NEW WEBSITE: www.ephesians-511.net
LETTERS TO THE EXAMINER, MUMBAI, CALLING FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE NEW
NOT PUBLISHED BY THE EDITOR, FR. ANTHONY CHARANGHAT
The New Community Bible [NCB] published by St. Pauls was released by the Bishops on June 28, 2008. Please see the critique on the New Age inter-faith book called a ‘Bible’, as well as the follow-up report,
‘THE ST. PAULS’ NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE [NCB], THE PAPAL SEMINARY, PUNE, INDIAN THEOLOGIANS, AND THE CATHOLIC ASHRAMS MOVEMENT’
at this ministry’s website.
Despite the glaring problems in its commentaries, the editor of the Bombay Archdiocesan fortnightly, The Examiner, was one of the leading spokespersons for the NCB, and defended it in several newspaper interviews [see separate report]. He published the following three  letters which are in favour of the NCB.
Also, from our records, the TWENTY-ONE  responses sent to him by a Catholic priest and laity under copy to this ministry, were not published. There must certainly have been others. To the best of my knowledge, no Catholic magazine carried any material that criticized the New Community Bible. Does this reveal that the Catholic media is controlled by powerful forces that seek to destroy the Faith?
In a separate presentation, we are reproducing scores of letters received by this ministry. Many of them are written by simple laity. But there are dozens of letters from priests, some of whom are Canon Law experts, theologians, professors, editors of Catholic periodicals, and from lay Catholics who are trained in Bible study, apologetics and evangelization, and several of who are in fulltime ministry for 25 to 30 years.
Many more priests and lay leaders contacted by this ministry are against the NCB and all it stands for, but declined for various reasons to express their condemnation of it.
When good men [and women] are silent, evil triumphs.
God bless abundantly all those who had the Christian courage to fight for the orthodoxy of the Faith by writing and expressing their condemnation of the erroneous commentaries in the NCB.
PUBLISHED LETTERS FAVOURING THE NCB:
New Community Bible
Sir, The New Community Bible (NCB) has understandably raised the hackles of several dyed-in-the-wool Catholics (“Conservatives protest desi version of Bible”, TOI August 9). The new Bible is liberally embellished with quotes and commentaries from Hinduism that subtly seek to draw a comparison between the two religions. “The impression is forced on the reader that one religion is as good as another” epitomises the eight-page critique of self-proclaimed antagonists of the NCB. Resistance to change, as was the case with the old Latin Mass, is not new to the Catholic Church. But with growing awareness because of media and internet, the mindset of people has radically altered. People, and even children, are asking inconvenient questions. The NCB will go a long way in assuaging their doubts and also give them a balanced perception of other religions. Reading of the New Community Bible in its present form should be left to the choice of the individual. Prof Robert Castellino, Orlem, MUMBAI The Examiner August 16, 2008
New Community Bible through Indian thought
Sir, The Times of India (page 10, August 9, 2008), “Conservatives protest desi version of Bible”, reveals a shadow of fundamentalism regarding the New Community Bible. Certain traditionalists are peeved at its few quotes and commentaries from the Hindu Shastras. But this new translation is true to Catholic orthodoxy. That is why Oswald Cardinal Gracias was the first to release it in Mumbai. However, individuals are free to accept or reject its Indian maxims. Our early Church Fathers, and now even many Protestant theologians like William Barclay, author of the 18-volume The Daily Study Bible, profusely analyse Greek philosophy.
The Hebrew is sparing in words which has fewer than 10,000; but Greek speech has about 200,000, and the latest Concise 0xford English Dictionary lists over 240,000. For example, there are four different words in Greek for “love”, which English does not possess, like storge, philia, eros and agape. Again the Greek term for “Word” is Logos; but Logos has a wider meaning – ‘reason’!
The ‘Wisdom Literature’, notably the Book of Sirach presents Jewish practical insights influenced by Greek language and culture. And the Church uses this book extensively in her liturgy.
The Stoics had one of their basic proverbs, “What you do not wish to be done to you, do not do to anyone else.” Cebes, the disciple of Socrates, writes in the Tabula: “Doth thou see a little door, and a way in front of the door, which is not much crowded, but travellers are few? That is the way that leadeth to true instruction.”
So let us be open to our ancient wisdom, so that Indians also may inquire as the Greeks did: “Sir, we would like to see Jesus” (Jn 12:21). Dr Trevor Colaso, Bandra, MUMBAI The Examiner August 23, 2008
3. New Community Bible
Sir, With reference to the letter of Prof Robert Castellino (The Examiner, August 16), I would like to comment as follows:
1. In the first place, we should be grateful to the Society of St Paul for the pain they have taken in bringing out the New Community Bible (NCB), with commentaries and cross-references by experts in the field. This is undoubtedly a boon to every Catholic, especially those undertaking a study of the Bible in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Very often, we tend to be misled at Bible classes mushrooming all over the country by persons not qualified for the job.
2. As regards the inclusion of Scriptures of other faiths, the General Editor has clarified in clause 3 of the ‘Presentation’, that scriptural references to the Vedas and the Upanishads “do not imply in any way that Indian scriptural terms are parallel to biblical terms or that parallel references are saying the same thing as the bible text”. They prove useful in helping us learn more about the truth in other religions, which Vatican II has explicitly stated that “the Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true in other religions – which although differing in ways, reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men”. In other words, although the Catholic Church claims to have the fullness of truth, there is a need for the Church to encounter the truth in other religions as well, because God speaks to people in different ways, and it is the same Spirit at work in other religions as well. A F Nazareth, GOA The Examiner August 30, 2008
Some background on the above writers, with my comments:
1. A. F. Nazareth
In The Examiner, Nazareth has written letters that were highly critical of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
He is also pro-yoga. And he is evidently trained in the spirituality of the Catholic ashrams and in favour of ‘inculturation’, though he is uncertain as to what forms of it are acceptable [to him] and what are not.
He forgets the parable of the camel that starts with its nose in the tent and ends up as the occupant.
It is, therefore, not surprising that he defends the publishing of the Hindu-ised New Community Bible.
Derrick D’Costa [Goa – Mahim, Mumbai – Bahrain] writes:
Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2009 4:31 PM Subject:
Dear Michael, All I remember from my childhood is that Mahim had always a large number of dissenters (traditionalists, etc etc) who used to regularly do the rounds with a host of signature campaigns. One of them from Mahim, A. F Nazareth (a landlord in Mahim, now in Goa) was earlier a traditionalist I think, but refer the letter supporting the NCB (already sent by me to you), and supporting Yoga (in your Surya Namaskar article on your website)*
he seems to have become
more “modernistic”. It does seem like many move with the winds as far as theological preferences
go. God bless Derrick
*‘Yoga in Catholic Schools’, A. F. Nazareth, The Examiner, September 19, 1998
It’s a pity that an unnecessary hornet’s nest is being stirred up by some of your readers in their letters… over the teaching of Yoga in certain Catholic schools because in the eyes of a few parents Yoga involves methods of meditation which attempt to “fuse Christian meditation with that which is non-Christian” as per the Letter to the Catholic Bishops by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1989.
Although I am not in a position to pontificate on such matters as they fall outside the ambit of my profession, it is only through my personal experiences that I have come to accept Yoga as a science of healthy, peaceful and contented living, through the use of certain techniques which govern mind and body, without recourse to any religion.
Although Yoga was discovered by the Rishis more than 5000 years ago in the course of their austere lifestyle and meditations, one doesn’t have to practise Yoga the ‘Rishi’ way where the ultimate goal is “Jeevan Mukti” or the “free-soul state” and in the ultimate stages of samadhi the yogin is united with the supreme “Brahman” and becomes “Brahman” himself. There are several intermediate stages of great value which are experienced and enjoyed by the yogin, which by no means are non-catholic, and can be safely practised without violating Church directives.
A healthy mind needs a healthy body. For this Yoga offers an excellent prescription for healthy living through a series of postures (asanas), breathing practices (pranayamas) and personal hygiene (kriyas) which help to achieve a mind-body coordination and bring them into synchronous harmony. ‘Hatha’ Yoga deals with the physical exercises, while ‘Raja’ Yoga caters to the spiritual aspects. Yoga which is included in the curriculum of some Catholic schools is therefore a step in the right direction. It certainly doesn’t churn out “Rishis” through various Ashramic practices like “Sadhana” and “Transcendental” meditation, but inculcates in students healthy practices which will be useful in coping with the inevitable modern-day stress once they are out of school. It is therefore time that we remove our blinkers and stop being narrow-minded. As Catholics who believe that man can be united with the Almighty and attain salvation only through sanctifying grace, why should we feel uncomfortable when others are yoked to the “Brahman” through Yoga?
‘Inculturation in the Church’, A. F. Nazareth, The Examiner, August 1, 1998 [Extract]
A non-Christian friend of mine asked me the other day as to why the Church in India needs to adapt to Indian systems of worship when all along it was content with the westernized form of worship and liturgy. Could it be, he queried, that it is because of a strong urge within the inner recesses of every Christian to return to his/her original roots of Hinduism?
Or is it because Christians have a hidden agenda to bring in more converts to its fold?
…We are moving around in circles without realizing that the Westernized form of Christianity has already been replaced and Indianised… Aarti is common and agarbattis are lit in both churches and ashrams… We also have readings from the Gita, Koran and the Granth Sahib, at many of our inter-religious meetings.
Our next step we are told is to develop our Liturgy Canon and Theology in the context of Vedanta.
And this I believe would be the last nail in the coffin of Christian worship. As a sequel we would probably see the installation of idols of Hindu deities, and bare-footed priests with shaven heads, saffron robes and trishuls in their hands, all ready to usher in the third millennium.
The late great crusader against New Age, Errol Fernandes, responded to one of A. F. Nazareth’s letters:
‘Yoga in Catholic Schools’, Errol C. Fernandes, The Examiner, October 17, 1998 [Extract]
A. F. Nazareth (The Examiner, 19-9-98) seems to equate the Christian communion with the Trinity with being “yoked with Brahman through yoga”. There is an infinite difference.
He also writes, “There are several intermediate stages of great value which are experienced and enjoyed by the yogin, which by no means are non-catholic, and can be safely practised without violating Church directives.” In other words, although the orientation and the destination are contrary to the Catholic Faith, the intermediate stages on that journey “are of great value and can be safely practised without violating Church directives.” The logic is elusive.
A. F. Nazareth, The Examiner, September 19, 1998
In this letter to the editor, Nazareth quotes leading New Ager Fr. Bede Griffiths of Shantivanam Ashram, Trichy and explains Swami Abhishiktananda’s [another founder of the Catholic ashrams movement, see separate article on this ministry’s website] tryst with the Tiruvannamalai temple guru Ramana Maharshi in his lifelong but futile search for “pure advaita”.
‘Crisis of faith’, A. F. Nazareth, The Examiner, January 21, 2006
Interestingly, here, quoting Paul VI’s warning that “the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God”, Nazareth adds, “some of our Catholic theologians have been outlandish in their views, presenting at times non-Catholic and liberal views of their own making and ignoring the teachings of the church’s Magisterium.”
2. Dr. Trevor Colaso
He, too, is pro-yoga. [I do not have Colaso’s letter of October 14, 1998 referred to by Dr Joseph D’Souza.]
It is, therefore, not surprising that he, too, defends the publishing of the Hindu-ised New Community Bible.
Christian ‘Yoga’, Dr. Trevor Colaso, The Examiner, September 12, 1998
Mr and Mrs Brian Lobo have got themselves “misyoked” in their letter to the editor “New Age Trends” by stating that “Yoga
teaches the deification of man, is steeped in the occult, and is a negation of the Catholic concept of prayer.”
The fact is otherwise. Yoga is an age old integrated philosophy, whose noble science I shall briefly propound, especially in relation to Christian meditation.
Patanjali postulated the ‘Astangayoga‘ or the eight limbs of yoga [here they are named and described- Michael Prabhu]. After performing Niyama which embodies cleanliness, austerity, study and worship, (which in Catholic tradition includes reconiciliation, penance and charity, Bible reading and Mass), one practices the twin disciplines of Asana and Pranayama. Here, I recommend slow, deep in-breathing of ‘JE’ with prolonged exhalation of ‘SUS’. This ‘JE-SUS’ articulated with each rhythmic breath will infuse the yogi to concentrate and meditate on Jesus, and thus attain samadhi, or ecstatic ‘Christ-consciousness’- “Christ is all, Christ in all” (Col. 3:11).
