FEBRUARY 11, 2013/UPDATED FEBRUARY 12 AND 14, 2013
An Indian Pontiff? God forbid!
Why some Indian Catholics do not want an Indian Pontiff
One momentous day in March 2013, Indian Catholics reach for their newspapers or turn on their TVs to learn what the whole world, the Church as well as her enemies, has been eagerly waiting to hear, the results of the decisive ballot cast by 117* Cardinal electors to elect the new Vicar of Rome as indicated by the white smoke that emanated a few hours earlier from a Vatican chimney that had been the focus of global attention for a few days. The news had already gone viral on the Internet by email and on social networking sites even before the final wisp of white smoke had dissipated in the Roman winter air, and editors of Catholic media, both progressive as well as conservative, secular talk shows and tabloids and rags, were feverishly putting the finishing touches to their already drafted outlines of their takes on the future direction of the single most influential organization in the world, the Church of Rome. For several weeks, speculation had been rife, and now they all knew, after hearing the Latin announcement made to the teeming crowds in St. Peter’s Square:
“Habemus Papam Indianum” – “We have an Indian Pope”
Shortly thereafter, after the traditional bells of St. Peter’s had oddly gone silent, the new Pontiff appeared on a balcony in the Vatican to give his first message to the world.
“Pontiff” is a title more acceptable than “Pope” to the land that has given the Church her first Indian Pope. The Shankaracharyas of the five Hindu mutts are often called “Pontiffs” by the media.
The new Pontiff’s entrée was heralded by the beating of dholaks to the accompaniment of flutes, the blowing of conches, and the distinctive, tinny sound of the small bells common to temple circumambulation.
His right hand was raised in the upadesa mudra, conveying a guru imparting what he has himself gained through yogic meditation – “enlightenment”; the other held a trident, the trishul of the deity Shiva, instead of the customary crozier or bent pastoral staff styled after a shepherd’s crook or the one topped by a crucifix. Suspended from the new Pontiff’s extended right hand was a rudraksha mala, worn by holy men, the Hindu equivalent of the rosary, the rudraksh beads signifying the tears of Shiva. Another Hindu sacred symbol, the ubiquitous “OM”, adorned the papal mitre. His forehead marked horizontally with a three-stripe mixture of turmeric or saffron and sandalwood paste and a circular red tilak or bindi, he positioned himself as the truly inculturated catholic Satguru who accepts that religions are but different paths to the divine.
Clad in ochre robes, the sacred colour of Hinduism, his fascia or stole decorated with swastika motifs, again a Hindu symbol, he spoke fluently in Sanskrit, the holy language of Hindu priests, in deference to the majority religion of his native land and in the spirit of accommodation and interfaith dialogue.
To be seen as even more inclusive, he used a few sentences of Arabic, the language of the Koran, and Urdu, understood by many of the India’s Muslims. His discourse — which sounded suspiciously like Obama-care spiel — engaged on the need for an urgent review of the Church’s 2,000-year-old stand on some thorny moral issues [the new Pontiff referred to them as “public health programs”] that did not jell with twenty-first century secularism and with the aspirations of progressives and liberals within the Church.
His delivery commenced and concluded with the invocation “Om, Shanti, Om”, with a couple of “Allahoakbar”s thrown in for good measure when thanking the Supreme Being and his former fellow-Cardinals for the favorable voting that led to the triumph of the progressives and modernists over the conservatives and orthodox who had hopelessly clung to traditional mores and held to outdated ideas of sin. The Church had after all to be in sync with the changing times, he explained.
Of course, a lot remained to be done in the Vatican and worldwide, India itself having already largely been attended to since the famous April 25, 1969, “12 Points of Adaptation” were cleared by Archbishop Annibale Bugnini; in fact so much needed to be changed — and quick — that a Vatican Council was deemed necessary.
To ensure that such sweeping reforms in the Church would be approved at Vatican Council III, a number of red hats from Asia who would concur with the mind of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India which wields considerable influence with the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, needed to be appointed.
After all there were still many Benedict XVI loyalists like Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith Patabendige of Sri Lanka who abhorred the very thought of a progressive, inclusive, syncretised Catholicism.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, there were more immediate concerns. The confederates of the new Pontiff had informally convened to secure the safety of the nascent New Church Order. Only, this time around it would not have to be surreptitious and sneak out of theologates and convents with the help of sympathetic bishops; it would instead be officially sanctioned by the Pontiff and his coterie of red hats already in place.
