C.I. Issac 

Catholic Archbishop of Delhi Anil J. T. Couto, through a pastoral letter of  May 8th—which was released on  May 12th—calls its laity for prayer campaign—an undeclared civil war?—ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. No doubt, it is an ecclesiastical political melodrama. Anyhow, it should be taken seriously. Consider it as an early warning. His provocative call is for reciting of prayers as a political game until the next general election, with fast and performing of the Eucharistic adoration (Holy Mass) of the faithful of every parish, is not an ignorable move.

It is a calculated one and part of an international conspiracy against a nation and its people. Above all, it is an order to generate chaos and an insecurity in the nation as well as to defame the Hindu nation with a time-honoured tradition of democracy and peaceful coexistence of religions (upasana systems). The only available weapon of the Archbishop in the Indian specific situation has been unsheathed well through the “pastoral letter”. He knows well the pastoral letter’s power in the Indian scenario. This weapon was tested in Kerala successfully several times, including during the “liberation struggle” against the first democratically elected Communist ministry of Kerala during 1958. Even though the Indian Communists are suffering from amnesia, to the students of history it is a significant milestone in the annals of our history.

The Vatican is a 110 acre sovereign state which is ruled by an absolute monarch, the Pope. Catholic Church is the only religious organisation ruled by a hierarchical structure and has no relevance to democratic principles. This hierarchy is not answerable to any terrestrial authorities, especially in India. But they are being derogatory of the Indian democracy. While talking of India they forget the excesses committed through the Inquisition Court. The Church burned thousands of innocent children and women through the court. The people of Goa have a lot to say about the atrocities of the Church. Francis Xavier was the man solely responsible for the establishment of the Inquisition Court at Goa in 1560, under which Hindu women were raped and burnt alive and the Hindu temples were demolished. (Kanayalal M. Talreja, Holy Vedas and Holy Bible, New Delhi, 2000, p. 170).

So far the Church has not tendered an apology for this excess. Then what is right of the Church to talk about secularism? Is Vatican a secular country? If they are secularist why can’t they invite other religion to Vatican? Why they are not allowing the construction of a mosque or Protestant church or synagogue or temple in Vatican? Are they truly secular? Then what is the locus standi of the Delhi Bishop’s blame on the Indian democracy? No doubt, it is “his master’s voice”.

Then what is the moral right of the Church’s call to its believers to pray for guiding our country in which the poor, tribal and Dalits are considered and respected with  equal dignity.

This pastoral letter is prima facie against the spirit of Bible and teachings of Jesus. Jesus was against religious interference in the politics. Without any hesitation, he cleared this question, “Well, then, pay the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17). Catholic Church from the days of Rome’s conversion to Christianity (325 CE) blatantly interfered in politics. Ecclesiastical interference resulted in the “struggle between empire and papacy”.  After the Italian unification, Pope lost his small name-sake kingdom. From 1861 to 1929 Papacy reduced to ecclesiastical status. For regaining the lost statehood of Vatican, Pope Pius XI opposed Communism and supported all cruelties of Benito Mussolini and his Fascism. Finally, on February 11, 1929, the Lateran (Palace) Treaty between the Holy See (Pope) and the Kingdom of Italy was signed by Benito Mussolini, prime minister of Italy, on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III and by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri for Pope Pius XI.

Hereafter, the Pope became a ruler as seen today. As a gratitude for it, later popes forced to be loyal to the dictators of the day. Pope Pius XII supported the butchering of six million Jews by Hitler and justified Hitler’s invasion in Russia as a “gallant action in the defense of foundation of Christian culture.” The Church justified this stand until 1998. Finally in 1998 the Vatican was forced to apologise to Israel for its eunuch policy towards Hitler’s Jew hunting. (March 17, 1998, Washington Post).