Consensus on Advaita & Christianity, Dr Joseph D’Souza, The Examiner, January 9, 1999
I have been accustomed to follow with breathless anticipation the insights provided regularly in letters and articles by Dr. Trevor Colaso in your esteemed journal. I was therefore dismayed to see (The Examiner 14/10) a justification claimed in John 10:34 for the celebrated identification of self and the Divine (Aham Brahmasmi – I am God) in Advaitic Hindu philosophy. When Jesus said, “You are ‘gods'”, he was engaging in a polemic with the Pharisees who found it scandalous that Jesus being a man could claim to be the Son of God. Jesus is here quoting from Psalm 82: 6-7 which in full reads, “I said, you are ‘gods’ (elohim – judges), and all of you, children of the Most High, (elyown – the Supreme Being). But like men you shall die, and fall like one of the princes.” The psalmist is delivering a stinging rebuke to Israel’s unjust judges who were despoiling the poor.
“God stands among the mighty”, thunders the psalmist, “He judges among the ‘gods’. How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?” From the context it is clear that these human ‘gods’ have feet of clay, and can hardly be used to endorse a consensus between Advaita and Christianity – far less the possibility of “becoming” Brahman by realising a type of goodness or ‘godliness’.
‘The JE-SUS Prayer’, Dr. Trevor Colaso, The Examiner, August 3, 2002
Luis Vas in ‘Journey into Silence’, The Examiner July 13, 2002, enlightens us on the Jesus Prayer- ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me’ which was first attributed to an Orthodox Christian spiritual classic, The Way of a Pilgrim.
Here, I would suggest a terse ejaculation- ‘JE’-‘SUS’, which could also suit those who practise
yoga. For example, in pranayama or breath control, focus on Christ, either mentally, or before a Crucifix, or His Image of the Sacred Heart or Divine Mercy. Inhale the word ‘JE’ slowly and deeply; hold for some time and gradually exhale the word ‘SUS’. Breathe thus ‘JE’-‘SUS’ often, and experience the sweet fragrance of His Holy Name and spread it. This exercise can be quietly performed in the confines of a room, before the Blessed Sacrament, or even while travelling…”
What is Luis Vas’ spirituality? NEW AGE! I would like to refer to Luis S.R. Vas’ books, ‘A Handbook of Holistic Healing’ and ‘Discover the Power of Your Inner Self- Effective ways to Enhance Your Well-being and Spiritual Growth’, St. Pauls Better Yourself Books.
Vas recommends esoteric and New Age techniques like Gestalt Therapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Hypnotism, Sufi Heart Rhythm meditation, Zen meditation, Vipassana meditation, etc.
And Vas’ books, like the NCB, is published and sold by the very same St. Pauls as a “Better Yourself Book”!!!!!
issue of July 13, 2002 had a
Luis S.R. Vas on the World Community of Christian Meditators [WCCM] which, along with its associate, the yoga-promoting priest Fr. Joe Pereira of Kripa Foundation, Bandra, Mumbai are promoted regularly in its issues by The Examiner which is the official archdiocesan weekly of Bombay!!
I can assure the reader that Vas’ books are some of the most OCCULT and NEW AGE books by a Catholic author.
‘Mastery and mystery’, Dr. Trevor Colaso, The Examiner, May 13, 2006
In this letter to the editor, Colaso shows his familiarity with the works of Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ., named as the world’s no. 1 New Ager according to the Vatican Document on the New Age.
‘Catholic Yoga and Mantras’, Dr. Trevor Colaso, The Examiner, March 10, 2007 [EXTRACT]
I would like to suggest some efficacious Catholic mantras along with two principles of asthanga-yoga or 8-fold path of Patanjali. These include asanas or postural positions and pranayanas or breath control… One must try to practise yoga before an image of Jesus or in profound Eucharistic adoration… “so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).
3. Prof. Robert Castellino
Castellino, Colaso and Nazareth are among the more frequent writers [Letters to the Editor, The Examiner], and in one issue, that of August 26, 2006, their letters appear together. Castellino’s letter seems a one-off thing.
UNPUBLISHED LETTERS [IN REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER] CALLING FOR WITHDRAWAL OF THE NCB:
firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 7:31 PM Subject: Removal of the NCB
Fr. Anthony Charanghat,
This is with reference to supporting the cause of the removal of the NCB. I have been able to go through the same a little more in detail over the past few weeks, though not completely.
There are many references in the book which send across the message that there is no difference between Christianity and other religions, especially Hinduism. In fact, it even suggests that one need not be a baptised Christian to attain salvation. When the same information that is found in Christianity is found in Hinduism, why is there a need to get baptised to attain salvation? The ‘same message’ is also given in the Vedas also, right? This is highly misleading.
I hail from a very very orthodox Brahmin family and the Lord called me (and I received my Baptism) 6 years back. As a Christian, our duty is to ‘Go forth and preach the Gospel to all nations’. This doesn’t literally mean that we go in person to do so. All of us Catholics can preach the Gospel in our own way. The best way is the way we live our lives. When somebody sees us happy in life inspite of all hardships, with strength to do what seems impossible, they will be curious as to where we get the strength to carry on and thus gradually come to the Lord.
I was shocked, not just shocked, scandalized, when I saw the one of the illustrations in the book on page 1608 (for Zeph 3:17). The artist has drawn the crucified Jesus in one of the dance poses of the Hindu gods, Shiva, with various musical instruments being played around Him. It is very sad to see this. Our Lord suffered and died on the cross for our sins, it wasn’t a ‘dance of joy’. I don’t understand how this verse can be justified with the given illustration. How can the editor overlook such a terrible mistake?
The Bible is a Holy Book, the Word of God. The main point here is that this book, with ‘personal’ comments cannot be regarded as the Holy Bible. It may just be regarded as a book of religious comparisons and comments since the comments seem to draw more of a comparison between Christianity and Hinduism rather than ‘preach’ to the common Indian man about Jesus, the Word of God.
Praying that everybody realizes that the NCB cannot be regarded as a Bible and that it soon gets withdrawn.
May the Lord help the people involved see the truth about this whole thing.
Netanya Fernandez, Winston and four children CHENNAI [NETANYA WAS FORMERLY A HINDU]
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2008 8:55 AM Subject: The New Community Bible
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Dear Sir, Three months ago, a new edition of the Holy Bible was released by the St Pauls Society. I have all other major Catholic editions and I bought this one too, to use for my study as I understood that it was produced with commentaries by Indian scholars with the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur of two bishops. Moreover, some letters from lay persons that were published in your weekly praised the contents of this edition. I found that many of the commentaries were indeed very good. But, at the same time, many commentaries are very disturbing.
First of all there is a lot of emphasis on social justice aspects of liberation theology and less on our liberation from sin.
Secondly, there are many statements of the scholars that tend to confuse the ordinary Catholic reader.
Thirdly, there are so many references to the mythical gods of other religions that it disturbs one from imbibing the life-giving water that only the Word of God offers. Was such a Bible really necessary?
My family has several members that were born in other religious persuasions but are today Catholic. They ask why they should now be obliged to face once again what they had long ago given up when they chose to follow Jesus Christ.
I have found many, many more problems with this Bible, but I just want to end here by asking how it is possible that Bishops can give the Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat to a Bible that has apparently so many errors and distortions in it.
Yours Sincerely, Angela Marie Mendonza, c/o 34, 9th street, AK Swamy Nagar, Kilpauk, CHENNAI 10
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 10:25 AM Subject: Response to the NCB Bible – from a believer in Christ
With regards to the New Community Bible (NCB) – I saw some of the letters to Examiner which are trying to project the NCB as a blessing to the Community. I would like to make some points, as a born again Christian very much concerned of adulteration of the Word of God.
- First and foremost, we as followers of Christ, don’t have the obligation to stand for anything but His Word. Jesus said that I AM THE WAY – Its as simple as that – HE is not one of the ways, but HE IS THE WAY. Please don’t mislead our innocent children for any reasons you may have away from this truth – our duty is to lead them to the truth that we have known – Let them see and understand the rest of the world from the eyes of Jesus.
- Let me quote from the letter of Prof. Robert Castellino that was published in the examiner “the mindset of people has radically altered. People, and even children, are asking inconvenient questions. The NCB will go a long way in assuaging their doubts and also give them a balanced perception of other religions.” – true, the mindset of people has changed, but that doesn’t mean that we must try changing God to suit our new mindset (!!!!!). Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) – So is His word. You and I cannot change it.
- We don’t have to try to simplify the Word so as to make it understandable and familiar to laymen. Its not our duty but that of the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to our hearts – And He knows how to do that very well.
Best regards, Sini Abraham DOHA, QATAR
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 8:37 PM
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Orissa and the New Community Bible
I’ve been following news from India during the last weeks, mainly because of the horrible persecution Christians are facing in Orissa. Incredibly, I didn’t know anything about it until a friend from India sent me the unbearable testimony of Fr. Chellen’s ordeal. Most European media have simply ignored the events at Orissa. And that is a scandal that adds up to all the horror. What is very difficult for me to understand is how a democratic country can allow such horror without intervening by sending more police forces or even the army. Are Indian Christians not citizens entitled to the protection of their civil rights? Aren’t rapes, destruction of private property and beatings against the law?
The other news – less dramatic – that has me a bit puzzled is the matter of the New Community Bible. Frankly, I do not understand why the NCB has included in its commentaries quotations from Hinduism texts and made parallelisms with Hinduism and other religions, even if just “a few”. It would make sense if it were to explain important differences between Catholic doctrine and Hinduism. But it seems that the incriminated comments have as their main purpose to “encounter the truth in other religions” and to “be open to our ancient wisdom”, as expressed in two letters to the Editor published in your previous editions in defence of the NCB (August 23 and 30). As honourable as those scopes might be, I don’t believe the NCB is the right place to pursue them.
I’ve read some of the incriminated commentaries, in particular those which make parallels between texts of Hinduism and the Bible, and some are really very far-fetched in an attempt to make notions from Hinduism converge with Christianism. And they did make me feel uneasy.
The Gospel is not simply a religious text. We believe that it is the Word of God, it reveals who God is. Of course, we recognize all that is good in other religions. But we cannot ignore our faith in Jesus Christ. He is the way and the truth and the life. No one goes to the Father except through Him (cfr. John 14:6).
Anyone consulting a Catholic edition of the Bible would certainly be expecting useful comments that would help deepen one’s knowledge of the Christian Faith and Catholic doctrine, and understand its uniqueness. It is also an opportunity for the Church to give an explanation to those who ask for a reason for our hope in Christ (cfr. 1 Peter 3, 15), and we owe them a clear, direct and convinced response. Maria Laura Pio BALERNA, SWITZERLAND
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 12:14 PM
Subject: Discontinue the NCB
I have read and understood the commentary in the NCB. I have also read through articles opposing the printing and distribution of the NCB written by the clergy & lay people as well as the articles in the newspapers released in Chennai / Mumbai / Delhi that speak about the issue.
As a lay person to me it is very clear that we are compromising the sacredness and the wholeness of the Holy Bible. The Holy Spirit has provided the writers of The Books with enough inspiration and truth accompanied by any kind of reference in the form of parables and the examples of the life of the greatest followers of the One True God from the Old and New Testament. There is no requirement to include pagan gods, idols, demigods, and other examples or references of people, their comments or their lives in the commentary of the Holy Bible. Anything that is included in the Bible that is not of the Holy Spirit is inviting the wrath of God upon the church. The church is already confused and fragmented and most Catholics who leave the Church do so because of such confusion caused by its leaders. In the name of inculturation we are making compromises to receive ‘enlightenment’ from quarters that is uncalled for. Answer me this ‘Do you think the contents and existing commentaries of the Bible are not enough to enlighten the reader that we have to take commentary from other religious books to draw cross references?’
When God said “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” don’t you think he was also referring to such inclusions / comments / cross references from other religions that are from pagan gods / religions?
Please encourage the discontinuation of the printing, sale and distribution of the NCB immediately and call for a recall all those Bibles that have been sold. Also call for a discontinuation of the web site for the same http://stpaulsncb.com/ .
Vimal Ajay CHENNAI
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 11:31 AM Subject: Letter to Editor
+14th September 2008, Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Dear Sir, I would be grateful if you could publish my following letter in your esteemed weekly The Examiner.
+ It is very surprising that St. Paul’s has published The New Community Bible for the people of India. This should be withdrawn from the market before untold damage is done to the true faith. There are already enough Bibles to choose from. What we need is the most faithful translation and books/commentaries etc. that teach us our own faith not someone else’s faith. The Hindus teach us more than enough their faith in our offices. You will be surprised to know that our Catholics know more about the Hindu faith than our own and are carried away by it. Our faith is hardly being taught in schools – even a bare 15 minutes a day is not enough. What type of future generation could we expect after being formed by teachings from The NCB? You can be sure they would apostasize. Catholics in India hardly know their own faith. Instead of giving us a good grounding of in faith, we get a Bible diluted and adulterated with other faiths.
“Jesus Christ is the only Savior, because He is the Truth. His truth is contained in the Gospel. Beloved sons, be faithful and powerful proclaimers of the Gospel. See how the truth contained in the Gospel is obscured by rationalism and torn by the errors that are more and more widely spread about. Thus many are moving away from the true faith.” (c/f To The Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons – Chapter 596). St. Paul considered it a “Woe” to himself if he did not preach the Gospel. What about us?
