FEBRUARY 9, 2013, UPDATED
St Pius X Seminary, Archdiocese of Bombay, celebrates Hindu deity Ganesh
The words in Hindi read: SAINT PIUS COLLEGE. The picture was taken in September 2012
The St. Pius X College, Goregaon (East), Mumbai, is the Bombay archdiocesan seminary. Its motto is, “We are ambassadors for Christ”. Again, below the shield of the seminary’s insignia, there is a banner with the words “Ambassadors for Christ”.
The rector of the seminary is Auxiliary Bishop Agnelo Gracias who is also Professor of Systematic Theology. As Fr. Agnelo Gracias, he was rector from 1985 to 1993. Bishop John Rodrigues, right, is the Dean.
The “Ambassadors for Christ” greet the citizens of Mumbai on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.
Who is Ganesh, and what is this festival about?
It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods, barring Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel. The festival, also known as Ganeshotsav (“festival of Ganesha”) … The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September… The festival lasts for 10 days…
Traditional stories tell that Lord Ganesha was created by goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door while she bathed. Lord Shiva returned and, as Ganesha didn’t know him, he didn’t allow him to enter. Lord Shiva became enraged and asked his follower ghosts to teach the child some manners. Ganesha, being born of Parvati, the embodiment of shakti or power was very powerful himself. He defeated the ghost-followers (called as the “ganas”) and declared nobody was allowed to enter while his mother was bathing. Sensing a growing turmoil, the sage of heavens, Narada, along with the Saptarshi (the seven wise rishis) went to appease the boy with no results. Angered, the king of gods, Indra attacked the boy with his entire heavenly army but even they didn’t stand a chance. By then, this issue had become a matter of pride for Parvathi and Shiva. After the devas were defeated, the trinity, the controller, preserver and destroyer of the universe launched an attack against Ganesha. Amidst the fight, Shiva severed the head of the child and brought on Parvati’s rage. Seeing her son dead, Parvathi revealed her true self, as the Adi-shakti, the prime energy that fuels the universe and sustains matter. Taking on a terrible form, she vowed to destroy the universe where her son was killed and re-create a better one. The Gods prostrated before her and Shiva promised that her son would live again. The trinity hunted the world for a head and came across a mother elephant crying for her dead baby. They consoled the mother and fixed the head of the baby elephant in place of Ganesha’s head. Lord Shiva also declared that from this day, the boy would be called as “Ganesha” (Gana-Isha=lord of the Ganas). In this way, Lord Ganesha came to be depicted as the elephant-headed God.
Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the important Hindu festivals celebrated throughout India with a great devotion. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesh is the symbol of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.
Catholic affinity for the Hindu deity Ganesh [Ganpati/Ganapati] is not new. An extract from my 2005 report
LOTUS AND THE CROSS-THE HINDUISATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN INDIA
[Transcript from a DVD titled “India: The Lotus and the Cross” made by Vishnu Mathur, Toronto, Canada]
[Citing Fr. Hillary Fernandes of Our Lady of the sea Church, Uttan, Thane, Archdiocese of Bombay]
Fr. HF: [laughing heartily] “By being [words unclear] inculturated idea was that I have installed Jesus in the form of a Ganapati [laughs]. [Pictures of Ganapati and the Sacred Heart of Jesus are shown side by side on a wall altar].
“We call elephant-god. People understand, no, elephant-god. Achcha, similarity between Christ and Ganapati: Ganapati is Lord of the community, and Christ is called Lord of the community.” [Cut to picture of Jesus Christ next to one of Shirdi Sai Baba].
“The elephant had a big head, okay, and he had a big brain, so he would have wisdom. Christ is called the God of wisdom. His [Ganapati’s] stomach was the big stomach. That means that it takes all your sins and forgives you, and Christ takes away all the sins of the world. And these are several things I saw so similar. [Father continues to laugh] But people got shocked to their life and said How can you, eh, compare Ganapati with Christ? Ganapati is a language through this statue and through all this symbols to express the concept of Almighty God.“
I received the following letter written a few months ago by a lay person who claims to have contacted the Bishop-cum-rector Most Rev. Agnelo Gracias regarding the message board which I have shown on page 1.
Very soon the Holy Roman Catholic Church will host a synod, a gathering of select Bishops appointed by the Pope from all over the world. The theme chosen for the Synod is: “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”
What is the Synod? Pope Paul VI established the Synod of Bishops on 15 September 1965. At the Sunday Angelus of 22 September 1974, Pope Paul VI gave the definition of the Synod of Bishops as thus:
“It is an ecclesiastic institution (which means of priest and Bishops), which, on interrogating the signs of the times and as well as trying to provide a deeper interpretation of divine designs and the constitution of the Catholic Church, we set up after Vatican Council II in order to foster the unity and cooperation of bishops around the world with the Holy See. It does this by means of a common study concerning the conditions of the Church and a joint solution on matters concerning her mission. It is neither a Council nor a Parliament but a special type of Synod”.
What seems heartening news going around the Archdiocese of Bombay is the appointment of Cardinal Oswald Gracias as one of the Synod fathers by Pope Benedict XVI. In other words he will play an important leadership role in the deliberations of the synod.
Is Cardinal Oswald Gracias appointment heartening news for anyone in the Church?
His appointments of persons involved in heretical activities in certain key positions in the Archdiocese, his failure to act against errant clergy, his soft pedaling stand along with his auxiliaries on leading Women Priest activists, and the flagrant abuse of Canon Law in the Archdiocese and possible false reporting to the Vatican are all cause for serious concern.
In a recent interview on Vatican Radio (23 September, 2012), he led the world astray by claiming that the Archdiocese of Bombay is having a consultation on the same theme: re-evangelization and evangelization.
Later, explaining the Indian and Asian priorities, he communicated his doubts by saying that the gospel has to answer the three priorities:
-Diversity of cultures
-Economic concerns and poverty
-Plurality of religion
In the above: How can action precede doubt? How can conclusions precede deliberations? How can priorities precede a set theme?
If according to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archdiocese has chosen the theme of Evangelization (which is not true, but lets assume it is true), then it means that the church of Bombay, headed by Cardinal Oswald Gracias is sure about what evangelization is all about. If he is so certain, then why the three areas of doubt voiced later?
Let’s analyze few of his public statements available in the public forum:
-Recent annual gathering of the Diocesan Clergy in Mumbai from February 14-16 where the theme chosen was, “New Evangelization: Its Meaning, Relevance and Ways of Doing in India.”
His whole sermon was on the existence of two Indias, and that priest should make an option for the poor. His final punch line was no different from that of a politician: “Go back committed with good ideas to change India,” (If this is not material emancipation in the name of Evangelization, then what is it?) Read the complete article to get a glimpse into Cardinal Oswald Gracias mindset. (http://www.ucanindia.in/news/cardinal-asks-priests-to-bridge-richpoor-gap/16911/daily)
-The 161 Bishops, gathered at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, for the 30thGeneral Body Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India from Feb. 1–8, 2012, under the leadership Cardinal Oswald Gracias claimed that they prayerfully reflected, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, on the theme: “The Church’s Role for a Better India.”
But, nowhere in their concluding statement is a hint on Evangelization as a means for a better India.
The Archdiocese of Bombay will soon have a consultation from 12-14 of November, 2012; the theme chosen for the consultation is: The Church in Mumbai Called to Joyfully Witness Christ Today. (And not evangelization or re-evangelization as claimed by Cardinal Oswald Gracias in an interview on Radio Vatican.)
Do not get carried away by such lofty themes. It is not new for the Archbishop, his auxiliaries and the select coterie of theologians to lead the church astray in Mumbai, by making the laity feel involved in the process and then arriving at their own conclusions. According to one senior priest of the Archdiocese, this insidious game has been played on the priests and laity for the past over 30 years, ever since the first so called “Synod” in the Archdiocese approximately 30 years ago.
Let me conclude: falsity and deception in the Consultation in the following # 4 points:
1. The term ‘witness’ is neither defined, nor elaborated even though it is the theme of the consultation.
2. Methodology used to prepare for the Consultation: Sociological Survey
3. Emphasis on Small Christian Communities without a critical evaluation of its working, the harm done by unbridled imposition of its vague spirituality at the cost of various sound Catholic spiritualities, finds no mention.
4. The term evangelization, proclamation and witnessing takes on a different meaning deviating from sound doctrine; it becomes a programme in human emancipation.
A very recent shocking example is the message on the display board in the very centre of learning for diocesan clergy where the future priests are formed and which prompted me to write this article out of sheer frustration. It is a message for all passers-by at the St. Pius College seminary, Mumbai wishing them: “Happy Ganesh Chaturthi.”
I even made a phone call to the rector, Bishop Agnelo Gracias to have it removed, and despite assurances there has been no concrete action, even after a week.
The Cardinal, His Eminence Oswald Gracias, has been to the seminary in the meanwhile, along with Fr. Raymond O’Toole, secretary of the FABC, on 23 September, 2012 and yet no action was taken.
There is nothing new in such proclamation of corrupt or worldly messages through the display boards of the various parishes in the Archdiocese. And this coming from the Seminary display board whose rector is, for reasons best known to the Cardinal and maybe the Vatican, Bishop Agnelo Gracias.
This speaks volumes for the state of the Church in Bombay. We the Catholics have been left to the mercy of such clergy.
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Categories: Hinduisation of the Catholic Church in India