Church and Dalits

Delhi Bishop’s concern about Muslims, tribals, Dalits and the concern of equality are thought-provoking. Hence, he ignores the Church’s approach towards Dalits, tribals in the Christian majority states of India. Untouchable churches are very popular in these areas. “Their churches had started out by encouraging converts from low castes, but after some time Syrian Christians could not stomach former untouchables sitting side by side with them on the same pews, and there had been a cleavage. Now, there were separate churches at some places, though converts were still admitted.” (Nirmala Aravind, Video, a Fridge and a Bride (novel), p. 181).

Bishop’s observation of Indian situation of a “turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation” is a hypocritical one. His lamentation for the cause of Muslims is not sincere but intended to inflame communal turbulence. He is well aware of the condition of Christianity under the Muslim regimes from the medieval times onwards. But he is closing his eyes towards this reality in order to destabilise and balkanise mother India.  Is he satisfied with the condition of Christians in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Middle East, Egypt, China or in the Protestant Countries? Are they better than Hindu India? The freedom to issue such pastoral letter is sufficient proof of the religious freedom guaranteed by all tolerant Hindus.

The image of the Catholic Church in general, particularly in India now-a-days, is at its lowest ebb. Sr. Jesme (52), Congregation of Mother Carmel Convent (CMC), Principal of St. Marys College quit her 30 years nun life in 2008 on the ground of licentious life of in the nunneries, harassment and mental torture. She was in distress out of the “licentious life of priests and nuns”. (Sr. Jesme, Amen: The Autobiography of a Nun).

Paedophilia is the worst virus which hounds the Church all over the world.  Pope Benedict XVI accepted this truth and confessed “shock to me and great sadness”. Pope Francis started the trial of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski (65), a Polish cleric on a charge of paedophilia.  He was placed under house arrest. He was defrocked in June. He had abused minors during 2008-13. He was charged with two counts: sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography. The Christian Priests in India are not above this viciousness.

The vote-bank and money power of the Church bail them out of all sins of the priests and nuns. It is the exclusive Catholic tradition that priest in the Church should be chronic bachelors. Unfortunately, the sky is the limit of their licentious life. Check and balance system of the Church do not function effectively and they are not answerable either to laity or god or inside the hierarchy of the Church. If they are in need of money, they would fulfil their requirements by looting the laity. – Organiser, 28 May 2018

» C.I. Issac is a retired Professor of History, Vice-President of the Bhartheeya Vichara Kendram, Thiruvananthapuram, and member of the Indian Council of Historical Research..

Sri Lankan Catholic priests demonstrate in support of LTTE leader Prabhakaran


 

Architects of the communal divide and the 2019 general elections – George Augustine


Anil Couto - Oswald Gracias

Dr Swamy's Tweet

George AugustineUntil the rise of Narendra Modi, Hindu culture was looked down upon, derided and made fun of by the Western imperial establishment with whom the erstwhile ruling elite in India colluded. … The fate of “pagan” India will be decided in the 2019 elections. Much will depend on how far Modi can hold together the unity that he has forged across religious and caste barriers and how much more he can inculcate a pride in the Hindu nation among ordinary countrymen regardless of their personal faiths. – George Augustine

Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto’s letter to Catholics dated May 8, 2019 (see below), to “pray for democracy” and exhorting his flock to defeat Hindu forces is a battle cry that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party should take to heart very closely. Archbishop Couto is a representative of the most undemocratic organisation in the world and the agent of an alien nation state, the Vatican, which has imperial designs in its operational manifesto. The Christian call for battle bodes ill for India’s democracy and for its majority Hindus.

The strategy of communal divide

For the ruling elite in any nation, democracy or not, keeping the majority in the grip of unrefined, primeval sentiments always pays well. If a sizeable group of people has grown beyond the basic earthly needs, showing carrots stops working and more is asked for. The easiest way is to create quarrels among themselves or with others. Divide people and it pays!