The inaugural Mass, which would be televised worldwide, must herald the new trends in the Church.
The Sacred Liturgy would have to be given a makeover. Indo-Asian liturgists and theologians had to be short-listed and rushed to Rome. Latin, Gregorian chant and the pipe organ had to give way to Carnatic music and Indian musical instruments that supported it and the bhajans that would be sung, OMs and all.
Experts in the squatting Mass, arati and bharatanatyam dancing for the liturgy would have to be consulted.
Suitable sacred scriptures of other major world religions would have to be selected, and it would be a good idea if they could be proclaimed by priests of the respective faiths at the new Pontiff’s inaugural Mass.
Ad-libbing and improvising on the rubrics would not pose a problem since clerics had being doing it with increasing expertise and daring for decades. So, too, the citing of other religious texts during the homily.
A few women theologians and feminists might have to be accommodated at the altar as a prelude to their being ordained deacons, priests and bishops. Poor things had been discriminated against enough for years.
With that issue sensibly dealt with, it would be pointless to discriminate against other minorities by excluding gays from the priesthood and banning same-sex marriages, or by insisting on priestly celibacy.
If the “shortage of priests” problem was not solved by the ordination of women, there was always the possibility of recognizing that, after all, the community may be perceived as a priesthood of believers who become co-celebrants at Holy Mass, having the authority and power to transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. Self-intinction and intercommunion would then no longer be abuses.
True, it would not be easy street, but with fresh intellectual talent infused into the Church worldwide by reinstating banned and excommunicated liberal theologians, restoring honour to those till now regarded as dissenters [formerly a euphemism for heretics] and appointing as bishops, presidents of Pontifical Councils, and prefects of the Congregations of the Holy See those who would be positively disposed to ushering in a New Order in the Church, the convening of Vatican Council III would guarantee the rest.
A modified Pope-mobile would be called a rath, and the Pope’s pastoral journeys called yatras.
Traditional Church architecture had to be carefully re-examined. The CBCI’S NBCLC temple in Bangalore was a pioneering work whose approval by the Indian bishops had to be emulated globally.
Embarrassingly exclusivist Catholic representations, especially in and on church buildings, would have to go in order to showcase the new aggiornamento leading up to and extending beyond Vatican Council III.
Icons of Hindu and other pagan deities presented to the Popes over the centuries and reposed in the Vatican museum would have to be moved into view in all Roman basilicas, including St. Peter’s.
The kalasam [pot in which the temple deity resides], already adorning the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India’s NBCLC temple in Bangalore, could authentically replace the cross on top of some Vatican churches.
Wax candles must definitely be replaced by the tall oil-fired OM-topped kuthuvilakku [Tamil] also called nilavilakku [Malayalam], and smaller Indian-style oil lamps.
The lingam and yantras could be incorporated as per experiments already successfully conducted in India.
Liturgical vestments had to be redesigned to blend in with the new environment; an important inclusion would be the angavastram or shawl. Turbans and pagdis, if found practical, could replace the medieval skull-caps. Indian Jesuits and the gurus of Indian Catholic ashrams would be the experts to be consulted considering their decades of experience in blending in inconspicuously with the people.
A dhvaja sthambam made of five metals would be erected in St. Peter’s Square to fly the papal flag [which of course, along with the papal coat of arms, needed radical changes to its authoritarian symbolism].
The new Pontiff’s solid gold pectoral cross and “Fisherman’s Ring” would have to be replaced by panchalogam or panchaloha which,
in the superstitious Hindu tradition,
consists of five metals combined in specifically laid down proportions and circumstances as prescribed in the Sastras and which he would have to commence wearing on an auspicious day. Five-metal Nataraja icons could be sourced from Indian priests.
Traditionally Catholic stained glass work in churches would be replaced by contemporary modern art forms juxtaposed with iconography from other religions till only recently regarded as pagan; Hinduism would be a leading source considering the unmatched expertise of Indian Catholic clerics in that field. After all, many priests and even a bishop or two had completed their doctoral theses on Hindu saints, finding them as imitable as canonized saints of the Catholic Church and citing their teachings at every opportunity.
