JUNE 2010





My response to the New Community Bible – I

17 July 2008
The individual Bishops of the Catholic Church in India

Your Grace

I am truly thankful for the opportunity to convey my feelings of utter sadness, helplessness and deep sense of outrage over the New Community Bible (NCB) India version as my former letter* conveyed only a part of my chagrin and was not constructive in terms of its structure I beg your kindness in reading my response again.

A Lost Opportunity

My first impression on reading the commentary and the Bible is that a wonderful opportunity has been lost. Here was an opportunity perhaps to quote the Early Church Fathers, Doctors of the Church and our mystic and ascetic saints, all of whose writings have not been transmitted to the faithful, and blend it with the existential challenges faced by Christian families in India, who live in the midst of poverty and communal violence. The challenges and trials of the people of Israel are keenly experienced by Catholic families in India in terms of violence, social discrimination etc., not to mention the rising tide of materialism, even apostasy which in my Parish many of the poorer Catholics have taken to, the problem of the sects, gender violence, evils such as pornography and the occult but unfortunately this was not to be.

My response to the New Community Bible – II

24 July 2008

It must be agreed, by Your Grace, that the several excellent commentaries of St. Jerome, St Augustine, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and Chrysostom on the Holy Scriptures are not bound by their individual culture as they wrote for the Universal Church, in a spirit of true reverence for Holy Scripture. The attitude is somehow to treat the Holy Fathers and their writings as foreign, which is only partly true. We do know that they belonged to different continents and cultures, witness St. Augustine from North Africa, St Jerome – Croatia, St John Chrysostom – Antioch, Tertullian – Carthage, and Origen – Egypt, but they spoke just one language, the language of the Holy Spirit. The Church is universal precisely because it is universal as to place, time and doctrine. As to whether their writings have a stamp of their culture or of the Universal Church, that I leave to Your Grace for your conscience to decide.

The commentary reads like something borrowed from ISKCON and Baba Ramdev who are in any case available in media in not a very different format than what is presented. By the way the initial news articles on the Bible have already been posted on two Hindu fundamentalist sites. Perhaps it is the condescending attitude of the commentators since I could not see much criticism of their religious texts. Perhaps history will put the perceived expropriation of Hindu religious texts in a Catholic Bible as one more impetus to violence.

At the very same time the commentary can perhaps be compared to an event of inviting such revered Gurus of the Hindu faith to our Churches to provide their sermons with the full and explicit approbation of the Church of God.







My response to the New Community Bible – III

24 July 2008

A dishonest assumption

The commentators have used a brahminical concept of Hinduism, one that is rejected by the scheduled and backward castes (approximately) 30-40% of the population of India and the tribals who comprise another 10%, not to speak of the other minorities comprising 17% of the population. So the audience appears beforehand to be effectively compromised. I accept the fact that it is the upper castes who rule India for the present, but since when has the Church begun to exercise its favours exclusively on the rich.

The grief of the Holy Spirit

Your Grace cannot be unaware of the several occasions where disrespect and disbelief is exclusively directed to the Holy Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit and almost never to the mythological texts quoted. My intention is much less to provide a critique of the damaging material that is there (which in any case I am not qualified to do) in the NCB than to provide my just concern for the chastisement that will surely fall on the Church in India as the night follows the day. You are aware of what befell Constantinople, whose patriarch did not rule correctly on the Filioque dispute thus grieving the Holy Spirit. Surely you can see the even closer parallels to their actions in this our days.


My response to the New Community Bible – IV

24 July 2008

A tragic turn of events

The Church in India is today under attack, poor Christian, religious, tribals and dalits are terrorized, there have been cases of physical violence against nuns and priests in urban centres as Bombay and the remote forests of Kandhamal, Orissa. The State and its organs of the police, administration and judiciary are biased towards the aggressors. Perhaps Your Grace has not witnessed a riot first hand, I have.

In the backdrop of the worst persecution of the Church in India post-independence, I can think of nothing more traumatic to the faithful people of God than what has been done. Here the aggressors are not the Hindu fundamentalists who force the Christians to recite the Gayatri Mantra (I will return to this painful subject later) but our own priests and religious. As Psalm 54: 13-15 (Your Grace these words are present in every breviary) puts it – For if my enemy had reviled me, I would verily have borne with it. And if he that hated me had spoken great things against me, I would perhaps have hidden myself from him. But thou a man of one mind, my guide, and my familiar, who didst take sweetmeats together with me: in the house of God we walked with consent.

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My response to the New Community Bible – V

24 July 2008

The contrast between light and darkness

I beg Your Grace to look at a parallel commentary between the treatment of Psalm 5 by the Holy Doctor of the Church St. Alphonsus Liguori and by Fr Raja SJ (one of the former presidents of the Society of Bible Studies in India) who provided the commentary on the Psalms in the NCB:
Psalm 5 commentary of St Alphonsus

“The Divine Office” Psalm 5 commentary of the New Community Bible
(v.1, 2) God hears and understands everything; but sometimes he seems not to hear, or not to understand, because the prayer that we make to him is either not just or because it is ill-made. (v. 3) Hence David said: O Lord, hear me, understand me. I will always have recourse to Thee; and I know of a certainty, according to Thy promises, that Thou wilt always hearken to my prayer. (v. 4) I will place myself in Thy presence to pray to Thee, and I will always have before my eyes that Thou hatest all iniquity. (v. 9) Propter inimicos meos, dirige in conspectu tuo viam meam. (To confound my enemies so direct me that I may always walk in Thy presence.) (v. 11) An open sepulchre that exhales a malignant infection; for they use their tongues to weave deceits; judge them, and punish them as they deserve. (v. 15) Thou hast surrounded us on all sides with the shield of goodwill which renders us secure from all the assaults of our enemies.


My response to the New Community Bible – VI

24 July 2008

Psalm 5 Commentary of St Alphonsus Doctor of the Church (contd.)



(Also to be noted is that The Holy See has frequently praised and recommended all the works of St. Alphonsus; but the decree of March 23, 1871, which conferred on St. Alphonsus the title of Doctor of the Church, makes special mention of this commentary on the Psalms.) Further St Alphonsus also gives us this counsel – “Again, when we meet with a prayer that the psalmist addressed to God for the entire Hebrew people, we should have in view the Christian people. So also when the royal prophet speaks of his enemies this being oftenest understood, according to the literal sense, of his many persecutors we should think of the evil spirits, who are indeed our worst enemies, since they seek to deprive us of the life of the soul rather than of the life of the body.” AND “We would here once more remark on the subject of the enemies from whom the royal prophet endured persecution, which all the psalms when they speak literally are to be understood mystically of all the internal and external enemies, especially of our most powerful and most dangerous enemies, I mean the devils who are plotting against our eternal salvation.”- (cf pg. 18. and 39 of “THE DIVINE OFFICE”
The commentator absolutely overlooks the near unanimity of the Fathers and derisively make references to something called “OT theology”.


My response to the New Community Bible – VII

24 July 2008

The Contrast between Light and Darkness (contd.)
Psalm 5 commentary of the New Community Bible (contd.)
Page 877 of the New Community Bible, (writing it is not a pleasant experience)
“Gayatri Mantra (Rig Veda 3.62.10) At daybreak facing the rising sun
“Om Bhur Bhuvasvaha/ Tat Savitur Varenyam/ Bhargo Vevasya dhimani/ Dhiyo yo nah Pracodayat.” (May we meditate on the most excellent lustre of the sun God, that he may illumine our intellect)
During the day we have to find the straight path of the Lord; amidst the crookedness and temptations of life, so we (v. 9) come first before God, to set our sight right (v. 8.) Verse 10 utters a curse against the wicked (as do many other Psalms) Such curses appear to us unchristian, but they must be seen within an OT theology, of retribution, when belief in a future life was not known. The Justice of God had to somehow manifest itself in this life. This is what we hope for.

I would like to comment a bit on the above and I beg your kindness to excuse my ignorance since I am but a lay person;

1. May we meditate on the most excellent lustre of the sun god, that he may illumine our intellect) = This appears to be the most offensive of all the texts in the commentary simply because it is used aggressively against the poorest of the poor Christians who are victims of Hindu mob violence. Further note how no comment on the correctness or otherwise of invoking the sun God is mentioned. Perhaps the commentator agrees with the Rig Veda, because he saves his critique for the Holy Spirit. (See the OT theology derisive reference). Note in passing how he omits to quote any father or doctor of the Church.


My response to the New Community Bible – VIII

24 July 2008

The Contrast between Light and Darkness (contd.)
Psalm 5 commentary of the New Community Bible (contd.)
If we see Dr John Dayal’s latest posts on Kandhamal (cf. 8th July Tumidibandh post

Categories: Hinduisation of the Catholic Church in India

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EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai - 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail:,

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