The “divide and rule” tactic the British imperialists experimented with by promoting political divisions between Hindus and Muslims in India is a case study in itself. The British adopted it as a legitimate strategy to govern India and when it was time to leave, divided the country into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India as a parting shot, leaving behind the misery of millions who perished in the tragic consequences without shedding a tear. It ensured that the sub-continent could never remain in peace in the background of the then Cold War and the shadow of a collective Imperial West headed by the USA.

Wherever there is a  livid, non-healing laceration among humankind, like India-Pakistan, Israel-Palestine, Northern Ireland (where a tall wall keeps the peace), and so on, orchestrated divisions are the sores that fester. Where there is no religious divide, comes sectarianism like Sunni-Shia and Protestant-Catholic. Ethnic divisions also play a role like Kurds who want Kurdistan for themselves.

Global phenomenon

Communal or religious divides are nurtured in almost every country, and this accounts for most of the human conflicts taking place around the globe. Where communal divides were not possible (as in Palestine before 1948), the Imperial West imported Jews into the new Israel and made sure they were created.

Not many people know that the co-founder of geo-political strategy, H.J. Mackinder, had envisaged the Jewish settlers in Palestine around half a century before the imperialists implemented it. Mackinder would nod satisfactorily in his grave with the goings-on at the present-day White House, with Trump upping the ante for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a spot Mackinder thought was the “navel” on the world map and very important to occupy to control the world.

So, communal divides are necessary all around, for the local leaders as well as for imperialists of all hues whose mortal eyes focus steadfastly on the planet’s resources and for the ultimate control of the world.

Religious divide in India

Distinguished from other countries, India is unique for its high population of Hindus, which phenomenon one cannot come across anywhere else (barring Nepal). There is some kind of contention among scholars and the intelligentsia about the status of Hindus as a religious group, for such is the variety of spiritual endeavour among them—ranging from brainy philosophies and staunch atheists up to the Semitic kind of no-evidence believers who faithfully enact blood sacrifices on a regular basis.

I prefer to call all the Hindus just pagans or heathens or infidels, because that is precisely what their self-proclaimed spiritual enemies such as the Christians and Muslims call them and who have been trying for more than 1500 years to annihilate them, prompted by their respective scriptural injunctions to get rid of them from the face of the earth, instigating their headless footmen by blessing this heinous act as a major religious duty. These scriptures are still deemed “holy” by faithful Christians and Muslims.

In the shadow of these primeval scriptural injunctions, the communal divide in India looks substantial, particularly when religious ideologies divide the human species on the basis of belief systems. Though the Hindus (pagans) amount to nearly 80 per cent of the country’s population, they are outnumbered by Muslims and Christians the world over. The dwindling population of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh in recent times as well as the massacre of scores of Hindus in Myanmar by Rohingya Muslim terrorists in August 2017 (all Hindu countries some centuries ago) in their bid to change their pagan status, indicates that the dynamic scriptural forces of the Abrahamic religions still form a paramount factor in India as well.

Two hundred years of British education in India have made sure that the prejudice against the pagans and the “divide and rule” policy continued to flourish in India. The electoral divides between Hindu and Muslim were carefully nurtured by the Indian polity, since it fetched easy dividends for the ruling party. Add to it another kind of divide they deftly engineered within the Hindus, the so-called low castes and high castes, and the ruling Congress party continued to rule India for 60 years.

This political and social situation was aided and abetted by external forces, mostly through missionary enterprise, which controlled the health care and social welfare organisations, and sometimes funded by imperial spying agencies as in the North East of India. The control of the media and an education system that glorified the [Abrahamic] worldview demeaning the pagans and their worldview also reinforced this power structure, and most educated Hindus themselves were seemingly embarrassed to be pagans at all, so much so that many of these Hindus themselves joined their rivals and engaged heartily in periodic journalistic blitzkriegs around the world that regularly put to shame their own Hindu culture and civilisation before a Abrahamically inclined world audience.