In the true spirit of ecumenism, preachers of other Christian denominations and self-proclaimed mystics — Vassula Ryden of the Greek Orthodox church, for example, already popular with two Cardinals and several bishops — would be encouraged to promote their teachings among Catholics. Naturally, the 1995 CDF Notification on her must be revoked. An Indian bishop had already pronounced her automatic handwriting as genuinely from God when he had given her books the Nihil Obstat in 2005 and the Cardinals who had endorsed her activities in their archdioceses on several occasions had understood years ago that the Vatican was wrong in declaring the opposite.
The possibility would have to be examined of constituting a new dicastery to regularise and promote the Catholic Ashrams movement which presently operates through the National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre [NBCLC] which is under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
That these ashrams are considered by a few orthodox Catholics to be hotbeds of heresy and New Age and from where there are strident calls for an autonomous Indian church, and where the Holy Mass is already replaced by a parody of it, would no longer be an issue once Catholics were taught by Rome that the Church must no longer stick out like a sore thumb but instead be fully absorbed into the local culture so as to be indistinguishable as a unique faith. The main barrier to total integration into the national ethos, according to some Indian theologians, is the Eucharist. As some ashram leaders have succinctly explained, people of other faiths feel alienated because they are excluded from receiving Communion and the solution to that impasse is to have people “meditate” together. In anticipation, Catholic ashrams routinely give Communion to the public regardless of their religion, convictions or dispositions at their squatting Masses.
The practice of meditation is so inclusive; it is so non-confrontational and so acceptable to all.
That ashram meditation is nothing else but the Hindu discipline of yoga only proves that the Church, in the spirit of openness of Vatican II, is quite capable of integrating into her spirituality the good that she sees in other religions. Thumbs down to the unenlightened Catholic minority that holds that yoga is a Hindu spiritual exercise. Popularising yoga, pranayama and surya namaskar in the universal Church would not a walkover as a large number of Indian priests, bishops and Cardinals, are seasoned yoga enthusiasts.
With declining vocations around the world and the increasing export of Indian religious and priests to meet the ever-growing demands, the Indophile lobby is assured of success in the promotion of their Hinduised spirituality. Roving liturgical teams from the NBCLC, Bangalore, Bharatanatyam dance troupes from Kalai Kaveri, Trichy, and itinerant priests schooled in yogic spirituality have already introduced parishes and schools across Australia, Canada, Europe and the U.S. to the nuances of the Indian Rite Mass with arati, use of Hindu scriptures, OM chanting and dancing in the sanctuary, and their books on yogic meditation.
THE BACKGROUND, AND THE FUTURE
Pope Benedict XVI, 85, announced his abdication of the papacy, due to frailty of mind and body that has come with age, today, February 11, 2013. The conclave to elect his successor will take place in Rome sometime next month. It is expected that 117* Cardinal electors
will enter the conclave to decide on which one of them will be Pope number 267. 50 of them were created by John Paul II and 67 by Benedict XVI.
India presently has seven living Cardinals, five of whom are eligible to vote, their being below the age of 80 at the time of the electoral process. *Now 116, see page 9
–Simon Cardinal Pimenta, 92, [born March 1, 1920] is the emeritus Archbishop of Bombay.
–Simon Cardinal Lourdusamy, 89, [born February 5, 1924] is the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
–Ivan Cardinal Dias, 76, [born April 14, 1936] is the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
–Telesphore Cardinal Toppo, 73, [born October 15, 1939] is the Archbishop of Ranchi.
–Oswald Cardinal Gracias, 68, [born December 24, 1944] is the Archbishop of Bombay, the re-elected president of the Indian bishops’ conference [CBCI] and Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) and Member of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.
–George Cardinal Alencherry, 67, [born April 19, 1945] is the Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly [Syro-Malabar], Member, CBCI Special Commission for Evangelization, Member, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Member, Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
-Baselios Cleemis Cardinal Thottunkal, 53, [born June 15, 1959] is the Major Archbishop of Trivandrum [Syro-Malankara],
President, Syro-Malankara Bishops’ Synod, the re-elected vice president of the Indian bishops’ conference [CBCI], Member, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Member, Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
Those elevated to Cardinal after 2005, that is by Pope Benedict XVI, are Oswald Cardinal Gracias [November 24, 2007], George Cardinal Alencherry [February 18, 2012], and Baselios Cleemis Cardinal Thottunkal [November 24, 2012].
The chilling scenario painted by me on pages 1-3 is a hypothetical one; that is, it is purely imaginary.
An Indian is certainly not going to be the next Pope and — the way things presently are — not for a long time hence; and that’s because we are discussing the governance of the Catholic Church concerning which Jesus Christ has promised the gates of hell would not prevail [Matthew 16:18].
