NEW WEBSITE: www.ephesians-511.net
SEPTEMBER 18, 2008/SEPTEMBER 2009/APRIL 2012
THE ST. PAULS’ NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE [NCB], THE PAPAL SEMINARY, PUNE,
INDIAN THEOLOGIANS, AND THE CATHOLIC ASHRAMS MOVEMENT
TO THE LAITY AND PRIESTS OF POONA DIOCESE WHO ARE OPPOSING THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
MEETING SCHEDULED AT THE NAVSADHANA PASTORAL CENTRE, PUNE, SEPTEMBER 20, 2008, 5:30 PM
1. Take special note of the highlighted words phrases and sentences. Red color means “alert”. Blue is used to draw your attention to issues that will be discussed in the notes when elaborating on the red.
2. We are
NOT opposing INDIANISATION or INCULTURATION. We are opposing
3. Our aim is to use documentation to discredit the doctrinal integrity of any defenders/apologists of the NCB from the PAPAL SEMINARY/JNANA-DEEPA VIDYAPEETH (JDV)/DE NOBILI COLLEGE, PUNE
[representative deputed by BISHOP VALERIAN D’SOUZA: Fr. Kurien Kunnumpuram SJ, by demonstrating
(a) that they are engaged not in a simple INCULTURATION or INDIANISATION of the Church in/by CULTURE but in the BRAHMINISATION of our LITURGY, WORSHIP, SPIRITUALITY and FAITH;
(b) that the Papal Seminary and its priests/theologians and their associates are actively engaged in the propagation of New Age philosophies and practices including eastern meditation systems and alternative holistic therapies which have been denounced by Rome in two Documents;
(c) that the Papal Seminary and its priests/theologians and their associates are in rebellion against the teaching authority of Rome and would favor complete freedom [which would lead to the formation of an autonomous Indian Church];
(d) that the controversial Commentaries in the New Community Bible [NCB] are just one symptom of the spiritual disease that afflicts these priests and this seminary, and is one more tool in their arsenal to attack the traditions and orthodoxy of the Roman Catholic Church;
(e) that consequently Catholics cannot trust anything that is proposed or explained by these theologians of the Papal Seminary/JDV/De Nobili College and their associates [ashram leaders or sympathizers]
SOME INFORMATION ABOUT FR. KURIAN KUNNUMPURAM, SJ:
Fr. Kurien [or Kurian] Kunnumpuram SJ is a theologian, a doctor of Systematic Theology. He is the former rector of
Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV) (formerly the Pontifical Athenaeum) at the Papal Seminary, Pune,
and dean of the Faculty of Theology. He is an authority on the studies of the documents of Vatican II.
The Eucharist and Life. Indian Christian Reflections on the Lord’s Supper
Edited by Kurian Kunnumpuram, SJ
This book is a collection of articles dealing with different dimensions of the Eucharist to help the reader gain a clearer understanding of the mystery contained therein, besides spelling out its practical implications for Christian life. 81-7109-799-5 Pp 328 Rs 170.00 http://www.stpaulsbyb.com/stpaulsnewarrival02.html
The Role of Religious in the Church By
Fr. Kurian Kunnumpuram SJ
This paper seeks to briefly describe the role of the religious in the Church. But as an introduction to it I wish to explain my understanding of the Religious Life. http://www.bvppune.org/pdf/the-role-of-religious-in-the-church.pdf
Christian Witness in Interreligious Context
Approaches to Interreligious Dialogue
[It studies the relationship of Christians to other believers and the Christian witness in interreligious context –JLT]
EXTRACT: 22.214.171.124.2 Kurien Kunnumpuram
An Indian theologian, K. Kunnumpuram’s elaborate study on Council’s documents also goes in the same direction of Rossano. He points out that in view of its pastoral intent, the Council did not mean to pronounce on the debated question of the theological status of religions, but it does emphasize the existence of positive values in the traditions themselves, in their doctrines, their rites, their rules of life.510 We may say that the Council never asks directly whether God makes use of the rites and doctrines of non-Christian religions for the salvation of their members and whether, consequently, they are “providential means of salvation” for them. But for the Council, God’s salvation of people is not a purely internal affair, for it says: “The universal design of God for the salvation of the human race is not carried out exclusively in the soul of people with a kind of secrecy.”511 Nor is salvation of people a purely private matter, for it always takes on a social form.
That “seems to imply,” the author writes, that the members of other religious traditions “are, or can be, saved in and through their non-Christian religions. For them these religions are ways of salvation.”512
Kunnumpuram sums up, The Second Vatican Council recognizes that non-Christian religions possess many positive values such as truth and goodness, grace and holiness. It regards these values as a sort of secret presence of God, as the seeds of the Word and the fruits of the Spirit. The council realises that these religions cannot be considered merely as natural religions, since they contain supernatural elements, even saving faith. Despite error, sin and human depravity, non- Christian religions are a preparation for the Gospel, as they have an innate tendency, an inner dynamism towards Christ and his Church. For those who have not yet been existentially confronted with Christianity, non-Christian religions can be as ways of salvation, in the sense that God saves these men in and through the doctrines and practices of these religions.513
510 See, K. Kunnumpuram, Ways of Salvation: The Salvific Meaning of Non-Christian Religions according to the Teaching of Vatican II, Poona: Pontifical Atheneum, 1971, p.66-68.
511 Ad Gentes, 3.
512 K. Kunnumpuram, Ways of Salvation: The Salvific Meaning of Non-Christian Religions according to the Teaching of Vatican II, 1971, pp.88-91.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. Fr KK might have written some good stuff, as above. It is his obligation to the Church to do so. He is supposed to be an authority on interreligious dialogue and the documents of Vatican Council II. Good. But, what are his personal interpretations of them? That is what we have to check out. As he himself admits, above, “non-Christian religions are a preparation for the Gospel, as they have an innate tendency, an inner dynamism towards Christ and his Church“. If they are only a PREPARATION for the Gospel, why do they concern us and why do they have to be referred to in the commentaries of the NCB which is supposed to be the Word of God revealed in its FULLNESS? Should we not be giving the non-Christians the FULLNESS of the Gospel rather than serving Catholics the “PREPARATION” for the Gospel?
SOME NEWS REPORTS THAT QUOTE FR. KURIAN KUNNUMPURAM, SJ:
1. Church walks it to mandir
By Abhay Vaidya, The Times of India
October 25, 2005
The Catholic church will take up the study of Sanskrit, adapt to monastic life in an ashram and adopt the Hindu ritual of aarti during mass if the movement towards ‘Indianisation of the church’ gets the nod from 400 priests and five bishops congregating in Pune.
Starting Tuesday, Pune’s Papal Seminary, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its transfer from Kandy (Sri Lanka) to the city, will play host to the priests for three days. Discussions will cover the state of the church in India and the movement for its Indianisation. The Catholic church has already adopted a number of Indian traditions and practices
and has come a long way, four decades after the historic Second Vatican Council (1962-65) brought an epochal shift in the modern church through its declaration on religious liberty.
Pune’s Papal Seminary, which has ordained over 1,250 priests during the past 50 years, has continued with its modernisation effort along with its associate institutions such as the Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV), formerly the Pontifical Athenaeum, and the De Nobili College. Pune-based Catholic leaders such as Joseph Neuner, Kurien Kunnumpuram, Francis X D’Sa, John Vattanky and Subhash Anand have been stressing for lesser control from the Vatican, to make the church “truly Indian and genuinely Christian”.
‘Many Christian priests follow ancient ashram system strictly’. Francis X D’Sa, an internationally acclaimed Sanskrit scholar has noted in his paper published in ‘Dreams and Visions: New Horizons for an Indian Church (2002)’: “Today, the time has come for the Indian church to shed its image of a multinational company and retrieve those characteristics which bring out its ‘Catholicity’ in the best sense of the word.”
Pandikattu Kuruvilla, teacher of philosophy at JDV and the Papal Seminary’s rector, Ornellas Coutinho, explained that a number of Indian religious customs and practices have already been embraced by the Catholic church to become truly Indian. “A number of Christian priests, for example, strictly follow the ancient Indian ashram system of monastic life, such as those at the Bethany Vedavijnana Peeth (Pune), Satchitananda Ashram (Trichy), Kurusumala Ashram (Kerala) and the Sameskshna Ashram (Kalady, Kerala),” said Kuruvilla. “Practising vegetarianism, organising satsangs and reading Bhagvad Gita are some of the changes that have taken place,” he said.
Church may adopt Aarti, Sanskrit source: Times of India
October 25, 2005 by Abhay Vaidya / tnn
Discussion will cover the state of the church in India and the movement for its Indianization.
[The rest of the article consists of rearranged excerpts from the TOI report above.]
A photograph shows: Sculpture of “Jesus the yogi” at the Institute for Study of Religion on the de Nobili College premises.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. The title of the TOI report is enough to shock any true Catholic. Instead of the mandir coming to/into the Church, the Church is moving towards the mandir [temple]. Is this not exactly what we are fearing and protesting against?
2. The image that our priests project of themselves is such that the secular agencies are not even aware of the usage of the prefix “Fr.“ or “Father“ before the priests’ names. They are more of scholars than pastors and shepherds. They also do not emphasize that they are CATHOLIC priests, hence the media usage of “Christian priests” when referring to them.
3. The names of three of the four ashrams listed above [underlined by me] have been spelt wrongly by Times News.
At the very first opportunity, our priests take recourse to explaining their spiritual/religious aspirations and objectives in terms of inculturation and always in the context of the
The Catholic Ashrams movement is 100% NEW AGE. That has been demonstrated by me beyond any shadow of doubt in my 96-page report of October 2005 titled “ASHRAMS IN INDIA: CATHOLIC OR NEW AGE?”. Sachidananda Ashram (Shantivanam) and Sameeksha Ashram are the two leading New Age Catholic Ashrams which — as shown in my report to the Bishops of India — promote “blasphemy, heresy and sacrilege“. Yet, these are the very ashrams that Fr. Kuruvilla, a priest from the seminary, names to the TOI reporter as examples of the kind of inculturation that they promote.
It should be a matter of the gravest concern for every Catholic, whether Bishop, priest or lay person, that “A number of Christian priests strictly follow the
ancient Indian ashram system“.
Study of Sanskrit. Sanskrit is the “holy” language of the Brahmins and their religious texts. It is their medium of prayer and worship. For the Muslims it is Arabic. Hindu poojaris and pandits and Islamic mullahs and imams anywhere in the world use Sanskrit and Arabic in their temples and mosques respectively, not the local vernacular. Why, then, are our priests so keen to adopt the use of Sanskrit in the Church in India and popularize it among the faithful?
5. Use of arati or aarti during Holy Mass.
The Bishops of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India [CBCI] have obtained permission from Rome for “TWELVE POINTS OF ADAPTATION” recommended to them by the Indian theologians. Point no. 12 reads:
In the Offertory rite, and at the conclusion of the Anaphora the Indian form of worship may be integrated, that is, double or triple “arati
” of flowers, and/or incense and/or light. [emphasis CBCI’s]
It reads as “Indian form of worship” whereas it is actually used in Hindu temples, not in the places of worship of other Indian religions like Buddhism. It was originally not used by Jains, but as Jainism became increasingly indistinguishable from Hinduism with the adoption of Hindu rituals, it is now practiced by Jains who also worship the pantheon of Hindu deities. Is that the future of Catholicism in India, too? Arati is the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent of the Catholic Church in India. The entire camel intends to get in.
6. So, apart from performing arati and bharatanatyam
dancing at Holy Mass and studying Sanskrit presumably to eventually introduce in the liturgy, what are the other ‘Indian traditions and practices’ envisaged by these priests for an
‘Indianisation of the church’ to make it ‘truly Indian and genuinely Christian’?
“Practising vegetarianism, organising satsangs and
reading Bhagvad Gita
are some of the changes that have taken place,” Fr Ornellas Coutinho, Papal Seminary rector said.
Practising vegetarianism is a good thing for many people, but if seen in the overall context of the ashram culture, and propagated dogmatically, is New Age. The socio-religious history of Christianity is associated with non-vegetarianism.
So too is ancient Hinduism. It is only Brahminism that promotes vegetarianism.
Satsangs. Having attended these at Catholic ashrams, I can vouch [see my Ashrams report] that these guru-shishya situations mostly discuss pure advaitic monistic concepts and religious texts from Hinduism; and the references to Christian philosophy, Scriptures and articles of faith are usually accompanied by derogatory, compromising or apologetic remarks.
All interpretations [100%] of Biblical Revelation are not in accordance with Church teaching. All are contrary to it.
The satsang is a public platform and vehicle used by the guru for brainwashing [bulldozing] people into accepting his worldview which is the anti-thesis of all things Christian, New Age in short.
Reading the Bhagvad Gita. The Holy Book of Hinduism. Hindu “Scripture”. If these priests truly believed in their hearts anything that the living and alive [Hebrews 4:12] Holy Spirit-breathed Word of God has revealed, they would have neither the time nor inclination – except for academic purposes – to read the Bhagvad Gita.
7. According to news reports, 400 priests and 5 Bishops attended the Golden Jubilee celebrations at the Papal Seminary, Pune, in October 2005. A priest of the Society of Pilar informed me that the following 7 Bishops were in attendance:
Bp. Valerian D’Souza POONA
Bp. James Pazhayattil IRINJALAKUDA
Bp. Jacob Manathodath PALGHAT
Bp. Julius Marandi DUMKA
Bp. Geevarghese Mar Timotheos EMERITUS, TIRUVALLA
Bp. Isaac Mar Cleemis Thottunkal TIRUVALLA
Bp. Alwyn Barreto SINDHUDURG
Of all the myriad issues and problems [caste and declining numbers of Catholics included] confronting the Church in India, it seems that ONLY ONE ISSUE was important enough, to the exclusion of all others, to be discussed with newspaper reporters and to hit the headlines! The ‘Indianisation of the church’!!
It must be assumed that the Bishops concurred, if not gave the seal of their approval – since there is no record of their having dissented – to the direction that the Indian theologians have now pointed the Church: the mandir [Hindu temple].
8. Some key phrases used by TOI are: ‘Indianisation of the church’,
‘the church in India and the movement for its
Indianisation’, and the adoption by the Church of ‘a number of
Indian traditions and practices‘ ‘to make the church truly Indian and genuinely Christian‘.
Catholics have no problem with the Church being Indianised or with being truly Indian and genuinely Christian. They welcome that. What Catholics want to know is exactly what these Bishops and priests meant by those stated goals.
It must be evaluated properly by competent people whether these are Indian cultural traditions or Hindu worship forms.
9. PRIESTS named in TOI: Joseph Neuner, Kurien Kunnumpuram, Francis X D’Sa, and
We will read more about them as the report unfolds.
10. The above-named four priests are
quoted as “stressing for
lesser control from the Vatican, to make the church
‘truly Indian and genuinely Christian’.”
[Fr] Francis X D’Sa
likens the functioning of the Indian church to the “image of a multinational company“.
If indeed that the claim is true, and we are to take the simple meaning of his words, then Hindu-ising the Church would only convert it into an Indian multinational company. If D’Sa means to point to something deeper and more sinister, he should be more specific about those “characteristics” that he seeks to “retrieve” by his brand of “Indianisation”.
“Lesser control from the Vatican” called for by the priests means the unbridled freedom to Hindu-ise / Brahminise the Church in all aspects of Catholic life – the liturgy and worship, catechesis, and non-witness [no evangelization].
We shall later read more about these attempts by our Catholic theologians, and Rome’s firm response to their attempts.
Comment from the Hindu Vivek Kendra
on the above TOI report:
The Catholic Church in Europe and the Americas asks its members to be wary about Eastern traditions like Yoga, meditation, etc. It will most probably recoil in horror of the Bhagwat Gita is read in its church. But in India the strategy is 180 degrees different. The reason is to fool the people of India to believe that the Church is different from what it really is. And once the person is snared, slowly he/she will be brainwashed. The whole programme is a fraud.
TOI Readers Opinions on the TOI article:
1. As a devout catholic, I doubt the authenticity of
Pune Papal Seminary and it’s so called leaders. It’s on the same line of Sudarshan of R.S.S. who said that churches in India needs to be more indianised. They also goes on to say that there should be less dependence on Vatican authority. Have they gone insane? If the Vatican authority is so much irritant or deterrent to what they think then why at all you need parents and a Government? You should be free to do whatever you want. And may I ask all you at the Pune Papal Seminary and its so-called leaders and Sudarshan of R.S.S what they mean by Indianisation?
Here one point to be noted is that Sudarshan said indianisation only of churches in India. Why not indianisation of Muslims Masjids in India? (Mr. Sudarshan are you listening?). Does the indianisation means only chanting of Bhagwat gitas, slokams, putting up aartis? There are more ways- put up idols of Durga and Kaali, having Raas Garba at churches, having ashrams where we can practise sword fighting and so on (forget about the Bible after all we are going to be ‘truly indianised church’, isn’t it?). But it should be done in a non-partial way in Churches as well as Masjids.
I can only say that these so called Rector and leaders have lost their way and they really don’t understand the structure of Catholic Church and its Bible. To understand Bible either one should be born in Christianity or listen to Scholars in Bible (not scholars in Sanskrit). It is like trying to kill two birds with on stone, that is, appeasing the majority and factionals like Sudarshan and gaining one’s own intentions. I pray to God Almighty to give wisdom to the Pune Papal Seminary and it’s people and show them the true light of God to lead them in the true path.
Johnson [1 Nov, 2005 1336hrs IST]
2. It is totally absurd that Bhagavat Geeta is being taught in churches…!!! This is a clear case that the Church is using public sentiment and customs, changing its way of functioning just to appease more people to convert to Christianity. Why else would the church go to an extent where it loses its own authenticity and identity? Would its identity be left only with praying in churches and baptising people? What about Christian traditions and customs? Are they lost for ever in India? How far would the Church go for more conversions and trap people in its net?
Pranay Sharma [26 Oct, 2005 1502hrs IST]
3. another corruptive way of luring innocent hindus into their web of lies and spiritually conning them into conversion of faith. with the garb of spreading the bible message they lure the people in whatever way it is possible and often in disguise. rajan [26 Oct, 2005 0713hrs IST]
4. This is no different from what the RSS has been demanding from Christians and Muslims i.e. to be “Truly Indian”. Your bigoted report portrays “Practising vegetarianism, organising satsangs and reading Bhagvad Gita” as being ‘Truly Indian’ and puts that piece under the headline “Has the time come for churches in India to turn ‘truly Indian’?”. Doesn’t this implies that those who don’t do it are NOT “truly Indians”?
To portray this development as a move towards being ‘more Indian’ is nothing but bigotry.
nadeem [25 Oct, 2005 2238hrs IST]
5. I hope time will tell that Jesus Christ is another Avatara and be absorbed within the Sanatana Dharma. When Shankaracharya in one gigantic philosophy of Monism was able to bring six worshipping faiths at that time (worship of Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha, Durga, Kumara and Surya) and could also include the vedic rituals of fire based worship, why cannot that same philosophy permit Christ to be another Avatara!
rnarayanan us [25 Oct, 2005 1945hrs IST]
6. Is it not enough that the nuns are going around almost like fashion plates, (Mother Theresa’s order, so decently garbed, excluded, one can barely recognise a priest on the street, what with his latest in fashion jeans & designer watches, (where did that vow of chastity and poverty go to?) does it have to get to aartis also, Fr Charles Vaz, dancing with lamps in the church. Has anyone heard of a Hindu or Muslim, changing his mode of practice of religion. Why, someone please tell me, why are we then, going so out of the way to GET INDIANISED… back to paganism is more like it.
Are the priests of Pune trying to start a new church a new religion altogether? What a legacy of confusion for the generations to come!!
SAD magfer_67 [25 Oct, 2005 1928hrs IST]
7. This is religious Tamasha. In any case it is refreshing to read that Christians have now started reading Baghavat Gita to popularise Christ!! Days are not far off when some body will name themselves as Jesus Iyer or David Iyengar!!
Reading this article I am further convinced about the futility of conversion and that all religion is essentially political in nature unless you look at the core beleifs. Why should some body call him/herself Christian and read Bhagavat Gita and lead a Hindu life style??
If somebody does this, what is the difference between being a Hindu and a Christian!
Vijay [25 Oct, 2005 1620hrs IST]
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. Hindus, almost universally, and without exception the Hindu fundamentalist organizations, believe that these attempts of a section of the Indian Church to Indianize or inculturate are only a façade for a program of evangelization. Knowledgeable Catholics are of course aware that the very last thing on the mind of the priests and Bishops of the Indian Church taken as an institution, is evangelizing. The word “conversion” or accusation of having done it, strikes such terror into their hearts that they trip over one another in the rush to declare that they have never converted anyone in their entire priestly careers. But try convincing the Hindu fundamentalists of that.
2. It is interesting to note that fundamentalist Hindus admit that “
The Catholic Church in Europe and the Americas asks its members to be wary about Eastern traditions like Yoga, meditation, etc.” while the Catholic Church in India actually promotes yoga, vipassana, and zen [check any issue of the Bombay archdiocesan weekly The Examiner, editor Fr Anthony Charanghat, for confirmatory evidence!!]
It is therefore not surprising that the “Indianised” depiction of Jesus [as in the photo reproduced on the Hindu sanskrit@cs site] can only be as an enlightenment-seeking yogi-godman [Sculpture of “Jesus the yogi” at the Institute for Study of Religion on the de Nobili College premises] rather than as the Enlightened One.
3. Read Comment no. 1 of TOI Readers Opinions on the TOI article. The anonymous writer might be any one of us. He voices the very same opinions as ours, and asks the very same questions that we do. He questions the authority [“authenticity”] of the Papal Seminary theologians to take decisions on behalf of the Indian Church. He states that they have “gone insane” and have “lost their way“. Bravo, Johnson. Maybe soon we will learn your identity.
Comment no. 6, evidently also from a Catholic: “why are we then, going so out of the way to GET INDIANISED… back to paganism is more like it.
Are the priests of Pune trying to start a new church a new religion altogether? What a legacy of confusion for the generations to come!!“. A rhetorical question.
4. The other 5 Comments in TOI, all from Hindu readers, paint a grim picture of the future for Indian Catholicism.
This is a message retrieved from the internet.
shows the Hindus’ concern about these events. QUOTE:
From: “A.R. Ramachandran” <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> Message: 4 Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2005 10:01:01 +0200 (MEST)
Subject: Re: [Sanskrit] church may adopt aarti, sanskrit – times of india october 25 – 2005
To: kedarnath <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Dear Kedarnath, I am not sure if this forum is meant to discuss this sort of thing, but having raised it, I would strongly urge you to read Sita Ram Goel’s book on ‘Catholic Ashramas‘
and see what kind of damage Fr. Bede Griffiths and Raimundo Panikkar have done. They were all forerunners of this highly controversial movement. Regards, A R Ramachandran UNQUOTE
[Goel’s book has been discussed in my report on CATHOLIC ASHRAMS]
CATHOLICS TAKE UP HINDU PRACTICES TO ENTICE CONVERTS October 29, 2005
“This website is opposed to the aggression practiced under in the name of Christianity.”
Above TOI article copied on this Hindu fundamentalist site
2. Catholic priests seek to adopt Hindu rituals By Imtiaz Jaleel
NDTV October 26, 2005
A gathering of leading Catholic clergymen from all over India have asked the Vatican to endorse their proposal to include Hindu rituals in the church. The Pune Papal seminary said priests from all over India were unanimous that the Catholic clergy must incorporate Hindu practices like performing aarti during mass, studying Sanskrit and the Vedas, and experiencing ashram life.
The Catholic Church’s Indianisation process began in the mid 1960s, when a revolutionary council introduced local traditions and practices like mass in regional languages. Four decades later, the Catholic Church feels there is a need to give that process a fresh emphasis. “The Catholic Church plans to adopt a number of Indian traditions and practices, which will give us a feel of being an Indian,” said Father Ornellas Coutinho, Rector, Pune Papal Seminary.
After producing four cardinals, 69 bishops and over 11,000 priests during the past 50 years, the Catholic Church in India is now stressing for lesser control from the Vatican to make it truly Indian and genuinely Christian.
The priests say one of the reasons for making these changes official is to neutralise the arguments of the Hindu right-wingers, who often charge the church with forcible conversions and negating Indian traditions.