Rise of Hindu nationalism 

A radical change in the political and social scene in India took place with the rise of Narendra Damodardas Modi to power under the banner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a party which came into being in 1980. Modi became successful only because he could unify people across communal lines. In Gujarat where Modi ruled for three terms as chief minister, a substantial number of Muslims regularly voted for his party despite the bloody riots that heralded his reign, which found them at the wrong end of the stick. The bloody riots followed the Godhra massacre where a criminal crowd killed more than 50 pagans, most of them women and kids. But the point to note is that Modi’s Gujarat has never seen a single Hindu-Muslim riot in more than one and half decades, a record none of the previous governments in Gujarat ever managed.

Until the rise of Narendra Modi, Hindu culture was looked down upon, derided and made fun of (like the Hindu rate of economic growth) by the Western imperial establishment with whom the erstwhile ruling elite in India colluded in and joined in the ridicule. The rise of Modi saw the rise of Hindu nationalism like never before. Young men and women, among them many Muslims and Christians, began to come out in public with pride in their eyes and fire in their hearts chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.

Many of these people from the minority religions identified with their ancestral culture, which was still the culture of the majority. The opposition had no answer to this unexpected pride of young people in the old pagan glory and they were shell-shocked. The opposition began to lose one election after the next, so that BJP now rules in over 20 states. However, the opposition is finding new bearings, starting to play new tricks at their old game of divide and divide. Their combined strength is still short of beating the BJP in most places in India, but they are garnering strength from external sources.

One of the mainstays of the opposition has always been the clergymen of Islam and Christianity who colluded with them against the majority pagans whenever they got an opportunity. The existence of nearly a billion Hindus in India today might look like a miracle for religious researchers who can rarely find old pagans anywhere else, but for the professional practitioners of Islam and Christianity, the rise of Hindu nationalism heralds not only a road block for their conversion enterprise, but also the thwarting of their religious mandate as commissioned by their scriptures. On top of it, they also have to answer their minders in places such as Saudi Arabia and the Vatican.

Vatican’s challenge

Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto’s battle cry should be taken as Vatican throwing down the gauntlet, considering the hierarchical discipline of its officials. Hindus have taken the challenge calmly in their characteristic fashion, but this should be taken as a serious warning from the international Christian establishment.

The fate of “pagan” India will be decided in the 2019 elections. Much will depend on how far Modi can hold together the unity that he had been steadily forging across religious and caste barriers and how much more he can inculcate a pride in the Hindu nation among ordinary countrymen regardless of their personal faiths. The motley crowd that have become the opposition is very dangerous indeed considering the media machinery at their disposal, backed by most of the big names in the West and the enormous funds at their disposal from external sources.

Though the guidelines for cow slaughter have been enshrined in the Indian Constitution and had not been brought in by Modi, we can expect more “beef controversies”, “murderous Hindu gangs” and “Hindu rapes” to make the headlines in The Washington PostThe New York Times and the likes. The faster Hindus accept that the 2019 general election is ultimately a showdown between pagans versus Abrahamics, who form the rest of the world, the quicker they will have a grip on the situation. – Vijayvaani, 27 May 2018

» George Augustine is an Indian author and translator who works in Germany.

Anil Couto's Letter

Couto's Prayer

Lingayat EvangelizationNB: The letter above attributed to the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Oswald Cardinal Gracias of Mumbai, has NOT been authenticated by this website.

 

Dr Swamy asks Government to snap ties with Vatican – Ankit Prasad

St Peter's Square & Subramanian Swamy
Ankit PrasadDr Subramanian Swamy has implored Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to cease all diplomatic relations with the Vatican – Ankit Prasad

BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subramanian Swamy has taken strong exception to the Delhi Archbishop’s controversial letter that highlights ‘turbulent political times’ and calls for people to pray for the country, as well as his subsequent comments.

Taking to Twitter, Dr Subramanian Swamy has implored Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to cease all diplomatic relations with the Vatican—the seat of (Catholic) Christianity. Further, Dr Swamy wants the Vatican’s embassy in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri to be sealed as the Archbishop of Delhi is a formal nominee of the Vatican.