Now, it’s not as if all of the five Indian Cardinal electors are from the exact same mould. One Cardinal may be an ardent promoter of non-Catholic mystic Vassula Ryden and her false brand of ecumenism, while another may be turning a blind eye to widespread corruption among priests, institutionalised New Age and the women priests movement in his archdiocese. But, all of them stand equally guilty of either overtly endorsing or turning a blind eye to the rampant Hinduisation of the Indian Church, the heretical anti-Rome Catholic Ashrams movement, the desacralization of the Liturgy of the Mass with all its accompanying aberrations, the proliferation of liberal and dissenting theologians, the deterioration of orthodoxy in the seminaries, the establishment and growth of New Age meditation and holistic health centres by religious orders, the sustained campaign in Catholic media for ordaining women priests, and so on.
So, if the scenario that I painted around a possible Indian Pontiff is purely conjectural, let not any Catholic reader relax and breathe easy, because it’s the gut reality of the tragic situation that confronts most faithful Catholics in the Indian Church on a daily basis, and why should it concern Rome and Catholics worldwide any less if it is only Indian Catholics who have to endure this slow poisoning and not the universal Church?
If any one local church of the universal Church, which is the Body of Christ is contaminated, the entire Church is contaminated [Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 12: 25, 26].
A number of seminarians correspond with this ministry and we learn from them that the situation in seminaries is critical, with a majority of their professors dissenting from Church teaching.
The writings of these theologians are published in Catholic periodicals which are read by bishops who do nothing about them. In 2008, these same theologians brought out commentaries on all the books of the New Community Bible that Catholics found to be both heretical and New Age, yet two bishops provided the Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur. This is the very same Bible that accompanies the Bombay Cardinal in his car.
The St. Pauls Society’s bookshops sell a wide range of occult and New Age books, many of them brought out by their own publishing arm, “Better Yourself Books”. It is the same at all other bookshops and stores run by other religious congregations.
The responses, if any, to our letters to the bishops are non-committal. Some bishops do acknowledge our letters, usually reassuring us that they would look into the issues reported by us, but it ends there.
Most bishops simply do not acknowledge letters sent to them by this ministry. The bishops of four dioceses [Baruipur, Gulbarga, Lucknow and Warangal] have actually gone to the extent of blocking emails from this ministry. The archbishops of Agra, Bangalore, Calcutta, and Madras-Mylapore, to name just four, have the distinction of never ever having replied to even a single letter sent by us. Obviously I would not be wasting my time, energy and money writing to them repeatedly if I did not have very serious reason for doing so.
It must be noted that bishops only reply if they are safely and far removed from the problem reported. 4.
Bishops exercise control over who speaks what in their dioceses. While this is apparently a good thing, the truth is exactly the opposite. The late Fr. Rufus Pereira, exorcist, confided in me that though a 2004 seminar conducted by him and Fr. Larry Hogan, chief exorcist of the archdiocese of Vienna was originally meant to be called a Seminar for Deliverance and Exorcism, he could obtain clearance to conduct it only if it were titled “Seminar for Healing and Deliverance”. Someone close to an apologist from the U.S. who delivered a series of Catholic apologetics seminars in India over the last few years informed me that, after the first time he spoke boldly and prophetically that one could not truthfully teach apologetics if one does not simultaneously speak against the dangers of a wrong ecumenism and a wrong interfaith dialogue, he was discreetly advised to stay away from those topics on his next trip to India. He had been in correspondence with me, admitting that true and total apologetics must include addressing the dangers posed to Catholics by New Age and by errors in inculturation, interreligious dialogue and ecumenism, and we had arranged to meet with each other during his second visit but he suddenly and mysteriously discontinued writing to me prior to his arrival here.
This was neither the first time nor the last time that such a thing has happened to me and with people who have enthusiastically corresponded with me. They end up muzzling the prophetic spirit and pleasing man.
On the other hand, pseudo-Catholics and closet Pentecostals roam around Catholic dioceses with impunity, supported by regional Catholic charismatic leaders, invited by parish priests and recognised by bishops who do not recognize them as the real threats to Catholic faith. After all, unlike with those who expose New Age or speak against false interfaith dialogue, etc., the bishops do not feel threatened; and that’s what matters!