“It would definitely put a check on the so-called fundamentalists who keep blaming us for conversions,” said Father Lionell Mascarenhas, a priest. The final word now rests with the Vatican, and if the initiative gets the nod, it may well redefine the practices of the Church in India.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. The priests of the Papal Seminary say that it is the Hindu right-wingers who charge the Church with “negating Indian traditions“. But one Catholic and one Hindu TOI reader [points 1 and 4 on the previous page] state that it is the Hindu fascist organization the R.S.S. that have been demanding that Christians and Muslims be truly Indian.
Are not the fundamentalists referring to our dress, western lifestyle, etc. rather than to how we worship in our churches?
2. Please look again at the captions for the two stories above, one by a Hindu fundamentalist group, the other by a leading TV channel. BOTH
of them understood that the priests of the Catholic Church are adopting not Indian practices and rituals but
HINDU PRACTICES AND RITUALS. So, are our priests trying to fool us, or are they deliberately lying to us when they insist that they are simply inculturating or Indianising the Church?
The above news reports copied in Traditionalist sites:
Inculturation leads to heresy?
COMMENTS BY TWO TRADITIONALISTS:
They want to eventually end up with a sick combination of Hindu and Catholicism, a sort of Sikh religion, but with Neo-Catholic replacing Muslim. It’s disgusting. If any of this “legitimate” inculturation needed to take place, it would have taken place in the last 2,000 years of missionary activity in India. These changes have always evolved very slowly and have been carefully thought out, not these fast “one day it’s a catholic mass and the next day it’s a bunch of Catholic Sikhs.”
The Church SHOULD feel “strange” to them, not “Indian.” They are heathens, pagans. The Church is Catholic!
by Dominus Tecum
This seems to be more than just adopting some elements of Indian culture. The Vedas are Hindu religious texts. Catholic priests are saying that Catholic clergy must study the religious texts of another religion? by mrb
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. Traditionalists view these developments in the Catholic Church as HERESY! [so do Catholics]
THIS LETTER WAS SENT TO ME BY ONE OF THE SENIORMOST LEADERS OF THE CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL IN INDIA:
Michael, The day I received your E-mail I was watching NDTV (26th, 10.30 pm.) and the ‘Mumbai Live’ programme came on – an Interview – Srinivasan Jain interviewing Rev. Fr. Anthony Charanghat, Rev. Fr. Dominic (?) and Swami Agnivesh. It was about the deliberations taking place at the Papal Seminary, Pune and the Catholic Church wanting to introduce rituals in the Mass – Inculturation! The Catholic Priests were most favourable to the proposal but Swami Agnivesh stunned me! All the more because he was dressed from head to toe in saffron and looked so cold and indifferent! This is what he said (not verbatim) What the Catholic Church wants to do is meaningless as the rituals they want to introduce (the aarati, etc) are a degenerate form of Hinduism. And then added “True Religion aims at inner and social transformation”. Bravo!! And this coming from a staunch Hindu! Well said, I thought, as this is exactly what Jesus was trying to convey to the Pharisees of his day – for whom religion consisted of observing laws & rituals!!
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
Swami Agnivesh, a leading Hindu figure, rejects what the Indian priests and Bishops are trying to do in the Church.
3. Papal Seminary In Pune Celebrates Golden Jubilee
CBCI NEWS Pune, October 26, 2005
SAR NEWS: The Papal Seminary, Asia’s biggest centre for training of priests, offering higher education in Philosophy and Theology, is completing 50 years of its transfer from Kandy, Sri Lanka, to Pune. Over 400 priests, bishops and archbishops from Sri Lanka and India, who studied at the Pune-based Papal Seminary, are expected to participate in the golden jubilee celebrations. The three-day jubilee event is planned October 25-27, an official news release said.
In 1893, Pope Leo XIII with a vision for an indigenous clergy for Asia conceived the idea of a general seminary for the training of priests in the subcontinent. Instead of going abroad to receive higher priestly training, the Pope thought that it would be better to have an institute in India, which could offer them higher education. Thus the Papal Seminary, which means the Seminary of the Pope, was established.
The Papal Seminary was started in Kandy and in May 1955 it was shifted to Pune.
After the seminary was founded, there was an increasing number of students for the philosophy and theology courses. With the increase in numbers, the seminary was raised in 1926 to the status of Pontifical Athenaeum similar to Rome’s Gregorian University and also American and European Institutions of higher education. From that time onwards, two institutions came into existence at the Papal Seminary: one for spiritual formation, and the other for academic formation (Athenaeum). The Rector of the Papal Seminary was the head of both the institutions.
Soon after the Papal Seminary came to Pune, other religious congregations or institutes established their formation houses on the green campus. They started sending their students for higher priestly training to the Athenaeum. In no time the number of students grew.
As the years passed by, the Papal Seminary’s Athenaeum was separated as an independent body with a Rector, through the Pope’s official directive in 1968. This Pontifical Athenaeum is known as Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV).
In JDV not only Catholic
or Christian theology is taught, but also other religions like Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and their sacred scriptures are studied in depth. In pluralistic Asia, Catholic priests are expected to work together with other religions under the motto: ‘Sarva-Dharma-Sakhyam’ (friendliness among all religions).
In the chequered history of the Papal Seminary’s 112 years of existence, it has produced as many as 63 bishops (including 4 cardinals) and more than 6,000 priests and religious sisters not only from India but also from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other foreign countries.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. SAR News and the CBCI say NOTHING about the Indianization/inculturation aspect. Mighty strange.
Pune (ICNS) -- The Papal Seminary is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its transfer from Sri Lanka's Kandy to Pune
Some 400 priests and five bishops are attending the three-day jubilee celebrations that began on Oct. 25.
The main thrust of the celebrations is to find ways to help the Church discover firm roots in India.
The impetus for this started after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Since then, the Indian Church has adopted a number of Indian traditions and practices, but the Church is still considered alien by most Indians.
The Papal Seminary has ordained over 1,250 priests during the past 50 years. It has continued with its modernisation efforts along with its associate institutions such as the Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV), formerly the Pontifical Athenaeum, and De Nobili College.
Pune-based theologians have been stressing for making the Church “truly Indian and genuinely Christian.”
Father Francis X. D’Sa, an acclaimed Sanskrit scholar, says time has come for “the Indian Church to shed its image of a multinational company and retrieve those characteristics which bring out its ‘Catholicity’ in the best sense of the word.” The Indian Church has embraced a number of Indian religious customs and practices to help it become truly Indian, assert Fathers Kuruvilla Pandikattu, who teaches philosophy at JDV and Ornellas Coutinho, the Papal Seminary’s rector. Father Kuruvilla said a number of priests now strictly follow the ancient Indian ashram system of monastic life, such as those at the Bethany Vedavijnana Peeth (Pune), Satchitananda Ashram (Trichy), Kurusumala Ashram (Kerala) and the Sameskshna Ashram (Kalady, Kerala). “Practising vegetarianism, organising satsangs and reading Bhagvad Gita are some of the changes that have taken place,” the philosophy professor said.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. ICNS has simply copied the TOI story [with all its spelling errors].
5. Towards a wholly Indian Church with aarti and bhajan
Pune October 27, 2005
It may be a while yet to see a Christian priest attired in saffron or women performing aarti in the church, but the process of
inculturation and Indianisation
of the church is irreversible, say church leaders.
These and other issues will be discussed during the upcoming golden jubilee celebrations of the Papal Seminary here.
Father Kuruvilla Pandikattu… told UNI that… among the issues taken up for discussion would be reforms in the Indian Church… This is part of the Catholic Church’s efforts at inculturation (the incarnation of the Gospel in native cultures and introduction of these cultures into the life of the Church)
besides reducing the use of the cassock (traditional robes of Christian priests), he said. “The Indian Church has already come a long way and aartis are already being performed in a few institutions like the Papal Seminary here and the National Biblical Catechetical Liturgical Centre (NBCLC)*, Bangalore, where we provide training to priests to be truly Indian and genuinely Christian,” he added… Christians are interested in Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Christian Mission is grounded in Indian tradition, [he said].
Pune-based Catholic leaders like Kurien Kunnumpuram, Francis X D’Sa and Joseph Neuner have been stressing on opening up the Church with lesser control from the Vatican and imparting training to be Indian. *see separate report
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. The reformists are gunning for the cassock. It has largely disappeared from use all over the North of India. They have introduced bhajans [more of that later]. So, these are some of the already incorporated cultural “reforms in the Indian church“. Now read carefully the definition of inculturation that Fr Pandikattu gives UNI. It is about culture and the Gospel. How, where and why then does the sudden switch/shift come from culture to spirituality and worship?
Let us agree that cassocks [at least outside of the vestments used during celebration of Holy Mass] come from a “western” cultural background. Why and how then the quantum leap, skipping a hundred other obvious cultural parameters, to the Mahabharata and the Ramayana which enshrine the mythologies of the Hindu deities? How do they concern us?
The National Biblical Catechetical Liturgical Centre
This ministry has written extensively on the errors being promoted by the NBCLC.
See also the report on the Catholic Ashrams.
TOI INTERVIEW WITH FR KURIEN KUNNUMPURAM
6. ‘Christians must be rooted in the local culture’
By Abhay Vaidya The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1281173.cms; November 1, 2005
Also at traditionalist site: http://repairmychurch.blogspot.com/
Becoming genuinely Christian and Indian is the goal of the
movement for the Indianisation of the Roman Catholic church. Theologians such as Kurien Kunnumpuram SJ (74) are at the head of this movement at Pune’s famed Papal Seminary and Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (Pontifical Athenaeum).
Kurien spoke to Abhay Vaidya about the state of this movement in India:
Q What exactly is the movement for the Indianisation of the Catholic church?
A This movement is not an organised single movement but a variety of movements. It was started in different places by different people. For instance, in the 16th century, Robert de Nobili, a Jesuit, took to Indian dress, learnt Sanskrit and did much more. In Kerala, another German priest started this kind of a movement and in 1937, the Protestants spoke of Indian Christian theology. After the Second Vatican Council, 1965, there has been a little more encouragement for this movement in the official church where we use the word inculturation. That is, Christians must be rooted in the culture of their place. This word is strongly endorsed officially by the Vatican Council. It means, get nourishment from the soil where you are planted.
Q How is the
Indianisation of the church
A Starting with worship, we have said that we will use Indian languages, signs and symbols, aarti, bhajans… The whole area of worship is becoming more and more Indian. Second, many of us are taking to the study of Indian spirituality. Third is the area of Indian Christian theology. We want to express the Christian faith in the Indian way, rooted in the Indian experience.
Q To what extent has the Vatican supported or opposed this movement?
A In principle, the Vatican supports it. As I said, officially, the Second Vatican Council has adopted it and such experiments in the history of the church have been done in many parts of the world. For instance, in early centuries, there was an Egyptian church which was different from other churches. Later, we had a Chinese Christian church. The Vatican is sometimes afraid whether the core Christian beliefs will be preserved. Therefore, they have some hesitation. But that’s in practice. In theory, they cannot oppose this movement.
Q What about the masses? Are they accepting these changes?
A To some extent, the older people are used to old ways and therefore there is a certain amount of resistance. On the other hand, when you use regional languages for liturgy, they are happy because they can understand and participate more actively. But the bulk of the people are for it.
Q What is the ideal that you are striving for?
A What we are saying is, very simply, that we have to be genuinely Christian and truly Indian. This is our goal. Becoming a Christian should not alienate me from my roots and culture, which is Indian. We are an Indian national religion.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. Once again, the same duplicity when referring to the existing or proposed areas of Indianization or inculturation: Indian dress, LEARNING Sanskrit [no one opposes anyone’s LEARNING Sanskrit], aarti [approval for incorporation obtained from Rome], bhajans [repetitive chanting of hymns to the deity in traditional Indian style], though it is almost impossible to separate the Hindu worship elements from the cultural in some aspects of these practices. For, if you closely examine, the first answer of Fr Kurien was about CULTURE, but in the very next he was obliged to use the term WORSHIP!
2. The inculturation lobby wrongly use the Jesuit Roberto de Nobili image to bolster the arguments for their case. All Fr Kurien could say of him is that he dressed like an Indian, learnt Sanskrit and spoke the vernacular, and “did much more“.
Well, there is no evidence that he i) performed arati ii) chanted the “OM” mantra iii) developed a troupe of bharatanatyam dancers in each of his parishes iv) practised and propagated esoteric eastern disciplines like vipassana, yoga and zen v) distributed prasada to the unbelievers while Catholics were receiving Holy Communion vi) used the Vedas and the Upanishads instead of the Holy Bible vii) quoted from Tagore and the Gita during his homilies viii) meditated to experience his divinity while rejecting the Blessed Sacrament ix) conducted interreligious prayer meetings to maintain communal harmony and understanding between different communities x) participated in Raas Lila or the immersion of idols of Ganesha [Ganpati, Vinayakar, the elephant-God] xi) invited Swami Agnivesh, the Arya Samajis, the Brahmakumaris [or their equivalents of his time] to preach to his people xii) stoutly denied that he never converted anyone in his life from Hinduism to the Catholic faith, etc. etc. So, what was that “much more” that de Nobili did?
He was busily engaged in preaching the undiluted Word of God as interpreted by the Magisterium [not his own Indianised version], converting and baptizing by the power of the Holy Spirit. And that is why there are many of us around today!
De Nobili advertised himself as a “Roman Brahmin”, but not in the sense that he adopted any overtly Brahmin practices in the worship and liturgy. He was cozying up to the upper castes to outwardly identify with them and so CONVERT them to Christianity. Which is why he was a priest and a Jesuit and in India in the first place! But today’s Indianizers are the opposite: they are Brahminizing the liturgy and worship while disclaiming any association with the Brahmin tag [the Dalit lobby would not take it kindly if they didn’t], and they simultaneously want to tear off the Roman label. They are neither Roman, nor Brahmin. They do not “convert”. So why then talk about de Nobili all the time [see report at sl. no. 8 too]?
7.1 Destruction of Catholicism in India
Catholic Church Conservation
Posted on 11/01/2005
[November 1, 2005]
LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
I received an e-mail from India from an Indian Catholic of Portuguese Descent from the Portuguese Colony of Goa in India; name withheld on request.
In modern times, the Catholic Church is destroying herself. This has never happened in the course of history:
“My ancestors were evangelized by Catholic Missionaries such as Saint Francis Xavier and good Dominican, Franciscan, and Jesuit Missionaries, and I live in India. I have a great devotion to the Divine Mercy, Sacred Heart, The Blessed Sacrament, and Our Lady. I am shocked and scandalized that there are Indian Priests who are heretics and prepared to engage in large scale Paganism. I visited your web-page where I read the article “Catholic Priests to adopt Hindu Rituals” as well as the Link to the article from NDTV.com.
I have been aware of this for some time and like most Orthodox Indian Catholics I believe that there is nothing we can do except pray as we are a captive audience in our churches and Our Cardinals and Bishops are just not listening to us.
Since Tuesday over 400 Priests and more than half a dozen bishops have been meeting at the Papal Seminary in Poona— a City not far from Bombay where I live. They have grandiose plans to paganize the Church by not only incorporating Hindu Rituals but also by violating the sanctity of many of our Catholic Churches with
the installation of Hindu Gods and Goddesses near the Blessed Sacrament as well as on the Altar.
Let me really be honest with you. Since, the early 1990’s in different parts of India, Heretical Priests-
mainly Jesuits have been celebrating Masses where Readings from the Religious Books of Hindus and Muslims have been taking place as well as other pagan rituals of these two pagan religions.
Not only this, in some parts of India The Tabernacle is in the shape of the intimate organs of a number of different Hindu Gods and Goddesses. This is specially the case in some parts of South India.
This “Evil Inculturation” which they are bent on incorporating seems to have no limits. Why do we need to have these pagan rituals when The Catholic Church is rich with its own symbolism in the Liturgy which has been practiced for Centuries? There are numerous Priests in India who are hard core heretics and are not ashamed of the consequences that might follow from this act.
I pray that the Holy Father and the Vatican do not give them permission for this. I also pray that the Papal Seminary, Poona is shut down by the Vatican as soon as possible as it has become “Satan’s House”.
Whatever, these Heretics want to incorporate in Catholic Churches throughout the Length and Breadth of India has been practiced by them for a number of years in the confines of this Seminary and secretly by them in their Churches.
Finally, let me tell you that a number of priests from this Seminary have been excommunicated by Cardinal Ratzinger in the 1990’s, But this has not deterred them from pursuing this course of action which is going to be detrimental to the Faith of thousands of Indian Catholics. A Number of Priests have been excommunicated in the past most notably a Jesuit Professor by the name of Father Luis Bermejo S.J. who promoted, practiced, and taught all these Pagan Practices. He is a Spanish Jesuit who is a Hard-Core Heretic.
Please pray for the Catholic Church in India as it faces a swelling tide of pagan behaviour at the hands of its own priests.
I believe The Holy Father needs to be apprised of this Issue by Orthodox Catholics from all over the world and realize that he must not give in to these Heretics who call themselves “Priests”. Catholic Priests in India for the last 10-15 years have forsaken The Faithful of Christ by promoting Pagan Religions.
Let me end this email by saying that there are a large number of Priests in India specially Jesuits, Salesians, Redemptorists, and even some Diocesan Priests who have been reciting verses from the Bhagvadgita– the Religious Book of Hindus in Catholic Churches and substituting those verses for the first and second reading in the Mass for a number of years or at least two decades in a number of Cities and Towns.
They have even started over the last 15 years, reciting verses from the Koran in the Mass in Churches in different parts of India or getting Moslems from Islamic Religious Schools or Imams from Mosques to do the same.
They now plan to extend this Pagan Behavior to all Catholic Churches in India and add some more pagan rituals. Let me also tell you that for the last 10-15 years, as a result of this pagan behavior by priests large numbers of Indian Catholics in Cities like Bombay, Bangalore, and places like Goa, Kerala, etc have left the Catholic Church for U.S. based Pentecostal Churches like The Assembly of God, or the Seventh-Day Adventists or any Pentecostal Church you can think of. They are mushrooming in many places in India. Between 70,000- 1,50,000 Catholics have left the Catholic Church in Bombay in the last 15 years. What is worse, the Clergy is just not interested in bringing them back.“
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. The above is copied from a Traditionalist site, freerepublic where it has attracted about 1,500 views and 80 comments.
a. “Destruction of Catholicism in India” was posted by a person who goes by the name SOLDIEROFJESUSCHRIST* to one Chris Gillibrand whose blog is at http://cathcon.blogspot.com
*His real name is Eustace Dominic D’Sa and email address is
Though he claims to be an “Orthodox Catholic of Goan – Portuguese Descent”, he appears to be a traditionalist. He often posts from suspended priest Fr. Nicholas Gruner’s Fatima Crusader.
c. Someone by the pseudo name “murphE” picked Gillibrand’s blog post and posted in on the freerepublic discussion forum at
d. murphE also posted another copy at
e. The charlesborromeo blog, picked it up and posted the same under the title, “Report on Catholicism in India” on November 02, 2005 at http://charlesborromeo.blogspot.com/2005/11/report-on-catholicism-in-india.html
2. For traditionalists, what is going on in the Church and at the Papal Seminary has only one description: PAGANISM.
3. Traditionalists correctly conclude that this is so-called inculturation has led to an exodus of Catholics to Pentecostalism.
7.2 RESPONSE TO “DESTRUCTION OF CATHOLICISM IN INDIA“: HERESY!
The Bible clearly warns us about heretics
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
St. Thomas defines heresy: “a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas”. Titus 2:1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
Heresy, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is a “theological or religious opinion or doctrine maintained in opposition, or held to be contrary, to the Catholic or Orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church, or, by extension, to that of any Church, creed, or religious system, considered as orthodox. By extension, heresy is an opinion or doctrine in philosophy, politics, science, art, etc., at variance with those generally accepted as authoritative.” It is sad that there are priests who promote and incorprate pluralistic theism in disguse of ecumenism and inculturization. The Vatican is well informed about these wolves in sheep clothing but have found it difficult to act in accordance with the word of God. There are Bishops who attend seminars and large presentations of transcedental menditation, yoga and new age movements yet condemn other Christian denominations when there are evangelsitic gatherings. It is true that there have been instances that during Holy Mass, preists have read from the other non Christian religious books and used those texts during sermons to promote heresies. When a Catholic priest is leading his flock into destruction and heresy, and when a protestant protests against this heresy and leads the flock back into the truth, he is doing exactly what is right and we Catholics just cannot blame a protestant denomination and call them sheep stealers for they are leading people into the Truth.
James 5:20 Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. It is like this, if the parents abuse children, the government will intervene and protect the children from abuse and will put them in homes and appoint foster parents. Titus 1: 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Though we have these ecclesiastical adulterers and perverts of the Gospel, we should not abandon our faith and go elsewhere. Just because our parents are not right, we cannot abandon them nor can we pretend that we are not a member of the family.
DR. DOMINIC DIXON, MOREWORLD.COM
8. Aartis and bhajans for Christ- are you ready for it? MIDDAY
November 2, 2005
There are few things that we all associate with the church mass — the priest giving sermons and parishioners reciting hymns. But if the Papal Seminary is to be believed, the mass is in for an Indian makeover. At the three-day celebration, starting Oct 25, organised in Pune to celebrate the 50th anniversary if the Papal Seminary, priests from across India decided to seriously adopt Inculturation.
Confused? Father Andrew Sequeira, parish priest of
St Anthony’s Church, Malvani, who attended the function, explains, “Inculturation means adopting Indian rituals in the mass so that locals can identify with it. In our parish, we have already started this by doing aarti on special occasions like Independence Day, Republic Day, etc. We also do the Sashtang Namaskar before mass.” Father Sequeira adds that European ideas have no meaning in India and they even perform Christian marriages with saat pheras. “The difference is that instead of taking them around the holy pyre, we perform them around Jesus, who we consider the centre of any relation. However, taking these pheras is a matter of choice,” he says, adding, “Ten years ago a Catholic couple requested for the pheras. It was a beautiful ceremony.”
Here’s what other priests in the area have to say about the idea:
Father Salvador Rodrigues, Parish priest, Orlem Church, Malad:
Q Will parishioners accept this change?
A Any new concept will be taken negatively. We will first have to educate people about the changes before introducing them.
Q Have you introduced any changes?
As part of the Inculturation programme we plan to make Hindi the mass language as more people understand this.
If you attend a prayer service in a village outside Mumbai, you will realise that they are extremely local. Vasai is a beautiful example of this and we also want to adopt this change. We are trying to encourage people to gain a deeper understanding of their own language. We could all celebrate Christmas, Diwali, Eid, Pongal and Onam together.
Father Clarence Fonseca, Parish priest, Assumption Church, Kandivli (W):
Q Will parishioners accept this change?
A They may not accept it easily. But once they understand the rituals and their importance over time, they will be
Q Have you introduced any changes?
A We have already introduced certain Indian practices like performing aarti on special occasions. We sing hymns in Hindi. In our church, I would like to first introduce enculturation by adopting the local language as it is a good expression of any culture. We should first try to bring various cultures together then change rituals.
Father Franklyn Mathias, Parish priest, IC Colony Church, Borivli:
Q Will parishioners accept this change?
A They may not be open to the idea yet. We will need to educate them thoroughly before implementing it. People should first understand the value and beauty of Inculturation.
Q Have you introduced any changes?
A I believe language is the first step towards enculturation. People will be able to recognise the values of a culture through its language. We have set the foundation with our Thanksgiving celebration, where people from different cultures like Mangaloreans, Goans, and Keralites have set up stalls so that people can learn how each one celebrates the same festival in a different way.
LAY CATHOLICS’ RESPONSES TO MIDDAY NEWSPAPER:
‘We will accept change but it shouldn’t be daily’. Brenda Carneiro IC Colony, Borivli
“We already do the aarti on special occasions. However, if enculturation lengthens the service, I would have a problem because we are all hard pressed for time. I would not want it to be a daily feature. It should be reserved for special occasions.” Tony Goveas IC Colony, Borivli
“I would definitely accept this change. I have seen masses outside Mumbai, where the entire service is conducted in the local language and even the music has a local influence.” Wilma D’souza Charkop, Kandivli
“I will definitely accept this. I am an Indian and am proud to be one. We have already adopted the Indian style of dressing so why not the other practices.” Veena D’souza Mahavir Nagar, Kandivli
“We used to have aarti and used Ashoka leaves during service a few years ago, So I am definitely in favour of this idea. However, I would like an Indian influence and
not a Hindu one in the services.”
Llewellyn Quadros Malvani, Malad
“I might accept these changes if they are occasional. I think once or twice a week will be fine but definitely not daily.”