Dr Swamy's Tweet

Dr Swamy’s tweet follows a massive controversy being triggered by Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto who on May 8, just days before the Karnataka elections, wrote a letter with political overtones where he said: “We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation.”

His letter (see copy below) went on to mention the 2019 General Elections and he requested that a day of fast be observed each Friday for the spiritual renewal of the nation.

He went on to provide a “Prayer For Our Nation” (see copy below).

Speaking to Republic TV on Tuesday, Anil Couto defended his actions and gave confirmation that they had to do with the “current context”. He listed “pressure on the judiciary and interference in educational institutions” but maintained that he wasn’t targeting the government. He said that the Church wasn’t interfering but it had a role to play.

BJP party president Amit Shah broke his silence on the matter while addressing a news briefing on Tuesday evening when he said that nobody would galvanise support on the basis of religion.

“I personally believe that no one should say things like this. For a religious person to make such comments cannot be accepted and appreciated”, Amit Shah said.

On the other hand, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has backed the Archbishop and his letter, saying:

“We respect all communities, castes, and Archbishops across the country, including that of Kolkata. I think whatever they said, they correctly said. It’s a fact.”

» Article and images from Republic TV, Mumbai, 23 May 2018. Ankit Prasad writes on politics, economy and business.

 

Archbishop Couto's Letter

Catholic Prayer

See also


Church asks Catholics to fast and pray for a new government in 2019 – Sanghamitra

Narendra Modi & Anil Couto

SangamitraThe deep-rooted hatred and rampant condescension Christian organisations show against India and its civilisational heritage is often astounding. – Sanghamitra

The Archbishop of Delhi, Anil Couto, has issued a letter to the Catholics in India. The letter, which was read in all the parishes under the Delhi Archdiocese calls for the Catholics of India to start a campaign of fasting and prayers for the upcoming general elections in 2019. The letter reportedly starts with claiming, “Praying for the country and its political leaders all the time has been a ‘hallowed practice’ in the Archdiocese and it has become all the more important as we approach the general elections.” The letter calls all the Catholics to observe a day of fast on Fridays and an hour of prayers till the next elections.

It is important to note here that the Archdiocese of Delhi is considered to be the face of Catholics in India and the Archbishop holds considerable influence over the Catholic population of the country. Couto hails from Goa and was the bishop of Jalandhar before being appointed as the Archbishop of Delhi in 2013.

The letter states that the prayers, fast and penance should all be offered for the ‘spiritual renewal of our nation’. The prayer that it contained called for God’s grace to always uphold in highest esteem’ the dreams of our founding fathers’ and the values of our constitution that are equality, liberty and fraternity.

So far one might consider that though it is odd for a priest to be so concerned with the general elections, the letter sounds harmless. But wait till we see how The Vatican News has presented it. The website’s article covering the Archbishop’s letter states, “The five-year term of the federal government led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ends in May 2019.” It does not stop at that. It goes ahead to add that “Christian leaders have accused the government led by PM Modi of tacitly supporting Hindu groups working to establish a Hindu Nation ignoring the interests of religious and ethnic minorities.” The article further claims that according to Christian groups, attacks on Christians rose after Modi came to power and have spiralled in recent years. The Archbishop has reportedly written, “We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our constitution and the secular fabric of our nation.” His letter also reportedly asked the people to “bless the nation with the revival of gospel values.”

For organisations that claim that maintenance of the secular fabric of the nation is their only concern, the hatred against BJP and particularly PM Narendra Modi is far too apparent. Not just the general elections, the Church has been far too concerned about many state elections too. Before the Gujarat elections, the Gandhinagar Archbishop sent a similar communique which urged the Christians to save the country from “nationalistic forces”. Before the Nagaland Assembly elections, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council had also urged the believers to choose between “Trishul and the Cross.” The Trishul was not their only concern either. In one earlier instance, they had called Yoga a deeply Hindu practice and had asked their believers to stay away from it. Before the Goa elections, a Catholic magazine asked the voters in the state not to vote for the BJP and claimed that the country is facing a “constitutional holocaust”.