Amazingly, one even finds major independent Catholic charismatic retreat centres, run by congregations of priests, indulging in liturgical error and holding to teaching that is not Catholic, when they should and easily could instead be fountains of orthodoxy and orthopraxis. One would imagine that their directors would be more responsive than the bishops if deviations and errors were pointed out to them. But our experience was that they have been defensive, dismissive and rude in their replies before terminating correspondence.
We have not fared any better in bringing to the notice of the episcopal advisor to the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and the National Charismatic Office a number of errors in their monthly magazine and regular abuses in their Mass liturgies. Here again, in a charismatic environment, one would have expected to be safe from erroneous teaching and practice, but that has sadly not been the case.
It is not as if other Bishops’ Conferences around the world do not have bad apples in their midst. They do.
But unlike with India, there is a difference, a world of difference. My being an avid consumer of Catholic information and my being in contact with Catholic apologists and writers worldwide, I have observed that there is greater awareness of and critical writing about errant ecclesiastics elsewhere as compared to India.
With almost no exceptions, these writers are lay persons and they work independently of the hierarchy.
They have assumed the role of modern-day prophets to the Church and to the world. Their ministries are well organized and structured and they are supported by donations from lay Catholics and priests who appreciate their faithfully orthodox perspective. They occupy a niche that lies vacant due to the abdication of their responsibility by diocesan media and periodicals published by religious congregations. In fact, many of the latter have taken the popular road of liberalism and dissent which appears to be financially more lucrative with the increasing number of Catholics succumbing to the cultures of secularism and relativism.
Mother Angelica, the nun who founded EWTN, publicly criticised a number of U.S. bishops and Cardinals.
LifeSiteNews have regularly named and exposed those bishops and Cardinals who deviate from orthodoxy.
On February 14, LifeSiteNews wrote, “The Cardinal Mahony scandal that broke last week has shown how very entrenched the “filth” still is, and that those responsible have still not yet been fully accountable. The neglect was sickening. If the now revealed offences of actively protecting criminal sexual abusers of minors did not exceed the statute of limitations, we might today be seeing the archbishop of the largest diocese in the US up on criminal charges. Even secular media are appalled that Cardinal Mahony has made it a point to announce to the media that he is looking forward to going to Rome to vote for Benedict’s replacement.”
By subscribing to these ministries’ e-newsletters, Catholics are kept informed and alerted and educated.
In India, Catholic media criticism of errant clerics is virtually non-existent. Criticism as above is unthinkable.
Indian Catholic media instead heap lavish and slavish praise on and felicitate nuns, priests, bishops and Cardinals who are known to indulge in gross administrative and pastoral malpractices and other error.
And, when someone breaks established convention, he is quickly hauled back into line, and how!
In a February 7, 2013 report, I wrote, QUOTE (Archbishop of Delhi Anil Couto) ensured that the Chennai fortnightly, the New Leader [NL] publish a retraction in respect of a series of articles on corruption in Catholic institutions in the diocese of Jalandhar [authored by Delhi priest and his former colleague, canon lawyer Fr George Kureethra], immediately on his take-over of that diocese end February 2007 — ONE YEAR AFTER THE FACT. Now why do I believe Fr. George Kureethra’s side of the story?
The New Leader had originally published the story titled “Money, money, money!” only “after a careful consideration of the issues involved“. [NL, March 1-15, 2006]
In his Editorial, Fr. M.A. Joe Antony, S.J. had written:
Read the article on page 33.
It describes the sad, shocking experience of a senior priest who just wanted to help poor tribals working in Church-run educational institutions. If this could happen to a priest who has been the Delhi archdiocese’s chancellor, judicial vicar and a professor of canon law, you can imagine the plight of the poor. 5.
See the New Leader Editor’s forced “apology” in the issue of July 16-31, 2007, page 29, and the Letter to the Editor, page 6 in the NL issue of August 16-31, 2007. END OF QUOTE
This is a rare example that came to light, of the stranglehold exercised by the bishops over Catholic media.
In India, this Catholic Internet fulltime ministry is unique. In a few months, we will complete a decade of prophetic writing on issues concerning the Church in India. Supported by a virtual team of lay persons and priests, we have survived rough patches and grown on logistical and moral support, prayer and unsolicited financial contributions from Catholics worldwide for which we are most grateful. What has been our impact?
We would rather avoid listing here our “achievements” as we consider it a matter of great regret that in order to “expose the works of darkness” [our motto, Ephesians 5:11] we have had to resort to naming fellow Catholics in the public domain [of course after following biblical protocol and exhausting other alternatives].