The New Community Bible will not draw people to Christ. The commentaries given equating Hindu mythological figures with historical figures of the Holy Bible is much more than a gross error. The non-Christians will not think it necessary to come to Christ and the Catholics will think it no problem to go to other gods. I have seen in some Catholic homes the picture of Sai Baba and at some Catholic desks at office the picture of the elephant-god. Now we could expect to see much more other gods in their homes. We cannot say Lord Jesus Christ is the same as other gods. Acts 4:11 tell us “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”
My humble, earnest and heartfelt appeal to all in authority to withdraw the NCB from the market and stop further printing..
Yours sincerely in Jesus & Mary, Flavia Fernandes Ram Nivas 3rd floor Dr. Ambedkar Road Parel, MUMBAI 400 012
Sent: Saturday, September 13, 2008 10:00 PM
Subject: Ban NCB Immediately
People who have written NCB are against St. Pauls Teachings. Read St. Pauls Letter to GALATIANS chapter 1 & verses 6-10. Introducing NCB in St. Pauls year is a great insult to the Great Apostle. God Will Punish The People Supporting The NCB. C.J. Raphel, President, FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC FAITHFUL, Chennai
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 11:19 PM
Subject: New Community Bible- letter from A.F. Nazareth
A.F. Nazareth has no understanding of the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of the TRINITY and who has inspired the various authors, who have written the Word of God in the Sacred Scriptures which has been compiled into the HOLY BIBLE. By saying “it is the same spirit at work in other religions as well” he is blaspheming the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD.
A F Nazareth is unaware how to discern the spirits. There can be books written with inspiration from our own human spirit as well as books inspired by the evil spirit and the NCB is one such book. This is a warning to all Catholics in India to beware of the price that they have to pay, by believing that this book can bring them a better understanding of other religions- rather it will take them further away from the one and only true GOD and Saviour, JESUS CHRIST.
May the LIGHT of the HOLY SPIRIT take away the darkness in all those who are in the dark.
Leila Aranha UNITED KINGDOM
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 6:16 PM
Sir, I strongly object to the publishing of NCB by Pauline community which has been contaminated too much by unnecessary references to the books of other faith. I feel our Bible is sufficient enough to make us understand the reality of our Triune God. I, for example, being a convert did not need any such assistance. I request you to kindly look into this matter seriously. Thanking You, Yours in prayers Anuradha Rebello BANGALORE
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 6:02 PM
Sir, It is always good that we admit that there are goodness in other religion. We must honor people of other faith irrespective of their believes. NCB may be brought out due to this effort. Our friends and me personally honor your effort in this sense. But we see some dangers in this work.
Bible is the Book of Revelations given to man. It has the completion of the truth. The searchers of truth in the Bible should not be encouraged to other books giving an idea that they have the complete and clearer form of truth.
Bible scholars may go to Greek philosophy and other cultural languages. It is only because Bible is written in the language of so and so people.
Bible is not written under the influence of Indian Philosophy. So it cannot be justifiable to give an Indian philosophical reference to the Holy Bible. Always to make a comparative study is welcome. But, please, don’t make Bible biased on Indian Philosophy. It is misleading the faithful. Trusting God, with love and prayers, Joju,
TrustGod@YesusXt.org Trust God Prayerbank, PB No.10809, Mehrauli, NEW DELHI 110030
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 4:44 PM
Subject: New Community Bible
God is good all the time!! Dear Scholars,
As I go thru the arguments and counter arguments about the new community Bible, I am really shocked and confused. When I was a little boy my humble old parish priest used to tell us Everything in Heaven and earth lives and moves in Jesus because He is God Today Christ showers grace thru Church because Church is the Body of Christ The fullness of the Grace you can see only in the Church so Church is the source of God’s Grace to all.
And Cross is the Way of Christian life because Jesus walked in this Way When I look at the explanations given about the new community Bible I think our Scholars putting water (sometimes with lot of dirt) in the Wine!!!
They are reducing the “Cross” which is the Way to simple symbol of Christian religion!!!
The immediate effect of the Community Bible may not be much visible. But on long run it can diminish or even take away the “Word of God” to “words of gods” so this is my humble request and prayer let the authorities take the bold step of removing the cancer before it effect more and destroy the whole life.
With prayers Reji Thomas
00971 50 3823 960
12. From: email@example.com
CC: His Eminence Dr M A Chinnappa Archbishop <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Rt Rev Lawrence Pius <email@example.com>
Subject: Indianised Bible Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2008 13:19:33 +0530
Respected Rev Fr Examiner
The Indianised Bible will inspire other states like Orissa. Today we all know the high profile hypocrisy being scaled up with boldness to kill Christians in certain States/Regions with no feeling of guilt inspired and actively encouraged by political parties for different reasons, both directly and indirectly. Can we organise such killings? If I may I suggest we manage the existing peace with the original Bible. Our motives to Indianise the Bible will be an added excuse to kill our brothers, sisters and their kids. Waiting for excuses via hired killers. Yours truly in Our Lord P J Joseph CHENNAI
13. From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Sent: Wed, 10 Sep 2008 06:26:14 +0530
CC: His Eminence Dr M A Chinnappa Archbishop firstname.lastname@example.org
Respected Examiner and respected Members of the Team
What we immediately need among our Priests is self generated discipline inspired from the top. For them to inspire us. Is it possible now? … My concern is not about the mental process woken up now by the so-called Bible Scholars but their questioning the genuine believers in Jesus …
The experts in Indianising Bible are permitted to survive on images with popularity as in our Indian politics. I hope the experts are aware of HINDUISM and the origin of ISLAM. Rev Examiner, genuine understanding generates genuine faith, and genuine faith in turn generates genuine experience.
Without genuine faith, experience can be easily counterfeited by emotionalism. Without genuine understanding, what passes for faith can be counterfeit confidence of purely human origins (such as the power of positive thinking). So understanding is integral to faith, just as faith and understanding are both integral to experience. Perusing the news on Indianised Bible, I am thinking about several examples including by those now endeavoring to rewrite the Bible, with abnormality in their brains as intelligent liars…
Can we have trust in God, without having trust first in ourselves? Today what is essential is we should clear our self generated dilemma of doubts. How to resolve it? Are we in two minds? Can we solve our doubts by Indianising the original history of Jesus Christ? It can only be solved not by Indianising Bible but by Indianising ourselves as Indians first.
I have endorsed a copy of this submission to our His Eminence Archbishop of San Thome Archdiocese, Madras-Mylapore since my first submission on this emotional issue was to His Eminence.
Thanking you, I am, Yours truly joined by my Faith in myself as a Christian without any dilemma of doubt as an Indian first.
P J Joseph CHENNAI
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 5:36 PM
Subject: New Community Bible
Sir, This is with regard to the New Community Bible which is obviously a New Age Bible. It has the word Om on the cover and in the commentaries parallels are drawn with Hindu deities and Hindu religious texts and myths. Who are we advocating – Christ or Hinduism? The Hindus believe that “All Gods are one” and we have been taught that “there is only One God”. This is bound to lead many Catholics astray. Many will be attracted to reading Hindu literature and being drawn to Hinduism. I would therefore urge you to please withdraw this Bible before it does any harm.
Yours sincerely, Gilda Pereira MUMBAI
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 3:59 PM
Subject: TO the EXAMINER???? WHATS WRONG WITH YOU GUYS????
Dear Mr. Prubhu. I am sorry but I don’t mince words, and this is the same letter I had written to you earlier and forwarding the same to the Editor of EXAMINER (I suggest the editor do the same and EXAMINE himself). I am sorry if you are a priest or a lay person would not make a difference to my feeling stated below. Mr. Editor if you are a lay person then I suggest you either resign or do justice to your editorial (EXAMINER). If your a priest???? GOD HELP YOUR SOUL.
How can you look at yourself in the mirror and I hope and pray you look at the damage this can do to our Catholic Faith which is constantly under attack (ORISSA/VHP etc. ) and you too trying to be another spoke in this wheel of destruction?
Dr. Rohan Parish (Florida) USA, Panjim- GOA
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 1:46 PM
Subject: NCB Bible and the tragic events of Orissa
Dear Editor I am an ex-parishioner of St. Michaels – Mahim, and I presently reside in Bahrain and read the Examiner often in its online version. It was nice to read the letters of A F Nazareth, Dr Trevor Colaso and Professor Castelino on the NCB.
I have also purchased the NCB and diligently perused its contents.
Therefore speaking for myself, I felt it rather unfortunate that the deep and very painful divisions between those who consider the NCB commentaries a well-intentioned and noble work and the voiceless majority of Catholics who consider the extreme commentary an offence and sin against the Holy Spirit have not been given fair and balanced coverage particularly by esteemed Catholic publications such as the Examiner. I am sure that I, my friends and my family members are not alone in their view that the Church has grievously and perhaps irreparably offended the Holy Spirit, given the various news articles critical of the work. Even more importantly, I now strongly suspect, albeit with greatest possible pain, that the events in Orissa, reflect the chastisement of God on the Indian Church. I am sure that many like me feel the horrible and shameful attacks on our defenceless religious and faithful in Orissa to be the direct spiritual consequence of betrayal of the Lord evidenced by the NCB. However, even this evil has been permitted by God so that good may result.
While our faith rests on the life giving redeeming sacrifice of Our Lord and the NCB “Bible” may not hurt the faith of ordinary Catholics, it remains important to realise that the work represents an ongoing effort of some who mistake acculturation with Brahminisation and Hinduisation of the Church. While none of us have any ill feeling against the tenets of other religions, some of us find the forced comparisons tragic, unfortunate and even to put it strongly, having an element of deceit.
The words of Isaiah 40.25 where our Holy God complains to His people “And to whom have ye likened me, or made me equal, saith the Holy One?” seem pertinent to mention at this stage.
Yes, the NCB likens God and Holy Scripture to mythological characters and other religious texts and contrary to what is written in the very often unread preface provides ample justification for those who feel our Holy Scriptures and our Holy Lord are compared to other religious texts and deities treating them as similar. Some continue to ask why this presents a problem since the early Church Fathers also freely quoted from Cicero, Pythagoras, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Epicurus and Virgil etc. The reason is quite clear the Fathers quoted the philosophers in a totally Catholic context. In the NCB however there is no dividing line between occult worship (refer the Gayatri Mantra in the Psalm 5 commentary) and philosophy, nor are the texts quoted in a Catholic context. Besides the Fathers quoted more often from Scripture and from other Catholic authors, making profane authors a minor part of their work.
I feel, despite what others have said and written that there is poor Catholic context in the NCB and this work represents a continuing offence to the Holy Spirit. I somehow sense God’s rightful and just anger on this issue and beg for our ecclesiastical authorities to review the work afresh. God bless Derrick D’Costa BAHRAIN
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 11:50 AM Subject: Protesting – the NCB
Quote: They prove useful in helping us learn more about the truth in other religions, which Vatican II has explicitly stated that “the Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true in other religions – which although differing in ways, reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men”. In other words, although the Catholic Church claims to have the fullness of truth, there is a need for the Church to encounter the truth in other religions as well, because God speaks to people in different ways, and it is the same Spirit at work in other religions as well. A F Nazareth, Mahim in the Examiner Unquote
If Mr. A. F. Nazareth wishes to learn the truth of other religions, he is welcome to do it but he can do it on his own. The Bible is timeless and is inspired scriptures. Please let us keep it that way for our future generations, we owe it to them and will be held accountable. In the law of nature mutations and adaptations are the primary reason for new species of flora and fauna.
We do not need mutations and adaptations in our inspired ‘Word’ which in course of time may end up nowhere near the ‘Word of God’.
Vatican II was very explicit in saying that other religions reflect ‘a ray of truth’. When we have the fullness of truth, like we have the fullness of Light, similar to having the sun in all it’s brightness and glory, due we need to clutch a ray!? And it is the same Spirit at work in other religions!? How preposterous is this! Regina D’Costa U.A.E.
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 11:07 AM Subject: NCB
Thank you for the information about the New Community Bible. A Bible cannot have any additions or deletions to it, moreover any such a type of Indian version, is totally unacceptable. God bless! Nelly Rosario QATAR
Fr. Joseph Aymanathil
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 8:53 AM Subject: NCB
Dear Michael, Keep up the fight for the dignity of the Word of God.
This is what I have written to the Examiner:
The NCB attempts to bring in Hindu religious literature into the Bible suppose that those from tribal backgrounds (and there are millions in India) have to turn to Hindu culture as the mother culture. This NCB cannot have any relevance for our tribal Catholics. But I have also other objections to the NCB.
I cannot accept the way we dilute our Christian Scriptures by creating parallels with scriptures of other religions which they themselves do not do and even will not understand why we do. They take it as our weakness and will only persecute us more, as it is happening now. Instead of this kind of hypocritical approach like chameleons, why not present true Christianity to them by word and example as Mother Teresa did? She was more respected than any of those deceiving themselves and others with Indianisation.
Our Word of God is anointed and carries power if one believes and does not need any parallel in other scriptures. I also do not understand why we should introduce Hindu cultural elements always through the backdoor. In India we have had Christian Swamijis and saffron-clad Sisters doing the round trying to have the best of both the worlds. They promoted the saffron and the lotus that finally came to power and whipped us.
Since a good part of our clergy and religious are running institutions for their own living, they do not perceive what is the message of the Gospel. They draw their spirituality not from the Gospel but from other sources opposed to the Gospel. Whatever the editor of the NCB has written by way of clarification in the introduction could be a ruse or excuse and does not justify lowering our Bible to that low level. Arguments may not work with them! We need to have recourse to prayer and fasting. Otherwise, this kind cannot be cast out!
Dr. Jose Aymanathil, S.D.B
I hope some sense will prevail at the end.
Fr. Joseph Aymanathil SDB, KOLKATA
[DOCTOR IN CANON LAW; EDITOR, STREAMS OF LIVING WATER]
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 10:10 AM Subject: NCB
The Editor, Through your weekly of which I am an e-subscriber, I wish to lodge my Protest towards the release of a Pagan Book, calling it a Community Bible.
I wish to ask our learned theologians and the Bishop whose approval has made it a “Catholic publication”, what is lacking in Christianity that it cannot reach out to the people of our times. If we truly believe that ‘Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever’, why this change? Is the Church hierarchy so desperate that it has to borrow from pagans to reach to the pagans, with a greater risk of losing the flock that it already has, to paganism. The Church has failed in its mission to teach clearly the “Holy Bible” and now we have a pagan bible to confuse them further. This bible cannot be claimed to be a “Catholic” coming from the “Catholic theologians” but from those that claim to be “Catholic” and working to further the plan of the “Evil one”.
I strongly protest the publication and release of this bible, the NCB, and demand its immediate withdrawal and a public apology for this shameful act. Sincerely,
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 6:21 PM
Subject: letter to Fr. Tony Charanghat (The Examiner)
Dear Michael, I made a few changes in the letter that I had sent to Fr. Michael Goveas & then forwarded it to Fr. Tony Charanghat, The Examiner. I tried to write a shorter one, without the Scripture quotes, but I was prompted to send the same one, as it was my inner voice, especially meant for Fr. Tony C. Below is the copy of what I sent to Fr. Tony C.,,
Love & God Bless, Juliana.
Rev. Fr. Tony, Praised be Jesus & Mary, Now and forever.
Let me confess that I am a very very ordinary person & a simple servant of God. I surely have done no Philosophy & have had no formal education in the Bible. I am surely a fool in front of the vast knowledge that you might be having of not only the Bible, but also the deep knowledge that you have of Gita, Mahabharata, Upanishadas, etc. But I am sure with all this knowledge that you might be having, you are yet a small creature in front of The Almighty & in front of all the Knowledge & Wisdom that He possesses. The only thing that I have is a deep and sincere love for my God and for my faith.
I sincerely believe that The Bible is the Word of God and that every dot and dash in this Book is correct. I believe that God speaks to me everyday when I read His Word. He has a message for me everyday & He answers all my doubts & queries.
I have been brought up in a home where Jesus was the centre of our lives. He was the Alpha & the Omega. I am highly in debt to my parents who have given me not just the knowledge of Jesus, but Jesus Himself.
Being brought up in a small village, I have always had non-Christian friends. Presently I am teaching in a J.M. school in Pune. I am also a catechist in my parish. I still have non-Christian children in my school & lots of good non-catholic friends. I also have a non-Christian bhabi & a brother-in-law. I have always respected their religions & their sentiments. I do believe that all religions have not just some, but a lot of elements of truth. I also believe that all religions teach us about Love & Peace. But I also believe that Jesus is the Prince of Peace .I believe that Jesus is Love. He is THE WAY, THE TRUTH & THE LIFE, not a way a truth and a life. While they have half truth, we have The TRUTH. I do pray that one day they may understand this great truth that is found only in Christianity & in The Holy Bible.
Instead of comparing what is similar & parallel in theirs & our religion I show & teach what is Different in ours & their religion, in our God & their gods. I believe that My God is the One & Only True LIVING & LOVING God. And only He has the power to forgive our sins as He Is The Only God who took up our sins & Died for us. He alone can give us Life & Salvation. I preach this through my life, my living & by sharing my experiences with my friends & students, as I feel evangelising is the obligation of every Catholic.
I am truly upset to find the teachings of other religions in our Holy Book (NCB). The Bible is not an inter-religious book. When we know the truth & have the truth, where is the need to look out for truths in other religions & even to draw parallels & similarities. They know half truth, we know the full truth.
My concern is the faith of the future Church & the younger generation, who might read the NCB & believing in every dot & dash & the commentary as it comes from the Scholars, who feel they can never be wrong, will feel that truth is found in all religions & in temples & Mosques… etc (pictures in the NCB) as it is very much a part of the Bible. Where is the need then to evangelize? Who will be able to stop them from worshipping in the temples & the Mosques? Isn’t this a compromise?
Are we scared of the Hindus and are wanting to please them? Are we not scared of the Punishments & Plagues that can come upon all those who try to change or add anything that is in the Bible? Rev.22: 18, 19. Have not these scholars destroyed the sanctity of the Bible with inter-religious commentary & the semi clad pictures? (Flight into Egypt).
Do you think St. Joseph & Mother Mary who are the symbols of Purity & Chastity will feel proud of seeing this deterioration of their images? Who has given them this right? Fr. as you said in the Pune Mirror, 11th July, “We cannot communicate unless we communicate in the culture of the people”, so would you ever like to wear a dhoti & go around without a kurta? I had sent my responses to all the three newspapers. Unfortunately it was not published. You said, “no one is up in arms against this Bible which is a good sign.” (Mumbai Age, 19th July). Let me tell you there are many like me & with me not just lay people but also priests, (the priests can surely not protest as they are bound by law to obey their superiors) who are only trying to solve this matter internally within the church for it will be a shame if the protest is taken to the streets, but if necessary that will be the ultimate solution. By publishing articles such as, “Vatican Banks on Sari Clad Virgin Mary” (Sakaal Times, Sun 27th July), we may be able to fool people but we cannot fool God. For it is the duty of the priests to safeguard whatever is Holy in Our religion. Malachi 2:7, 8. “It is the Duty of priests to teach the true knowledge of God. People should go to them to learn my will, because they are the messengers of the Lord Almighty. But now you priests have turned away from the right path. Your teachings have led many to do wrong.”
This NCB may make sense to the scholars, but surely not for us, lay people. We want to know & follow what is True & Holy in our Bible, not in other religions & definitely not through Bible. This book definitely cannot be called The Bible & can surely not be recommended as a substitute for a Bible. If the Lay people of Pune have any right, let me represent them & the future faith of our church, or else you will see our church crumbling down in front of your eyes & you all who promote this Bible will be responsible for shaking the very foundation of the church, The Word of God, The Bible.
Yours sincerely in Jesus’ name, Juliana D’souza PUNE
While I admit that some of these letters are not very ‘theological’ or clearly expressed or well-argued*, they are nevertheless the voice of the people. If one side of the issue has been given coverage, it is fair to expect that even a few lines from even a few of these letters might have been published by The Examiner.
Their complete exclusion indicates that there was a conscious and deliberate decision to stifle democratic expression of protest against the erroneous commentaries of a so-called Bible that was published and promoted by and in the Church in India without consulting the laity and the priesthood excepting the thirty theologians who wrote the commentaries. It is also apparent — from letters written to this ministry by several Bishops — that the Bishops themselves were unaware of the problematic commentaries until the faithful brought it to their kind attention through this ministry and through the secular media.
Almost all of them admitted to not having seen the NCB even weeks after its release. Some even wrote this ministry that they already have their preferred favourite Bibles and would not use the NCB.
*Letters from dozens of priests and scores of laity opposing the NCB will be made available shortly.
NOTE: The email addresses of The Examiner have been changed with effect from January 1, 2009, to:
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org [first informed to readers in the issue of November 22, 2008 as additional ids.]
Since this ministry commenced sending letters, even critical ones, to the editor of The Examiner for publication, the majority have been published, as one can see from the letters reproduced below. However, since this ministry took up the issue of the errors in the NCB in July 2008, no letter of ours has been published. What does one infer from that?
1. Four-page article by this writer, published in THE EXAMINER issues of May 24 and May 31, 2003. “The Vatican speaks on the New Age” [An evaluation of the Vatican Document on the New Age]
2. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer, published in the issue of August 2, 2003 with full name, postal address and email address. Subject ‘Harry Potter’ POTTERMANIA
3. Full page article by this writer, published in THE EXAMINER issue of September 6, 2003. “Identifying the real saint, The princess in a Mercedes or the nun in a sari” [Subject: Mother Teresa]
4. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer dated
November 16, 2003, published in the issue of November 22, 2003.
In your Local News [The Examiner, October 25, 2003] there is mention of Yoga Courses
being organised regularly by the
Jeevan Darshan Kendra/Diocesan Pastoral Centre
These free courses, conducted by the disciples of Nikam Guruji from the Shri Ambika Ashram, Thane have attracted ‘more than 200 persons’ to the second course, currently in session, compared to 90 participants in the first course of 13 evenings.
Fr. Francis D’Britto is quoted as saying that “Yoga is a time-tested science of purifying one’s body and soul…”
One wonders how many Catholics are learning the practice of yoga here with the aim of purifying their bodies and souls, and imbibing yogic philosophies with the “aim (of) creating harmony between mind and body as well as the self and God.”
As a scientist I am unable to figure out the manner in which the “science” of yoga is capable of or can achieve “purifying” one’s soul, and “creating harmony between (one’s) self and God.”
Yoga is not physical exercises. It is a meditation (concerning the mind) system in which the various asanas or postures only help one to progressively reach a state of ‘enlightenment’. The realisation that the self and God (the Self) are one.
And the same. It subscribes to a monistic (all is one, one is all) understanding of the nature of god, which is incompatible with the Christian dualistic concept of God and creation. I possess over four dozen books by Christian authors that agree on this. But more importantly, so do all works on yoga authored by non-Christian proponents of this meditation.
Fr. D’Britto’s words themselves are an admission that with yoga there is more than just the physical (the body) aspect, as it involves the ‘mind’; and that there is a spiritual component: it aims at union (not harmony, but a monistic union, YOGA derives from the Sanskrit yug meaning ‘union’) with God.
The recent (3rd February) Vatican Document on the New Age warns Catholics about the dangers of holistic health therapies that attempt to treat a person holistically i.e. body, mind (soul) and spirit. The Document discusses yoga as a New Age practice. Another Document, the “Letter to the Bishops….on Christian Meditation”(October 15, 1989) also warns of the spiritual dangers of Eastern meditation techniques like yoga.
For these very reasons, the Bishops of Croatia ‘fiercely reacted’ and ‘strongly protested’ to their government which resulted in a ‘scrapping’ of yoga from their schools (Times of India, July 18, 2003)
In the light of all this, I am perplexed as to why the Church in India makes no official statement, while yoga is increasingly propagated in diocesan centres, church summer camps, and schools, and is now an elective subject in Catholic colleges.
5. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer dated
June 29, 2004, with reminders July 10 and July 15. Finally published, heavily edited, on either July 17 or 24, 2004.
This refers to two film reviews in THE EXAMINER, ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’
and ‘Lord of the Rings’, in the June 12, 2004 and February 14, 2004 issues respectively.
Ms. Ronita Torcato has to be commended for her excellent critiques, but I feel obliged to draw her kind attention to certain important aspects of these movies which she may be unaware of.
The setting for Harry Potter is The Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The books and the movie series has spawned games about levitation, spell cards, green-slime oozing snakes, wizards’ hats, magic wands and potions, flying brooms, spell-casting and chanting of incantations. Guide books to Potter include education about reading tea-leaves, astrology, banshees, dark arts, trolls, vampires, werewolves and zombies [the living dead]. Potter, Hermione and the others have become our children’s latest role models in reel-to-real re-enactments. The trademark zigzagged lightning-bolt designed into the ‘P’ of Potter and now inscribed on their foreheads is very much a satanic symbol, as any Christian magazine on occult themes will confirm.
This is no ‘white magic’ even if that were a commendable thing.
The Bible [both Old and New Testaments] condemn magic, divination, witchcraft, sorcery and the like in a number of places. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is also clear on these aspects. I do not quote references for reasons of brevity.
Harry Potter introduces Christians to the powers that Jesus Christ came to defeat. Ms. Torcato admits that the movie is “decidedly not for small children.” It is, in fact, not meant for anyone.
Her references to the “moody music”, the “dark tenor of the film” and the “dark film” are self-explanatory. She says that certain aspects from the film are “derived from Christian theology and neuro-linguistic programming”, two opposing entities. As a student of theology I cannot find any thing in the film that derives from Christianity. What I find is that the two are incompatible.
It is incorrect for her to say that “the film is about good and evil” when it is in fact about evil and evil. Fighting powerful evil with even more powerful evil does not make the first evil good.
For a detailed gruesome satanic ritual read chapter 32 of volume 4 where a wizard raises from the dead the Lord Voldemort who murdered Harry Potter’s parents. Ms. Torcato explained the derivatives of some names of Potter characters. But, Draco Malfoy is the “demon of bad faith” and “Azkaban”, “Circe”, “Hermes”, “Slytherin” are not characters of fiction but names of real demons.
In a July 17, 2000 interview with the London Times, Potter inventor Ms. J. K. Rowling said, “These books guide children to an understanding that the weak, idiotic son of god is a hoax who will be humiliated when the rain of fire comes… [when] Satan’s faithful servants will laugh and cavort in victory.” She was referring here to Jesus Christ.
It may come as a surprise to Christians to learn that Catholic J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is “equally dark and includes the use of sorcery.” [The New Leader, Sep.16-30, 2000].
Articles exposing the truth about the Potter phenomenon were carried in other Indian Catholic magazines like Streams of Living Water [Aug-Sep 2002] and Catechetics India [August 2002].
The February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the ‘New Age’ also condemns the present surge in popularity of witchcraft , fantasies of adventure using occult mysteries and psychic power [n 2.3.2 and n 3.2], warning that “in New Age there is no distinction between good and evil.” [n 2.2.2] Michael Prabhu
6. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer dated
July 10, 2004, with reminders July 15 and July 31 and August 5.
Finally acknowledged, with an assurance that The Examiner failed to keep.
Sent: Saturday, July 10, 2004 11:57 PM
Subject: Fw: Letters to the Editor: On the ‘NEW AGE’
Dear Reverend Father, For favour of publication please.
The “New Age”
This refers to the news item “Conferees Highlight Need To Understand ‘New Age’ Better” in The Examiner of July 3, 2004.
I would like to advise you that Most Rev. Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Vasai was one of the delegates at the conference on the ‘New Age’ invoked by the Holy See in Rome from June 14 to 16 in order to assess the extent of the infiltration of New Age philosophies and practices in the Catholic Church, in the light of the Vatican’s provisional report “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life” of February 3, 2003, and on the basis of the questionnaire subsequently sent by Rome to the Bishops of the Church.
After the conference, Bishop Dabre also delivered a lecture on the ‘New Age’ in Bonn, Germany.
Using the said Vatican document as a reference, a seminar to study the document and increase awareness about the ‘New Age’ was organized at St. Joseph’s Convent, Bandra on the 28th of March. Mr. Errol Fernandes of Bandra and the writer of this letter were the main speakers. On the 4th of July, a follow-up seminar was held in Bandra, conducted this time by Fr. Conrad Saldanha and Ms. Erika Gibello. There is an increasing general awareness among Catholics of the deception in New Age psycho-spiritual techniques based on certain eastern meditations as well as New Age holistic health therapies and alternative or complementary medicines.
We readers of THE EXAMINER look forward to your publishing articles and information on the New Age, which the Pope, while commenting on the release of the document, declared to be “one of the greatest threats to Christianity in the third millennium“.
REMINDERS: Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 10:42 PM Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2004 12:27 AM Sent again on August 5.
RESPONSE FROM THE EXAMINER:
Sent: Saturday, August 07, 2004 12:16 PM Subject: Re: Letters to the Editor
Dear Sir, Bishop Dabre has been requested to furnish the Examiner with an article on the New Age. Which he will do in the October issue. Hence we will not be publishing the one you sent. Thank you. Sr. Gerard.
Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 8:45 AM Subject: Fw: Letters to the Editor
KIND ATTENTION: SR. GERARD
Ultimately I did not see Bishop Dabre’s article.
It seems to me that your editorial staff prefer to avoid publishing certain [anti-New Age] material, especially that submitted by lay people, and stick to “safe” stuff, much of which is either New Age or should not or need not find a place in an esteemed Catholic newspaper. From experience I am quite confident that several Catholic periodicals will publish New Age articles if submitted by me, but will reject material exposing New Age.
7. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer dated
February 7, 2007, published in the issue of February 17, 2007.
THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER WRITTEN BY MR. A. F. NAZARETH
I refer to Mr. A.F. Nazareth’s letter, “After death experience“, in The Examiner of January 20.
I wonder why Mr. Nazareth must generalise about charismatics and their experiences, and speak so cynically [and even meanly] about them. He has written similar letters in the past.
It is common knowledge that the Popes, since Vatican II, have blessed and encouraged the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and it is estimated that one in ten Catholics are charismatics. Admittedly, there have been aberrations, even wayward charismatic leaders [including priests], but isn’t that the case also across the whole spectrum of the Church?
Who is Mr. Nazareth or anyone for that matter to question the personal conversion testimony of another? I know who this priest is, and there is no evidence whatsoever that he is being deceitful or having a “show going”. I am at a loss to understand which part of the priest’s testimony “smacks of heresy”.
And as for the reported healings, aren’t they a common occurrence in Catholic tradition [what about those attributed to Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa]. I have been personal witness to a large number of miraculous healings from cancer to leprosy through the much-maligned “charismatic” prayer during the last 25 years of my awareness of the Renewal. In either case, it is not the Pope, the nun, or the charismatic who is bringing healing, but God. Michael Prabhu
8. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer dated
March 20, 2007, published in the issue of March 24, 2007.
Sir, I refer to Mr. A.F. Nazareth’s letter, “Equal Rights for Women in the Church?” in The Examiner of March 10.
I am in complete agreement with the sentiments of Mr. Nazareth. As a matter of fact, I myself had wanted to write to you after reading “Towards a Gender Sensitive Church” by Dr. Pauline Chakkalakal, DSP [TE of March 3].
When I was attending the contact classes on Feminist and Liberation Theology for my Master’s degree in Christian Studies, the reverend nun sister who was giving us the lecture became so emotional on the subject of feminism and her perceived “patriarchal” attitude of the Church that she lost all sense of objectivity, and the students had to interrupt her and bring her back to an academic presentation of the subject. About six years ago, a young Bishop, during his installation ceremony, also spoke up on behalf of the feminists for the ordination of women priests. The Catholic Ashrams movement has groomed a number of nuns who constantly, in their writings, attack the “patriarchy” of the Roman Church. And this, despite Rome making it abundantly clear, again and again, of the Biblical and theological reasons for its stand.
While I am not a male chauvinist, and am all for a greater role for women, especially women religious in the Church, I am one of those who get turned off by their constant complaining. After all, did they not have sufficient time and opportunity to know their ‘limited’ role in the Church before they professed their final vows? Michael Prabhu
9. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer dated
August 3, 2007, published in the issue of August 11, 2007.
I refer to “The Wonder of Love” by Chhotebhai Noronha of Kanpur, The Examiner, July 21, 2007. I agree with all his observations a hundred percent. I congratulate him on one of the best pieces that I have read in a long time.
He has put in a lot of thought, and such a process must be encouraged. Thank you for your decision in publishing it.
It is unique because it is brutally critical while being candidly honest about issues that we all tend to understand only superficially while not going into their deeper implications. In doing so, we tend to miss the real truth behind the exaggerated or highlighted facts and media hype.
I sincerely wish that there would be more critics like Chhotebhai who would analyze and challenge such worldly values instead of going with the herd and having only pleasing words to say about everything that is dished out today.
Yours truly, Michael Prabhu
10. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer, published in the issue of October 27, 2007.
A PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND
I was privileged to be part of a Catholic group on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which included Jordan, Israel/Palestine, and Egypt in that order. Some tour operators start with Egypt and end with Jordan.
Around the middle of our pilgrimage in Israel, our tour operator began to announce a cruise on the River Nile with the attraction of dinner with “belly dancing”.
He would do this every morning, standing at the front of the coach, and stress the words “belly dancing”.
This announcement was repeated each day for three days and greeted with enthusiasm. There were two priests accompanying us. Neither the two priests nor any of the pilgrims objected.
Though I expressed my disapproval, I chose to accompany the group to see this for myself.
The “belly dancing” was preceded by “Sufi dancing”.
My opinion is that such an inclusion contradicted the very spirit of a “holy” and prayerful pilgrimage.
A Pentecostal [ex-Catholic] member and I seemed to be the only persons in the group who did not like the “entertainment” which was not mentioned inn the original itinerary provided to us by the tour operator.
My enquiries reveal that “belly dancing” is a standard feature of many such pilgrimages organized from India, sometimes at the start of the journey, at other times on the last day. The operators explain that there is stiff competition between them, that pilgrims need some relaxation from the rigorous schedule, and that the “entertainment” is anyway outside of the actual pilgrimage, often as a bonus paid for by the operator. Additionally, it is part of the Middle-East culture, and I must learn to be “broad-minded”. Do other Catholic readers think so? Michael Prabhu
11. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer dated
April 26, 2008, published in the issue of May 3, 2008.
With reference to the UCAN news item
Wish for another Filipino Saint inspires workers in the Healing Ministry in The Examiner, April 19, 2008 page 25, may I point out that
REFLEXOLOGY, also known as
Zone Therapy, or ‘compression massage’, is a technique of diagnosis and treatment in which certain areas of the body, particularly the feet, are massaged to alleviate pain or other symptoms in the organs of the body. Of Chinese and ancient Egyptian origin, it was introduced to the West in the 1920s by Dr. William Fitzgerald, an American ENT specialist. Along with Ms. Eunice Ingham, who mapped out the sensitive areas on the feet, he applied ten zones or energy channels to the body, hence ‘Zone Therapy’. The zones do not correspond to the meridians of the Chinese system. A person’s ‘vital energy‘ is said to flow along these zones, ending in the hands and feet. Thus, when pain is experienced in one part of the body, it could be relieved by applying pressure elsewhere in the body, within the same zone.
The February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age, in the section Health: Golden Living, notes, “There is a remarkable variety of approaches for promoting holistic health, some derived from ancient cultural traditions, whether religious or esoteric… Advertising connected with
covers a wide range of practices such as…
massage and various kinds of ‘body work’
(such as …reflexology) etc.” [n 2.2.3].
Hence, it is surprising that the practice is being encouraged at an archdiocesan center, and that too in expectation of a “miracle” towards a canonisation, and that a Catholic agency like UCA has reported this news. Michael Prabhu
12. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer dated
June 20, 2008, published in the issue of June 28, 2008.
With reference to the SAR news report in The Examiner
June 14, 2008
Alarming rise in marriage breakdowns,
it amazes me as to why men are always held guilty of physical and emotional abuses of their wives, leading to the failure of marriage. That is what I see in the SAR report as well as in the news report from the CBCI on the same subject.
One also almost always notes a feminist slant [women’s lib.] to such reports. Why should that be so?
The Family Commission of the Archdiocese to which I belong insists that the majority of cases coming before it today are because of rebellious, independent wives. The woman can say or claim anything and get away with it. The police and the courts are obliged to defend the ‘aggrieved’ woman no matter what the reality is. The onus is on the man to prove himself the victim, and the odds are stacked against him. The Church, through her Family Commissions and Marriage Tribunals can do nothing.
I know several such cases where the husband has been evicted from his home by an immoral Catholic wife, and he is powerless. When these men approach the Church for effecting reconciliation, the women go to the police and to the courts. I know of one such case where a Catholic family has filed a divorce petition which contains the most abominable lies against their son-in-law.
Considering the gravity and permanence of the Sacrament of Matrimony, they did not even make an attempt to approach the Church. The poor man who takes a strong Catholic position, wants his wife still, and will not lie against her in court, is obliged to face a traumatic divorce and pay the financial costs too. Even worse, for no fault of his he is obliged to remain single, while his ‘Catholic’ wife celebrates her ‘freedom’ or marries another.
I am sure that many of your readers will be able to confirm similar experiences. Michael Prabhu
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE RELEASED BY ST. PAULS ON SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 2008
REPORT IN THE EXAMINER, JULY 5, 2008
1. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer dated
June 21, 2008, NOT PUBLISHED
HOLY ORDERS IN PUBLIC OFFICE?
I refer to the letter of Fr Callisto Gomes SVD “Fernando Lugo, President-elect of Paraguay” in
The Examiner, May 10.
He failed to mention that the Vatican had announced “the punishment of suspension ‘a divinis’ in keeping with Canon 1333, Paragraph 1” of bishop Fernando Lugo Mendez [Feb. 3, 2007, CINS/CWN]. Permit me to quote Canon Law:
285§1: Clerics are to refrain completely from all those things which are unbecoming to their state, according to the prescripts of particular law.