As far as Anil Couto is concerned, he is not new to playing victim politics. He had condemned and cried “religious intolerance” and anti-Christian mentality on random crimes and petty incidents that were fanned by national and international media as “Church attacks”. Be it the Vasant Kunj church vandalism incident or the Dilshad Garden, he had created a hue and cry over the same narrative of Christians and minorities being under attack that is so loved by our secular, liberal media. The fact that the “attack” incidents were the cases of kids playing/petty theft/drunk vandalism and no pattern or communal angle was ever found over these incidents was never acknowledged by the Catholic Church organisations. In fact, Anil Couto was in a celebratory mood when the AAP won the Delhi Assembly Elections. He even hailed AAP’s victory as a result of BJP’s inability to control the Church attacks.

The way the entire “Church attack” narrative was played was spectacular in itself. Even Obama mentioned it while visiting India. This was not the only fake propaganda after all. The whole “Muslim lynching” and “semen balloon” narratives were also peddled in the same way.

While fake hypes and false propaganda by vested interests is not new in any country’s politics, it is quite disturbing when the Catholic Church, of all people and organisations, starts pontificating (pun intended) on issues like equality and upliftment of Dalits and care of the marginalised. When it comes to the helpless and marginalised, the Catholic Church is one of the leading offenders of child sexual abuse all over the world. The worst victims of their wide network of abuse are almost always poor, marginalised kids from socio-economically backward families left in their care. Yet, how many instances are there when the Archdiocese of Delhi, which has so many opinions to give on political power plays and elections, spoken about the Dalit kids in India being abused by their priests? None. Did the Archdiocese call for penance and prayers for their own priests who turn paedophiles and rapists? Never.

The deep-rooted hatred and rampant condescension these organisations show against India and civilisational heritage is often astounding. Notice in the words of the letters how it talks about “spiritual renewal”. The underlying hatred towards indigenous practices of spirituality could not have been more apparent. The Archbishop perhaps forgets that it is India that has given Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism to the world, including the practices of yoga and meditation. So talking about spiritual renewal while worrying over the rise of a Hindu-nationalist party is a bit much.

Apart from the usual tactics of propaganda peddling and fear mongering, it is also unnerving that how such narratives peddled by politically biased individuals are not seen through by the media. Have there been any instances of a government-sponsored drive against any particular religion or community in our country under the BJP rule? No. In the holocaust these people keep citing so often, Jews were driven by the thousands into gas chambers to be killed. Thousands of Sikhs were massacred under the Congress rule. Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits were rendered homeless in their own country under the Congress rule, Then why is it that it is the BJP which is termed communal? Is there any clause in our constitution that bars any citizen of any religion from enjoying the freedom and opportunities a democratic republic offers? no. Then maybe it is the fear of the usual anti-Hindu anti-India propagandas failing to cast the intended effects that have driven these elements to a corner. With the advent of social media and an increasingly politically aware young generation rising in the country, the tried and tested smokescreens are being torn apart and the lies are being exposed. Perhaps that is the reason new terminology and new garbs for the agenda is being invented.

There is nothing wrong in a community observing fast or indulging in prayers, but when the fastings and prayers are directed to be done so that a certain political party loses and a certain party wins, it becomes ridiculous. Hopefully, the Christians of our country will see through the propaganda and vote smart, not according to the political inclinations of their priests. – OpIndia, 21 May 2018

» Sanghamitra is a reader, writer, and dreamer.

Catholic women in procession in India


Evangelising the Lingayats – Cardinal Oswald Gracias to Archbishop Bernard Moras

Oswald Gracias & Bernard Moras

The letter below is from Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, to Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore. The letter is unverified and published here in good faith. – Admin

Lingayat Evangelization

Lingayat Evangelization