Roshan D’souza Malvani Village, Malad
“I am not very sure if I will accept the change. I am a little sceptical right now. I will decide after I attend one such mass.”
[Name deleted by mistake]
THIS LETTER WAS SENT TO ME BY DEREK FERNANDES FROM MUMBAI:
Dear Michael, Today [November 2] I was disturbed when I read a local metro paper (its a part of Midday). It has an article “Aartis and bhajans for Christ- are you ready for it?“. This article interviewed four parish priests from Malad, Kandivali and Borivali. Fr. Sequeira from Malad, St Anthony’s Church, Malvani says his parish has already started performing aarti on some occasions!!!
Please check the link http://www.lifepositive.com/spirit/world-religions/christianity/belief.asp
Indian Christianity: In Search of the Christ Within By Suma Varughese, December 1999.
It says: Fr Michael Gonsalves
goes a step further:
“We must substitute the Old Testament of the Bible with Indian history, scriptures and arts. For us, the Holy Land should be India; the sacred river the Ganges; the sacred mountain the Himalayas, the heroes of the past not Moses, or David, but Sri Ram or Krishna.”
Does this priest Fr Michael Gonsalves really exist???? Derek
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. The four Bombay archdiocese priests as well as the seven lay persons interviewed by Midday understand inculturation/ Indianisation only in terms of arati, dress, the vernacular language, and the singing of bhajans. One lay is uncertain, while another is cautious about “Indian” becoming “Hindu“. Three out of seven do not want this to be a regular feature.
2. Derek, who forwarded this Midday report to me with the Traditionalist lifepositive.com link is seriously concerned by the statement of Fr Michael Gonsalves about substituting the Old Testament of the Bible and real Biblical figures like Moses and David with “Indian history” which is nothing else but the mythologies of Hindu deities and avatars like Krishna and Rama.
Remove Moses and we lose the Passover, the Eucharist. Remove David and we do not have Jesus of the House of David. Remove the Jordan and Mounts Tabor and Sinai [Calvary too?] and replace them with the Ganga and the Himalayas. Is this the Indianisation that Fr Michael Gonsalves wants?
Well, the NCB has made a start towards that end.
9. Indian Church Divided on Inculturation Strategy to Entice Hindu Converts
Indianisation of the Church: the larger November 4, 2005
Courtesy: The Statesman Source: http://www.theindiancatholic.com/news_read.asp?nid=864
By Mario Rodrigues The Statesman, November 2, 2005 Posted November 3, 2005
Also at Hindu fundamentalist website: http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=NEWS&id=1131077207 : “This website is opposed to the aggression practiced under in the name of Christianity.”
A conclave of priests and bishops at the Papal Seminary in Pune last week called for the renewed “Indianisation” of the Catholic Church and the adoption of Hindu rituals, including aarti during Mass, studying Sanskrit and the Vedas, experiencing ashram life and so on. The conclave discussed this and other issues besieging the Church and the laity in the new millennium.
According to one report in the media, a seminary spokesman said: “The Catholic Church plans to adopt a number of Indian traditions and practices which will give us a feel of being an Indian.”
The issue, however, is not as simple as reports made it out to be. In the first place, the question of what “Indianisation” is and the limits to which it can be encouraged are a moot point.
For a vast number of Indian Catholics, “Indianisation” does not mean “Hinduisation” of the Brahminical variety, which is what reports seemed to suggest.
Putting the issue in perspective,
Fr Tony Charanghat, editor of the influential Church weekly, The Examiner, clarified that this was not a call for performing Hindu puja during Mass.
“We’re only for the use of rituals, myth and culture as the best means of communicating the message of Christianity in the Indian context,” he told The Statesman. He added that this process of inculturation was important because through it “we will be able to understand our own experience and our own culture better”.
European missionaries like Roberto de Nobili (the “Roman Brahmin”) and John de Britto, who came with the early Portuguese colonisers, were the earliest “Indianisers” who practised what they preached. Their message was kept alive by their disciples down the centuries but overall, the practices of Indian Christianity were decidedly Western till Independence. But realisation dawned that the Church must become less Europeanised and more Indian to relate meaningfully to the social milieu in which it existed.
This process was fast forwarded by the epochal Vatican Council II (1962-65) when Rome shed its triumphal bearing and embraced ecumenism, inter-faith dialogue, inculturation and religious liberty. This allowed the use of local languages (in place of Latin) and customs in Church services all over the world. It also gave a licence for a creative and radical reinterpretation of the Gospels, which in turn was responsible for the genesis of liberation theology in Latin America.
Christians form less than three per cent of the overall population of India and this includes Catholics (who subscribe to five rites), mainline Protestant denominations, other evangelical sects and the Orthodox churches of Kerala, both Catholic and otherwise. Kerala churches have been proactive in their Indianisation tendencies and activists of the Syro-Malabar liturgy once tried to forcefully put this on the agenda when the late Pope John Paul II visited India a few years ago. In recent times, the process has acquired urgency because of the spate of attacks on Christians and Church institutions by the loony Hindu fundamentalist brigade that peaked during the “saffron raj” of the NDA at the Centre.
Today, Indianisation of the Church has come a long way. How far down the road of Indianisation the post-Conciliar Church here has travelled can be deduced from the fact that
new-age churches are modelled after temples, the
“Indian rite mass” (conceived by Cardinal Parecattil of the Syro-Malabar Church and
of the Latin Church, “masterminds” behind the inculturation movement in India)
incorporates (Brahminical) Hindu rituals such as the chanting of Vedic and Upanishadic mantras.
Prayers begin with “OM”, readings are taken from the Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagvad Gita, tilak is applied to foreheads of priests and people, priests wear a saffron shawl instead of a cassock and sit on the ground at a table surrounded by small lamps rather than stand at the traditional altar.
In addition, Indian music is played at Church services, the entrance procession for the Mass has girls dancing the Bharatnatyam, kirtans and bhajans are sung at Communion.
Priests and nuns are encouraged to
adopt Indian religious values and customs in their religious practices and
participate actively in Hindu festivals such as Ganesh-visarjan (immersion) and Raas Lila.
Many priests and nuns have anyway renounced their Western names and taken on Indian ones and many Church institutions now bear Indian names such as
Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune (Pontifical Institute of Philosophy and Religion), Sadhana meditation centre, Lonavla, Satchitananda Ashram, Trichy
and so on.
Priests and nuns are besides encouraged to live in ashrams and experience divinity through the practice of disciplines such as yoga, vipassana, transcendental meditation, reiki, pranic healing and so on. Diehard conservatives in the clergy have been appalled by the changes and one searing critic has described this process as a “scandalous ecumenism with Hinduism”. Such attempts have also not gone down well with sections of the laity. “The leadership wants to inculturate and have been
contextualising theology to suit the Indian milieu
but lay people are not willing to change,” Fr Allwyn D’Silva, director, Documentation, Research & Training Centre at the St Pius College, Mumbai, said. He felt this was the “main block” faced by the Church in several regions, especially in a city like Mumbai where the population is cosmopolitan.
But this is not the only problem. Another stumbling road block is the question of what is Indian and whether Brahminical Hinduisation should be the dominant theological and liturgical trend in the Church.
There has, in fact, been stiff opposition to the advance of “Hinduisation” from radical Dalit theologians such as the late Rev Arvind Nirmal, the Rev M Azariah and the Rev James Massey.
They have accused the high caste-dominated Church leadership of “Brahminising” Christianity in the name of “Indianising” the church.
“The current or traditional Indian Christian theology, which is based upon the Brahmanic traditions of Hindu religions did not/does not address itself to or reflect the issues which the majority of Christians faced either before or after they became Christians. It is because this expression of theology is based upon the religious traditions of the minority even among the Hindus, because Brahmins (priestly caste) represent 5.22 only of the total population of India,” Rev Massey has argued.
These Dalit theologians have made a stinging critique of the Church’s internal power structures and its alliances with the ruling elite and vested interests, leading to sections of the clergy and laity challenging these oppressive structures both in Church and society and demanding empowerment.
This is one reason for the recent attacks on Christians orchestrated by upper caste-led leaders of the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal. Dalits, who form about 70 per cent of the total Indian Christian population, are still discriminated against even in the Church, and their ideologues and leaders would surely oppose such Brahminical trends being imposed from above.
Not that the Church is not aware of these problems. “Christianity does not mean uniformity and has taken into account cultural diversity,” concedes Fr Charangat, while acknowledging the existence and importance of several little cultures and liturgies such as tribal liturgy and subaltern liturgy which have to contend with the “greater culture” (Brahminism). “For them (Dalits), adopting these things would be anathema since they are fighting against hierarchy,” he avers.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of India, with a view to accommodating contrasting tendencies, has left it to regional bishops to decide what is appropriate Indianisation, informs Fr Charangat. “It is a struggle and a challenge for us how to Indianise,” he says.
Indeed, it is. The recent expression of resolve at Pune amply demonstrates that the battle continues.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. Check out the doublespeak in the very first paragraph of the above report. The Bishops and Papal Seminary priests’ call for “Indianisation” is interpreted by them – and no one else – as “the adoption of Hindu rituals“. A little further down, they switch to “Indian traditions and practices“. So what is it, dear Bishops and theologians? Indian or HINDU?
Can you not decide?
2. QUOTE For a vast number of Indian Catholics, “Indianisation” does not mean “Hinduisation” of the Brahminical variety, which is what reports seemed to suggest. UNQUOTE. This is false.
To prove it, the same report above admits that the “Indian rite mass” (conceived by Cardinal Parecattil of the Syro-Malabar Church and
of the Latin Church, “masterminds” behind the inculturation movement in India)
incorporates (Brahminical) Hindu rituals such as the chanting of Vedic and Upanishadic mantras. [The late Fr Amalorpavadas incidentally was (surprisingly) not a Jesuit]
3. Note the entry of “Fr Tony Charangat, editor of the influential Church weekly, The Examiner“,
the Archdiocesan weekly,
Mumbai, into the picture. He is one of the prime movers in the propaganda to defend and perpetuate the NCB.
His argument: “We’re only for the use of rituals, myth and culture as the best means of communicating the message of Christianity in the Indian context.” This again is false twice over.
a) The New Testament people [read the Acts of the Apostles, please] did not use this human [or worse] wisdom to establish the Catholic Church in the context of the pagan world. They preached the Gospel message by the Holy Spirit.
b) The “we” [priests] he refers to are using not just “rituals, myth and culture” but occult practices. The Examiner is an outstanding example of this [separate report under preparation]. Once compromise is made on even the smallest of issues,
Satan storms in. That is why, to maintain their doctrinal purity, the Lord God warned His chosen people, “Do NOT [even] inquire regarding their gods, ‘How did these nations worship their gods? I, too, would do the same’. You shall NOT thus worship the Lord, your God…” Deuteronomy 12: 30, 31. Read also Exodus 34: 10-16.
In the light of the Indian Church under attack not long after the release of the NCB, maybe we ought to be studying our Bibles more seriously instead of examining the religious texts of pagan religions and false gods.
4. So where has the “Indianisation of the Church“
“traveling down the road of
the post-Conciliar Church here” taken our Bishops and priests, and most of our nuns I may add? The answer is given above:
i) New Age church buildings modeled after temples
ii) Brahminical rituals such as the chanting of Vedic and Upanishadic mantras
iii) use of OM and other mantras at every possible opportunity, in bhajans, in the Grace at meals time, for meditation, etc.
iv) reading of Hindu scriptures [Rig Veda, Bhagvad Gita, etc.] at church services and even at Holy Mass
v) bharatanatyam (a dance form that originated in temples and is still used mainly to honour Hindu deities)
vi) encouragement and active participation of priests and nuns in “Hindu festivals such as Ganesh-visarjan (immersion) and Raas Lila”
vii) Priests have dropped the prefix “Father” and are now known as “Swami” this or that
viii) scores of ashrams [the NBCLC is the lynchpin of the ashrams movement] have been established where bishops, priests, nuns, catechists, etc. are “inculturated” through yoga, vipassana, zen, OM chanting, using chappati instead of unleavened bread in Indian-rite Masses and distributing this Holy Communion to people of all religions, elimination of sacramental confession, removal of the Blessed Sacrament [since it is viewed as an obstruction to non-believers] and its replacement with meditation on the self or the divinity within
ix) Take note of this stunning disclosure:
“Priests and nuns are besides encouraged to live in ashrams and experience divinity through the practice of disciplines such as yoga, vipassana, transcendental meditation, reiki, pranic healing and so on.”
The occult arts are openly practiced and propagated here.
Apparently they have not read the two Vatican Documents, the first on the dangers of eastern or oriental meditations, the second on the same as well as New Age alternative healing therapies.
BUT THEY HAVE. I WILL DEMONSTRATE THAT LATER.
Dear reader, please bear in mind that you are reading a newspaper report that is based on the deliberations that took place at the Papal Seminary, Pune, and the decisions taken there for the eternal future of you and me and our families by hundreds of priests and five to seven Bishops including Bishop Valerian D’Souza who is the Spiritual Advisor to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of India!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AND THESE ARE THE VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO ARE STRIVING TO CONVINCE US THAT WE LACK BIBLICAL SCHOLARSHIP, THAT WE ARE NARROW-MINDED, THAT WE ARE FUNDAMENTALISTS, AND SO WE MUST LISTEN TO THEM AND ACCEPT THE ERRONEOUS NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5) OPPOSITION TO THIS BRAND OF INCULTURATION/INDIANISATION:
i) “Diehard conservatives in the clergy have been appalled by the changes and one searing critic has described this process as a “scandalous ecumenism with Hinduism”.“
It is most interesting that this reporter of The Statesman newspaper made this reference to the title of an article written several years earlier by one Lawrence D’Souza. Lawrence was a seminarian at the Pius X Major seminary in Goregaon in Mumbai, who along with Gregory Noronha, Anthony Alphonso and Anthony Rodrigues joined the breakaway Lefebvre movement [SSPX, the Society of St. Pius X] who left the Church and were later pursuing studies in the Society’s Australian seminary since 2003. See the SSPX Newsletter of the District of Asia, July-Dec 2003, Scandalous Ecumenism with Hinduism, and Hinduism at a Glance, author Lawrence D’Souza at
Lawrence and his colleagues made many startling disclosures including that one of the decisions taken at the Catholic Priests Conference of India (CPCI) 1996
was to “Open Archdiocesan
Ashrams (a Hindu-styled hermitage) to participate in Indian forms of prayer, liturgical worship and community, thereby to have a “God-experience” in Indian setting.”
ii) “Such attempts have also not gone down well with sections of the laity.“
True. We endorse that.
iii) The Dalits oppose the Brahminisation that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has set in motion. But, as one can read, it is the leaders of the Protestant churches – not our Catholic Bishops — that are vociferously against this movement.
10. Catholic Church Expands Deceptive Program of “Indianization”
Comment from a Hindu fundamentalist site which reproduced the above TOI reports:
Catholic Church in India is making clever adjustments to make itself more palatable to Indians. This continues a process begun hundreds of years ago when some of the first Catholic missionaries to the country pretended to be like Hindu sadhus. The external adaptations, however, were not accompanied by any change in the Catholic philosophy that all non-Catholics are denied heaven.
[Source: another Hindu fundamentalist site: http://www.hinduismtoday.com/hpi/2005/10/30.shtml#2]
11. Realpolitik. Hindu rituals in Church By Balbir K. Punj
November 13, 2005
The writer, a Rajya Sabha MP and Convener of BJP’s Think Tank, can be contacted at email@example.com
“…a handsome young Irish monk, Father Mulligan, who was in Kerala for a year on deputation, from his seminary in Madras. He was studying Hindu scriptures, in order to be able to denounce them intelligently.” –The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy (p.22)
Is the Church in India playing a Ravana? Ravana impersonated a sage in Dandakaranya to abduct Sita by deception. The Times of India (October 25) reports—”Church to adopt ashram, aarti, Sanskrit“. It will adopt Hindu customs; Hindu symbols; and speak in the godly language of Sanskrit.
The theme was taken up at a three-day meet by Papal Seminary, Pune that celebrated 50 years of its relocation from Kandy (Sri Lanka) into Pune in 1955. It is Asia’s biggest centre for training of Catholic priests and has produced some 1250 of them in the last half a century in India. The Papal Seminary located at Ramwadi, Pune already has an ‘Institute of Philosophy and Religion’ called Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth. This is nothing new, we are told, and we agree, about this ‘Indianisation’. Catholic seminaries like Bethany Vedavijnana Peeth (Pune), Satchitananda Ashram (Tamil Nadu) and Samekshna Ashram (Kalady, in Kerala) already pretend to follow a Hindu way of life. Even vegetarianism, organising satsang, and recital of Bhagvad Gita have been introduced.
It is not the form that is consequential but the content and intent. Nobody has ever found the present form and face of Catholic church offensively un-Indian. A church building mingles in the Indian environment. Nowhere do Christians live in ghettos, and they mingle well in Hindu localities like sugar dissolving in milk to sweeten the glass without displacing its contents. You can visit your neighbourhood Catholic Church and find masses are being held in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil as a matter of regular practice. Bibles are available in all Indian languages.
But if suddenly one finds masses are being held in Sanskrit and Bibles appearing in that language (that even very few Hindus can understand)
one smells a rat. What is the compulsion of the Church to act
more Hindu than Hindus themselves? Excessive loyalty, as a maxim goes, forewarns of treachery.
The ‘Ashram Movement’ of the Church is nothing new. In 1988, late Sita Ram Goel had written a book about it titled Catholic Ashrams: Sanyasins or Swindlers (Voice of India, New Delhi). One of its primary sources was the investigation done by Hinduism Today magazine headquartered at Hawaii Islands, in its November 1986 issue.
I wish to reproduce some parts from Hinduism Today’s editorial that is now available in the internet archive (type Catholic Ashrams on Google):
“The Shantivanam ashram looks like a rishi’s home transported from Vedic times to the banks of the sacred Cauvery River at a forested place near Trichy in South India. A pilgrim’s first impressions are strong, and very Hindu: the elaborately colorful Hindu shrine; the bearded, saffron-robed “swami” seated cross-legged on a straw mat; devotees practicing yogic meditations, even chanting Hindu scriptures. But these impressions gradually prove false. First, the eye detects that the courtyard shrine is for Saint Paul and that ‘puja’ is actually a daily Mass, complete with incense, arati lamps, flower offerings and prasadam. Finally, one meets the ‘swami’, learning he is Father Bede ‘Dayananda’ Griffiths, a Christian ‘sanyasin’ of impeccable British background. This is a Christian ashram, one of more than 50 in India, which are variously described as ‘experiments in cross-cultural communication’, ‘contemplative hermitages that revolve around both Christian and Hindu ideas’, or (less charitably) ‘institutions to brainwash and convert India’s unwary masses’.“
It’s evident that this Catholic mission is remodeled on a Hindu ashram. But do its inmates, who chant Hindu scriptures, subscribe to Hindu doctrines say reincarnation, moksha, and cycles of birth?
In a 1984 interview by Renee Weber published in ReVision magazine, Father Griffiths said, ‘I consider reincarnation one of the most difficult doctrines to reconcile with Christian faith. According to popular belief the individual soul passes from body to body in a series of rebirths. I consider this entirely unacceptable from a Christian point of view.’ Regarding moksha Renee Weber asked, ‘Was there this extraordinary openness and capacity for self-transcendence precisely in Jesus? Or can it happen again?’ Father Griffiths replied, ‘In the Christian understanding, we would say no. He was open to the total reality of God. The rest of us have varying degrees of openness to the divine.’
Now compare this with what John Masefield (1878-1967), longest serving British poet laureate, undoubtedly a Protestant says in his poem A Creed. He writes: I hold that when a person dies/His soul returns again to earth/Arrayed in some new flesh-disguise/Another mother gives him birth. /With sturdier limbs and brighter brain/The old soul takes the road again.
Nobody ever knows of Masefield being a Hindu and yet his belief comes surprisingly nearer. But Father Griffith, though he pretends to be a Hindu monk comes out to be a Christian bigot. The former echoes Hindu view of life, the latter only wears a Hindu way of life to deceive others. Hindu view of life doesn’t have any problem with Christianity provided it doesn’t prey upon unsuspecting Hindus. But this can’t be said about Christianity—or more correctly—the Church.
Sitaram Goel in his book History of Hindu-Christian Encounter (1989) relates an interesting anecdote from life of Raja Rammohan Roy. Two Serampore missionaries, William Yates and William Adam, were taking help of Raja Rammohan Roy in translating the New Testament into Sanskrit. Rammohan suggested a certain translation of a Greek term which was first accepted and then turned down because it was damaging to the doctrine of Trinity. Serious doubts arose in the mind of William Adam. He disowned Trinitarianism and joined Rammohan in the Unitarian Committee which the latter had formed in 1822. At this ‘the Serampore missionaries flew into a rage and described him as the second fallen Adam’. Thus Sanskrit is not important. One wishes they had followed the spirit of Sanskrit that proclaims in Upanishads, ‘Truth is one, sages call it by different names’.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. The above are Hindu fundamentalists. It is painfully evident from their writings that what our priests, theologians, Bishops and ashram leaders are deceptively promoting as Indian culture is actually Hindu.
Carefully read their four arguments/questions, in blue, underlined.
3. They are highly critical of the Catholic Ashrams movement. But not for the same reasons as we are. They believe that the ashrams and inculturation are a deceptive cover/smokescreen for evangelisation and conversion. We know that it is not so. The overwhelming majority of clergy have neither the will, or the spirit or the interest in evangelisation. They never ever quote from the many Documents, Encyclicals and Apostolic Letters that exhort us to evangelize. They confine themselves to quoting from those sections of Documents that they can [mis]interpret to promote their sterile brand of inculturation.
MICHAEL PRABHU. SHIFT BACK 5 YEARS EARLIER TO THE RELEASE OF THE DOCUMENT DOMINUS IESUS:
12. Indian Theologians Regret Vatican Inability To Understand Them
October 9, 2000
PUNE, India (UCAN) Some theology professors in India have described a Vatican cardinal’s comment that “Dominus Iesus” was directed against them as the Vatican’s failure to understand religious pluralism in Asia. “Rome has a suspicion that the Indian theologians do not accept the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the mediator of salvation,” said Jesuit theologian Father Josef Neuner, 92, who has taught in various Indian seminaries for the past 60 years. Father Neuner and other theologians in Pune fear that the Sept. 5 Vatican declaration “Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church” will alienate other religions.
The document stresses the “unicity and salvific universality of the mystery of Jesus Christ” and the Church’s “salvific mediation” since it holds that “relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism” endanger the Church’s mission.
The theologians made their comments on reports that Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said Sept. 26 that “Dominus Iesus” was directed at theology professors in India.
Father Neuner told UCA News Oct. 4 that the Vatican “does not sufficiently understand and appreciate the implications of religious and cultural pluralism in India in particular and in Asia in general.” The Austria-born Jesuit said the declaration will “alienate Indian theology professors and hamper their creativity and research as they will not be able to speak out openly.” Father Neuner said that to emphasis Christ as the only Savior is a “challenging task” for Indian theologians and that “it is also very difficult to make Hindus and Muslims understand it.”
Jesuit Father Errol D’Lima, president of the Indian Theological Association, said the declaration shows the Vatican’s fear that Indian theologians’ attempt to view other religions positively will dilute “essentials of Christianity.”
Father D’Lima, who teaches systematic theology in
Pune’s Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth (light of knowledge university), said the problem arises because Indian Christians have a “worldview different from Rome, and our living experience of being the Church is in dialogue with other religions.”
Divine Word Father Jacob Kavunkal, who teaches missiology in the same university, said the Vatican “does not seem to appreciate the atmosphere of religious pluralism in which Indian theologians have to work.” He said the Bible has “tremendous indication of positive approach to other religions,” which are responses to “the revelatory process of the word.” The Divine Word priest said the document’s language of exclusivity would “alienate our sister Churches and other religious traditions, making the task of the Indian theologians rather difficult.”
Jesuit theologian Father Francis D’Sa said Indian theologians live in “religious pluralism, not in academe like in the West” since the country has many religions, including tribal and folk religions. He explained that Indian theologians have to speak their faith in a language others can understand. Those living in almost monocultural situations will never understand the situation of Indian theologians, he added.
Jesuit Father Rue de Menezes, a former university rector, warned that the Vatican document “will destroy any spirit of dialogue with other religions.” Indian theologians have the option to either follow the ecumenical council — the Second Vatican Council or the opinion of certain individuals in Rome, he said. But “Indian theologians will opt for the former,” he added. The document “reflects the mentality of the Middle Ages,” he said.