285§2: Clerics are to avoid those things which, although not unbecoming, are nevertheless foreign to the clerical state.
285§3: Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.
Again, Canon 1042 §2 makes holding of a public office an impediment to ordination until the office is relinquished and an account rendered according to civil law: “The following are simply impeded from receiving orders: A person who exercises an office or administration forbidden to clerics according to the norm of Canon 285 and 286 for which he must render an account, until he becomes free by having relinquished the office or administration and rendered the account.”
In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, we have a text (#31, Lumen Gentium, Pope Paul VI, November 21, 1964) that distinguishes the role of the laity and the clergy.
In short, Canon Law prohibits priests and bishops from holding any public office.
There is also this very recent report, “U.S.-born priest elected President of U.N. General Assembly” [The New Leader, June 16-30, 2008] about Fr Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, 75, a Los Angeles-born Maryknoll priest who served as Nicaragua’s foreign minister from 1979-1990. He “has not been able to exercise his priestly ministry since 1985 because of his political activity”, but will now serve as president for one year beginning 16 Sept.
Is this a fallout of liberation theology? Could some scholar comment on this situation that is becoming increasingly common?
2. Letter to THE EXAMINER by this writer dated
August 1, 2008, NOT PUBLISHED.
email@example.com ; The Examiner
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2008 8:02 PM
Subject: LETTER TO THE EDITOR
It was most gratifying to read on the internet the latest information about the Indian Bishops of the Catholic Church’s clear stand and uncompromising stance on two right-to-life issues [as reported by Nirmala Carvalho, AsiaNews*].
One concerns the appeal of a couple to the Supreme Court to terminate a pregnancy [presently illegal after the 20th week] because the fetus has been found to have congenital heart problems. The other concerns the proposal of the Communist government in Kerala to penalise couples who have a third child.
The faithful pray that the Church will also make its voice heard on the issues of contraception, euthanasia, the death penalty, homosexuality, genetic manipulation, GM foods, etc. Michael Prabhu,
*INDIAN COUPLE REQUESTS ABORTION FOR FETAL HEART DEFECT by Nirmala Carvalho
*KERALA, SANCTIONS AGAINST THOSE WHO HAVE A THIRD CHILD. THE CHURCH’S OPPOSITION
With the NCB crusade all but forgotten, letter to THE EXAMINER dated
March 21, 2009, PUBLISHED
firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2009 1:43 PM
Subject: LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Ordination to the Priesthood
It was most edifying to read the vocation stories of the six new ordinandi to the priesthood [The Examiner, March 14], and to note the different ways that the Lord touched them. One gathers that the following factors played an important role: intense personal prayer, good Catholic parents who taught the Faith to their son, active participation and service in the parish, attendance at daily Mass, association with Catholic laity who understand their faith and have a relationship with God, etc.
Interestingly, two of the six young men testify to a charismatic retreat at Potta [Divine Retreat Centre, Muringoor] in Kerala as having been a turning point in their lives. That’s a very, very good percentage. The other four did not say if they were exposed to the charismatic renewal or to Potta, but it’s a possibility that they were. In an age where the decline in vocations is a major concern, this should be a reason for the detractors of the charismatic renewal and retreat centres like Potta to reflect.
If one conducts a survey among our nun sisters and laity, especially the younger generation who attend daily Mass, one will find an even greater percentage of such testimonies. Michael Prabhu
NCB replaces other versions of the Bible
In The Examiner of October 18, 2008, the photograph used to illustrate a Bible was that of the New Community Bible [NCB] for the article “Word of God, Synod Round-up”.
Previously, as in The Examiner of February 17, 2007, the photograph of the Good News Bible was used.
This is additional proof, if at all any is required now, that the editor of The Examiner, Fr Anthony Charanghat, is a promoter of the erroneous NCB.
The New Leader [NL] is another leading Catholic magazine. It is a fortnightly published from Chennai by Fr M. A. Joe Antony, S.J. There is a Fr. S.J. Anthonysamy on the editorial board of the NL.
One of the commentators of the NCB is a Fr. S.J. Anthonysamy. My enquiries reveal that he is the same person who writes a feature “Ask and you shall receive” in the NL.
In the New Leader of September 16-30, 2008, a reader asks, “Are there any criteria to choose a good Catholic version of the Bible? I would like to present a copy of the Bible to a non-Christian friend. Please suggest some good versions.”
What was Fr Anthonysamy’s response? No prizes for guessing. He wrote, “The recently released ‘The New Community Bible’ published by the Society of St Paul, Bombay, is an excellent version, and it has an additional facet, that is, its comments, explanations and diagrams suit the Indian context.
There is an equally good version known as the Good News Bible…”
The New Leader of July 1-15, 2008, carried a report by Paulist Father Joseph Thenasseril SSP., “New Community Bible released in India”. I quote from it, “One of its strong points is the commentary that runs all along the text of the Bible.
The scholars felt that any serious and contextualized Bible commentary made specially for India could not ignore the rich cultural and religious heritage of this land and have included references to other religions of India.”
Just as it is sought that the NCB be the standard fare in The Examiner, and recommended for Catholics and non-Christians as the no. 1 choice of Bible, we foresee that the NCB will eventually replace all other good, accepted, error-free Bible versions that are now available in Catholic bookshops in India.
If one of the “strong points” of the NCB is its commentary and if that commentary is confusing, offensive and also theologically incorrect, what does one have to say about the NCB in the final analysis?
My wife and I stood as godparents for a baby girl who was baptized at St. Louis’ Church, Adyar, Chennai on October 4, 2008. Fr S.J. Anthonysamy, the parish priest, baptized the child. Later, in his office, I mentioned to the priest that I was the Catholic layman behind the crusade against the NCB of which he is one of the commentators, and I gave him a copy each of the first two reports – the critique, and the one on the Papal Seminary theologians — that I had written. Fr. Anthonysamy has not come back to me on the issue.
New Community Bible Released
The Examiner [The Archdiocesan weekly of Bombay] July 05, 2008
Cardinal Oswald Gracias released the New Community Bible on June 28, 2008 during a concelebrated Mass on the occasion of the commencement of the Pauline Year. Cardinal; Gracias in his homily urged the people to familiarize themselves with this Bible which is a revised edition of the popular Christian Community Bible during this year which has been declared as the year of the ‘Word of God’ in the Archdiocese of Bombay.
He congratulated the Paulist brothers and the daughters of St. Paul for their efforts in making this revised edition available to the people in India.
It’s all for the money?
In a letter to the editor of The Examiner, March 20, 2004, Fr. Joe D’Souza, parish priest, Bombay [archdiocese], writes:
I was shocked when I visited the bookstalls of the Daughters of St Paul and the Paulist Fathers at Bandra [Mumbai] to know that the New Testament along with the Psalms were out of stock for over two months. When I asked the Paulist Fathers for the reason, they replied, “We have to print 50,000 Bibles at a time and we have to make use of our own funds for the publication of these Bibles just to offer them at a subsidized rate of Rs. 35 per Bible.” 50, 000 copies!
But the secular press quoted the publishers St Pauls as saying that 30,000 copies of the NCB were printed, and other news agencies quoting the publishers gave the number as low as 15,000 copies. What happened to the economics?
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4402482.ece [Times of India] and other agencies:
“A print run of 30,000 of the new Bibles sold out in a week”
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1182384&pageid=0 [DNA] and other agencies:
“The initial print order of 15,000 copies was sold out in 22 days”
The General Editor of the NCB, Rev. (Dr.) Augustine Kanachikuzhy, SSP., states that “The General Government of the Society of St Paul has been very supportive throughout. SOBICAIN (International Catholic Bible Society) an undertaking by St Pauls with headquarters in Madrid deserves special thanks for their encouragement and support.”
Did SOBICAIN finance the NCB? Is profit, not the dissemination of the Gospel, the only aim of St Pauls India?
OTHER INDIAN CATHOLIC NEWS COVERAGE OF THE NCB
New Community Bible
Vishal Jagruti, the All India Catholic Union monthly from Goa, carried the SAR news report of the publishing and release of the NCB at Ahmedabad, in its July 2008 issue. [see page 23]
Catechetics India, a quarterly magazine published by the Salesians from Nitika-Don Bosco, Kolkata, August 2008 issue:
The First Indian Catholic Bible in English: A Catechetical Appraisal– Gilbert Choondal, sdb
The much awaited Indian Bible from Pauline Publications, The New Community Bible, is released on the day Pauline Year was inaugurated. The work for an Indian Bible was started in 1980. It is the fruit of arduous labour of a large number of Indian Biblical Scholars. Though it is a re-edition of the Christian Community Bible that was published from Philippines, it has several new features that makes it very much Indian! The popularity of this Bible was seen on the first day of its release! Among the 15,000 copies printed in its first print of this edition, circa 10,000 copies were sold on the first day itself! This Bible may take over any other books as the best seller of the year among Indian ecclesiastical Publications. My attempt in writing this appraisal was to view the Bible from a catechetical eye, so as to provide an Indian catechetical significance of this Bible. I do this by analysing its Indian features and other Catechetical features of this Bible.
Catechesis as Interpretation
Let me begin by explaining what exactly catechesis is. The purpose of catechesis is to revitalise our life of faith. In the process of rejuvenating our faith-life, catechesis utilises hermeneutics, narrative styles and communicative methods. To correlate faith to interpretative characteristics is the challenge of catechesis today.
Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation. The Greek verb hermneuein means both to interpret and to translate, thus implying dual activities of establishing the meaning of a text and expressing its meaning in a context for which it is not immediately evident. Is not catechesis an interpretation of faith, retelling the faith stories? Groome considers his catechetical approach of Shared Christian Praxis entails hermeneutics throughout, in interpreting both present praxis and Christian Story and Vision. This interpretation is dialogical in nature since participants and agents (catechists) share in interpretation. Hence, every interpretation of faith can be defined as catechesis.
Bible as Catechesis
The Bible is not just a history book or some stories of some people. Rather, it is the faith-story of a people called by God. This faith-story was written by the inspired writers of the Bible to instil into the people of their times a mature faith. The Word of God thus forms, nurtures and transforms the faith of the people. If this is the effect of the Bible, Bible is a catechism to educate people to faith. Every book of the Bible was written for a specific faith need of the people of a distinct nature. After Gutenberg’s press brought out the first printed Bible, the Word of God had a tremendous effect on the faith of the people till today.
Though the Word of God catechises, present Bibles are more catechetical than Gutenberg’s first printed version of the Bible. The additional features included in every Bible are helpful indicators for catechesis. Several of the versions of the Bible have introduced subtitles to distinct passages. This provides a better understanding of the passage for the reader. By understanding the subtitle of the passage, the reader is helped to understand the passage clearly. This was one of the first form of catechesis of the Bible in recent times. Though Catholic Bibles were late in introducing this new feature in comparison with protestant Bibles, we see almost all the Catholic editions of the Bible contain this feature. An introductory instruction to every book of the Bible that are found in most of the Bible now is a very good means to understand that particular book from its structure, purpose, target audience, history and faith content. Presently, we have a variety of features in most of the Bibles such as pictures, introduction to Bible, artworks, cross references, maps, footnotes and indices. All these features added to a Bible make the Bible today a real catechism!
Catechetical features of the Indian Bible
What then, are the specific and Indian features that are catechetical in nature in this Bible? Going through the pages of NCB, one finds several unique features. NCB does not use old English. The text is meant for easy reading. A brief but accurate and authoritative introduction opens each of the major divisions of both the Old and the New Testaments – the Pentateuch, the Historical books, the Wisdom Books, the Prophetic Books in the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the Letters of Paul, in the New Testament. In addition, each book of the Bible has a brief introduction concluding with the structure of the Book itself. A typical page of the NCB has three items, viz., the text, the commentary, and a box placed between the text and the commentary containing helpful cross references. As far as possible the editors have maintained to keep the same sub-titles in the commentary so that one can easily identify the section of the text that is commented upon. All these are helpful catechetical tools to nurture one’s faith. But, what exactly are the typical Indian catechetical features of NCB? They are just two items: multi-religious references at the commentary and the Indian artworks.
Inter-religious catechesis (references to scriptures of other faiths)
Catechesis in the context of other faiths has been a serious concern in the Church. The General Directory for Catechesis states that catechesis in multi-religious context, calls for three basic requirements: forming fervent Christian communities and well-prepared native catechists; facilitating the Christians in discerning what is contrary to the Christian message and to accept at times seeds of the Gospel that are found in other faiths; finally, promoting mutual respect and understanding and lively missionary sense. A catechesis in the context of other faiths can be challenging and at times leading to syncretism. But, going through the references to scriptures of other faiths, one will not have the problem of syncretism in these commentaries or quotes. This is clearly given at the introduction of the Bible by the General Editor, Dr. Augustine Kanachikushy, ssp.