We have had our share of ill-informed but good-intentioned Catholics, mostly leaders in the charismatic renewal, who have exhorted us with the well-worn clichés about “judging others” and “touching the anointed of the Lord”. They ought to go back to Bible school and study more diligently this time around.
On January 1, 2013, this ministry released a report concerning the bishop of Allahabad. This report is unique in the sense that the matter that it reported did not appear in the national press or in the Catholic media. There was nothing to be found on the Internet either. On January 31, Vatican Information Service reported that Rome had called for the bishop’s immediate resignation from office at the relatively young age of 66.
Since the reason for the bishop’s removal by the Holy See is a raging scandal in the city of Allahabad and is now publicly known to all Indian bishops, is the deafening silence of the Catholic media a second example that I can proffer as the reticence of Catholic media to tell the whole story, and the bishops’ power over it?
About a year ago, I had a surprise visitor who said that he was from “Propaganda Fide”, Rome. He assured me that officials in Rome were reading my reports and encouraged me to persevere, adding that he and his associates concurred with me on everything that I write. We have not corresponded either before or since.
Earlier, a person who used an Indian name was in an exchange of letters with me from Rome, saying much the same things and claiming to be close to officials in the Vatican who were aware of my work, but he shied away from further correspondence with me when he discovered that I was trying to uncover his identity.
Two of four auxiliaries of the Bombay archdiocese submitted their resignations to the Pope as is customary on their attaining the ages of 75, and have not been replaced. Bishop Percival Fernandez went into retirement in January 2011, while Bishop Bosco Penha followed suit almost exactly a year later. This means that two bishops’ seats are lying vacant in Bombay since over two years and a year respectively. Can that be interpreted to mean that the Pope has not found a single good priest to fill even one of the vacancies?
A couple of years ago, there was a lot of media attention focused on the fast-approaching 75-age limit of the Salesian Archbishop of Guwahati, Thomas Menamparampil. If he were to be elevated as Cardinal, a first for the North-East, an area where the Church is growing fast, he would not have to retire. But Pope Benedict XVI did not think him suitable Cardinal material and retire he did, in January 2012.
Most Rev. Malayappan Chinnappa, the Salesian archbishop of Madras-Mylapore presented his resignation to the Pope and was retired in November 2012, four months after his 75th birthday, the small extension being given probably because Rome had not found a suitable replacement from the local pool and as there was also no auxiliary to take temporary charge. The regime of archbishop Chinnappa has been one of the most morally and financially corrupt — and scandal-ridden — in recent times. A murder accused priest has been archbishop Chinnappa’s choice as Chancellor of the archdiocese despite his being arrested twice, once in full public view after he had just finished saying Mass. As recently as on December 4, 2012, a city court ordered the arrest of the archbishop himself in an unrelated financial case.
The new archbishop is Most Rev. George Antonysamy who served outside India, as Nuncio to several nations, with the rank of bishop since August 2005. Vincent D’Souza, owner-editor of the Mylapore Times, who has never been known to comment negatively on clerics, had this to say in the Jan.26-Feb.1 issue:
The new archbishop has a lot on his hands. The buzz is that Vatican took time to choose the candidate for what can be a very tough job. Many bodies give little credit to the tenure of Rev. Chinnappa, who rose from the ranks as a Dalit and was expected to lead well this metro-based church but has not done much that can be commended.
Currently this is a church where some priests are masters of themselves, management of church-run institutions has generated stink and controversies, church-owned properties have been badly managed and allegations of corruption and nepotism kept flying and legal cases created uncomfortable situations. It is also a church where communities are less involved… and where leadership has been weak. Also, the church has not been able to play its role in the metro… and was often seen as biased and opportunistic… Clearly Rev. Antonysamy has lots to do beyond his religious duties.
I could add a lot more to what Mr. D’Souza has said.
The pathetic state of the Madras-Mylapore archdiocese is surely not unique. Just as the corruption and scandals here [I live in Mylapore, a kilometer from the archbishop’s house] are known only to the locals, the same is probably the case with many of the nation’s dioceses.