He added that the so-called “champions of orthodoxy are not faithful to the Jesus of the Gospels” and said he wants the Church to prescribe a retirement age for the “clerks of the Vatican.”
Father Subash Anand, another theology professor, said the document tries to equate Christ’s role and importance with that of the Church. “They are not identical, though related,” he added.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. We have now reached a very important section of this report. After ‘straying’ a bit, we are back to where we started, albeit five years earlier in time and a picture crystallizes and on that we shall build:
The main scholars and theologians who wrote the commentaries of the New Community Bible are liberals, modernists and dissenters who rebel against Rome
[I have examined this in my Ashrams and other reports].
On September 5, 2000, Rome released an unprecedented Document, Dominus Iesus, on the unicity of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Fr Charanghat of The Examiner was happy to publish a number of letters condemning this Document. Let it be clear that those who reject this Document reject the teaching authority of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.
Not only do they believe that they know better than Rome [THEY are right, Rome is wrong], they believe that THEY are the ones who are more faithful to the Truth than Rome, quoting Fr Menezes: “the so-called “champions of orthodoxy are not faithful to the Jesus of the Gospels”.”
2. The theologians, scholars and professors of the Papal Seminary were in the vanguard of the assault on the Document: Joseph Neuner, Errol D’Lima, Francis D’Sa, Rui de Menezes [Jesuits all], Jacob Kavunkal SVD and Subash Anand. Of these six, TWO ARE NCB COMMENTATORS: Rui de Menezes, SJ and Subash Anand. Mean anything?
We shall learn more about them and the other rebel theologians shortly.
3. ON FR. JOSEPH NEUNER, THE PAPAL SEMINARY AND THE NBCLC. I RECEIVED THIS LETTER FROM THE SECRETARY, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR EXORCISTS, LONDON:
Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2006 4:16 PM Subject: Fwd: [catholicpriests] Destruction of Catholicism in India
Dear Rita, kindly bring this to attention to Don Amorth [Chief Exorcist, Rome] as he will be able to bring this to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and from there it will each the Holy Father.
I myself, having worked in India, was aware from 1983/84 when I visited for some time this above mentioned establishment (PAPAL SEMINARY, Poona) to discuss the prevailing theology thought and learned from Fr. Josef Neuner (who died recently) the names of the philosophy teachers (Solares or Soares), who promoted the idea that the devil does not exist, as a personal entity. I was deeply worried.
I went to discuss with Fr. Amalor Pavadass of the NBCLC, he was the leader of INCULTURATION about the use of ‘Tantric symbols’ in his [NBLCL] chapel, and had a very significant negative experience with him! Also was a frequent visitor to Fr. Bede Griffiths* and had extended discussions with him, AS HE WAS USING HINDU SCRIPTURES DURING HIS MASS. His chapel, till this day, is looking more like a Hindu temple then a Catholic Church.
Now important to know is that the population of the village around his Ashram, all Hindus, told me that when they want to join Christianity,
they want to leave behind Hinduism and are not interested in similarities between Hindu believes and Christianity. I feel only Don Amorth can speak to the correct Cardinal in the Congregation of Faith. *Sachidananda Ashram, Shantivanam
4. Why did Neuner perceive that
“Rome has a suspicion that the Indian theologians do not accept the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the mediator of salvation”?
Why did the Indian theologians believe that [“Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said Sept. 26 that] “Dominus Iesus” was directed at theology professors in India?
I will provide the answers later. Meanwhile, carefully read the kind of low opinions our theologians have of the Teaching Church which Menezes calls “the clerks of the Vatican”.
I will provide evidence later that these priests and their colleagues reject yet another more recent Vatican Document.
Note that some of them are even presidents of theological associations and present and former rectors of seminaries.
And are these the men, who reject the Documents but are behind the NCB, that we can trust for orthodoxy?
4. The deprecatory and condescending terms [the mentality of the Middle Ages, clerks of the Vatican, those living in almost monocultural situations, the opinion of certain individuals in Rome] used by them for the Roman authorities and their inspired products, the Documents, is indicative of a deeper malaise that is transcended only in the writings of the ashrams movement [read that report] but which has affected the formation of all our seminarians, having filtered down to the newest of novices. What future, Indian Church?
MICHAEL PRABHU. GOING BACK IN TIME YET ANOTHER TWO AND A HALF YEARS:
13.1 CDF NOTIFICATION ON THE WRITINGS OF FR. ANTHONY DE MELLO, SJ
THE NOTIFICATION CONCERNING THE WRITINGS OF INDIAN JESUIT FATHER ANTHONY DE MELLO, SJ
was signed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect, CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH [CDF]
now Pope Benedict XVI, on
June 24, 1998. It declared that
de Mello’s teachings “are incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause grave harm” to Catholics.
13.2 INDIAN JESUITS QUESTION VATICAN BAN ON DE MELLO WRITINGS
August 27, 1998 NEW DELHI (UCAN) While acknowledging that some writings attributed to Jesuit Father Anthony De Mello may be objectionable, leading Indian Jesuits say that the Vatican’s condemnation of their late confrere’s works seems to reflect misunderstanding. An Aug. 22 notification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says that some of Father De Mello’s views on religions and God “are incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause harm.” […] Jesuit theologian Father Samuel Rayan told UCA News Aug. 26 that by banning Father De Mello’s works, the Vatican was “using sword against pen… A general condemnation from the Vatican will not solve the controversy because Father De Mello’s books are very popular and people enthusiastically read them.“
13.3 Vatican Probe into Jesuit Father Dupuis’ book Surprises Indian Theologians
November 17, 1998 NEW DELHI (UCAN) Shock and surprise marked some Indian theologians’ reaction to a Vatican move to probe a Jesuit’s book on religious plurality. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has reportedly given Jesuit Father Jacques Dupuis three months to reply to an “initial interrogative survey” on his book “Towards a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism.” The 74-year-old Belgian priest, who taught theology in India for 25 years before taking up a teaching assignment in Rome’s Gregorian University in 1982, was asked not to teach while he prepares his response.
“Father Dupuis is as committed to the Christian faith and truth as anybody in the Church, including those in the Vatican,” says Jesuit Father Samuel Rayan, 78, who teaches in several theologates in India.
He said Father Dupuis’ Indian experience has given him “first-hand knowledge of religious pluralism” unlike “those who have only heard about such things.”
Asia, he added, values “reflection based on experience” more than “speculation (on) living the truth and the faith.”
According to Jesuit theologian Father T.K. John, the priest under scrutiny is known for his orthodox faith and uncompromising stance on Christ’s uniqueness despite his appreciation of dialogue and inculturation.
Jesuit Indologist Father George Gispert-Sauch said he found it strange that the Vatican questioned Father Dupuis’ Catholic faith and his loyalty to the magisterium. According to the registrar of Delhi’s Vidyajyoti (light of knowledge) Jesuit theologate, Father Dupuis was careful to include the Church’s whole tradition, including its magisterial teaching, in his theological works. He noted that Catholic teaching centers in English-speaking countries now teach “The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church,” a book Father Dupuis co-edited and which has had six Indian editions since its publication in 1973. He told UCA News Nov. 15 that Father Dupuis is concerned with “the growing dialogue in India” and “Christianity’s encounter with other religions” and that he tries to prove that dialogue does not diminish the basic Christian faith but helps to show it “more splendidly.”
Father Gispert-Sauch said his colleague enjoys the confidence and approval of the Asian bishops, especially the Indian hierarchy, and attends their theological meetings as an expert.
“He was a kind of unofficial consultor for many bishops of Asia,”
he said, wondering if the Vatican move is an “indirect warning” to Asian bishops to revise their theological positions, especially after the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia in May. “If this was the case,” he said, one should question “the roles and functions of the episcopate in this vast area” that is “so alive to the Christian faith in dialogue with other religions.”
Father Rayan said he wants theologians to help each other through critical evaluation and discussion if “truth, not power, is our concern.” Asserting that no theologian is infallible, he said, “We are on a pilgrimage to fuller appropriation of the truth.” Father Rayan and others were also upset over the Vatican’s recent ban on the books of the late Jesuit preacher Father Anthony de Mello.
The above UCAN story was also copied in the
National Catholic Reporter [NCR] December 4, 1998 by Teresa Malcolm:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_6_35/ai_53460446. The very same issue of NCR also had this story:
13.4 Theologians urge orders to resist Vatican pressure
Two Catholic theologians who have fallen afoul of the Vatican’s watchdog Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have written to the heads of religious orders in Rome asking them to resist pressure from the congregation to discipline members of their orders. One of the two, Fr. Paul Collins, an Australian church historian and broadcaster whose book Papal Power was condemned in Rome, made the letter public. The other theologian is Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, who was excommunicated because of the views expressed in his book Mary and Human Liberation but whose excommunication was lifted following worldwide protests… END
The first point that I am making is that, as Fr Samuel Rayan SJ said above, “no theologian is infallible“, and that we laity do not have to be unduly worried that we may be wrong in challenging them. In the recent past there have been many theologians like Frs Dupuis, de Mello and Balasuriya who have been censured by Rome.
VATICAN RAPS ASIAN JESUIT PROVINCIALS:
The following news report from the September 1-15, 1999 issue of Renovaçâo, the fortnightly bulletin of the Archdiocese of Goa is self-explanatory. May the Indian Bishops, like their Spanish counterparts, stand for orthodoxy and orthopraxis.
SPANISH BISHOPS REPLY TO JESUIT ASIAN PROVINCIALS
Concerning Defense of Anthony De Mello and Jacques Dupuis
MADRID, JULY 30, 1999, ZENIT- Bishop Ricardo Blazquez, President of the Spanish Episcopal Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent the magazine ‘New Life’ his observations which were published on July 10, regarding its April 24 publication of a document signed by the Jesuit Provincials of South Asia, in which they defend Jesuit writers Anthony De Mello and Jacques Dupuis from criticisms by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
“It is going beyond the Provincials’ competence to pass discrediting judgements” on the Holy See’s decisions, the Spanish Episcopal Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith asserts.
The Commission pointed out that it is not “correct to compare the De Mello and Dupuis cases. The Congregation has asked Fr. Dupuis to clarify some issues in his latest publications that could be problematic. The Congregation has requested that the clarifications be in writing and made with due reserve, in order not to prejudice public opinion regarding the development of a dialogue that has only just begun. Those who publish comments on the process that is underway seem to automatically assume a negative outcome, and they should ask themselves if this is the best way to defend their brothers and whether they are harming peace and the Church’s communication processes.”
On the other hand, the Commission adds, in regard to “the writings of Fr. De Mello, after years of study, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a statement at the appropriate time. The statement recognizes Fr. De Mello’s merits, but warns that some of the positions he supports in his writings are not compatible with the Catholic faith; specifically, Fr. De Mello presents as debatable Jesus Christ’s unique character as Son of God, revealer of his Mystery, and of the Church as the sacrament of encounter with God.”
“Anyone can see that the issues in question do not refer exclusively to problems of the Faith’s inculturation in Asia, but are aired all over the world and from different ideological realms,” continued the Commission.
“Therefore, it is not right to reject the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s intervention by saying it is misunderstanding or repressing Asian affairs. On the contrary, the Congregation intervened to exercise its legitimate responsibility as regards the whole Church. It must be thanked for its service to the Gospel’s cause, which will help Catholics not to turn away from Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life*,” concluded the Spanish Bishops. *JOHN 14:6
13.6 Belgian Jesuit receives Vatican rebuke
October 22, 2002 http://www.companysj.com/sjusa/02-11-10.htm
A top Vatican official has said that ‘ruinous positions’ on interreligious dialogue being taken by some Catholic theologians have weakened the Church’s educational efforts among the faithful.
Cardinal Dario Castrillòn Hoyos told a Vatican conference that these theologians, in their efforts to promote interreligious dialogue, were continuing to mistakenly present non-Christian religions as ‘equally valid’ to Christianity.
In particular, Cardinal Castrillòn criticised
Belgian Jesuit Fr Jacques Dupuis, whose book, Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism, was scrutinised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2001.
The cardinal cited Fr Dupuis’ statement that God’s self-revelation through Jesus was ‘limited, incomplete and imperfect,’ in part because of the limitations of Christ’s own human consciousness. On the contrary, Cardinal Castrillòn said, the divine mystery is fully revealed in Christ.
The Vatican severely castigated renowned Indian theologian
Fr Felix Wilfred, head of the Department of Christian Studies of Madras University: “Cardinal Castrillòn, who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, also took aim at Indian Fr. Felix Wilfred, considered a leading Catholic expert in India on dialogue with other religions. He criticized Fr. Wilfred for saying that other religious traditions contain divine revelation. He also criticized the theologian’s idea that Christian revelation represents only one part of divine revelation.“ (CNS news) PETRUS, November 2002
13.8 THEOLOGY REQUIRES ASSENT TO MAGISTERIUM, SAY PRELATES. FRINGE GROUPS SMALL BUT INFLUENTIAL, WARNS SPANISH EPISCOPATE
APRIL 14, 2006
ZENIT– Theology is true only insofar as it proceeds from the Catholic faith and “contributes to invigorate it and give it life,” says an official of the Spanish bishops’ conference. Father Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, secretary and spokesman of the episcopal conference, said that that the “tension” between “communion and freedom” always has been present in the field of theology.
He was answering questions at a press conference this week, after the presentation of the pastoral instruction “Theology and Secularization in Spain 40 Years after the Second Vatican Council,” which the bishops’ plenary assembly approved March 30. Father Martínez Camino explained that in theology “there is an enormous area for the imagination and for work.” But
if it is to be Catholic it must acknowledge Jesus Christ as “Savior who lives in the Church and the sacraments,” and
this is the only “limit” theologians must observe, he said.
The spokesman of the bishops’ conference said that
if this aspect is questioned, theology “denies itself” — it is not “the freedom of theologians” that is denied. “If it is denied that Christ is Savior, and this occurs in some cases, theology no longer is what it is” and this is “mortal for it,” said the priest.
In this context, the priest stressed that the magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church, is the “authoritative interpreter of the faith,” which has the “mission to direct theology.” The mission entrusted to the Church is “to show the figure of Christ,” he added. In regard to the concept of “dissent,” in which some theological positions are expressed in opposition to the orthodoxy of the Church, the bishops’ spokesman said that “to deny the magisterium” is something that has no place in Catholic theology… END
13.9 The Church in Spain Is Sick, but It’s not Zapatero’s Fault
By Sandro Magister, http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/printDettaglio.jsp?id=74326&eng=y Roma July 28, 2006 EXTRACT:
The sickness is the loss of faith among the people, and the poor instructors are above all the
progressive theologians. The accusation comes from the Spanish bishops.
In a document coordinated with Rome, as a model for other episcopates
The sickness is “the secularization within the Church”:
a widespread loss of faith caused in part by “theological propositions that have in common a deformed presentation of the mystery of Christ.”
The cure is precisely that of restoring life to the profession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), in the four areas where it is most seriously undermined today:
– the interpretation of Scripture,
– Jesus Christ as the only savior of all men,
– the Church as the Body of Christ,
– moral life.
The instruction is organized under these four main headings. In each section, the document first presents the features of correct Christological doctrine, and then denounces the theologies that deform it.
It denounces the theologies, not the theologians. The instruction does not target particular authors, but limits itself to denouncing erroneous tendencies. The names found in the notes that accompany the text are simply those of theologians already marked out in the past by doctrinal condemnations and disciplinary sanctions by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or by the Spanish bishops’ conference.
Four of these are Spanish:
Juan José Tamayo, José María Castillo, Juan Antonio Estrada, and Marciano Vidal.
The others are Jacques Dupuis [INDIA]; Roger Haight, American; Anthony De Mello, Indian; Austria’s Reinhard Messner; Leonardo Boff of Brazil; Ireland’s Diarmuid O’Murchu; and Tissa Balasuriya, of Sri Lanka.
13.10 And Now, Four. Another Theologian Goes Under the Scrutiny of “Dominus Iesus”
By Sandro Magister http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/167881?eng=y ROMA, September 17, 2006
It’s Peter C. Phan, of Georgetown University, in Washington. Before him, three famous Jesuits were censured: Dupuis, Haight, and Sobrino. All judged as being in conflict with the doctrine of Jesus as the only savior of the world.
13.11 Pope warns Catholic theologians against arrogance
18 September 2007, REUTERS
PARIS: Pope Benedict has warned Roman Catholic theologians against becoming arrogant and forgetting God in a broadside following reports that the Vatican is probing the writings of a priest in the United States. In a sermon at a private mass on Sunday, Benedict said theologians could know everything about the history of the Scriptures and how to explain them, but know nothing about God.
This came only days after it became known that the Vatican’s doctrinal office was probing Father Peter Phan, a theologian at Washington’s Georgetown University who says that non-Christian religions have a place in the salvation of mankind.
Benedict, who was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) before his election in 2005, has long opposed any blurring of lines between faiths and reprimanded theologians he felt portrayed other religions as being equal to Catholicism.
…The Vatican Radio report on the speech was entitled: “Pope warns against theological arrogance.”
…Phan, who migrated from Vietnam to the United States with his family in 1975, is a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. He has close ties to Catholic theologians in Asia, where several leading Church intellectuals say
the Vatican is too European-centric and the Church should recognise the positive aspects in non-Christian religions…
In recent years, the CDF has criticised similar ideas in the writings of the late
Belgian Jesuit Jacques Dupuis, who lived in India for 36 years and also worked on inter-faith dialogue.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. THEOLOGIANS, SCHOLARS, INDOLOGISTS, COMMENTATORS, ARE NOT INFALLIBLE.
Even the writings of a great theologian like Jacques Dupuis who “was a kind of unofficial consultor for many bishops of Asia” and the internationally popular retreat preacher Anthony de Mello were found erroneous.
MOREOVER, THE INDIAN THEOLOGIANS, EVEN THE LEADERS AMONG THEM, HAVE BEEN CASTIGATED OR CENSURED BY ROME. THE JESUITS AND THEIR PROVINCIALS WHO WIELD AN UNHEALTHY INFLUENCE OVER THE INDIAN BISHOPS [CBCI] AND THE FEDERATION OF ASIAN BISHOPS’ CONFERENCES [FABC] HAVE BEEN RAPPED OVER THE KNUCKLES BY ROME.
2. Having established that DISSENT and ERRONEOUS TEACHING by our Indian theologians are ROUTINE, that they have not been faithful to orthodoxy and to the Magisterium, and that Rome has censured some of them, let us examine some more of these theologians in greater detail. Why should we do so?
To establish their credibility as teachers of Catholic doctrine and interpreters of the Word of God, or the lack of it. We shall look at the Professors of the Papal seminary, two of whom are commentators of the NCB, while others are mentioned in some of the news reports above, promoting their brand of inculturation.
Some of them are contributors to a book called Shabda Shakti Sangam
edited by Catholic ashrams founder and leader, Vandana Mataji. Others are among those theologians who banded together to reject the Vatican Document on the New Age and trash its findings and pastoral recommendations.
Shabda Shakti Sangam
Vandana Mataji RSCJ [edited], 1995, 800 plus pages, printed: St Pauls Sold: NBCLC
Shabda Shakti Sangam?
Shabda Shakti Sangam
is loaded from cover to cover with occult material on
kundalini, chakras, nadis, the sushumna, energy fields, the astral/vital body, yoga, the OM mantra etc., often accompanied by vivid diagrams, in her own articles as well as those by other Catholic and Hindu contributors. Most of the Catholic authors are priests [list given below, out of which a full two-thirds are JESUITS!!!!!], while a few are nuns. Most of these priests are theologians, authors, editors, rectors, retreat preachers, scholars, seminary professors, teachers, heads of institutes, etc. A few, like Vandana, are ashram founders or closely connected with the ashram movement.
There are also lay persons, even a clerk at the NBCLC, and a number of Hindu gurus, yogis and swamis who contributed.
PARTIAL LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS TO
Shabda Shakti Sangam:
Fr. Anand Amaladas SJ, Institute of Philosophy and Culture, Chennai
Fr. Michael Amaladoss SJ, Theologian, specialist in inter-faith dialogue; General Assistant, Society of Jesus, Rome
Fr. M. A. Joe Antony SJ, Editor, the Jesuit JIVAN magazine. Editor, The NEW LEADER, Chennai
Fr. Fredrick DeSilva SJ, Teacher of Jesuit spirituality, Preacher of Ignatian retreats, Mangalore
Fr. Richard DeSmet SJ, Theologian, Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth [JDV]/Papal Seminary, Pune
Fr. Francis X. D’Sa SJ, Director, Institute for the Study of Religion, De Nobili College; Professor at JDV, Pune
Fr. George Gispert-Sauch SJ, Professor, Vidya Jyoti College of Theology, Delhi
Fr. Xavier Irudayaraj SJ, Director, Institute of Lay Spirituality, involved in inter-faith dialogue, Chennai
Fr. Xavier Jeyaraj SJ, West Bengal province
Fr. T. K. John SJ,
Theologian, Professor of Theology and Indology, Principal, Vidya Jyoti College of Theology, Delhi
Fr. S. M. John Kennedy SJ, Vidya Jyoti College of Theology, Delhi
Fr. Patrick [Paddy] Meagher SJ, Professor of Sacred Scripture, Vidya Jyoti College of Theology, Delhi
Fr. Korkonius Moses SJ, Ashram Founder, Yoga Teacher, Retreat Preacher, West Bengal/Pondicherry
Fr. Sebastian Painadath SJ, Theologian, Offers programmes based on Indian Spirituality, Ashram Founder, Kalady
Fr. George Pattery SJ, Visiting Professor Vidya Jyoti College of Theology, Delhi & Morning Star College, Barrackpore
Fr. Myron J. Pereira SJ, Former editor, the Jesuit JIVAN magazine. Editorial board, THE EXAMINER, Bombay Archdiocese
Fr. Samuel Rayan SJ,
Theologian, Vidya Jyoti College of Theology, Delhi
Fr. Gaston Roberge
SJ, Director, Chitrabani Society, Kolkata
Fr. George M. Soares-Prabhu SJ, Scripture scholar; Professor, Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth/Papal Seminary, Pune; Author
Bandhu Ishanand Vempeny SJ, Teacher, Jesuit Theologate, Gujarat and other institutions; author of “Krishna and Christ”
Fr. Gerwin van Leeuwen OFM, Teacher of Liturgy and Theology, NBCLC, Bangalore
Fr. Lucien Legrand MEP, Scripture Scholar and Professor, St Peter’s Seminary, Bangalore
Fr. Anthony Lobo, Diocesan priest and Yoga Teacher, [Student of Yogi B.K. Iyengar], Pune [now left the priesthood]
Fr. Felix Machado, Professor in Theology and Indology, St Pius X College, Mumbai
Fr. Albert Nambiaparambil CMI, specialist, inter-faith dialogue; fmr. Secy, CBCI Commsn. for Dialogue and Ecumenism
Fr. J P Nyayapal OP, Writer, preacher, teacher, Indian Christian Spirituality; Thesis on “OM” mantra
Fr. Kancheria Pathil CMI, Dean of Theology, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore
Fr. Paul Puthanangady SDB, Liturgy specialist; Former Director –NBCLC; Rector, Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore
Fr. Anthony Poruthur SVD, specialist in inter-faith dialogue
Swami Sahajananda OSB, Yoga Teacher, guru and guide, Sachidananda Ashram, Shantivanam, Trichy; Author
Fr. C.J.A. Tholens OSB, Involved in spiritual guidance, connected with Sachidananda Ashram, Shantivanam, Trichy
Fr. Scaria Varanath OFM, Teacher of Indian Christian Theology and Spirituality, Bangalore
Swami Vikrant SDB, Visiting Professor of Indian Philosophy and Indian Spirituality in several formation houses
Shabda Shakti Sangam? A FEW SAMPLES:
Some of the above priests have multiple contributions in this book.
In chapter 16, pages 415-419,
ORTHODOX CHURCH BISHOP
Paulose Mar Gregorios‘ article “A Surface Analysis of Two Concept Systems” is reproduced. He writes enthusiastically about the
chakras, shakti, kundalini power and the energy or subtle body, etc., with an attempt to see parallels in the Scriptures and Christian theology.
An entire chapter, pages 114-117 is devoted to “The Sacred Word OM: The Gateway to the Christian Discovery of India and Indian Discovery of Christ” by J P Nyayapal OP, a
who teaches Indian Christian Spirituality.
After explaining the intricacies of OM in great detail, he quotes
Fr. George Gispert-Sauch
as saying that the meaning [of OM] must be patiently explained to the people, because “There is a lot of controversy in India at present about the fitness of using the syllable OM in a Christian context.”
Like other contributors to Shabda Shakti Sangam,
Fr. Gispert-Sauch [a mentor whom Vandana
herself refers to regularly]
writes on the mysticism of
two leading New Agers
de Chardin*, whom he calls “a famous scientist-mystic”, and Sri Aurobindo, pages 124 ff. in the Shakti section. [Other articles of his are included in the same book]
*De Chardin, the Jesuit priest-palaentologist
is noted as
world’s leading influence on the New Age movement, see Vatican Document on the New Age, notes 15. Sri Aurobindo is a little further down in the same list.
*“Treated as an apostate by the Vatican, banned from teaching, and forbidden to publish his writings, the controversial Jesuit, who was known as the father of the New Age… expounded ‘a new theology’ leading to the ‘awakening to a collective superconsciousness… [and] a new age of the earth’,” say Dave Hunt & T. A. McMahon in The Seduction of Christianity, 1985, page 77.
[I could write a couple of thousand pages on the nonsense to be found in this book, but the above samples will suffice.]
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. No faithful Catholic will accept this book Shabda Shakti Sangam in whole or in part. It is occult, it is New Age. It showcases the ashrams movement which itself is heretical, schismatic and New Age. But, FOUR OF THE CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS BOOK ARE ALSO COMMENTATORS OF THE NCB! THEY ARE:
Fr. T. K. John SJ,
Fr. Patrick [Paddy] Meagher SJ, Fr. George M. Soares-Prabhu SJ, and Fr. Lucien Legrand MEP. They all are Scripture scholars, seminary professors, theologians. Can we now accept their commentaries in the NCB? NO, WE CANNOT.
Fr. Samuel Rayan SJ [see 13. 2 and 3 above] criticizes Rome and defends Belgian Jesuit Fr. Jacques Dupuis [see 13.3 and 6 above] whose book was censured by the Vatican. He and his fellow Jesuits also protested the ban on Indian Jesuit Fr. Anthony de Mello‘s books [see 13.1, 2, 3 and 5 above]. Theologian Fr. T.K. John SJ also condemned Rome and spoke in support of Dupuis and de Mello. Fr. T.K. John SJ IS A COMMENTATOR OF THE NCB AS WELL AS A CONTRIBUTOR TO
Shabda Shakti Sangam. Fr. Samuel Rayan SJ IS A CONTRIBUTOR TO
Shabda Shakti Sangam.
They are in the company of New Ager Father Gispert-Sauch [see 13.3 above] who also defended Dupuis and questioned Rome’s decisions and actions. Birds of a feather.
Can we accept Indologist Fr. T. K. John SJ‘s verification of the commentaries in the NCB? NO, WE CANNOT.
Fr. Francis X. D’Sa SJ
is a Professor at the Papal Seminary; he is Director, Institute for the Study of Religion, De Nobili College, Pune. He is also one of the contributors [a harmless article but in the wrong book, showing his affiliations and associations] to Shabda Shakti Sangam, and so, too, a sympathizer with the Catholic ashrams movement.
14. SEMINARIANS, NUNS SEEK SPIRITUALITY AT HINDU CENTERS
By Arulanandam Elango December 4, 1998 [EXTRACT]
RISHIKESH (UCAN) Some Catholic theology students in India have found exposure to Hindu spirituality helpful in their search for God and efforts to serve humanity. Visiting Hindu pilgrimage centers has “helped me live asceticism and understand Hindu spiritual heritage,” said Gilbert Barla, a Jesuit seminarian of Delhi’s Vidyajyoti (light of knowledge) theologate. He was among 29 first-year theology students who toured Rishikesh (abode of sages) and Haridwar (door of the gods), Hindu centers in northern India, as part of a course on modern Hinduism. In evaluating their tour the students said that the Hindu pilgrimage centers have “a lot to contribute and complement the Christian faith.”
Jesuit Father T.K. John, who guided them, said such visits help his students gain “first-hand knowledge of ashram (hermit) life.” Agreeing, Father George Gispert-Sauch, another Indologist at Vidyajyoti, said such visits enhance the students’ “desire to know God and serve the community and also foster an inner urge for liberation.”
…Sacred Heart Sister Vandana Mataji, who has lived 27 years at Rishikesh, said many Christians from the West visit Hindu centers seeking solace since they are “fed up” with the Church and its Sacraments…
She was also happy with seminarians of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), an indigenous congregation of the Syro-Malabar Church, who spend three months in Rishikesh.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. Again we have one commentator of the NCB: Fr. T. K. John SJ
who is taking our seminarians to Hindu temples and ashrams to prepare them for the priesthood. He is of course supported in this by New Ager
Fr. George Gispert-Sauch SJ and by Vandana Mataji, herself a New Ager [evidence provided in my Catholic Ashrams article].
2. Note the comment of Mataji, a Catholic nun, that Christians from the West are “fed up” with the Church and its Sacraments. If you think that is terrible, read more about her in my ashrams report.
In view of the above, can we now accept Indologist Fr. T. K. John SJ‘s verification of the commentaries in the NCB? NO, WE CANNOT.
15. RANDOM EXAMPLE OF A CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN CUM SEMINARY TEACHER
Fr. Francis Gonsalves, SJ is a Jesuit of the Gujarat province who “lectures in systematic theology at Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi, and has published many articles on theology, spirituality and social justice”.
Meditating and Medicating on the Margins is the caption of an article written by him
in the left-wing liberal National Catholic Reporter,
September 3, 2003, Vol. 1, No. 23, a virtual report on the extent of the
New Age infiltration among priests and nuns
in the Catholic Church in India. He is not alarmed but reports favourably about the situation.
The article is reproduced in various reports filed by this ministry, so only an outline – in which the terms ‘meditating’ and ‘medicating’ [eastern meditations and alternative therapies] on what ‘margins’ will be understood – will be given here.
Fr. Gonsalves writes about “Catholic priest
Swami Devaprasad, who harmonizes
“Fr. Peter D’Souza
vipassana courses”; “Medical Mission
Sr. Ruth Manianchira heals hundreds through reiki.
Fr. Joe Pereira
of Mumbai cures alcoholics and drug addicts through yoga, while in South India, Jesuit priests Ama Samy and Sebastian Painadath run Zen courses and Bhagavad Gita retreats, respectively, with rousing response.”
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. In our theologians, we look for orthodoxy and orthopraxis. They are the thinkers and philosophizers of the Church, and whom the Bishops look to for fresh theological insights, and our seminarians for formation. What can we say in that connection about Fr. Gonsalves?
Can we trust theologians like him? NO. Unfortunately, today, they are the norm rather than the exception.
Let us examine more news reports and meet other priests who have connections with the Papal Seminary and/or the NCB.
16.1 FR. NOEL SHETH S.J., PRESIDENT/RECTOR, PAPAL SEMINARY, PUNE, INDIA
The Examiner, Archdiocesan weekly of Bombay, March 26, 2005, SAR news:
Fr. Noel Sheth. SJ* is a reputed scholar in Sanskrit and Pali languages, and
his name figures in the Who’s Who of Sanskrit scholars of India… His book, “The Divinity of Krishna“, finds a mention in the bibliography under “Krishnaism“ in the ‘Encyclopaedia of Religion’ edited by Mircea Eliade. *see page 40
March 26, 2005, SAR news report Pune-based Jesuit Priest gets Best Principal award
Jesuit Fr. Noel Sheth, president of Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, a pontifical institute of philosophy and religion, Pune, was awarded the Dr. Sam Higginbotham Award for Best Principals of India, 2004-2005. The award, instituted by the Allahabad Agricultural Institute Deemed University and the All India Association of Christian Higher Education (AIACHE) consists of a citation and a cash prize of Rs, 10,000. The award was presented to Fr. Sheth at a function February 15 in Pune by the Jesuit Provincial of South Asia, Fr. Hector D’Souza… The award is given to principals of Christian colleges… for their Christian motivation and witness, human qualities, and involvement in the betterment of society at large. !!! NOW READ:
16.2 PUNE SEMINARY ENTERS 2ND CENTURY OF SERVICE, DIALOGUE 26 November, 1992
EXTRACT [interspersed with my explanations and comments]: “Papal Seminary is known for its spirit of freedom,” said rector Jesuit Father Noel Sheth at the opening of its centenary celebrations Nov. 7.
That spirit of freedom “balanced with responsibility and accountability” has resulted in a seminary which is open to
sympathetic understandings of Indian religions and philosophies, he said.
Its department of Indology
has four residential professors and offers courses on aspects of indigenous religious traditions including Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita, Darshanas, Jainism, Buddhism, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Islam, modern Hinduism and modern Indian thought.
The Papal Seminary is
a center of interreligious dialogue, according to Father Sheth.
Yoga and vipassana forms of meditation and Indian forms of liturgy are now more frequent.
16.3 INDIA: THE LOTUS AND THE CROSS – THE “INCULTURATION” OF CHRISTIANITY
Please refer to my separate detailed report of the same name. What follows is an extract:
The report concerns the DVD of a Documentary titled
“India: The Lotus and the Cross”. I made an accurate transcript.
We see and hear, in an Indian-rite Mass,
Fr. Noel Sheth, SJ chanting: OM SHRI BHAGAVATE SAGUNA NIRGUNAYA NAMAH, OM SHRI BHAGAVATE SACCIDANANDAYA NAMAH…
“This is the emblem of our institution which is called Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, the Light of Wisdom University,“ he says.
AT THE CENTRE OF THE EMBLEM IS THE FIGURE OF A MAN SQUATTING IN THE
POSTURE IN THE NEVER-ENDING SEARCH FOR ‘ENLIGHTENMENT’
The Jesuit continues,
“The earlier name was Papal Seminary and the reason why it was called Papal is because it is recognized by the Pope for giving degrees. And it is an institution meant for the training of Catholic priests and Christian leaders but it is open to everyone. We believe that the Christian leader especially the priest should be an all-round person, be able to communicate and deal with people in all walks of life.“
“Buddhism has many things to teach us, especially now in our modern age. I will give you some idea of some of the characteristics of Buddhism which will be very beneficial to us Christians. Here in India we have not only different religions, we have different cultures, different languages, we have a wealth of variety and therefore it is impossible for any religion not to take into account this particular pluralism or variety. You cannot live in your own ghetto. There is a chant which is recited by the Buddhists on various occasions- something like the Our Father.“
CUT TO A CLASSROOM SITUATION AT THE SEMINARY.
Fr. Sheth goes into a BUDDHIST CHANT… … … and adds,
“And at the end there is ‘sadhu, sadhu, sadhu’ which is the Buddhist way of saying ‘Amen, Amen, Amen’.“
WE ARE NEXT SHOWN A MULTI-TIERED WATER FOUNTAIN IN THE SEMINARY. Fr. Sheth explains,
“You see, each one of these pots is emptying into the other pots and into this trough, but each one is full. That is the spiritual characteristic that God never becomes empty. That is fullness. This is fullness. From fullness, fullness proceeds, which is a very famous verse in the Hindu tradition. We pause in silence and listen to the falling water. It can help one to get into a meditative mood.”
One wonders why, in a Catholic seminary, Biblical metaphors or allegories such as The Living Water of John 4 are not used instead of Hindu verses to convey Life-giving messages.
“Spiritual leaders like Swami Agnivesh are often invited for talks and discussions.”
SWAMI AGNIVESH IS WELCOMED INTO THE SEMINARY CLASSROOM.
During his teaching, Swami Agnivesh refers to God as “IT”. We note also that God’s nature is made equal with creation: “God is one and we are all its equal children and God is not being partial to Christians or Hindus. God can never be partial just as the sun is never partial… creation is never partial, the earthquake is never partial [laughter, the camera pans to some nuns in the class shown enjoying the ‘joke’]. We have to understand that this whole game of partiality is a game of the religions, a religious mindset, a discrimination.” These teachings are not Christian.
Fr. Sheth speaks, “In this prayer room [at the JDV] it so happens that we have five windows depicting the five basic elements of the material universe according to Hinduism- earth, fire, air, water, ether. It is an inculturated prayer room… [An explanation is given by Father against each window]. Here, on the mural, we have different symbols of some of the Indian religions… [Father explains them, the drum representing tribal religions, the dharma wheel of Buddhism, the symbols of Sikhism; I notice the Parsi fire symbol and the Jewish 7-branched candlestick which Father glosses over, but first he said this:] The swastika with these three dots and the crescent moon on top- that is the symbol of Jainism. Here we have the OM symbol which is the symbol of Hinduism.”
We have Jesuit Father Noel Sheth truthfully admitting that the OM is the symbol of Hinduism!!!!!
Cut to an Indian Rite Mass where the priest intones, ‘A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew’.
“When people are praying here, we are not praying just to some Christian deity as it were, but they are praying to THE deity who is understood and experienced in different ways in different religious cultures and traditions.“
Note that the priest makes this horrible remark directly succeeding footage of the Liturgy of the Word!
“One of our Cardinals in India made a public statement that Rome should allow us more freedom to make our own decisions. So questions are being asked and there is hope that things will change [God forbid]. But you know the Church goes very slowly. But suddenly things have changed from earlier times.
TO THE LOUD CHANTING OF OMMMMMMM………
Cut to visuals of Fr. Sheth delivering his homily at Mass:
“The body is very much part [words unclear]… Here in India we have YOGA, VIPASSANA, so many different things. When the body is not part of us and yet it is used…“ [the audio-visual is abruptly terminated].
NOTE THAT IN PLACE OF THE BREAKING OF THE WORD OF GOD, YOGA AND VIPASSANA MEDITATIONS ARE BEING PROPAGATED DURING THE HOMILY– IN A LEADING CATHOLIC SEMINARY!!!!! !!!!! !!!!! !!!!! !!!!! !!!!!
NOTE: In the Acknowledgements at the end of the Video Documentary, the Archbishop of Goa is thanked.
16.4 Forum calls for Women Empowerment The Examiner
March 6, 2004, SAR news
The Women’s Forum of the Jesuit-run Institute of Philosophy and Religion, Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth Pune, celebrated the International Women’s Day, February 5. The secretary of the CBCI Commission for Women, Ms. Virginia Saldanha, Fr. Noel Sheth S.J., and Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Agra were some of the speakers. Ms. Saldanha insisted that “There is need for theology and spirituality to be viewed and scripture to be interpreted from a feminine perspective.” END
In an Oct. 2005 email to me showing willingness to receive my report on New Age in the Catholic Ashrams, Ms. Saldanha wrote, “I do not agree with your position, but am open to your views.”
However, I did not receive a response from her to the report which I sent her. At this time she was no more with the CBCI, having recently joined as Executive Secretary, Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences [FABC] Office of Laity, Family and Women’s Desk.
It is obvious that Ms. Saldanha — and the Jesuits and Papal Seminary theologians with whom she is closely associated –would share a common perspective. One cannot get such coveted jobs on merit alone. One would have to be in total agreement with the philosophies, teachings and practices of these priests.
In a separate article on Feminism and New Age in the Indian Church, I will show that this “Women Empowerment” is a cover for feminist theology, grooming more nuns to demand a greater role – even ordination as priestesses.
16.5 FR. NOEL SHETH, SJ AND ASHRAM LEADER SR. SARA GRANT, RSCJ
A leading figure of the Ashrams Movement was Sr Sara Grant, Rscj.,
of Christa Prema Seva Ashram in Pune.
For more details on this ashram in the diocese of Poona, read my report on NEW AGE IN THE CATHOLIC ASHRAMS.
The front cover of her book Descent to the Source, ATC, 1987 shows the symbol of the OM flowing into the shape of the heart surmounted by a cross. The Foreword to this book is written by Fr. Paul Puthanangady SDB, former Director of the NBCLC. The cover of herTowards an Alternative Theology- Confessions of a Non-Dualist Christian, ATC, 1991 is a picture of Jesus the
yogi. She took part in the famous 1969
All-India Seminar on the Church in India Today* and several regional, national and international commissions for the renewal of seminary formation and evangelization in the ’70s. She was
“on the staff of De Nobili College, Pune, initiating scholastics, seminarians and many others into Indian Spirituality,“
says The New Leader of
June 16-30, 2000.
*Ashram literatures refer to the proceedings of this seminar as a starting point and direction for the aims and goals of the ashrams movement.
Born in 1922, she died in 2000 shortly after completing her life’s work, a doctoral thesis on ‘Shankaracharya‘s concept of Relation’. She merited a full page in The New Leader
[above], “Only a month before her death, she wrote in a letter,
‘I’m wrestling with advaita and religious pluralism‘. It could be the summary of all her life.“
In the ashrams circuit, she is remembered thus:
“Sara Grant’s is a refreshing perception that is willing to consider
any claim that
Christ is the unique saviour as an intolerable narrowness.” [Saccinandaya Namah, page 78]
Fr. Noel Sheth, at
a memorial on Grant’s 3rd death anniversary in 2003 said,
“The CBCI has several commissions to guide various facets of Catholic life in India. One of them is for the formation of seminarians who are training to become priests. Sr. Grant was at one time the sole female member of this commission for seminary formation**,“The Examiner, May 10, 2003.
**The principal seminary was, of course,
Fr. Noel Sheth’s PAPAL SEMINARY/JDV. She of course taught in other seminaries. One can imagine what her influence on these future priests has been.
16.6 FATHER PRADEEP SEQUEIRA, SJ, IS NEW RECTOR OF
PAPAL SEMINARY, PUNE
May 16, 2007 BANGALORE, Karnataka (SAR NEWS) Jesuit Father Pradeep Sequeira has been appointed Rector of the Papal Seminary in Pune, Maharashtra State.
The new rector told SAR News: “The appointment comes from two sources – the Prefect for Evangelisation at the Vatican, Ivan Cardinal Dias, has appointed me rector of the St. Francis Xavier Papal Seminary
while the Jesuit Superior General has appointed me the rector of the Jesuits of the Papal Seminary.” “I deem the appointment as a fortunate responsibility given to me, though I feel rather inadequate. It’s of being of service to the Church in India and an important responsibility. Today’s seminarians are the future of the Church,” said Father Sequeira.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE, AND OUR ARGUMENTS:
1. Fr Noel Sheth, President and Rector of a major seminary is a Sanskrit enthusiast who wrote on the “Divinity” of the Hindu “god” Krishna. [Let us trust that it was an objective, academic exercise, but one can never say with our theologians nowadays.] It is impossible to figure out why he merits the Best Principal Award, and that from the Jesuit Provincial of South Asia — for “Christian motivation and witness, human qualities, and involvement in the betterment of society at large”.
Used as a measuring stick, does that say anything for the present caliber of the Jesuits as a religious order?
2. The Papal Seminary is not just a place for studying non-Christian religions. It encourages, and so propagates them, not Christianity. It is a centre of inter-religious dialogue — by their own admission, not a formation house or Catholic seminary.
3. Hindu yoga and Buddhist Vipassana meditations are taught, used and propagated there. They are central enough for Fr. Sheth to introduce them in his homily while being videotaped by an international film crew. The emblem of the JDV is a yogi seeking enlightenment, not Jesus, the Light of the World.
4. Fr. Sheth demonstrates practically what he means by his statement that “Indian forms of liturgy are now more frequent“
when he chants the
OM mantra — notwithstanding his own admission that “OM is the symbol of Hinduism“ — during Holy Mass, and Buddhist chants to keep attuned in the classroom, replacing the “Amen” by “sadhu“.
5. Fr. Sheth also truthfully admits that they “are not praying just to some Christian deity as it were, but they are praying to THE deity…” thus concurring with Swami Agnivesh who teaches at that same Seminary that “God is one“.
This is an innocent-sounding statement but which has serious theological ramifications. Taken together with the Swami’s equating the nature of God with creation, it appears that the Swami is teaching a monistic [New Age] view of God as against the dualism taught by Christianity.
6. Fr. Sheth was very closely associated with Sr. Sara Grant, Rscj, a leader of the Catholic Ashrams movement and colleague of Vandana Mataji Rscj, so close that she was “on the staff of De Nobili College, Pune, initiating scholastics, seminarians and many others into Indian Spirituality“.
May I remind you that “Sara Grant’s is a refreshing perception that is willing to consider
any claim that
Christ is the unique saviour as an intolerable narrowness.”
Remember that this nun was a Seminary teacher and was, according to Fr Sheth, “at one time the sole female member of the CBCI commission for seminary formation“. Till her death, according to Fr. M.A. Joe Antony SJ, Editor of the Jesuit magazine JIVAN and the New Leader, she pursued “advaita and religious pluralism“.
Though there are three forms of advaita, she was into the monistic type under the guidance of Swami Abhishiktananda and others. As for religious pluralism, it is one of the theological trends that the Vatican condemns frequently at regular intervals, and the reason for most of the censures of theologians, some of which we have seen. [Maybe this is part of the
“modern Indian thought” that Fr. Sheth speaks of.] Yet we have two Jesuit priests, Fr Sheth and Fr Joe Antony eulogizing this nun for those “qualities”.
7. Fr. Paul Puthanangady SDB, former Director of the NBCLC [see 16.5]
who wrote the Foreword to Sara Grant‘s
Descent to the Source has contributed greatly towards the Hindu-isation of the Church [see various reports of mine, notes on the NBCLC] and the Ashrams movement through the NBCLC.
8. It is not surprising, therefore, to learn that Fr. Paul Puthanangady SDB, Fr. M.A. Joe Antony SJ, and Sr. Sara Grant Rscj ALL ARE CONTRIBUTORS TO Vandana Mataji’s occult tome, Shabda Shakti Sangam.
9. Before I forget, what was the Bishop of Poona, Most Rev. Valerian D’Souza, doing when the interviewing and filming of INDIA: THE LOTUS AND THE CROSS were in progress at the Papal Seminary? Was his permission taken? Was he even aware? Or does the Seminary operate outside his episcopal jurisdiction?
10. SWAMI AGNIVESH
Regarded as a
“renowned ascetic, thinker and social activist,“
the saffron-turbaned and robed former Education Minister of Haryana State is highly respected in Jesuit circles. Above, we have read that he is a regular lecturer at the Papal Seminary.
quote from the Oct. 06, 2006 CBCI news
Prashant, the Jesuit-run centre
for peace and justice in Ahmedabad, Swami Agnivesh, the
president of the World Council of Arya Samaj, said, “People should have the right, if they desired, to change their religions three times a day — morning, noon and evening — to see which one is the most profitable one.“
When Ignatius Gonsalves, an Indian Catholic journalist published his biography of Pope Benedict XVI, Swami Agnivesh wrote a detailed forward for the book. www.theindiancatholic.com
April 20, 2006.
The Swami is the blue-eyed boy of the Jesuits, the Papal Seminary, and some in the CBCI, a moderate Hindu voice.
Yet, [see page 6 and item 16.3 above] this is his opinion of our “Indianisation”:
What the Catholic Church wants to do is meaningless as the rituals they want to introduce (the aarati, etc) are a degenerate form of Hinduism.
While being a personal witness and active accomplice to the goings-on at the Papal Seminary, he still identifies these attempts as a “degenerate form of Hinduism“. Our priests and Bishops meanwhile keep insisting that it is NOT Hinduism, it is “Indianisation”.
NEW AGE CATHOLIC ASHRAMS ARE BEING TURNED INTO SEMINARIES!!!!!
This information is extracted from the newsletter of the ashrams movement, ASHRAM AIKYA [AA],
News Letter 46:
Fr. S. Chinnappa, Anandashramam, Andhra Pradesh
During the last two years there were a lot of changes here. My companion. Fr .Thomas has left….The Ashram is now converted into a minor seminary…
NATIONAL SATSANGH OF ASHRAM AIKYA
As announced in the AA NL-45 of Christmas 2004, the National Satsangh is to be held at Sameeksha, Kalady this coming October. Sameeksha, Centre for Indian Spirituality, is an Ashram at Kalady, the birthplace of Sri Sankaracharya. It is a
project of the Kerala Province of the Society of Jesus started in 1987 on the initiative of Fr. Sebastian Painadath sj and Bro. Varkey Mampilly sj. Situated in a sylvan setting on the banks of the Poorna River, Sameeksha offers an atmosphere conducive to serious study and intense meditation.
There is an Inter-Religious Meditation Room, a Library with a good collection of books on Indian Christian Spirituality and Inter-Religious Dialogue, and a Satsangh Hall. Attached to Sameeksha, the Jesuits of Kerala have their Regional Theology Centre: a pilot seminary in the ashram setting with a focus on contextualised theological reflection and formation. The Satsangh is to start on the evening of the 27th and close by noon of the 31st October. It will be preceded and followed by sadhanas which members coming for the Satsangh are welcome to attend…
18. INDIAN THEOLOGIANS BAND TOGETHER TO TRASH ANOTHER VATICAN DOCUMENT
On the 3rd of February 2003, the Vatican issued a “provisional report”, “concerned with the complex phenomenon of the ‘New Age’, which is influencing many aspects of contemporary culture”. “It is the fruit of the common reflection of the Working Group on New Religious Movements composed of different dicasteries of the Holy See”, “to explain how the New Age Movement differs from the Christian faith” (Foreword), illustrating the points where New Age spirituality contrasts with the Catholic faith and refuting the positions espoused by New Age thinkers in opposition to Christian faith” and “the rapidly growing number of people who claim that it is possible to blend Christianity and New Age by taking what strikes them as the best of both” (n 1). The document is titled “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life. A Christian Reflection on the ‘New Age’“. The secular press reporting on it calls it “an unusually frank 100 page Church document” on “what the Pope sees as one of the greatest threats to Christianity in the third millennium“.
The Church called it a “Provisional Report” in the sense that after further study and feedback from the various Bishops’ Conferences, it would be further developed into a Final Report. In effect, it is a full, if not final, Vatican Document.
Now why would Catholic theologians want to trash this Document? For the same reason that they did “Dominus Iesus” in 2000. But this time, unlike in early cases when individual theologians went to the press and decried the teachings from Rome, the opposition was ORGANIZED. Though the theologians’ reacted to the New Age Document more than four years ago, this story is breaking news. I don’t believe it has been reported anywhere else.
But since this is going to be the subject of a separate report, I will try to be as brief as possible here.
The extent to which these theologians’ worldviews diverge from Church teachings has to be seen to be believed. But it is not so much that the two sides disagree. It is the contempt with which these theologians treat the Document in their critiques as evidenced in the language used by them. They are like snakes exhibiting their mortal fear of a mongoose.
Francis D’Sa describes the title of the Document as “contrived” and the Document itself as “thoroughly self-righteous and self-complacent”. Errol D’Lima accuses Rome of a “negative assessment of the New Age”. For P.T. Mathew, the Church exhibits a “colonial mindset” in the Document. George Pattery accuses the Church of using “age-old rationalizations” and “traditional Christian vocabulary”. He believes that “the New Age Movement is the best bet for the survival of religious faith for this century”.
The inclusion of this issue is only for the purposing of establishing one more link in the chain that we have forged so far: THE NEW AGE ß> THE ASHRAMS ß> THE THEOLOGIANS ß> THE PAPAL SEMINARY ß> THE NCB.
JEEVADHARA [www.jeevadhara.org], A Journal for Socio-Religious Research is published every month alternately in English and Malayalam from Kottayam, Kerala. From the year 2004 information that I have with me, the General Editor is Joseph Constantine Manalel. The Editor – Book Review is J.B. Chethimattam. There are four on the Sectional Board of Editors:
Swami Vikrant, Thomas Manickam, Joseph Thayil. They are followed by eleven Section Editors:
Sebastian Painadath, Kuncheria Pathil, P.T. Mathew, Felix Wilfred,
Augustine Mulloor, John Padipurackal, Sunny Maniyakupara, Mathew Variamattom, Jose Panthackal, George Karakunnel, and Mathew Paikada.
We presume that all of the above-named are priests, and many of them, if not all, are theologians or scholars at least.
Out of the seventeen priests, FOUR OF THE EDITORIAL STAFF OF SEVENTEEN ARE CONTRIBUTORS to Vandana Mataji’s occult book Shabda Shakti Sangam belonging to the Catholic Ashrams movement; they are Paul Puthanangady SDB,
Swami Vikrant SDB, Sebastian Painadath SJ and Kuncheria Pathil CMI.
FOUR OF THE EDITORIAL STAFF OF SEVENTEEN ARE CONTRIBUTORS to their own dissenting production: “Theological Response to the Vatican Document [New Age]”, Jeevadhara, Volume XXXIV No. 201, May 2004, 88 pages. Their names: Paul Puthanangady SDB,
Sebastian Painadath SJ [some names keep cropping up with interesting frequency] J.B. Chethimattam, and P.T. Mathew.
Painadath, Swami Vikrant, Mathew, Puthanangady, etc.
are leaders in the Catholic Ashrams movement.
The editorial by Sebastian Painadath SJ is followed by twelve contributions opposing the Vatican New Age Document.
For the purpose of this particular paper, we note the following [other than the aforementioned four] authors:
Fr. Francis X. D’Sa SJ, Fr. George Pattery SJ, Errol D’Lima SJ, Francis Gonsalves SJ and Dominic Veliath*.
Of these, Fr. Francis X. D’Sa SJ and Fr. George Pattery SJ are ALSO CONTRIBUTORS to Shabda Shakti Sangam.
Francis X. D’Sa
HAD DISPUTED THE VATICAN TEACHING REAFFIRMED IN DOMINUS IESUS. [See item Sl. No. 12] THEN THEY CHALLENGE ROME ON THE NEW AGE DOCUMENT.
Rui de Menezes, SJ
and Subash Anand
DISPUTED ‘DOMINUS IESUS’
BOTH OF THESE PUNE PRIESTS ARE NOW ALSO COMMENTATORS OF THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE!!!!!!!
Francis X. D’Sa
REJECTS THE NEW AGE DOCUMENT
is a Professor at the
Papal Seminary; he is Director, Institute for the Study of Religion, De Nobili College, Pune.
criticized Rome and defended the writings of censured Jesuits Dupuis and de Mello. While Samuel Rayan
IS A CONTRIBUTOR TO
Shabda Shakti Sangam, T.K. John
IS NOW A COMMENTATOR OF THE NCB AS WELL AS HAVING BEEN A CONTRIBUTOR TO
Shabda Shakti Sangam.
*Dominic Veliath: The inclusion of this name among the twelve contributors of articles to
the Jeevadhara [anti-New Age Document] issue
comes as a
shock to me. The only Dominic Veliath whom I am familiar with is Fr. Dominic Veliath SDB who is the Executive Secretary of the CBCI’s Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith and Theology.
Fr Dominic is one of the priests who has not only always responded promptly to all my letters, alerts and reports, but also written me encouraging words and forwarded the reports to the Commission Chairman, Bishop Thomas Dabre.
The title of his article is “How God is Related to the Human?” Perturbed at seeing his contribution included by the dissenting theologians, I checked it out only to find that he compared the Catholic anthropological vision with New Age spiritualities in the light of the Theology of Grace. The only possible discord was his quoting Roger Haight SJ. US Jesuit Roger Haight
was banned [by Rome] from teaching Catholic theology, but I was relieved to note (i) that Veliath quoted from a much earlier work of Haight’s which is unaffected by his later theological errors; (ii) that Haight was disciplined by the Vatican [on one of his most recent books] several months AFTER Veliath wrote and submitted his article to Painadath SJ/Jeevadhara.
19.1 PETRUS October 2006, Extract from the
by Fr. Anselm Poovathani FSP
Regarding the Pope’s Regensburg address, a seminary professor from Pune wrote in The Indian Express on 18.9.2006: “Sir, As an Indian Catholic priest, I can’t but express my regret, even anger, at the erroneous and derogatory views of the Pope“.
19.2 John Paul II and the Other Religions: From Assisi to “Dominus Iesus”
Address by Sandro Magister
on the theme “the relationship between the Catholic Church and the great non-Christian religions, in particular those of Asia”, Tokyo, June 18, 2003
There were those who recalled that…, during his voyage to India, John Paul II had given speeches of unprecedented openness toward that country’s religions, and at Bombay had even let a priestess of the god Shiva anoint his forehead with a sacred Hindu symbol. A few of those who complained about this were Indian bishops. One of them, from Andhra Pradesh, said, “The pope knows Hinduism from books, but we, who live with it and see the damage it does to our good people, would never make certain speeches.”
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE AND CONCLUSION:
1. One seminary professor from Pune wrote to the secular newspapers [19.1] condemning the Pope’s views.
All is not lost. St Paul reminds us that these things will come to pass, that there will be “terrifying times”, that people will make a pretense of religion but deny its power, that they will not tolerate sound doctrine but follow their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths, that satan will masquerade as an angel of light and that people will, in the last times, turn away from their faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences.
And Jesus said that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church and that He would be with her till the end of time. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide Her. Certainly, the Church shall prevail, not just prevail but emerge triumphant.
There are still good Bishops [19.2] in the Church who will not agree even with the Pope, should he make a mistake.
We can expect them to take out the erroneous commentaries of the NCB.
20. MY CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE BISHOP OF POONA ON THE PAPAL SEMINARY
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 9:35 AM Subject:
PAPAL SEMINARY, PUNE- JUBILEE
KIND ATTENTION: MOST REV. VALERIAN D’SOUZA BISHOP OF PUNE
Your Grace, I am given to understand that you were one of seven Bishops who attended the celebrations at the Papal Seminary, Pune during the last week of October 2005.
You must be aware that there have been several press reports recently, both on the internet as well as in print in the secular newspapers that covered the events. These reports say that at that these celebrations, and at the seminars held during it, decisions have been taken to exert pressure or influence on the Church at the national level as well as the Vatican with a view to impose on us certain forms of inculturation that many Catholics do not accept as genuine Indianisation of the Church, and who regard it instead as a Hindu-isation or Brahmin-isation of our worship.
But it is not that Catholics only are saying this. Others too are: The NDTV report states: A gathering of leading Catholic clergymen from all over India have asked the Vatican to endorse their proposal to include Hindu rituals in the church.
I had sent you my detailed and extensively researched report on NEW AGE IN THE CATHOLIC ASHRAMS
on the 8th and 26th of October with follow-up letters on the 19th and 24th of October and the 1st and 11th of November, without any response from you.
Now I am completing a report on a documentary film that was screened earlier this year at Mumbai and Goa. It will be sent to you and to other Bishops shortly. Titled INDIA: THE LOTUS AND THE CROSS, the film promotes the kind of inculturation that I earlier mentioned. Priests of the Papal Seminary are interviewed in this film. Their statements raise great cause for concern, and I would add, alarm. Since the seminar was held under their auspices, the press reports
assume greater significance. From viewing the documentary one finds commonalities with what I reported concerning the Ashram Movement.
A responsible lay leader in ministry has written to me [my response to him is included but name withheld] that the press has attributed statements to the priests and Bishops which they did not make. However I do not find any reports in the Catholic press that put forward the position of the Church as against these reports. Please advise me if there were any.
I look forward to an early response from Your Grace. Yours obediently Michael Prabhu
NOTE 1: The above letter was sent to the following six Bishops by email, under copy to Bishop Thomas Dabre:
2) Bp. James Pazhayattil, IRINJALAKUDA
3) Bp. Jacob Manathodath, PALGHAT
4) Bp. Julius Marandi, DUMKA
5) Bp. Emeritus Geevarghese Mar Timotheos, TIRUVALLA, firstname.lastname@example.org;
7) Bp. Alwyn Barreto SINDHUDURG New Diocese and Bishop. Address not in CBCI Directory. Letter not sent.]
NOTE 2: The names of the Bishops who are supposed to have attended were sent to me by a Pilar Priest from Goa.
Subject: Fw: PAPAL SEMINARY, PUNE- JUBILEE
REMINDER SENT ON November 30 copy to Bishop Thomas Dabre, Chairman, Doctrinal Commission, CBCI
NO RESPONSE FROM ANY OF THE BISHOPS
Sent: Saturday, March 25, 2006 8:11 AM Subject: A REMINDER, PLEASE
REMINDER SENT ON 25th MARCH 2006, ditto of above letter, to all the concerned Bishops, except Bishop Dabre, with inclusion of the phrase: My completed report on the Papal Seminary will be released within a few days.
Dear Michael, Did you receive the interview of Fr. Kurian with the same journalist who first started the misreporting?
The reports arose from individual interviews and such statements did not arise in the public discussions. The staff members were disturbed by what was misreported and hence the interview with Fr. Kurian to set matters right. I have requested Fr. Ornellas Machado to give you a correct picture of what transpired. With best wishes, Yours devotedly in Christ, Valerian
KIND ATTENTION: MOST REV. VALERIAN D’SOUZA BISHOP OF POONA
Your Grace, I thank you for your kind and prompt reply. No, I am not aware of the interview with Fr. Kurian. I would very much like to have the details of it, and I look forward to hearing from Rev. Fr. Ornellas Machado. Thanking you, Michael
Your Grace, I have not yet heard from Fr. Ornellas. Michael
FURTHER REMINDERS ON March 29, March 31, April 2, April 4.
Bishop’s House Pune 411 001 6 April 2006
Dear Mr. Prabhu, This has reference to your mails to Bishop Valerian D’Souza. As directed by him I have sent you a file containing the interview of Fr. Kurien Kunnumpuram S.J. which will be of help to you. Kindly acknowledge receipt of the mail and the attachment. Regards, Mr. Samson
Subject: interview of Fr. Kurien
Bishop’s House Pune 411 001 5 April 2006 Dear Mr. Prabhu,
This has reference to your mails to Bishop Valerian D’Souza. As directed by him I am sending you by an attachment the interview of Kurien Kunnumpuram S.J. in connection with the Jubilee celebration of Papal Seminary, Pune.
With kind regards, Mr. Samson Dawson
Subject: Re: Acknowledgement
Dear Mr. Samson, Thank you very much. I have received the other email too, with the file containing the interview “Christians must be rooted in the local culture”.
HOWEVER, THE DATE LINE IS NOT GIVEN. SO ONE DOES NOT KNOW WHETHER THIS INTERVIEW BY FR. KURIAN WAS GIVEN LATER TO THE ORIGINAL REPORT OF ABHAY VAIDYA, WITH THE INTENTION OF CLEARING THE DOUBTS RAISED BY THE FIRST NEWS REPORT. It would be very helpful to know the date of publication in the newspaper. Please convey the above along with my thanks to Bishop Vally. God Bless You, Michael
Bishop’s House Pune 411 001 13 April 2006
Dear Mr. Prabhu, Thank you for your mail acknowledging the article of Fr. Kurien. His interview appeared in the Times of India on 1st November 2005. Hope this is of some help to you. Regards, Yours sincerely, Mr. Samson Dawson
I thank you for your E-mail. I have not heard about nor read press reports in the work of the celebrations of the Jubilee of Papal Seminary. If some incorrect reporting has been made, it is upto the Seminary authorities to react. To tell you the truth, I have not got time to read your research paper. With prayerful regards,
Bishop Jacob Manathodath.
Your Lordship, Thank you for your response. May I have your kind permission to include it in my forthcoming article?
Regarding the report on the CATHOLIC ASHRAMS, may I humbly suggest that you spare a few minutes from all your various episcopal activities to peruse through it, as it concerns grave abuses and doctrinal errors that are being propagated in the Church, and which should be your primary concern as our Bishop. Yours obediently, Michael Prabhu
Dear Mr. Prabhu, Thanks for your E-mail. You may include my reply in your article. Bishop Jacob Manathodath.
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE:
1. The Bishop Poona did not respond in November 2005 to my letter or to the reminder. Neither did the other Bishops including Bishop Thomas Dabre. When I wrote again in March 2006, two Bishops replied, the Bishop of Palghat and the Bishop of Poona. The former denied any knowledge of the event [and so of having been there]. He also did not show any interest in reading the report on the Catholic Ashrams that I had sent in October 2005.
The Bishop of Poona wrote that the TOI report of October 25, 2005 [item sl. no. 1] was erroneous [misreporting] and that Fr Kurien had been deputed to give a second interview to TOI to correct those errors: November 1, 2005 [item Sl. No. 6].
In the interview, the priest has been very careful not to commit himself as can be seen.
If, as Bishop Valerian says, TOI had misreported, then how does one explain the explicit details in the NDTV, Midday and Statesman [item sl. nos. 2, 8 and 9] stories? Why the mystery? Is there something to hide or cover up?
2. The report on the Papal Seminary was delayed and forgotten.
It is now, almost three years later, completed and woven into the NCB issue because of the backing that the NCB is getting from the theologians of the Papal Seminary and the Bishop of Poona.
3. This report is being submitted to the Catholics of Poona for their study and use. On Sunday, September 14, 2008, the Bishop had the announcement made at all Masses that he has scheduled a meeting to discuss the NCB controversy on September 20, 2008 at 5:30pm at the Navsadhana Pastoral Centre, Pune.
Questions to be answered and explanations given by Fr. Kurien Kunnumpuram SJ, Professor at the Papal Seminary. However, the people of Pune informed me that they apprehend that the clergy have organized this discussion not with the intention of listening to their complaints, but to educate them. The Bishop of Poona had already told the leaders of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Mumbai a couple of weeks ago that the problem with those opposing the NCB is that they “lack biblical scholarship”. It is a sad statement from a Bishop who has not only these modernist theologians of the Papal Seminary in his diocese challenging the teachings of Rome, interpreting the Bible for their own ends and introducing elements of pagan religions in it, but also the Church’s biggest centre of New Age holistic medicine [reiki, pranic healing, etc.] run by the Medical Mission Sisters in Bibwewadi.
21. LETTER RECEIVED BY ME FROM SUBHASH ANAND, ONE OF THE NCB COMMENTATORS
Dear Michael, I went through your “Update and Alert” concerning the NCB, and I feel sad about it.
If your name were Michael Ratzinger, or Michael Bush, or Michael Ottaviani, I would understand. But you are Michael PRABHU!
I appreciate your concern for the integrity of faith. Two things need to be noted here:
1. Our faith is centred on the person of the Risen Lord.
2. Because He is the RISEN Lord, nothing can destroy this faith. In the past many have tried to destroy it. Again we damage our faith not so much by some doctrine, but by betraying the person of Jesus. There have been many Christians, priests, bishops and even popes included, who have been absolutely unchristian, rogues, womanizers and murderers.
I request you to read carefully and reflect upon numbers 12 to 15 of Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum).
It may also be helpful to keep in mind that in his speech to the Greeks, St. Paul quoted from their (pagan) writers (Acts 17.28). Thus the words of Pagans are words of our Holy Scripture.
The post-synodal document, Ecclesia in Asia (1999) reminds us of a paradox of history: Jesus “took flesh as an Asian,”(EA 1) and yet “has until now remained largely unknown to the people of the continent,”(EA 2) and “Jesus is often perceived as foreign to Asia. It is paradoxical that most Asians tend to regard Jesus born on Asian soil as a Western rather than an Asian figure.”(EA 20) The Church appears to have largely failed in her mission of effectively the identity of Jesus to Asian peoples. Why did this happen? I am afraid in our eagerness to preserve the faith for our children and grandchildren we may succeed in the wrong way: preserving it only for them. Then the Church will continue to be what she has been for almost two thousand years: a small colony of Western Christianity. Without deep inculturation we will not be able to change the situation, however much we may wish. Do you want the Church to be a ghetto in our country?
You have every right to your views. My only request is that we try to see what is being said by persons who are also committed to Jesus, who have made an indepth study of the Bible along the lines of Dei Verbum. The Holy Spirit is alive in the Church, guiding the people of God to carry the Word to all nations. They will understand the WORD only when we express HIM in their words.
I have also attached a letter* expressing the views of another lay person, who at one time was a very active member of the All India Catholic Association. With my best wishes, Subhash Anand.
In the beginning was love. With the advent of writing came the Love Letter. SMS and email can never replace the Love Letter. It is the most precious form of communication between the lover and the beloved, when they are separated by time and space.
“In the beginning when God created the heavens…the spirit of God hovered over the waters (Gen1:1).
“In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1).
Creation was an act of love. Redemption in Jesus was the continuing manifestation of that love. The Bible is the eternal Love Letter that reminds us of God’s love through time and space, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
And now St Paul’s Publications have exceedingly enhanced the charm, beauty and appeal of that Love Letter, with the publication of the special Indian edition of The New Community Bible (NCB). I first fell in love with the Holy Bible in 1975, reading and reflecting on the poetically beautiful Douay version, that my father loving meditated on every morning. Since then I have read, studied, quoted and meditated on several versions and editions of the Bible, both Catholic and Protestant. But I have fallen unabashedly in love with the NCB, released on the Feast of Sts Peter & Paul on 29th June in India. It is quite simply a labour of love. The recipient of such a Love Letter cannot but feel elated, even ecstatic.
15 long years in the making, the NCB is perhaps the first English language Bible prepared specifically for India, through the efforts of Indian Biblical scholars (exegetes). Some purists and fundamentalists may baulk at the every suggestion of an “Indian” Bible. I would not like to here digress on the composition and evolution of the Bible over the years, and its authentication (canonicity). Suffice it to say that Love is not static. It evolves. So does faith. So does life and our understanding of it. A couple celebrating their golden jubilee would define love and life very differently from passionate honeymooners, though both would be right in their own way. So too, the Love Letter evolves and addresses itself to our changed situations – linguistic, ethnic, social, etc.
So what’s so special about the NCB? The easiest part is the physical properties. It is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Its selective use of ancient Roman calligraphy is brilliant. The rice paper, hardback and gold leafing makes it a collector’s choice. But collector’s choices are usually found in museums. That is not where Love Letters should be.
Though I am not easily swayed by emotions, I felt that lots of love went into the making of the NCB, which is why it speaks to the heart of the reader. Some Bibles are cut and dried bare text versions. Others are paraphrases, for easier reading. Yet others are scholarly tomes that are a mine of information for scholars and researchers. The notes and commentaries are scholarly in nature, like dissecting a rate under a microscope, to lay its innards bare. The NCB has an altogether different approach, which I would term pastoral, catechetical and formative.
The format is threefold – the actual TEXT, a box with CROSS REFRENCES, and thirdly a CATECHETICAL COMMENTARY. Very often the commentary is longer than the text; but it it’s not burdensome, nor a rude intrusion. It is infact a catalyst or a taste enhancer, and is the unique element of the NCB. It is in this area that I see a lot of love’s labour. The contributors have gone out of their way to give lucid and meaningful explanations. While being faithful to the everlasting content of God’s word, they have also exposed the human elements that went into its making. The NCB is telling us that indeed the Bible is the Voice of God in the Words of Men; and therefore seeks to separate these two elements.
This is evident in the biblical account of creation. Diehard traditionalists and fundamentalists would insist that God created the world in 6 Days and rested on the 7th. The NCB commentary humbly admits that the biblical account of creation is not an attempt at history, geography, geology or physics. It frankly admits that creation, humans included, evolved over billions of years.
Another unique feature of the Indian NCB is the cross references to Hindu scriptures (book, chapter, verse, et al). This is especially poignant in the Genesis account of creation and the great flood. By listing these “uniquely” biblical events with similar ones in other religious scriptures, the NCB is conveying a subtle message. The Genesis (origin) of all mankind and all religions is the same. After the symbolic Diaspora, consequent to the tower of Babel; peoples, languages and religions diverged. There was now emphasis on the uniqueness of each religion – what differentiated it from others. Recent events, notably Vatican II, now talk of religious dialogue, and seeking what is the common factor. From conversion we now talk of convergence – coming together. All religions need to follow this path, lest from a common genesis they end up in a diasporal nemesis!
On a personal level I felt even greater satisfaction seeing familiar names among the contributors to the NCB – stalwarts like Rui de Menezes SJ, Christopher Coelho OFM, George Soares Prabhu SJ, T.K. John SJ, Subash Anand, and of course Bp Thomas Dabre. God bless every one of them.
Even a lover finds warts on the face of his beloved. There are a few areas for improvement that the compilers could consider for future editions. The NCB could do with a concordance of frequently used words, phrases, names and places. Besides the introduction to various books of the Bible, a general introduction on how the Bible evolved, canonicity and inspiration would round off an otherwise excellent effort. The very first illustration showing God as an old man, with long hair and drooping eyes, is incongruous with the modern image of the NCB. It tends to perpetuate stereotypes. My son, to whom I presented the NCB on his graduation, said that God looked like the ogre in the “Lord of the Rings”. Oh Lord, what a blunder! The gold leaf edging, though attractive, makes the pages stick together in this humid monsoon season.
Having said this I would strongly recommend that all lovers, including Bible lovers, rush to the nearest bookshop or St. Paul’s outlet, and pick up their copy of this Love Letter – The New Community Bible. You will find yourself falling in love all over again.
* The reviewer is a layman who is a college dropout, and has no training in Biblical studies. But then, who needs a degree to love?
MICHAEL PRABHU. POINTS TO NOTE:
1. I have not responded to Fr. Subhash Anand’s letter even after a month has passed. I shall eventually do so.
2. I have corresponded, maybe for the last time a year or two ago, with “chhotebhai” Noronha who lives in Kanpur. Chhotebhai has moved in the ashram circuit for many years and is a disciple of Fr. Bede Griffiths OSB, New Ager. [Read my report on the Catholic Ashrams]. He practices yoga and chants OM. It is natural for him to root for the NCB.
22. LIST OF COLLABORATORS [THEOLOGIANS WHO WROTE THE NCB COMMENTARIES]:
Paul Kalluveetil, CMI
Fidelis D'Lima, OFM
Christopher Coelho, OFM
Rui de Menezes, SJ
P. A. Sampathkumar
C. M. Cherian, SJ
R. J. Raja, SJ
Joe Francis, OP
T. A. Joseph, SG
John Kurichianil, OSB
Anthony R. Ceresko, OSFS
George Kaniarakath, CMI
George Soares Prabhu, SJ
S. J. Anthonysamy
Francis Pereira, SJ
Joseph Pathrapankal, CMI
Lucien Legrand, MEP
Paddy Meagher, SJ
K. J. Scaria, SVD
T. K. John, SJ (Indology)
Subash Anand [when he wrote to me, he spelt it as “Subhash”] (Indology)
Joseph Ethakuzhy (Indology)
23. CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE BISHOP OF POONA ON THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
JULY 8, 2008:
Ten days since the all-India release of the New Community Bible. I talked to Bishop Valerian D’Souza for about seven minutes. He informs me that he is aware of the objections raised by the faithful in Pune, and that he is preparing to address them. He asked me to send him copies of the letters received by me from other Catholics who oppose the problematic commentaries. The Bishop said that he sees no problem with the Bible, and is confident that he can address the issues that are disturbing some of the faithful. To me, it seems that he has already made up his mind that the NCB and its commentaries are good for Catholic consumption and that the concerns of objecting Catholics are unfounded.
Subject: PROBLEMS WITH THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
[CHAIRMAN, CLERGY AND RELIGIOUS COMMISSION, CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF INDIA
EPISCOPAL ADVISOR, CHARISINDIA, NATIONAL CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL SERVICES]
Dear Bishop Valerian, I just now spoke to you regarding my concerns about the New Community Bible.
Lay persons and a couple of priests from Mumbai and Pune have informed me that there are apparently some serious problems with the new translation, especially with regard to the commentaries introduced by Indian theologians.
After reading their mails, I believe that there is reason for concern.
I do not as yet have a copy of this version. In Jesus’ Name, Michael Prabhu
Subject: THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE REMINDER
Your Grace, I look forward to your response to my letter to you dated July 8.
Meanwhile a group of laypersons and priests have completed a fairly detailed analysis of the commentaries in the NCB and we find that there is more than enough reason for the Bishops to be very concerned and make a second study of it.
We have prepared an eight-page report on the study that we had made. Regards, Michael
THIRD LETTER: PROBLEMS WITH THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
MOST IMPORTANT. PROBLEMS WITH THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
KIND ATTENTION: MOST REV. VALERIAN D’SOUZA BISHOP OF POONA
CHAIRMAN, CLERGY AND RELIGIOUS COMMISSION,
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF INDIA
Your Grace, There are apparently some serious problems with the New Community Bible [NCB] with regard to the commentaries introduced by Indian theologians. We are convinced that the errors are serious enough to warrant that the NCB should be withdrawn immediately.
A group of us laity and priests have made an intensive study of the same and would like to submit our report to the Bishops, and make public our detailed eight-page report to caution the faithful.
We would like to have your views on the matter since we read the report,
“His Lordship Valerian D’Souza, Bishop of Pune inaugurated the Year of St Paul and released The NCB at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Pune, during the Holy Eucharist at 6.30 p.m. on 28 June 2008.
Simultaneous release of The NCB took place during the Holy Eucharist of the Year of St Paul in the following parishes of the diocese: Immaculate Conception Church, Camp / St Francis de Sales Church, Shaanwadi / Sacred Heart Church, Yervada / St Ignatius Church, Kirkee / Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Tadiwala / Carmel Church, Sainikwadi“
REMINDER. LETTER No. 4: NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
[REPLY RECEIVED TO THIS LETTER NO. 4]
Dear Bishop Valerian,
I reproduce here from my records my three unanswered letters to you starting July 8, after my telecon with you.
As a lay person I have taken great pains, along with other priests and lay persons who love our Faith and our Church, to study the commentaries of the scholars in the NCB, and we have put together our views of the same.
This is a most serious issue, unless you do not consider it so, or unless you approve of the NCB, which can be our only judgements on the basis of your silence, and also after you participated in the release of the NCB, thus sanctioning its use by the faithful.
Can you not express — by an immediate response — your appreciation of our initiative, and of our concern for Mother Church, for orthodoxy, and for the future spiritual safety of our children and grandchildren who will be exposed to the contents of the NCB? Or are there more pressing administrative matters for a learned Bishop to attend to?
Do not the laity have any say in matters that finally concern them?
As a Bishop and also as spiritual director for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, are you not even a little interested to examine our report in which we claim that there are serious problems with the commentaries?
We could be wrong and would benefit from your clarification. Regards, Michael
Subject: RE: REMINDER. LETTER No. 4: NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
Dear Michael, Apparently you have not received my reply to you dated 19th July sent from email@example.com. I shall ask my PA to send it to you again.
From the very beginning I had asked you to send me the objections raised. But did not receive anything from you except reminders.
A few hours ago I returned from the meeting of the Western Region Bishops’ Council where the matter of the New Community Bible was discussed. Naturally the bishops are worried when people are disturbed. Cardinal Oswald Gracias will collate the objections and have a thorough study made. Articles and explanations will have to be given.
You could have made your points without insinuations and judgements. Wishing you God’s abundant blessings, +Valerian
WITH NCB REPORT
Your Grace, My reply to your letter follows in a few minutes. Here is our response to the NCB. Love and Prayers, Michael
Subject: RE: REMINDER. LETTER No. 4: NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
Dear Bishop Valerian, I thank you for your letter dated 26th July which I received last evening. I postponed my reply so that I could pray before writing.
Meanwhile I have sent you as an attachment by another email, a copy of our team’s response to the NCB. In that email, I assured you that I would be replying to you in a few minutes, but this letter has taken much longer than I thought it would.
I note that your first response was on the 19th of July. I regret that I did not receive that letter, and I eagerly await it to read what you have to say. Now, permit me to respond to the points of your letter, and to share what else I have in mind.
1. If you would read my personal note of July 8 [already sent to you], I noted that you asked me to send you the information received from other Catholics [priests and laity]. As I shared with you when I telephoned you, the information was by way of telephone calls as well as email letters. I informed you that I would have to first ask them for their permission or suggest that they write to you, which I did. I do not know if any of them wrote to you.
2. Most laity share among themselves that they have a very low confidence in many of their Bishops.
All priests who are in contact with this ministry are reluctant to be quoted by me, and believe that they are already being victimised for their orthodoxy.
This ministry has received dozens of letters supporting the demand for the withdrawal of the NCB.
Very few Catholics believe that anything will come out of their writing to their Bishops, having more confidence in this ministry to express their concerns.
I have invested 12 to 16 hours a day from July 8 onwards on nothing but the NCB issue alone. Believe me when I say that I have a few hundred more laity and priests, whose names are in my directory, to write to. It takes time for me because a majority of my letters are personalised [not group mailed], and then all correspondence is meticulously recorded.
3. The Bishops themselves, as my records demonstrate, mostly never respond to any communications, even more especially if they are concerned with problems coming under their episcopal jurisdiction. If they do so, their language is couched in diplomatese.
One cannot usually extract anything very substantial and assuring from these letters. They also almost always direct the writer to take up the issue with other Bishops and Commissions that they feel are more directly concerned, as if such issues are not their concern though they always relate to matters of faith or spiritual dangers that affect Catholics everywhere in the Indian Church.
These letters always express the hope that some other Bishop somewhere would surely do something about the problem.
You yourself have not replied to some of my alerts and postings.
Except two, all the Bishops and Archbishops whom I contacted, along with you, by telephone and email were quite indifferent and did not even ask to see our analysis of the problematic commentaries of the NCB which was completed only on July 14.
None of the Bishops immediately concerned with the publication of the NCB has responded to my several letters. One of them, who I spoke to on the ‘phone, could be described as having become hostile at my suggestion that there might be problems with the NCB. Some important Bishops, excepting Cardinal Gracias, have not responded to from three to SEVEN reminders on the NCB issue!
4. Apart from my initial letter of July 8, I wrote to you again on July 16 and on July 18, only after which you have written the letter of July 19 that I did not receive. My letters of July 16 and 18 mention our eight-page analysis of the NCB, completed July 14.
If you had asked for it, I would have sent it to you at once. Maybe you did so in your letter of July 19 which I failed to get.
Failing to receive even one response till July 18, a full ten days later from July 8, from the Bishops whom I first contacted, I wrote to other Bishops or dioceses connected with the release of the NCB as per information obtained from St Pauls’ website.
Though our team report was completed and ready, I did not send it to any single Bishop along with my letters. We were looking to see how many Bishops, and which Bishops would evince interest in reading it, and would ask for it. We thank God that a few did.
5. I am already aware that the NCB was discussed at the Western Region Bishops’ Council which met from July 23.
I presume that our eight-page report was presented there, as a very aged emeritus Bishop had graciously asked for a copy when I telephoned him, and it was couriered to him on the 19th. However, the “disturbed” laity is yet to know what the consensus of the Bishops is.
6. No Bishop who finally responded to our letters, and just two of those who we spoke to on the telephone, admits having seen the inside of the NCB. At least two Bishops have written that they would never think of using this publication. We also spoke, in the absence of the Bishops, to some Secretaries, Chancellors and Vicar Generals. Not one of them had seen the NCB. In one major Kerala archdiocese where there had been a grand archdiocesan release of the NCB, the priest in the Bishop’s office had never even heard of it and he was patient enough to listen as I explained the details to him for 15 minutes over the ‘phone.
Will you not agree with me that it is not just strange but highly illicit that a new “Bible” with localised commentaries was released for the spiritual consumption of the faithful without the full consensus of the CBCI and the CCBI?
Why is it that, when contacted, not one single Bishop of the Church in India, including Your Grace, was able to back the NCB and state with full and total confidence that there could possibly be NO error in the NCB? That SHOULD have been the case.
We don’t believe that the reason for a lack of such confidence is only that there is possibility of human error in human works. After all, the NCB was EIGHTEEN YEARS in the making. Who decided the “scholars” who wrote the commentaries?
We have hundreds of lay Ministers of the Word and products of charismatic-spirituality Bible colleges apart from dozens of long-standing, reputed lay preachers and lay ministries, a few of who could have been invited for the preparation of the commentaries.
Can the theologians interpret doctrine and Biblical themes according to their own “theologies” [very evident in the NCB], or are the Bishops the teaching magisterium of the Church?
Are the Bishops prepared to vouch that the contents of the NCB commentaries are totally above reproach and are faithful to the Catholic interpretation of Biblical revelation/Church teaching? Are you?
If they or Your Grace are hesitant to state an immediate, confident and unequivocal “yes”, then why is the NCB still in circulation?
were given to understand that the NCB has now been “withdrawn” from the St Pauls bookshop of at least one major city. If that report is true, we salute the Bishop of that diocese. We also salute the laity without whose protests this could not happen.
But the laity do not know the reason[s] for that reported “withdrawal”. Why aren’t they being informed of the reason[s]? After all, it was because of their representation to the Bishop that the reverend Bishop has given that instruction to St Pauls. What are the immediate and long-term proposals of that Bishop and his peers?
Is the NCB being sold surreptitiously from behind the counter? Or will it be like the banned Jesuit Tony De Mello’s books which have made their way back to St Pauls [they anyway publish as well as sell books which are MUCH WORSE, overtly occult and New Age]?
If the problems with the NCB are serious enough to warrant local [diocesan] censure, why not at the national level?
Or is this action taken to humour the laity till their concentration relaxes or their interest wanes with the passage of time?
8. I deny insinuating anything or judging you and your actions or non-actions, Your Grace. I still back my statements.
I was asking relevant questions on a most serious issue concerning my Faith, which is well within my rights and duties as per Canon Law.
I admit that I might sometimes go overboard in my enthusiasm and by my lack of theological competence vis-à-vis our learned theologians and scholars, but my simple faith, built on a good Catholic education, Bible and evangelisation training at many Catholic centres, study of the Early Church Fathers and Church documents, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church ensure that my theological positions are not tainted by what is passing off as formation in the seminaries today [taught by these same scholars].
We are not accusing anyone. I am sure that you will agree with me that there is no harm in thinking aloud, because that is what laity in that diocese and elsewhere are doing and I am only reproducing their concerns and their questions, as I have full confidence in their love for the Church and their personal integrity as informed and practising Catholic Christians.
9 a. The laity have no genuine forum for representation, no voice. Even priests on the CBCI and CCBI Laity Commissions have concurred with me [orally]. Two such priests did not simply agree with me. They themselves promote that truth and desire more [qualitative] representation for laity. The Bombay Catholic Sabha, All India Catholic Union [I am not demeaning their mission], etc. are more of political bodies. I doubt that their leaders [one of them has welcomed — in the secular press — the NCB] have the Catholic faith and spirituality of those who have taken up the NCB issue! I have reason to believe so because I have corresponded with some of them. They are NOT the voice of Catholics. They would not even UNDERSTAND what the commotion [raised by us] is all about. After all, what is really important are the SEZs, the attacks on Christians, and so on. Why worry about some little problems IN the Church — like commentaries in a Bible — when we have so many problems facing us from the outside?
9 b. From parishes to synods, and even in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal [I say that with experience of 27 years] there is politicking, nepotism, sycophancy… I am sure that you know it. I stand accused of “generalising”. I expected to face this charge for daring to speak out. But, I can take a case by case study of the CCR in several major India cities to show you how much is “controlled” by money, by individual leaders, by groups, by families, by teams, by priests, even by Bishops, who either hold on to power and position past their tenures, block a second line of leadership from growing, stifle genuine charisms and the voice of prophecy, and so on, ad infinitum. Prophets or critics are viewed as dangerous [only “yes-men”, please], and the word goes out. It is seen that they are either not “elected” or denied a platform under a number of convenient “rules”. However, Protestant “Catholic” ministries flourish and the CCR leadership and Bishops will [or cannot?] do nothing about them. These views are shared with me [in writing] by the scores of genuine and simple people [and a few very, very honest senior leaders] in the charismatic prayer groups in many cities, many of who have left and do not want to be associated anymore with the term “charismatic”.
Their confidence in this ministry is expressed by their contacting me when in doubt or faced with problems like the NCB.
It is also reflected by the attitudes, to me and my ministry, of many leaders and priests in the Renewal. Private pats on the back, but no association in ministry. The scavenger is needed to do one’s “dirty” work, but letters on issues like the NCB are politely ignored. Would you still insist that my extremely poor opinion of them as spiritual leaders is insinuation or judgemental?
I am only comparing their attitudes and actions [or non-actions] with Biblical standards — the OT prophets, Peter, Paul…!!!
Of the many so-called leaders in the Renewal who preach and write fine things, and of heads of ministries and retreat centres, the majority do not even bother to acknowledge receiving the reports that this ministry produces and sends out.
In the case of the NCB, the eight-page report was sent to many of them, and ONLY ONE, I repeat — ONLY ONE, very senior leader [who is in the Bcc to this letter] responded in the right spirit, displaying the exemplary courage to oppose the NCB and demand its withdrawal IN WRITING. God bless him and his community. He is the future of the Indian CCR and the Indian Church.
A couple of others did write back, but gave Bishop-like, evasive and educative replies. A list of such excuses made by many Bishops and these leaders would make laughable reading if it were not a tragedy for the Church.
The consensus among simple charismatics is that the leaders are afraid of antagonising the Bishops; the Bishops have no real “power” or “will” to resolve such matters; there are greater external crises and the internal ones can be buried as the laity cannot anyway do much about anything except talk or write or make representations which never seem to elicit a clear and concise and binding and permanent response.
9c. Do you believe that there is freedom of speech in the Church? If you do, your Grace, you are sadly not in touch with reality at the grassroots. You Bishops never get to hear the truth because you mostly surround yourself with people who want to ingratiate themselves with you, so you hear only what you want them to say. You might want to encourage those who would say “no” even if they might sometimes be proved wrong. As for me, I would write this very same letter to you [or to the President of the CBCI or to the Chairman, Doctrinal Commission] even if I were already invited to give a seminar to the National Service Team of the CCR.
I know formerly good lay ministries and their members who have compromised on their prophetic speaking and writing to stay safe — and popular — with the priest-members and the Bishops. Many of them tut-tut in private with me over the goings-on, and then go ahead and preach/write all the routine stuff, often at the very places where error is being openly propagated.
You probably know about the slander campaign launched in Bandra by laity — led by priests — against the late crusader Errol C. Fernandes and his prophetic ministry. A Commission of Enquiry set up by the Archdiocese exonerated him and his group. He was awarded the Archdiocese’s highest civilian honour, “The Order of the Rose”, a few weeks before he went to the Lord. His authoritative but critical letters [copied to me] were more often than not rejected by The Examiner which is otherwise shockingly FULL of all sorts of — mostly New Age — errors. I can — and certainly will — write a huge report compiling and dissecting them.
So, too, are my letters not published. Catholic magazines seem to have a discreet, unwritten code of censorship put in place not to embarrass the Bishops. I can see no other reason for it.
Do you think that if I wrote a letter [I did not even think too much about it because I know the outcome from experience] even mildly criticising the NCB to ANY Catholic magazine — The Examiner, The New Leader, The Teenager, Jivan, Charisindia, Petrus, Satyadeepam…] — it would be published? What is your honest answer?
If it is no, can you say that there is freedom in the Catholic press, or will you agree that the Catholic media is “organized” and controlled? Even if that control is not “official”, and it is not, it undeniably exists. If you give me the permission to test my “theory” under intimation to you, I will be glad to go ahead.
However there is, it seems, unlimited freedom to print error, because I have made hundreds of records of such instances.
The secular press in Bombay and Pune have not published letters written by me and others –objecting to the NCB being thrust on Catholics as a “Bible” — in response to their reportage on the NCB.
Summary: There is no way that Catholics can make their voice heard.
10. We are inclined to be very afraid for the Church if the decision taken at the Western Region Bishops’ Council is simply that “articles and explanations will have to be given” by Cardinal Oswald Gracias to the faithful.
Do we take it to mean that the Bishops will justify the commentary contents and foot-notes of the NCB even though Faith-educated Catholics have raised very serious objections to many of them? If that is so, I risk saying that it will become a permanent and festering cancer in the Indian Church. With due respect, I assure you that not one of us is prepared to accept the explanations, because — apart from a miracle — they are not going to be new. We have heard them before, unofficially, and we have seen some of them in the Preface [Archbishop Soosa Pakiam] and Presentation by Dr. Augustine Kanachikuzhy SSP in the NCB.
Is it so difficult for the Bishops to do the right thing and admit that the release of the NCB’s was a grave mistake?
If the Bishops do not want to tell the whole truth, surely they are now experts in knowing what to say without looking too bad?
Or is it simply impossible for them to give credit [which no one wants] to the laity and priests. They must remember Who they will have to account to for the souls of millions if the NCB is allowed to become the flagship of the Indian Church.
The Bishops will have to seriously consider the implications of justifying the commentaries that have been found objectionable. Forever after, error will continue to be justified by pointing to the contents of the NCB which, even if its texts are faithful to the originals in translation, we totally reject as a Bible. The responsibility for this tragic situation will rest completely on our Bishops.
Many lay people have written to you, and there are priests of all ages with us. Surely their claims or judgements cannot all be frivolous or ill-informed and be explained away by arguments from exegetical or hermeneutical approaches or by clever isolated excerpts from two or three Vatican documents which will only serve to further confuse or fool many of the laity.
We will refute these by quoting dozens of passages from these same and other Vatican documents, encyclicals and Apostolic Letters to justify our contention that the Church in India has failed to implement the letter and spirit of these exhortations, that they have been subverted by the skilful manipulation and semantics of our liberal and modernist “theologians” and that the Church is drifting away from Rome under the leadership of some very powerful priests.
I wonder if you have seen the book prepared by a dozen such dissenting theologians led by ashram-founder and yoga-enthusiast Fr Sebastian Painadath SJ, expressly brought out for the purpose of trashing the 2003 New Age document. It was sent to me from the library of a seminary by a priest who was scandalised.
In it they repeatedly declare that Rome is patriarchal, living in the Middle Ages, ignorant, out of touch with reality, and many other things, and is not in sync with modern pluralistic approaches or relevant to India. Our report on that book is in the making.
We pray that our fears are not unfounded and that these explanations from the Bishops will honestly admit that there ARE errors in the NCB and that the NCB sets the precedent for a most dangerous — and possibly mortal for the Indian Church –trend for a lot more of such error which is at the moment not yet given “official” sanction like the NCB has. The NCB is a Trojan horse in the Church, and justifying its contents will be opening a Pandora’s box. History may one day confirm the truth of our apprehensions.
11. Your Grace, please do not take any of the above statements as disobedience to the magisterium.
We are as Catholic as the next person in the Church. But, we want to know what Rome thinks about these matters.
We have printed information that Rome has refused to sanction certain aspects of inculturation [Indianization, or whatever euphemisms are being used to describe Hinduism and Brahminism] proposed by our Bishops/theologians. We will study them and on their basis prepare a report to be sent to Rome along with a lot of other information that we have been carefully noting over the years. There are about TWENTY such almost-completed intensively-researched documents in my files. They include one on the DVD called “India: The Lotus and the Cross” which was filmed in the Archdioceses of Goa and Bombay and the Diocese of Pune.
There is also an update on the MMS nuns’ Holistic Health Centre in Bibwewadi, Pune, the mother-house of every sort of esoteric and occult New Age alternative therapy, spawning a number of such centres across India, and also a document on the errors that are being taught by priests to the seminarians in the Papal Seminary, Pune. They will be of particular interest to you, Your Grace, and you must surely be aware of them if laity and priests can find the information objectionable enough to bring to my notice. Either by foundational grants and funding, official recognition, Church participation, protection, or silence, such errors and the people and places that promote them have been institutionalised. It seems that no one notices, or if they do, they don’t care.
If only you know how many, many laity feel about the pathetic condition of the Church, you might be shocked.
But maybe you and the other Bishops do know but cannot do anything about it.
Like the Church today asking for forgiveness for crimes committed decades ago, will the Indian Church go through that same procedure only after true believers are decimated and after its Roman Catholic identity has been eroded?
When American charismatic pioneer Ralph Martin wrote about the priests’ pedophilia issue in his 1994 book “The Catholic Church at the End of an Age”, he was viciously attacked in The Examiner, June through August 1998, by “Catholics” for his “crime” of “washing the Church’s dirty linen in public”. When the whole thing blew up a decade after Ralph Martin wrote, it cost the Church heavily, and I don’t mean just bankrupt dioceses but also bankrupt souls. Will compensations and apologies bring back the lost?
I humbly suggest that this “Indianisation” business is going to land the Indian Church in a much worse situation — SPIRITUALLY.
The Bishops and the silent renewal leaders must very seriously reflect on that before they stand before the Judge.
12. Later this evening, the Federation of Catholic Faithful [Registered] are meeting in Chennai to discuss the NCB issue [I am not attending, though a member and invited, as I am working on my correspondence].
Having studied the commentaries, they are planning to take action to demand withdrawal of the NCB and to make their protest known through the secular media by a public demonstration etc., the details of which are partially known to me but will be finalised only tonight. I pray that Catholics everywhere will come out of their lethargy and make their voice heard.
In regard to the NCB, the Tamil Catholics have a precedent or should I say precedents. The details can be found in a twenty-six page booklet titled, “Ongoing Robbery of Faith” authored in 1996 by Fr P K George SJ.