“References made to the Indian Scriptures in the commentary could perhaps make some Christians uncomfortable. The question may be raised why as to Indian scriptures are referred to in a Biblical commentary. Such references serve only to get a more inter-cultural and contextualised understanding of certain Biblical terms and concepts. Highlighting some meeting points would also serve as an invitation for people of other faiths to approach and draw from the treasures of the Bible. For example, speaking about light and darkness in Gen 1:14, the commentary says that “light is considered good and desirable also in the Vedas.
The expression Tamsoma Jyotirgamaya is a well known expression from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. This, however, does not imply in any way that Indian Scriptural terms are parallel to Biblical terms or that the parallel references saying the same thing as the Biblical text.”
The NCB fulfils what GDC requested for an inter-religious catechesis. However, the prior requirement for the reader is a basic conviction about his/her own faith identity. This approach of NCB is surely going to attract people of other faiths too.
Visual Catechesis (Indian artworks in NCB)
The early icons were the gospel of the poor, so said Pope Gregory the Great. But Suger, the Abbot of St. Denis and a contemporary of St. Bernard, went a step further from the didactic nature of icons saying that the material beauty (in objects and images) sets us on a path of self-transcendence. A significant innovation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in comparison to the Roman Catechism, is its use of the works of Christian art. The CCC employs five images: the logo on the cover, and four pictures, two of frescos, one of a sculpture, and one of a painting, each introducing one of the four main sections or pillars. The Compendium of Catechism of the Catholic Church includes 14 images taken from masterpieces of Christian art, to illustrate the beginning of each part or section. “The sacred images, with their beauty, are also a proclamation of the Gospel and express the splendour of the Catholic truth,” explained Benedict XVI during the presentation ceremony of CCCC.
It is this reason that makes the illustrations in NCB as powerful tool for communicating faith stories of the Bible. The NCB contains twenty four delicate yet power line drawings. The artworks are creations of late Fr. Christopher Coelho OFM, the renowned script writer of the all time popular Indian film on Jesus, Karunamaidu. These twenty four artworks are assets to the NCB. The artworks in NCB have several levels of interpretations: The powerful expressive line drawings in Indian images not only convey inculturated view of the Biblical faith-story but expresses powerfully emotions and feelings of persons in the Word of God. For example, the expressive emotional face of Job (p.866) conveys his physical, mental and spiritual struggles. Second level of this art is reinterpreted text to other Biblical texts. The angel’s call to Elijah in his desperate moment to eat the mysterious bread for sustenance of forty days is depicted in the art (p.516) as pre-figuration of the Eucharistic Bread. Finally, the illustrations succeed in blending the Biblical realities to present day living. The famous quote on the future peace and harmony in the world (“They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nations…” Micah4:3) is depicted as sword being beaten into the process of a farming tool in the background of an atom bomb explosion! Each illustration stands as a powerful symbolic catechetical poster filled with deep cultural, anthropological faith experience!
Proposals for a better catechetical edition of NCB
Though I do appreciate several features of this Bible, it leaves room for many more features for a better catechesis. First of all, the Indian Bible deflects from its original version of the Christian Community Bible in many of the features. The title is changed to The New Community Bible. Most glaring difference is the absence of introductory guidelines (almost 40 pages) to the entire Bible. These introductory guidelines contained history of the Bible editions, introduction to the Bible, indices, timeline, catechetical features of the Bible, etc. These features are very useful for the laity and clergy for catechesis and proper appreciation of the Word of God. The colour maps found in the Christian Community Bible were reduced to black and white. The calligraphic texts in the maps are not pleasant to read in these maps too. The brief lexicon given at the end is missing. A topical and thematic index is a very useful quick reference to the entire Bible. This does clarify certain concepts and terms that are not intelligible to ordinary faithful.
Though calligraphic texts are artistic and provide an appreciation to this ancient biblical art, division of titles to letters and syllables and sometimes reduced to misleading divisions can be confusing to the reader. The book of Wisdom is written as W/ isdom, Proverbs as P/ roverbs, Maccabees as Macca/ bees (almost read as Mecca and bees), Chronicles as Chroni/ cles or Thessalonians as Thes/ saloni/ ans! These titles can be presented in a better way.
One of the best part of the Bible is the artwork itself. They are the most attractive form of visual catechesis in the NCB. I would prefer a detailed explanation of each illustration given at the back of the picture. This would help the readers to understand and use them for catechesis. I would recommend more of such artworks in NCB! It is an asset to the Bible.
The first Indian Catholic Bible in English is an incentive to many more Bibles that can be edited and published from India. I hope there will be an Indian Youth Bible (A Bible meant for ministering youth and helping Indian youth), Indian Family Bible (meant for family catechesis and family animation), etc. Such Bibles are catechesis in themselves! The final inner cover of the NCB is beautifully scripted with this statement: “All these things that were written long ago were written for our learning today, so that by the endurance and comfort the Scriptures give us, we may have hope (ref. Rom 15:4).” I may add two more words: faith and love. That is catechesis.
Gilbert Choondal sdb Kristu Jyoti College, HOD- Department of Catechetics and Youth Ministry
Chief Editor of Kristu Jyoti (A theological, catechetical and youth pastoral quarterly) Website: www.kristujyotibangalore.org
Krishnarajapuram Post Bangalore 560 036 Karnataka Tel: 080-28474140, 28474139, 28474145 Mobile: 9448833709
A LETTER FROM A CBCI COMMISSION AND MY RESPONSE TO IT:
CBCI COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 5:57 PM
Subject: Re: XXI CCBI Plenary Assembly at Mysore – Feb 12-18, 2009 / THE ST. PAULS’ NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE
Dear Mr Michael Prabhu, I went through the mail send to us in our mail id.
Since I happened to read it I would like to respond to you.
I do not know much about your group or your intentions. I wish you devote your energy more earnestly to teach the faith and educate thousands of catholics who need catechism and faith education rather than pick quarrel and argue with the bishops. The bishops by virtue of their office are entrusted with the teaching authority in matters of faith and so questioning their competence is not befitting of any good catholic lay person or organisation. Your letter refers to protest, public action etc. Church teachings are not decided on the basis of majority voice or protests and agitations.
You have also dragged in the name of Fr. Charangatt who is a distinguised editor of a well reputed weekly, which i thought is not in good taste. Every editor has certain discretionary powers to accept or reject letters to the editor. Do you think all the letters written to a newspaper are getting published? In addition, if the church authorities had any hestiation about his faith and credentials he would not have been entrusted with a responsibility like that of editing the Examiner.
Christ and His Word do not need defenders. What he needs is people who can commit their life to communicate him to others, to show his love in action.
I am open to listen to you and read thorugh your comments and critiques on the NCB, but the disciples of Christ do not use the kind of intimidating language that you seem to be using. With best wishes
Fr. George Plathotam sdb Executive Secretary, CBCI Commission for Social Communications New Delhi
firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 10:37 PM REPEAT,
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 10:42 PM
Subject: ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF FR. GEORGE PLATHOTAM’S LETTER
[COPIED TO THE CARDINAL, BOMBAY, AS IN FR. GEORGE’S LETTER TO ME. THE CARDINAL RESPONDED* TO ANOTHER LETTER OUT OF THREE LETTERS SENT TOGETHER, AMONG WHICH THIS WAS ONE] *see below
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; ALL BOMBAY
Dear Fr. George Plathotam, I thank you very much for your kind response and I view it as an opportunity to answer some of your questions and thoughts.
1. You had kindly written to me on July 30, 2008 requesting me to send you my critique on the NCB which I did the very same day, but I did not hear from you after that. It was similarly the case with several Bishops who requested for the critique.
As a matter of fact, though I have never made any ‘intimidations’ at any time, some Bishops have blocked my letters, for example:
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; “You have been blocked by the recipient“.
CANON LAW 212.3
“RIGHTS OF THE FAITHFUL”
They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred pastors their view on matters which concern the good of the Church.
They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the pastors, and take into account both the common good and the dignity of the individuals.
I have been writing to the Bishops on the NCB issue since the NCB was released end June 2008, and on other serious issues concerning the Catholic Faith for nearly 10 years. I have followed the procedures Scripturally, I believe, first going to my Archbishop, then writing to other Church authorities concerned, next getting other Catholics to write to the Bishops, and finally going public to a wider audience when there has been no response or action at each stage.
2. I have no intentions, except to bring certain errors to the attention of the Bishops who are the teaching authority of the Church. They have also the obligation to correct error to safeguard the Faith.
The reason I do it is because of a calling I have received from God, as a lay apostle. I am Catholic-trained at several institutions in understanding the Bible, in pastoral counseling and in evangelisation. I have also studied the rudiments of philosophy, theology and world religions when I prepared for two Master of Arts degrees from recognized universities.
I have given talks, retreats, and seminars to Catholic communities and groups, including seminarians, all over India since 1982.
I would very much like to continue to teach catechism, the Catholic Faith, and to evangelise, as recommended by you. The reason is that I am first of all a Catholic apologist. My last two-day seminar was on Catholic apologetics in Bangalore in December 2007.
However, over the years I found that there are dozens of charismatic ministries and retreat centres all over India who are doing an excellent job renewing Catholics, but there was not a single ministry willing –and possibly not knowledgeable or courageous enough — to identify error in the form of New Age etc., and as I started speaking out and writing, this ministry developed.
My intensively-researched and unique articles from a Catholic perspective have been published in several magazines including The Examiner [Mumbai], The New Leader [Chennai], Shalom Tidings [Kerala] and Streams of Living Water [Kolkata], etc. I have just received a request to write for another magazine, but I am not able to find the time for that or for existing commitments.
Last year I was to publish a book, my first, on Catholic apologetics [and NOT New Age]! It was shelved because from July onwards, I was involved continuously for almost four months only with the NCB issue. After that I was quite ill for two months.
Maybe if there were fewer unaddressed errors [I have a number of partially-completed reports] in the Indian Church, I could turn back to my first love: catechising, apologetics and evangelisation.
Because of my ministry against the New Age and my campaign against Hindu-isation in the name of inculturation, I do not receive invitations to give programs on apologetics. I have received hundreds of letters against the NCB; yet there are dozens of my friends who declined to put down their opposition in writing. Some did not like my taking the issue to the public arena; but mostly they are laity in popular ministry who do not want to jeopardise their security by associating with this ministry and the possibility of having prayer groups or parishes closed to them as has gradually happened to me.
There are priests who strongly support this ministry from the background but do not want their letters published by me or identities revealed because they apprehend that they might face victimisation from their Superiors or their Bishops.
3. You are in Delhi. The following can vouch for me:
Fr Victor D’Souza, former Vicar General, my former parish priest and confessor.
Fr Susai Sebastian, with whom I helped established the first Service Team of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Delhi.
Bishop Anil Couto of Jullundur, my former asst. parish priest.
There are many others, including the saintly late Fr Irenaeus dos Santos who told me on January 4, 1992 as I left for Chennai that God had a prophetic ministry for me here, and Archbishop Angelo Fernandes.
I served the Church in Delhi faithfully from 1982 after my conversion. I have nothing to gain from this ministry, having given up service as well as directorship of two firms in Delhi to follow God’s calling. So, I have no ulterior motive in doing what I do.
4. Father George, since the NCB already had received a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur from two Bishops, are you maintaining that if someone had not raised objections to the commentaries, the Bishops would have still ordered a revision of the NCB?
5. Surely, bringing problematic issues of Faith to the attention of the Bishops is not a bad thing?
There have been cases of priests agitating against their Bishops during the last few months, in full glare of the media [Trichy, Bp. Anthony Devotta. You should have seen the Tamil dailies and weeklies! Cochin, Bp. John Thattumkal] and those were on personal/financial/moral issues. The secular press had a field day when the priests went public with their grievances.
This ministry is crusading on matters concerning the CATHOLIC FAITH.
When lay people are forced to fight institutionalized error by exposing it [Ephesians 5:11], why is it suddenly a bad thing?
I remember when Ralph Martin’s book The Catholic Church at the End of an Age, What is the Spirit Saying? 1994, was released, he was trashed in The Examiner, Letters to the Editor, for “exposing the Church’s dirty linen in public”, particularly the pedophilia issue among the clergy. The Bishops, it is common knowledge, and Rome, ignored the issue. When it became a public scandal through exposure in the secular media a decade later, Ralph Martin was vindicated. But by then, lives and souls had been damaged and it has cost the Church credibility and millions of dollars, resulting in moral and financial bankruptcy in many dioceses.
His latest book, personally autographed and couriered to me is The Fulfillment of All Desire, 2006. This work draws on the writings of seven Doctors of the Church! So, Ralph Martin is not just another rabble-rouser or sensationalist. He loves his Church. So do I.