Despite being a diehard Catholic apologist, I have often wondered if Rome is doing her homework properly*, if the Pope is getting thoroughly-researched dossiers on those he is elevating and consecrating, and if decisions on bishops and cardinals are being made “in the Spirit” or “in the flesh”. If I look at some of the recent appointments as far as India is concerned, I shudder. To commit myself and name just one of them, I shudder to think that bishop Anil Couto of Jalandhar was made archbishop of Delhi on November 30, 2012.*
I know the archbishop from just after his sacerdotal ordination in 1981. He was later my assistant parish priest. He spoke little, never committed himself. He is a true diplomat, and maybe Rome thinks that Delhi needs a diplomat. I know his bishop predecessors as well as his confreres and contemporaries. At least one of them, till recently Vicar-General, was an honest and able administrator, an orthodox and holy man, one of my confessors. But he was certainly no diplomat and that probably went against his elevation as bishop.
One sees bishops- and Cardinals-elect who are proficient in languages or Canon Law, or specialists in interreligious dialogue or in ecumenism [as bishop Couto is; hence also his penchant for Mrs. Vassula Ryden], or because they are primarily dalits or tribals, but NOT because of their holiness, NOT because of their orthodoxy, NOT because they have pastoral hearts. The result is there for all to see. *See page 5
*Pope Benedict XVI lifted the 1988 excommunication on illicitly ordained Traditionalist bishop Richard Williamson in 2009. The Society of St. Pius X [SSPX] thereafter suspended Williamson because of his denial of the Holocaust and finally expelled from the Society. What should concern us is that Catholic commentators said that the Pope’s advisors failed to do a basic Google search on Williamson before Rome lifted the excommunication. If they had done their homework, the Pope would not have cut a sorry figure.
On February 11, 2013, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Pope’s special envoy, made a pastoral visit to the archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore. I had intended to attend the 4:00 pm special Mass at the National Shrine of St. Thomas but finally decided that I did not want to inflict punishment on myself, fully well knowing what I could expect to witness. I was later informed by friends that they “were sickened” by some elements of the so-called Indianised Mass that they were subjected to [and these are just ordinary Catholics who do not really understand the import and wider ramifications of what they experienced]. I have been compelled to avoid attending even a single special-event Mass since many years now because they present an opportunity for the maximum deployment of liturgical aberrations by the inculturators in the name of Indianisation.
Despite the overall grim scenario, Catholics may be reassured that the Holy See never sleeps. Rome may be slow, but she eventually does intervene. U.S. Catholics have been rejoicing at Rome’s recent choice of conservative Bishops to pastor their dioceses. The trend worldwide has largely been the same. The days of the Cardinal Mahonys were numbered during the reign of Benedict XVI and it is expected that his more energetic successor will build on that. He knew well that his frail health in conjunction with his advanced again limited his ability to respond and deal effectively with the crises confronting the Church from within.
He relinquished office for the good of the universal Church and we pray that, despite the Cardinal Mahonys among the Cardinal electors, the Holy Spirit will enable the election of the right Pope for our times.
This ministry has regularly received letters from a few good bishops who have been appalled at what they read in my reports. They apparently discuss the issues with other bishops but nothing ever changes. The final responsibility rests with those who wield influence, authority and power: the office bearers of the three episcopal bodies and of the different executive commissions, and finally, the Cardinals and the Nuncio.
In 1969, when a coterie of bishops under Simon Lourdusamy [then archbishop and chairman of the CBCI’s Liturgy Commission] fraudulently got approval from Rome for the infamous “12 Points of Adaptation” of the Indian rite Mass, many faithful bishops knew what the outcome would be and opposed him, but to no avail.
Lourdusamy had already installed his brother Fr. D.S. Amalorpavadass as the head of the newly-founded NBCLC which would usher in an era in which the Church would be systematically Hinduised and desacralised.
While Lourdusamy is primarily responsible, so also are those Cardinals, heads of Church bodies and the Apostolic Nuncio who did not fight for justice and truth on behalf of the hapless faithful and under whose watches these events transpired.
Will we one day have an Indian Pope? We certainly hope and pray that we will. As I shared earlier in this report, around a dozen fine, young Indian seminarians are in contact with me, sharing with this ministry their concerns and their aspirations. A couple of them have been ordained during the last two or three years, and I have been privileged to attend their ordinations. If they weren’t orthodox and faithful to the Magisterium, they would avoid this ministry like the plague [as many do]. Some of these men are in Indian seminaries where they weather the heterodox theology that their professors attempt to teach them.
Others have wisely elected to study overseas, and that includes the two whose ordinations I attended.
These young men are excellent Pope material. We must realise that we tend to look at things from a human perspective. We must instead always configure the Holy Spirit into the scheme of things. Popes are priests who are ordinary people like you and me. They are sinners, and they have weaknesses and failings.