It makes some startling and fearful allegations of the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ deceit in matters of Faith. Fr George analyses 3 issues:
a) The newly translated Tamil Missal, 1993
b) The new translation of the Holy Bible in Tamil, 1995
c) A book titled. “Yar Intha Yesu?” [“Who is this Jesus?”] by theologian Fr Paul Leon, 1995; it has the Imprimatur of a late Bishop.
Fr George documents the serious errors in these books, including the Bible, which have been perpetuated on the ignorant faithful. The priest insists that a fraud has been perpetrated on the Tamil Church, more precisely that Catholics have been blatantly lied to.
The fraud or lie that he mentions is that the Bishops of the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council [TNBC] have stated that the contents of the new Missal were approved/authorised by Rome whereas they were not. I am producing a soft copy of this booklet and will send it to you as soon as my correspondence regarding the NCB slows down –which does not seem likely for some time. Your Grace will have to wait for the details as I do not want to quote out of context in this delicate matter.
Tamil Catholics whose children now use the English translation of the Bible fear that the same fate awaits them with the NCB.
At the national and international level people are calling for a email signature campaign. Considering the lethargy and fatalism of most Catholics, it might take time, but is not impossible.
Hence also the need to go to Rome. There is not much confidence that Ivan Cardinal Dias will be of any help in any of these matters after the circulation [on the internet as also hardcopies distributed] to Catholics by ex-Catholic Pentecostals and by traditionalists, of a picture of him lighting the lamp in front of an idol of Ganesha at an inter-faith programme
13. Your Grace, I have received copies of many letters such as the one here addressed to you by one Shane who I do not know. He is evidently a young man. I am edified by his firm and clear stand on the NCB. May his tribe increase.
After compiling the letters I will send you those who do not object to their identities being revealed, and obscure the names of the others.
From: Shayne Barretto <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Jul 22, 2008 3:08 PM Subject: New Community Bible
Dear Bishop Valerian,
I am greatly disturbed by the New Community Bible. The commentary is highly debatable and contentious.
I am shocked by the stand or the lack of it taken by you. You have sat on the fence with the release of your statement – something that has come as a shock to me and my fellow youth. You being in a position of authority have failed to take action. The Lord stamped his authority whenever the Pharisees questioned it. But you haven’t taken a cue.
This Bible is aimed at the youth, apparently!
Is it really??? It gives a distorted image of Christ and Christianity. Now the already misled youth are even more confused as to who the real God is? If you and the priests of the Catholic Church direct them otherwise – then there is no hope for Christianity in India.
We often complain why Protestants target Catholics and lead them to their churches? Now you have vindicated their stand.
I am in talks with other members of the Church and we are up in arms against this Bible (NCB) and the sale of it in various book stores. Best Regards, Shayne # +91 9823025250
14. I do not want to do it but must include the oft-repeated cliché that laity is expected to pray, pay and obey.
Your Grace, this is not a pastime or hobby for us. We are called by God, and we have a great sense of responsibility, mission and burden for the Church. We LOVE the Church. We ARE the Church. Have you ever seriously considered what we laypeople who have families are investing in terms of time away from our spouses and children, energy and money in these unnecessary exercises, unnecessary because we should instead be out implementing Jesus’ mandate in the Great Commission, evangelizing and baptizing. There again I will fall foul of the theologians who distort what Jesus meant by the first and probably don’t even want to talk about the second [except in the safe context of conferring the Sacrament to infants born to Catholics].
I have been abused and threatened verbally and in writing by Catholic priests for saying what I say and doing what I do.
My ministry has been threatened with legal proceedings, again in writing, by the priest-Director of a CBCI-associated organization. I have received a threatening letter from the priest-Executive Secretary of a CBCI Commission, definitely without the knowledge of the Chairman/Member Bishops of that Commission, instigated by a Catholic “Swami” who propagates New Age ideas and practices in Catholic institutions, and whose activities I exposed in a report. These threats have not deterred me.
When I open a can of worms or write letters like this, I know that I can expect retribution, subtle or overt. The Church is divine, as well as a powerful human organisation with much evil in her.
But I also know that I have chosen to do the will of the Lord, having carefully counted the cost of discipleship.
Some years ago, I wrote a letter to a Bishop. There was and still is a lot of open error, on which I had reported without any acknowledgement, in his diocese. In concluding, I said that when I used to see that Bishop conducting his ministry I was reminded of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning. A friend who examined the draft deleted that paragraph. But it always comes back to my mind. Today, for many Indian Catholics, Rome is burning.
Let us pray for the Neros of today in our beloved Church. Yours in Jesus’ Name, Michael Prabhu
NO RESPONSE RECEIVED TO THE NCB ANALYSIS OR TO THE ABOVE LETTER
In reference to the meeting held at Navsadhana Pastoral Centre, Pune on September 20, 2008 to discuss the New Community Bible (NCB). Fr. Kurien Kunnumpuram, SJ, Professor at the Papal Seminary, Pune was selected by the Bishop to defend the NCB. FEEDBACK:
Rev. Bishop, With all due respect to your position and to your long and selfless service to the lay faithful, I would like to thank your Lordship for giving us this opportunity to express our fears and concerns regarding the NCB. I do appreciate your courage in conducting such a discussion and for inviting one of the scholars in Bible and also for asking St. Paul’s for taking the NCB off the shelves. May the Holy Spirit give you the grace and courage to support the truth and fight against the elements of darkness that have crept into our Roman Catholic Church as was foretold by our Mother Mary at Fatima (in the secrets of Fatima). May God Reward you for your boldness. I truly appreciate your effort.
I would also like to apologize in case you felt that we were a bit harsh or loud during the discussion. But your Lordship, being a discussion, these types of arguments are bound to happen; besides our sentiments are hurt too. We had to speak loudly since there were no microphones provided for us.
All these years in the history of the Catholic Church it used to be the lay faithful that would doubt the faith and the martyrs and the priests would give us an insight into the Word of God and reaffirm our faith. Yesterday it was so sad to see the scholar priests questioning the faith and the accuracy of the Word of God, asking for scientific, geographical and historical proofs, and the lay faithful defending their faith and the accuracy of the Word of God.
What was even more shocking was that we were called fundamentalists.
These scholars want scientific proof in the Bible, but accept the truths in other Indian religions. We have no problem with Indianization, but when Hinduism is propagated in the name of inculturation we cannot tolerate it. There is definitely no place for Hindu Scriptures in the Word of God.
One more thing, your Lordship. I would like Fr. Kurian to read out the verse in the Bible that states that the earth is the Centre of the universe and that the sun revolves around the earth. If with our limited knowledge we interpret what the Holy Spirit revealed, we will surely not understand the truth in it. I can only say that in front of the vast and infinite knowledge that God has we don’t even have a fraction of the knowledge that He has. For, if Fr. Kurian is referring to the Psalm of David, Psalm 19: 4-6. (God made a home for the sun; it comes out in the morning… etc), let me tell Fr. Kurian that nowhere it is mentioned that the sun moves around the Earth. It is only mentioned that the sun moves from one end of the sky and goes across the other like an athlete. I am a geography teacher and have read a lot about space (that has only filled me with awe for our Supreme Creator). Let me tell Fr. Kurian what God made known to David through the Holy Spirit, our great scientists have proved it now with the help of the Hubble telescope that the sun actually moves in the space covering an enormous orbit. Not only the sun, but all the other stars and galaxies too move in space.
The Theory of Evolution is falling apart today for lack of evidence. Darwin himself admitted that millions of missing links will have to be found in the fossils to prove this thesis. But till today not a single link is found.
The scientist argued that the Genesis could not be accurate as it says God placed a firmament in the sky and separated the waters below from the waters above. Until recently research has proved that Neptune, Pluto, even Mars have been found to have water, in frozen form. Along with the comets. Today it is proved that even the vast amount of water in the ocean is less than a fraction of the quantities of water that exist above the firmament. What the scientist took so many years to prove that the earth is a globe, Isaiah 40; 22 states It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth.
Critics challenged the Genesis that man is such a complex element how could he be created from dust. Today it is scientifically proved that every element that man is made up of is found in the soil (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, etc).
The Bible is definitely not a scientific book; however, when it does make scientific statements, they are stunning in their accuracy. If these scholars want any more proof please tell them to change their very approach of studying the Bible. Believe with a child like faith. Bible is neither a science nor a history nor an English literature book.
I do believe that the scholars with the vast knowledge that they have, have every right to doubt their faith and the Word of God, but they surely have no right to pass down these doubts to lay faithful who are not scholars. Tomorrow if our younger generations ask for a scientific proof to prove a virgin giving birth to a child, these scholars and all those who propagated such teachings will be responsible for loss of these souls.
We have only two problems with the NCB. which are definitely very, very grave, one, the incorporation of Hinduism in the name of Indianisation, and second the doubts against the faith that has been passed down to us.
Act before it is too late. God bless you & give you the wisdom to discern between what is right and what is wrong and the power to stand up for the truth.
I HAVE FULL FAITH IN YOU & YOUR POWER. With love & gratitude, and sincere wishes for a wonderful Birthday on the 3rd.
I remain your sincerely, Juliana D’Souza.
Subject: some questions & answers during the seminar
I: Have you got the consent [for the NCB and commentaries] from Rome, our Holy Father.
Fr. Kurien: We have the signature of two of the Bishops of Vasai, Mumbai.
I: But two Bishops don’t represent the Church.
Fr. Kurien: That is sufficient.
I: Do you believe that the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit?
Fr. Kurien: Yes.
I: Is the commentary too inspired by the Holy Spirit?
Fr. Kurien: Not necessary.
I: Can there be errors in the commentary.
Fr. Kurien: Yes. There can be.
Fr. Kurien: Do you believe that there are no mistakes in the Bible?
Many: Yes of course!
Fr. Kurien: Why?
I: Because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Kurien: But those writers too were human. Moreover, the Gospels were written many years after the death of Jesus.
I: But by the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe that every dot and dash in the Bible is accurate.
Fr. Kurien: Many people are fundamentalists but do not want to accept that they are.
Theresa Schneider: Why do we need Indianization?
Fr. : We live in India and are definitely influenced by rich culture and traditions of India. Was Jesus born in Asia or Europe? Then why are we adopting Western Culture? Why are we importing Christianity from the West? Christianity is an Asian religion. Not European. The commentary is an excellent work of the scholars to give us this Indian-ness. We are blamed for adopting western culture.
TSc: Then why don’t our priests don’t wear a lungi or dhoti?
Fr. : I would have loved to.
I: Then Father, you take the lead.
Theresa: The names of so many Hindu gods are mentioned in the Bible. Do you agree they are Hindu gods?
Fr. Kurien: Yes.
Theresa: then aren’t we breaking the First Commandment?
Fr. Kurien: (confused and tries to explain the 8th, 9th & 10th commandments.)
Sheena: Do you believe miracles happened [as related in the Gospels]?
Fr. Kurien: The way in which it is presented may not be correct.
Bishop Valerian D’Souza: Isn’t it true that 32,000 versions of Bible have been written?
Fr. Kurien: And many community Bibles too which are interpreted according to the culture of that country. eg. Chinese.
Fr. Kurien: The Vatican does not reject anything that is holy & true in other religions. Moreover how can we be so sure that God is not in other religions? Names may be different.
I: Is Ganpati [Ganesh, Vinayak] one of the names?
Fr. Kurien: (Confused.) Outside after the meeting I asked Fr. Kurian, “Isn’t it true that the Pope feels that the teachings of many of the Indian Priests is not compatible with the teachings of the Catholic faith?”
Fr. Kurien: Then is your teaching compatible? (And walks away.)
Our feelings about the theologians:
No regard for the Pope. Feel all religions are correct. No faith in the word of God. Juliana D’Souza.
Subject: ALERT and UPDATE : CALL FOR WITHDRAWAL OF THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE [NCB]. YOUR RESPONSE — OR SILENCE — CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Dear Reverend Fathers at the Papal Seminary, and especially Fr. Kurien Kunnumpuram and those who wrote the commentaries for the NCB
The New Community Bible (NCB) was released by St Pauls on June 28, 2008 “with commentary prepared by the best Bible scholars in India”. Price Rs 250.00. In the Preface, the scholars/theologians [attempt to] justify the contents of the book.
This book is part of the “inculturation” drive of our Indian theologians.
In the commentaries, parallels are repeatedly drawn with Hindu deities, Hindu religious texts and mythology; biblical incidents and personalities and Christian philosophies have equals in Hinduism. The impression is forced on the reader that one religion is as good as another. Biblical incidents are downplayed by flippantly commenting that they must not be taken literally. Creation is a story, Eden is a mythical garden, Adam and Eve’s sin was probably a sexual one, the report on the plagues of Egypt is not supported by science – and they are repetitious and inconsistent, the parting of the Red Sea was used for box office effect and is not a factual or historical account, and so on. Read more about the NCB in the attachment.
I have been on the team of priests and lay Catholics conducting this campaign in opposition to the New Community “Bible” [NCB] since the first week of July 2008. This letter with the eight-page attachment of our analysis of the errors and problems in the NCB commentaries will be reaching many of you very late. The reasons for the delay?
A number of priests and laity read the secular news stories on the release of the NCB in the papers or on the internet, and some of them checked out the NCB and began writing to me. The exchange of hundreds of letters with them started.
We have written around 25 letters to St Pauls but we have received no response.
I sent out a first round of letters to a couple of hundred priests and laity who are in regular correspondence with this ministry. And their responses began to come in. Those who did not reply had to be sent reminders. Records had to be maintained.
Our analysis of the NCB was first sent out after July 16, and a week later it was uploaded on our website
www.ephesians-511.net. It was picked up by Orate Fratres, a Catholic apologetics site in the US, and reproduced almost in its entirety.
Meanwhile, a couple of Indian news agencies, TOI and DNA, interviewed me telephonically from Mumbai, and asked me for information that had to be carefully compiled. It resulted in two newspapers carrying the story on August 9 of the faithful’s opposition to the NCB, two of them quoting us, and one more referring to us on August 6 without naming this ministry. Our letters to the editor were carried in the Mumbai Age and the Asian Age. Hindustan Times also reported our story.
There are still several hundred Catholic friends whom I have not yet written to, including most of the newer ones in my address book since the last one year, so please forgive me, if you are one of those that I missed out, for having not written to you earlier. A few people who have not yet responded might receive this as a reminder. If this attachment is coming to you for the second time, please forgive me for that too as I am not able to manage the logistics of this exercise. For that, thank you and God bless you.
Please find the time to read our attached report on the NCB, which must be withdrawn immediately by the Bishops.
THE NCB IS A BRAHMIN IMPOSITION ON THE CHURCH.
THERE IS A SUBLIMINAL “OM” SYMBOL ON THE NCB COVER.
THE NCB DOES NO GOOD FOR THE DALITS AND TRIBALS UNDER THE YOKE OF CASTE.
Get your family members to join in the crusade. And pass this on to all your Catholic friends. We need more and more responses opposing the publishing of the NCB. Please do write in your support for our campaign and your rejection of the NCB to the team email address which is
under copy to me at
If you do not want your name to be disclosed, please inform us clearly and we will reproduce your letter while obscuring your identity. The collated letters will be sent to the Bishops of India along with a follow-up analysis of other errors and problems in the NCB that have been brought or come to our attention.
From all over India and from overseas, overt two hundred ordinary laypeople, leaders of Catholic lay ministries and communities, founders of internet Catholic ministries and senior leaders in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal — and a good number of priests and theologians — have already responded to this ministry and to the
A number of letters were received from people who have never been in contact with this ministry before.
A few laity have even written to some of the Bishops.
The Roman Catholic Faith of our children and grandchildren is in grave danger.
Are you prepared to let that happen? The priests and other laypersons who reject the NCB are not. We urge all Catholics to please speak up, to allow their voice to be heard for the sake of the Church in India.
You can register your response on the community page on Orkut created for this purpose. Please login to your Orkut id, click on ‘Communities’ and search for “community bible”. If you have a problem, let us know.
We have planned a signature campaign, which most respondees have agreed to join, and we are thinking of approaching the vernacular secular media who have either reported on the release of the NCB or are unaware of it, through a press conference which will be arranged by a lay Catholic organization that is also calling for withdrawal of the NCB.
We will also take up the matter with Rome if necessary.
The NCB report is available at this ministry’s website on the homepage:
The title: A NEW AGE BIBLE? THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
Michael Prabhu email@example.com
Indian Catholic Priest Chosen Convener for Section at World Sanskrit
September 14, 2009 PUNE, Maharashtra (SAR NEWS) Jesuit Father Noel Sheth*, an international scholar in Sanskrit and Pali, a Prakrit language, has earned a unique distinction of being chosen as the only Indian chief chairperson for a Subject Section at the 14th World Sanskrit Conference hosted by the University of Kyoto, Japan, September 1-5. One among 500 persons from 37 countries to participate in the conference, Sheth, through his scholarly publications in exegesis and comparative theology and philosophy, has made a valuable contribution to inter-religious dialogue and mutual enrichment of religions.
In India, Sanskrit and Prakrits are the preserve of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Christians in the country are often considered as foreigners who are not in the mainstream of Indian life and culture. Sheth’s contributions to the ancient languages testify to the fact that Christians are not only interested in the Indian culture and religions, but are also authoritative scholars in these areas. Sheth has frequently chaired a single session of a section in the previous World Sanskrit Conferences and, in fact, did so this time, too, in the philosophy section and the history of religion section, of which he was the chief convener. But this is the first time that he has been the chief convener of an entire history of religion section, a high distinction indeed for an Indian Christian.
There were a total of 15 subject sections like the Vedas, Linguistics, Scientific Literature, Philosophy, etc., at the Kyoto conference this year.
Sheth is a professor of Indian philosophies and religions at Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pontifical Institute of Philosophy and Religion, Pune, Maharashtra state. He was a former rector of the Papal Seminary, Pune. His name is in the Who’s Who of Sanskrit Scholars of India. He secured a first class in his M.A. (Sanskrit-Pali) from the University of Pune and has won several prizes and scholarships. Sheth holds a doctorate in Sanskrit from Harvard University, USA, where he was awarded a full scholarship. He has studied eleven languages, four of which are classical languages: Sanskrit, Pali, Latin and Greek. He has received many awards from different institutions, including the Dr. Sam Higginbottom Award for the Best Principals of India, 2004-2005. At present, he is one of the five vice-presidents (one for each continent) of the Conference of Catholic University Institutions of Philosophy. He is in charge of Asia and Oceania. *see page 22ff
Scholars hail Jesuit’s success at world Sanskrit conference
September 14, 2009 PUNE, India (UCA News) Christian and Hindu leaders in India as well as scholars from around the world have praised the performance of a Jesuit priest in convening the recent 14th World Sanskrit Conference. Father Noel Sheth*, a lecturer in Indian religions, served as chief convener of the History of Religion section at the meeting in Kyoto, Japan, the first Catholic priest so honored. The International Association of Sanskrit Studies had invited the University of Kyoto to host the triennial conference this year, held Sept. 1-5. The Jesuit “did an excellent job as the convener,” acknowledged Muneo Tokunaga, head of the university’s Sanskrit department. He selected “top-rate research papers” and appointed the best person to chair each session, the Japanese scholar told UCA News by e-mail. *see page 22ff
Tokunaga, a Buddhist and chairperson of the conference’s organizing committee, added that the priest’s “deep insight” into Indian culture helped promote better understanding between Hinduism and other religions.
In India, Father Job Kozhamthadam likewise credited his fellow Jesuit’s lectures and writings with linking various religions. In the process, said the president of Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth (university of knowledge light), a Jesuit-run seminary in Pune, Father Sheth has introduced Catholic insights and beliefs into Indian culture and traditions.
The priest’s selection as chief convener is “a great honor to the Catholic Church in India,” remarked Bishop Thomas Dabre of Poona (Pune), an expert on Indian religions.
Father Sheth’s scholarship in Sanskrit symbolizes the Catholic Church’s commitment to preserve authentic Indian ancient culture, tradition and heritage, the prelate said.
Sanskrit provided Father Sheth a gateway to understand Hindu culture, the way of life and thought that helped him promote interfaith dialogue and intercultural relations, Bishop Dabre continued. The bishop once taught Indian spirituality and traditions at Jnana Deepa, Asia’s largest seminary, where Father Sheth currently teaches.
Mohan Dhadphale, former head of the Sanskrit department at Fergusson College in Pune, revealed that Father Sheth had convinced him Christianity is an Eastern religion, not a Western one as propagated by some Hindu radicals.
The Hindu scholar and Father Sheth’s former teacher said the Rig-Veda, the first of the ancient Hindu Veda texts, mentions the origins of Jesus Christ. “Therefore, the study of Sanskrit helps scholars such as Father Sheth to promote an enriching interfaith dialogue,” said Dhadphale, who attended the Kyoto meet.
Some 500 scholars of Sanskrit and Prakrit, another ancient Indian language, presented research papers in 15 subject sections.
Each of the sections, which included the Vedas, Poetry, Drama and Aesthetics, Scientific Literature, Buddhist Studies, Jain Studies, Philosophy and Ritual Studies, had a chief convener.
Father Sheth told UCA News on Sept. 9 that his work as convener had given him the opportunity to demonstrate that the Catholic Church is “very much engaged” in preserving ancient Indian culture, tradition and heritage.
He noted that in India, Sanskrit and Prakrit are considered the preserve of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.
“Christians in India are often considered as foreigners who are not in the mainstream of Indian life and culture,” he explained. On the contrary, his selection dispels that notion and convinces people that the Church “is very much in the mainstream of Indian life.” He also observed that Sanskrit and Prakrit had played crucial roles in Indian art’s profound influence on Asian countries, where Hinduism and Buddhism testify to the spread of Indian culture and religion.
Christian university with strong Indian roots
DNA November 16, 2009 Mumbai: Several Indian rituals have found a place in the prayers and the overall set up of the 100-year-old Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV), better known as Papal Seminary on Pune-Ahmednagar Road.
The institution mainly trains Catholic priests and religious leaders. It has two faculties of philosophy and theology (religion), conferring bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. JDV was started as the Papal Seminary in 1893 in Kandy (Sri Lanka), and later transferred to Pune in 1955 and given an Indian name, Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (The Light of Wisdom University). The government issued a special first day cover and commemorative stamp to mark the centenary.
The institute is a centre for study of various branches of Christian philosophy and theology, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and Sikhism.
we train the students in so many religions we made it a point to adopt the good teachings in these religions. The theme of our centenary year celebration was Sarva Jiva Sukham — Sarva Dharma Sakhyam (the happiness of all living being and friendships among all religions). We have depicted this theme in the form of a mandala. The mandala illustrates symbols of various religions,” said Father Noel [Sheth], SJ*, who is the professor of Indian philosophy and religions. *see page 22ff
JDV is the only national institute of ecclesiastical studies for diocesan priests in India. Besides Indian students, youths from many other countries are studying here.
NUNCIO URGES THEOLOGATE TO REMAIN FAITHFUL
By Priscilla Pinto, Pune December 6, 2010
Apostolic Nuncio to India Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio has urged a leading theologate in India to remain faithful to the Church teachings while pursuing innovative ideas.
The archbishop opened a new block in the Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV, light of knowledge), Pontifical Institute of Philosophy and Religion, in Pune, western India, on Dec. 3.
“JDV is growing and introducing new courses, but it must always remain faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church,” the Pope’s representative told more than 1,000 people, comprising mostly priests, seminarians and nuns.
He said the institute should use the new block for research in theology, philosophy and religions for the common good.
The nuncio urged the students to make a personal encounter with Christ along with acquiring skills. This, he said, would help them become effective global missioners competent to face modern challenges.
The nuncio also noted the need for Church leaders who can work for the common good with people of other faiths in multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-lingual India.
Bishop Thomas Dabre of Poona said future evangelization in India depends on leaders with a “solid theological and philosophical foundation” who can dispel misunderstandings about Christians in India.
Father Edward Mudavassery, JDV vice chancellor and head of more than 4,000 Jesuits in India, told the gathering to interpret the signs of the times and become proactive in spreading Christ’s message.
JDV, he said, would train Christian lay people and people of other religions in philosophy, theology, spirituality, human rights, law and other emerging courses.
JDV president Jesuit Father Job Kozhamthadam said the building, a new era in the institute’s 117-year-old history, would encourage new and innovative programs to respond to challenges posed by scientific and technological developments, globalization and erosion of traditional values.
The new postgraduate block has 17 classrooms, an auditorium, audiovisual hall, three multipurpose halls, a chapel, library, a hostel with 113 self-contained rooms.
College´s New Auditorium In Pune Named In Honor Of Centenarian Jesuit August 22, 2008