Ralph Martin is a modern-day prophet. In a Church assailed by liberalism and post-modernism, who wants a prophet?
It was the Church who condemned both St Jean de Arc and Galileo, and who put severe restrictions on St Padre Pio, and I believe, St Faustina as well before reinstating them. I am neither surprised nor offended that my intentions and motivation are questioned.
Ralph Martin has also been a constant supporter of this ministry. He wrote in my copy, “Michael, the journey continues, keep on!”
6. Today, I read [The New Indian Express] that the New York Times exposé of Tom Daschle’s tax-evasion caused his nomination as Health Secretary to be withdrawn. President Obama could apologize to the nation and the world that he “screwed up”.
Can Catholics not expect more from our Bishops who are not infallible? Can we expect the Church, the Body of Christ, to be more democratic than a government?
Yes, I agree with you that Fr Anthony Charanghat, as editor of The Examiner, has every right to publish what he wants and to reject what he wants. But you still did not answer my charge which was in the form of a question, not an accusation:
“Does that reflect Fr. Charanghat’s personal prejudice or the control of the Catholic press by the Archdiocese of Bombay?“
The fact remains that with no prior reference to my critique on the NCB, The Examiner published a letter criticising it, followed by two more, all eulogising the NCB. Then he does not publish twenty letters against it. I doubt if a single criticism of the NCB as having problematic commentaries was published in The Examiner or anywhere in the Catholic press except by UCAN who did an interview with me. The Church’s arm is long and powerful, and I expressed to UCAN my apprehension that if the powers-that-be in the Church came to know about it, they would see that a critical report was not published. Please forgive me for my lack of confidence in my Bishops, something that has accrued from personal experience.
7. To return to The Examiner, when I publish my report of New Age [especially] and other errors in The Examiner, documented over several years of collecting the material, you will be the very first to receive a copy.
I can safely say that there is hardly a SINGLE issue of The Examiner that does not promote New Age or have some information or news that does not belong in a Catholic Christian newspaper. In fact, most issues have multiple problems, promoting acupuncture, enneagrams, homoeopathy, magnet therapy, martial arts, vipassana, yoga, zen, centering prayer, the list is endless, by way of advertisements or articles, even as official diocesan level programmes, conducted by priests, on Catholic premises. There are sometimes such lapses in The New Leader too, but not anywhere as numerous and regular. And, to be fair, one can write to Fr M.A. Joe Antony, the editor of The New Leader and be assured of a response. Even though he personally disagrees with some of my opinions, he has had the grace to publish all of my letters. That cannot be said of The Examiner.
The redoubtable crusader against New Age error, Errol Fernandes of Bandra, Mumbai, who was awarded the highest archdiocesan lay recognition — almost posthumously — when he was in his last stages of cancer five years ago, used to mark copies to me of his prophetic letters to The Examiner so that I would see that they were not being published. However, the liberal lobby and the anti-charismatic lobby always escaped the editorial scissors on those particular issues.
Errol also gave me the lowdown on some of the Bombay Bishops who were permitting error. I can reproduce these letters for you before I upload them on my website. They remind me of Ralph Martin’s writings in which he too named the Bishops. That did not make either of them less honorable Catholics. In my opinion, they are true Catholics who were ready to face criticism and ostracism because ‘when good men keep silent, evil triumphs’.
8. Dear Father George, you are a Salesian priest. I did my schooling under Salesian missionaries. Today, my alma mater has demolished the historic chapel and is constructing in its place an air-conditioned community hall and an inter-faith prayer hall or meditation room. The Blessed Sacrament, the beautiful Italian icons and all the pews with the boarders’ prayer books, relics, holy pictures and rosaries will be gone. It was proposed that they will be replaced with the Bhagavad Gita, the Guru Granth Sahib, the Quran, and of course the most suitable companion to them would be the inter-religious book, the New Community Bible, because a Bible is one of the many holy books. Confessions will be replaced by counseling, and the Salesians today are as much deeply into secular non-biblical psychological counseling [largely New Age] as the Jesuits are into dissent and liberation theology [both congregations and issues are the subjects of articles that will be published during the course of this year, God-willing].
I am the ONLY dissenting voice. Most other old students, including Catholics, find no problem with all that. They come for their annual get-together for drinking alcohol in the parking lot and even rioting [damage to school property] because of which the school locked its gates on them the following year. I have two grandchildren and would not want any of my family to study in that school.
The other Salesian school has yoga classes as part of the curriculum, and my godson and his brother were obliged to chant OM and ‘meditate’. What will be the future of these young men?
Yesterday, I read the report quoting your Salesian Rector Major, Fr. Pascual Chavez on the occasion of their platinum jubilee, in The Hindu. He said that the slogan of the Salesians was “To educate, empower and transform”. On the face of it, it is an excellent objective. But, as always, I beg to differ from what everyone else, or almost everyone else — because I am certain that there are many who will agree with me, if I voice my criticism in case they have not already realised for themselves — thinks.
I have read the life of Don Bosco and that of his pupil St Dominic Savio whose motto was “Death Rather Than Sin”. As an adolescent, these two saints were my role models. The NCB substitutes such model saints and the Early Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church with Hindu deities and mythical figures. And, why do we need saints and even Biblical heroes? The NCB takes great pains to emphasize that there are equivalents and parallels in Hinduism for many Biblical characters and event.
THE ANGEL GABRIEL DID NOT APPEAR TO MARY
Don Bosco promoted the cult of the rosary and Mary, Help of Christians. The commentary on Luke 1 in the NCB virtually explains the appearance of the messenger angel to Mary as a figment of her imagination!
The commentary Luke 1 [page1796 of the NCB, right hand column] denies that the angel Gabriel literally appeared and spoke to Mary. The commentator, the late Fr. George Soares Prabhu SJ now teaches Catholics that “The story of the annunciation is not to be read as a literal report of what happened, but as a dramatization of the inner experience of Mary’s call to be the mother of the Messiah.” In effect, he is saying, “The angel Gabriel did not appear to Mary. It was not a real, historical, external event. The Annunciation is just a story explaining how Mary experienced internally the call of God and responded to it.”
Frankly, to me that sounds like heresy. A theologian who is faithful to tradition and Church teaching might be able to explain better the wider implications of such liberal theology as the above. He would also be able to find many more such errors in the other NCB commentaries, subtle untruths that have earlier escaped my team and me [I have not included this point in my original critique].
If the Bishops have given the Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat for the NCB, it means that they have endorsed the new teaching that the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary was not an actual historical event. It also means that all the Bishops who have released the NCB, the priest-editor of The Examiner and all others who defend the NCB, print and publish it and promote its sale are in agreement with this teaching that is not in any catechism or other Catholic study Bible. Or else, they did not see it.
Bishop Agnelo Gracias took so much of pains to study the commentaries of the NCB to write a long rebuttal [please expect my response to it] of my critique of the NCB. May I point out to him that he has missed this.
But, this is not an isolated error. It is typical of the problem that Catholics are finding with the entire NCB. Right from the Book of Genesis, the commentators keep stating that certain events/narratives are ‘stories’, ‘myths’, ‘dramatizations, etc’. While a person like me who has made a scholarly study of the Bible from a Catholic perspective can understand what the commentator means, for example when he explains the Creation story or the Flood, the average Catholic ends up confused over what to believe anymore.
10. Just a few days ago, a Bishop sent me a book, and its title is 40 Dreams of St John Bosco. I did not find anywhere in the book that Don Bosco shepherded his boys into the Oratory or preached to them or shared his dreams with them or founded the Salesian Order to look after future generations of youth in order “To educate, empower and transform” the young boys whom he loved.
These might be laudable additional goals as the Order spread into non-Christian lands and ventured into new fields of service and knowledge impartation. Don Bosco was almost exclusively concerned about the SPIRITUAL welfare of his Catholic wards. His main concern was to save them from hell. He incessantly preached to them about the evil of sin, and the devil as a real entity whose only goal was to keep the youth from repentance, confession of sin and eternal salvation.
That is the Catholic Faith that I have transferred to our two sons and wish for our grandchildren, not the faith of the NCB.
These values and truths are permanent. They do not change with the times, and certainly have not changed in the less than 150 years since the saint’s death. But it has taken less than two generations for most of the Salesians in India to get secularised.
The NCB will only give further impetus to this downhill slide. So, I am compelled to speak, to act, to protest, if no one else will.
The same Bishop wrote to me:
16th January 2009
Dear Mike, I do hope that this book reaches you before the feast of Don Bosco. I really had to make a search in the region to find this. Thank God I got it. How are you? I do hope that both of you are doing well and enjoying your days. Though I am not regular with my correspondences for the sole reason of not having time, I do think of you and pray for you.
I read whatever you sent. Congratulations for being so alert and alive to the situation of today. Be sure of my prayers.
Please do pray for me and my people. +signed
So, there are several good Bishops in the Indian Church, who love, trust and respect me, reading the reports and articles that I send them, the very same that others find objectionable and threatening. They pray for my mission, send me material, information and even money on occasion, as I live by faith since 1993. I can say the same for many priests. It is how I received a copy of Bishop Agnelo’s response to my critique on the NCB.
Should not the Bishops listen to these voices that speak along with my ministry?
The Bishops have been receiving my reports and articles since 1999 by postal mail. From mid-2003 by email.
February 9-11, 2002, I gave bunches of them personally by hand to several Cardinals and Bishops at the 10th World Day of the Sick at Velankanni. In the presence of the Papal delegate and Pro Nuncio and 3000 delegates, I also took the microphone and challenged them about their permitting the occult exhibition, promotion of Human Universal Energy [HUE] and Reiki and Pranic Healing and Tai Chi martial arts and sale of New Age and Freemasonry books being conducted under the auspices of the CBCI by individual priests, nuns and Catholic organisations.
I have written with full documentation exposing the New Age error [meditations and alternative therapies], blasphemy, sacrilege, heresy and rebellion against Rome, propagated by the Catholic Ashram movement, the CBCI-funded Catholic Health Association of India [CHAI], the different Dharma Bharathis [one founded by a lay disciple of New Ager Fr Bede Griffiths and two by priests], the Bandra, Mumbai-based KRIPA foundation, New Age Holistic Health Centres run by mostly MMS and ICM nuns in Pune, Chennai and Kerala, the production at a cost of Rs 1.5 crores [Rs 15 million / 300,000 USD] of a CD in praise of the Hindu deity Shiva by a Catholic priest using the Santhome Communications Centre,
Chennai, which is under the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council [TNBC]’s Office for Social Communications [of which you are the Executive Secretary at the (CBCI) national level], and so many others.
Several of these articles
and reports are already on my website. Others have been taken down for updating [addition of new information], while still others have been transferred from hardcopy to my computer by my painfully slow one-finger typing.
All will be complete in a few months, God-willing, and will be emailed to all the Bishops while being placed on my website.
11. I am confident that at least some of the Bishops must have actually read some of my reports. [I have dozens of letters from Bishops who have congratulated me on my diligence, research, correctness of doctrine, and love for the Faith.]
I have also sent a large number of these reports both by postal mail as also by email to the President/Prefect of every Congregation and Pontifical Council in Rome, including the then Cardinal Ratzinger, since March 2002.
So, I have three questions:
Where is the (Church’s) corrective action if my conclusions are right?
Where is the disciplinary action against me or a re-education of me if I am wrong? [Rome issued the Document on the New Age in February 2003. I first wrote to Rome about the New Age in the Indian Church in March 2002]
And, if I am wrong and in error, since I started my writing in 1999 and internet ministry in mid-2003, why is it that…???
i) I have received no official letter from Rome or the CBCI, analysing and detailing such errors as being detrimental to the Catholic Faith, in contradiction with the teaching of Rome, prejudicial to the interests of the Church, etc.
ii) I have written support and agreement both by email as well as on letterheads, on my stand on these issues, from the founders/ leaders and members of almost every single Catholic retreat centre, ministry and Catholic lay community in the country; I also have the moral encouragement of some non-Indian overseas Catholic lay ministries.
iii) A large number of priests, diocesan as well as from almost every major religious congregation [some are theologians, some Canon Law experts] write me regularly firmly supporting my ministry from India and overseas [some are non-Indians].
iv) Hundreds of lay Catholics, many of whom are have been to Catholic Bible College, trained in Catholic schools of evangelisation or attended courses in Word of God ministry agree with this ministry.
I do hope and pray that you now have a clearer appreciation of me and my ministry. God bless you,
Copies of this correspondence were sent to a number of priests and lay leaders in ministry, who wrote to me strongly supporting the response that I wrote to Fr George. All of them are firm in their insistence that the Bishops MUST withdraw the NCB. The letters are
published in a separate report which is titled
“LETTERS CALLING FOR WITHDRAWAL OF THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE” – Michael Prabhu
Categories: Hinduisation of the Catholic Church in India
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