But, when they occupy the Chair of St. Peter and speak ex cathedra and act in the name of Jesus Christ, they are mystically transformed, and even the world is aware of that; hence the unprecedented awe that the head of the Catholic Church inspires in the media, in the most powerful heads of State, and even in her enemies.
Fr. Joseph Ratzinger was a theological consultant at Vatican Council II [1962-1965] as a peritus for Joseph Cardinal Frings of Cologne. In 2005, Zenit reported, “In a famous speech, Frings launched an attack on the Holy Office and the exchange between him and Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani is often described as the most passionate debate of the Council. It is thought that the young Ratzinger contributed ideas for Frings’ criticism… I don’t think, however, that the Council changed his views so much as his views shaped the Council.” Just today, the BBC noted his amazing “journey from liberal to conservative”, [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21425105]. With God, nothing is impossible.
On the preceding pages, I have made many statements that explain actual situations that exist in the Indian Church but I have given only a couple of examples to substantiate them. Substantiating every statement would have been a practical impossibility apart from affecting the continuity and attempted brevity of this report. However all information to support my statements is either available on request or may be accessed at other articles and reports on this ministry’s website. 49 selected links [click to open] are given below:
–THE ONGOING ROBBERY OF FAITH-FR P K GEORGE
The above article was published on our web site on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, February 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm after being vetted by a few priests and lay persons. Here are selected responses.
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2013 3:23 PM
Subject: Re: FINAL DRAFT BEFORE RELEASE, FOR YOUR PERUSAL
Writing immediately in response to your earlier request. I do not know Latin as we never had Latin in the seminary, but of late they have introduced it in the seminary.
The article is well researched and based on solid facts at the same time the first portion on the Pope is not very absorbing and it would be good to curtail that part…
For the rest, it voices a concern which has been very close to our heart. Trust Rome takes this up seriously and does not allow the Indian Church to drift into oblivion or perdition.
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2013 11:06 AM
Subject: RE: FINAL DRAFT BEFORE RELEASE, FOR YOUR PERUSAL
I am extremely busy with Lenten work in my parish, but after reading your mail and clarification, I cannot just pass over your labor. Yes Michael, we could have an Indian Pope. It is only the Holy Sprit who knows the needs of God’s Church at a particular period of her history. Remember the elderly Pope who the world saw as a stop gap. The Spirit thought otherwise and he revolutionised the Catholic Church through Vatican II.
The present Holy Father Benedict has himself often mentioned his sorrow and disappointment because of church leaders who misrepresent and teach what is far from the magisterium of the church. The sad part is that their superiors do not have the moral and spiritual courage to tell them that they were wrong. When I was in the seminary*, there was a Jesuit who was teaching his own brand of theology and the then Cardinal either did not know or care. It was when Cardinal Ivan Dias became cardinal that he took him off the teaching staff. I am glad that there are people like you dedicated to correcting error.
*Pius X College, Goregaon, Bombay archdiocese
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2013 3:47 PM
Subject: Re: FINAL DRAFT BEFORE RELEASE, FOR YOUR PERUSAL
Friday happens to be my off day and I only read your article today.
Due to the very shocking title I began reading it though. Was it possible that God could ever punish the people of God and abandon us to an Indian Pope in 2013? No, thankfully, your article was fictional and fortunately we have not surpassed yet the limit of Gods mercy. For do we not remember how Cardinal Oswald Gracias released the New Community Bible? How many Cardinals have visited temples? Even more correctly have you not mentioned Bharatnatyam, new age, Ryden, and many new innovations which are merely old heresies cloaked in the Indian hierarchy’s poor discernment and even poorer knowledge of the Catechism. In search of the ‘rays of truth’ in other religions, they scrupulously avoid the Fathers of the Church and the teachings of the Church which have the sole claim to the plenitude, the fullness, of truth.
Woe to us, if what you suggest comes to pass. The possibility itself is enough to chastise and frighten us and may it please our Loving God never to abandon us to this today. On more reflection, I was perhaps lacking in charity; there must be some in Israel who have not bowed their feet to Baal (1 Kings 19:18).
Later perhaps as you say may a good and holy Indian Cardinal be elevated, but not today by the mercy of God. Mumbai/Bahrain [Name used with permission]
February 25, 2013: The number of Cardinal electors is reduced from 117 to 116 with the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland.