OCTOBER 22, 2016
The wilful misinterpretation of Church documents by Indian inculturationist theologians
The Document Nostra Aetate declares that “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men” #2.
NOSTRA AETATE-DECLARATION ON THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS
PAUL VI, VATICAN COUNCIL II OCTOBER 28, 1965
In my three-plus decades of Catholic ministry, I have heard the arguments and read the writings of many priests, theologians, progressives, liberals, modernists and inculturationists (Hinduisers) who cite those two sentences to justify what they believe, teach and practise and which conservatives find to be erroneous, New Age, and even heretical.
But not a single one of them EVER reproduces the sentence that IMMEDIATELY follows in the very same paragraph:
“Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.“
The Document says absolutely NOTHING about our being obliged to assimilate, adapt, adopt or incorporate the “ways of conduct and of life, those rules and teachings” of the adherents of pre-Christian religions into our faith, rituals and way of life. It simply says that Catholics need not reject but may respect what is true and holy for them.
Those first two sentences are made out of deference to the religions that non-Christians hold to because of their “invincible ignorance” and to remind Catholics who have through no merit of their own received from God the free gift of the Faith through Baptism to treat with dignity those not similarly blessed by God with the fullness of revelation and who live in partial or complete ignorance of the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
They are not a mandate for Catholics to imitate or borrow what they might think is “holy” from those religions.
For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils…
The Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible
For all other gods are worthless idols…
(Even the syncretistic) St. Pauls 2008 New Community Bible
St. Paul’s teaching on Christians’ being “all things to all men” does not give licence to believers to participate in idol worship and pagan rituals, no matter what some liberal or modernist interpretations might say even using a sentence or two from Nostra Aetate (#2) or other Pontifical Documents in isolation from the context.
I prefer to reflect on our ‘jealous’ God’s many warnings to His Chosen People especially in the Old Testament books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. He wanted the people of Israel to maintain not their racial purity but also their spiritual purity. He knew that any interest by the Israelites in the religious activities of the neighbouring tribes would lead to the assimilation of their rituals, practices and even adoption of their gods, and to monumental disaster to the Jewish people, and this is exactly what happened several times over.
“You will be lured into following them*.
Do not inquire regarding their gods, ‘How did these nations worship their gods? I, too, would do the same’.“
Deuteronomy 12:30, New American Bible
*The New Jerusalem Bible:
“Beware of being entrapped into copying them.“
Whenever that passage comes to my mind, I like to imagine that God was saying “Do not EVEN inquire regarding their gods.“
The Philippines Bishops’ Conference’s Christian Community Bible translation reads as “Do not look at their gods, saying…“
The Knox Translation, Catholic, 1955, reads “Do not hanker after their observances.“
TRUE AND HOLY
If the Church is “One, HOLY, Catholic and Apostolic”, She cannot be partially Holy; The Bride of Christ is the epitome of holiness.
What She teaches cannot be partial Truth; it must be the fullness of Truth.
If Jesus Christ came to reveal to us God the Father and to send down on us God the Holy Spirit, to institute the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church that are the unique channels of sanctifying grace to assist sinful man in his pursuit of the highest levels of human holiness that enable him to enter everlasting life, and if He had to die a miserable and torturous death in the Cross to make that possible, it stands to both logic and reason that there can be no other alternative, even a minor or circuitous one.
Something is holy and wholly True, or it is a pretense, a lie, a supposition or a philosophizing of the Truth.
Therefore, for those who prepared the text of the Document, to have used the words “true and holy” in the cited passage in the context of other religions is a sort of oxymoron.
Something that the revealed Word in numerous Scripture verses says is untrue and unholy cannot under any circumstances become the complete opposite.
Since God does not change and Truth does not change — though the ‘father of lies’ manifests his evil designs in different disguises and through different means according to the times to deceive those people of God who are unwary — do not God’s warnings hold true even today? Inculturation and interreligious dialogue can be instruments of witnessing to Jesus Christ and His Gospel (John 14:6, Matthew 28: 19, 20) and herald God’s Kingdom on earth, but sadly they are being grossly abused by the clergy who end up paying obeisance to pagan deities such as the Hindu elephant-god Ganesha as my many reports have shown.
The second of the two sentences of the cited section of Nostra Aetate says that other religions only contain “a ray of that truth which enlightens all men”.
Key words: “a ray“, “that truth“.
Christ through the Church that he founded is that “truth which enlightens all men”. The Word of God (Scripture plus tradition and Church teaching) is the fullness of that revealed truth. But Catholic scholars and theologians would still prefer to chase “a ray of that truth”. They play with the mirror, struggling to grasp intangible reflections while ignoring the blazing glory of Light that is their treasured possession.
The Indian (or any other) bishops have not ever clarified in black and white, thus making equally clearly for the simple faithful what is not, exactly what is “true and holy in other religions” in the Indian context.
An EXTRACT from
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 01-A CRITIQUE
JULY 14, 2008
The New Community Bible (NCB) with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur was released in India by the Society of St Paul [St Pauls] “with commentary prepared by the best Bible scholars in India” during the Inaugural Eucharist of the Year of St Paul, on 28 June 2008 at Holy Name Cathedral, Colaba, Mumbai, which was presided over by His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias of the archdiocese of Mumbai. [Quotes from the NCB and other sources reporting on the NCB are within inverted commas]
Against Exodus 3:5, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” is a drawing [courtesy Fr Christopher Coelho OFM] of footwear in the foreground of a composite of the upper portions of a gurudwara, a church, a mosque and a Hindu temple (page 92). Though the church steeple is in the foreground, one may just miss it at first glance, as we did. The mosque and the temple are more prominent, especially the temple which is fairly eye-catching.
In place of the usual scholars’ commentary, there is a box on page 94. Mahatma Gandhi is quoted on “respect for other religions“, and on that we whole-heartedly agree with him and with whoever created the box. The writer refers to the “multi-religious and multi-cultural context of India“, suggesting that we meditate on that aspect with the picture. Now is the picture “multi-religious” or is it “multi-cultural” or both as the commentator prompts us to believe? No prizes for guessing.
The commentator then states, “In asking us to take off our sandals, Scripture is telling us that every place or manner in which God manifests himself is sacred, and therefore, every religion is deserving of our respect…” (Page 94)
We believe that this is a lie, a deliberate misinterpretation of the Word of God. Moses was in the presence of the Living God. To take Yahweh’s spoken word in a specific context in Exodus 3:5 and manipulate it to apply to the Ashtoreths and Baals of Moses’ time or their equivalents today, is blasphemy and goes against the First Commandment, which the same commentator said anyway is not a law*, which means it is not a commandment as such. Would the commentator-priest suggest that Moses take a stroll up to the local Baal-house, remove his sandals and meditate using the NCB? [Meditation — another word our priests love — through Vipassana, Yoga and Zen. What happened to prayer or good old contemplation?]
If Moses must not do that, why do we program a 21st century Indian Catholic to do the same, the name of the deity simply being different? Will those who have published the NCB say that God actually exhorted Moses as well as the People of God to worship at “sacred” Sai Baba shrines, dargahs and temples where most Indians believe “God manifests himself“? We suspect that some will. After all, the NCB has now certified all of them as holy ground.
The box commentary continues, “This concept is perfectly in keeping with the mind of the Church. A few of the pronouncements of the Second Vatican Council and subsequent teachings of the popes are given below to help in the meditation of the devout Catholic.”
a. The first “pronouncement” is, not unexpectedly, an excerpt from Nostra Aetate #2: “The Catholic Church rejects nothing what is true and holy in [other] religions. She looks with sincere respect upon those ways of conduct and of life, those rules and teachings which, though differing in many particulars from what she holds and sets forth, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men.” This is the favourite and inevitable quotation of the inculturationists. […]
*The commentary on the Ten Commandments: “It is not correct here to speak about laws… [They] are the charter of freedom of the children of God.”
Naturally, Hinduism must also have the equivalent of what was revered by the Israelites as The Law. So, the NCB commentator goes on to say: “The Indian scriptures speak of…” (Pages 121, 122)
An EXTRACT from
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 22-BISHOP AGNELO GRACIAS DEFENDS IT YET IT IS PULLED FOR REVISION
From a privately circulated letter of Bishop Gracias that was leaked to me by a Bishop:
C: Mr. Prabhu’s objections to the Illustrations
I find it difficult to respond to these objections because I know so little of art. I asked a priest and two knowledgeable laywomen to go through the illustrations. The priest and one laywoman found the illustrations quite in order. According to them, the illustrations are artistically done and very much in harmony with our faith. The second laywoman objected to the illustrations, especially the one of the woman with the bindi (which according to her had a Hindu connotation).
To take the two illustrations objected to by Mr. Prabhu:
The first one is on pages 92-93 of NCB of Moses and the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:1-12): Mr. Prabhu states: “Though the steeple is in the foreground, one may just miss it at first glance, as we did. The mosque and the temple are more prominent, especially the temple which is fairly eye-catching”.
This is reading too much in a picture. The fact that Mr. Prabhu almost missed the steeple is revealing – one sees what one is looking for!
Further, Mr. Prabhu objects to the commentary accompanying the picture on page 94:
“In asking us to take off our sandals, Scripture is telling us that every place or manner in which God manifests himself is sacred and, therefore, every religion is deserving of our respect, even if we do not accept all of their cultural and social wrappings. As Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Respect for other religions helps us to understand our own religion better’.”
On page 4 of his Critique, Mr. Prabhu states that this commentary is a “lie, a deliberate misinterpretation of the Word of God” spoken in a specific context, manipulating it “to apply to the Ashtoreths and Baals of Moses’ time.”
Is that so? Or is it a legitimate application of what God told Moses? Is not every place where God manifests himself sacred? Is not every religion deserving of our respect?
Sacred” and “deserving of our respect” are two very different things. A Gita or a Koran are definitely deserving of our respect but not necessarily sacred — as in how Catholics regard the Bible or sacramentals — to non-Hindus and non-Muslims.
Despite all the defensive arguments of the Bishop, the illustration — that of the larger temple and mosque with the diminutive church in the foreground on page 92 which collectively the learned commentators regarded as “holy ground” — has been expunged (along with others that I had objected to) from the First Revised Edition 2011 of the NCB!!
The Bishop also fails to mention in his “rebuttal” of my critique that page 94 too of the 2008 NCB has been excised, most certainly on his instruction, and is not included in the 2011 Revised Edition!!!!!
Page 94 is a defensive justification of the line drawings on pages 92 and 93, that of describing the temple, the mosque and the gurudwara on page 92 as “sacred” or “holy ground” as of Moses in the presence of the Living God Yahweh in Exodus 3:5 on page 93.
Page 94 carried two excerpts from Vatican II Documents including Nostra Aetate #2 as well as one from Ecclesia in Asia (see following pages).
With the offensive illustration on page 92 pulled, there remained no reason to retain the justification in the commentators’ box on page 94. Hence its removal.
Other inculturationists who interpret the above-cited two sentences of Nostra Aetate as a Vatican mandate for the Hinduisation of the Church prefer the second most invoked (by them) Document, Pope John Paul II’s November 6, 1999 Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia #15, and it – as also the four preceding paragraphs — simply says good things about the Asian peoples and their tolerance, harmony, non-violence, etc.
“Following the lead of the Second Vatican Council, the Synod Fathers drew attention to the multiple and diversified action of the Holy Spirit who continually sows the seeds of truth among all peoples, their religions, cultures and philosophies. This means that these religions, cultures and philosophies are capable of helping people, individually and collectively, to work against evil and to serve life and everything that is good. The forces of death isolate people, societies and religious communities from one another, and generate the suspicion and rivalry that lead to conflict. The Holy Spirit, by contrast, sustains people in their search for mutual understanding and acceptance. The Synod was therefore right to see the Spirit of God as the prime agent of the Church’s dialogue with all peoples, cultures and religions.”
Key word: “seeds“.
Another quotation invoked by the inculturationists for their ends is taken from #53 of Pope Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation “On Evangelization in the Modern World”, Evangelii Nuntiandi, December 8, 1975:
“The non-Christian religions carry within them the echo of thousands of years of searchings for God, a quest which is incomplete… They are impregnated with innumerable ‘seeds of the Word’ and can constitute a true ‘preparation for the Gospel’.”
Key words: “echo“, “searchings … incomplete“, “seeds“, “preparation“. What can be clearer than that?
A fourth favourite of the inculturationists which they misinterpret to justify what they do is from #26 of The Attitude of the Church Towards the Followers of Other Religions: Reflections and Orientations on Dialogue and Mission, Statement of the Pontifical Secretariat for Non-Christians, June 10, 1984, the key phrases, all of which are in fact quotes from Vatican II Documents: “elements
which are true and good” (Lumen Gentium 16); “elements
of truth and grace“, “seeds
of the Word“; “seeds
of contemplation“; (Ad Gentes 9, 11 &15, 18) and “rays of truth
which enlighten all men.”
Key words: “elements“, “seeds“, “rays“.
Do these Church teachings exhort Catholics — who possess the fullness of Truth and Light — to nurture the embers and seeds of the religious aspirations of non-Christians with the Gospel, or do they direct Catholics to explore the echoes, searchings, elements and rays of other religions and to experiment with them?
It is the latter that the inculturationists would have us believe. And how! The commentator(s) noted that this was “the mind of the Church”. It sure is! But, to quote selectively is to deceive.
All four of the above citations were cleverly inserted into the full page box on page 94 as part of the commentary on the Book of Exodus in the heretical St Pauls’ New Community Bible (NCB) 2008, a publication that had the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur but was withdrawn by the bishops after a year-long-crusade and media campaign led by this ministry which took the matter to Vatican dicasteries in Rome.
Reader, be informed that the entire page 94 mis-citing for devious and insidious purposes all those Vatican Documents was excised from the 2011 Revised Edition of the NCB (along with the drawing on page 92)!
In fact, at least 90% of those contents of the NCB that we protested against were expunged.
The stand of this ministry was vindicated.
In John Paul II and the Other Religions: From Assisi to “Dominus Iesus”
http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/19632?eng=y, the Vaticanista Sandro Magister wrote (June 18, 2003):
In effect, beginning from the affirmation of the Second Vatican Council in the decree “Nostra Aetate,” according to which “the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in other religions,” the period after the council saw the widespread approval of the idea of transforming the missions into a simple commitment to foster the maturation of the “seeds of truth” present in the various religions – in other words, to help the Hindu be a good Hindu or help the Muslim worship his one God – as if these seeds were themselves distinct ways of salvation, independent of Christ and even more independent of the Church.
A Traditionalist perspective:
The Inculturated Mass: Forerunner of the Abomination Unto Desolation?
By Cornelia R. Ferreira firstname.lastname@example.org
On March 12, 2000, Pope John Paul and officials of the Curia made a public set of apologies for the “sins” of the pre-conciliar traditional Church against the rights of man. Cardinal Arinze, who was head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, apologized for the Church’s “attitudes of rejection and exclusion, consenting to acts of discrimination on the basis of racial and ethnic differences”. His apology paralleled the accusation of Hinduized monk Bede Griffiths who said the Church’s exclusivism would have to be transcended. Christianity, he said, has to move beyond doctrine to seeing the common mysticism uniting all religions, i.e., to see the equality of true Catholic mysticism with occultism.
This heresy goes by the name “unity in diversity,” “diversity in unity”, “unity in multiplicity,” or “multiplicity in unity”. If the Catholic Church doesn’t allow converts to retain their pre-conversion beliefs, or other Catholics to embrace pagan ideas, then she can’t be part of the New World Order, as this is “discrimination” against the human right to freedom of religion and it is completely forbidden. And if she doesn’t want to be part of the New World Order, then she can expect elimination. Vatican II opted for the New World Order.
The word “inculturation” was reputedly coined in 1962 by a French theologian, but it didn’t make its way into general use right away; but the concept was promulgated by Vatican II, as Pope John Paul himself noted. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which has the task of overseeing inculturation also tells us that the 1963 conciliar document Sacrosanctum Concilium, The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (SC), called for inculturation of the Roman Rite, but the word used was “adaptation” – adaptation “to different groups, regions and peoples”. The Jesuits adopted the term “inculturation” in 1975 possibly as the equivalent of “enculturation”, which refers to the learning process in which a person is “socialized”, i.e., he is inserted into a culture to absorb its values.
In 1979 Pope John Paul introduced the term into Church documents to express what he and others considered the ongoing incarnation of the Church into different autonomous cultures, as a parallel to Jesus’ incarnation not just into humanity, but into Jewish culture. This belief furnishes the novel rationale for adapting Church liturgy to different cultures, which means adopting pagan rites or religious customs to show the local church is not controlled by “foreigners” and is therefore “a sign of salvation” to the people of that country. This is called inserting the Gospel or inserting Christianity into the culture, which is a far cry from teaching Catholic truth and converting non-Catholics into the universal Apostolic Church, as Jesus commanded.
As with the socialization of a person, inserting the Gospel into a culture does not mean Christianizing that culture, but it means changing the Gospel, i.e., the Faith, to fit into the cultural milieu. The process is called a “mutual critical correlation or encounter between the Gospel and culture”. This parallels the call by Gaudium et Spes for the Church to be relevant in today’s world. But this is a pagan, occult, humanist world, and only an anti-Catholic counterchurch can fit into it.
So when the Congregation for Divine Worship says inculturation “can be a source of enrichment,” it can only be enrichment for the counterchurch. The rationale is that “seeds of the Word” are hidden in pagan religions, and so you are justified in embracing their sacred customs and are enriched by doing so. John Paul asserted that through inculturation the Church “becomes a more intelligible sign of what she is”. Well, if she’s got Aztec dances and Hindu puja mixed with her Mass, the sign is that she’s a paganized counterchurch. He also said she becomes “a more effective instrument of mission”. That mission is re-paganizing Catholic natives, as is happening in India and on the reserves in Canada. Indeed, in many Christianized lands, missionaries are deliberately reversing the work of their saintly predecessors, some of whom were martyrs. They are teaching the natives what they claim are the traditions that were taken away from them by the wicked pre-conciliar church, and which they should now proudly embrace.
Here is another (page 4) from Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation “On Evangelization in the Modern World”:
Evangelii nuntiandi, 80: AAS 69 (1976), 73: “Besides, it is added, why proclaim the Gospel when the whole world is saved by uprightness of heart? We know likewise that the world and history are filled with “seeds of the Word“; is it not therefore an illusion to claim to bring the Gospel where it already exists in the seeds that the Lord Himself has sown?”
The fascination with the “seeds” persists till today:
A. From the Synod on the Family – the mid-way report
October 13, 2014
20. Realizing the need, therefore, for spiritual discernment with regard to cohabitation, civil marriages and divorced and remarried persons, it is the task of the Church to recognize those seeds of the Word that have spread beyond its visible and sacramental boundaries. Following the expansive gaze of Christ, whose light illuminates every man (cf. John 1, 9; cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22), the Church turns respectfully to those who participate in her life in an incomplete and imperfect way, appreciating the positive values they contain rather than their limitations and shortcomings.
Truth and beauty of the family and mercy
21. The Gospel of the family, while it shines in the witness of many families who live coherently their fidelity to the sacrament, with their mature fruits of authentic daily sanctity must also nurture those seeds that are yet to mature, and must care for those trees that have dried up and wish not to be neglected.
Cardinal Burke: Synod’s mid-term report “lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium”
October 14, 2014
The Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura says that a statement from Pope Francis “is long overdue”…
In the mid-term report the Synod Fathers speak of how it’s the task of the Church to recognize those seeds of the Word that have spread beyond its visible and sacramental boundaries. They appeal to the “law of graduality*“, as a reflection of the way God reached out to humanity and led His people forward step by step.
Guwahati Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil SDB in “Inculturation of the Sacred Liturgy in Asia: Possibilities and Problems,” Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection 73:2, February 2009, “notes the considerable difficulties facing inculturation in the contemporary Indian context, which such pastoral documents have addressed, warns against what he calls the ‘commodification of religion’, (which tends to denigrate the ‘sense of the sacred’ expressed by various religious symbols), and advocates “the principle of graduality*,” (by which the Church has historically only slowly accepted the insights of ‘other’ cultures—especially their philosophical and artistic heritages)” notes Jon Anderson, http://wisc.academia.edu/JonAnderson/Papers/237033/Sacrosanctum_Concilium_and_Inculturation_of_Liturgy_in_the_Post-Conciliar_Indian_Catholic_Church.
[Francis’ exhortation a radical shift to see grace in imperfection, without fearing moral confusion
By Joshua J. McElwee, Vatican City, April 8, 2016. National Catholic Reporter, liberal
Pope Francis puts forward the notion of “graduality*“ meaning that Catholics may sometimes grow toward adherence or understanding of church teaching throughout their lives.
*Commented the eminent blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
October 16, 2014
We had serious questions about the presentation of the principle of GRADUALITY. We wished to show in our amendments that we are not speaking of the GRADUALITY of DOCTRINE of faith and morals, but rather the gradual moral growth of the individual in his or her actions.
*Archbishop Gadecki’s intervention: The Church cannot bend to the will of man
October 12, 2015
It needs to be reaffirmed that the Church cannot accept the so-called law of graduality or the gradual path.
By Edward Pentin, October 26, 2015
There was explicit rejection of the theory of graduality of the law.]
B. A liberal priest who closely associates with the NBCLC felicitates the release of the New Community Bible which eventually was pulled and heavily revised because of its syncretism and heresies:
The First Indian Catholic Bible in English: A Catechetical Appraisal
By Fr. Gilbert Choondal SDB
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.1 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 Kanachikuzhy SSP.2
“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 Genesis 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.
1 Cf. GDC, n. 200
2 Augustine Kanachikuzhy, Presentation, in The New Community Bible, (Mumbai: The Bombay St. Paul’s Society, 2008), viii.
Cardinal Ivan Dias – Teacher of the Faith
By Bishop Thomas Dabre, June 26, 2006
Evangelisation is not only promoting the values of Christ but the very person of Christ for He is the unique and universal Saviour of all mankind. Such a conviction will help us steer clear of indifferentism, syncretism and relativism.
Cardinal Ivan affirms quite clearly: The missionary task of the Church is therefore immense, and there is place for every Christian and for all Christians. This challenge, of course, differs from place to place, though its essence remains the same everywhere, viz., not just proclaiming Gospel values, but spreading the sweet fragrance of the sacred person of Jesus Christ, Son of God and unique and universal Saviour of all humankind. It is He who brings to maturity (fulfilment) the seeds of the Word sowed by the Holy Spirit in world religions and cultures all down the ages. This point is particularly important in today’s context of religious pluralism, indifferentism and relativism, which is prevalent even in some theological circles, and of a fundamentalist secularism promoted by well-known secret sects and New Age practices which aim at making God irrelevant to human beings. Our missionary mandate would therefore require, first and foremost, a sincere appreciation of our Christian roots and a bold affirmation of our ethos and identity. Else, we shall be, in Jesus’ own words, like “salt that has lost its savour” or a “light hidden under a bushel” (Mt. 5:7). (The Examiner, January 22, 2005).
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger presents Dominus Iesus declaration–If Everything Is Relative, Christianity Makes No Sense
September 5, 2000
“As regards the dialogue with other religions, Cardinal Ratzinger, a theologian who won international renown during Vatican Council II, specified that the idea that all religions in the world are complementary to Christian revelation ‘is erroneous.’ However, everything that is good and true in religions must not be lost, what is more, it must be recognized and appreciated. Wherever good and truth are found, these come from the Father and are the work of the Spirit; the seeds of the Logos are spread everywhere. But we cannot close our eyes in face of errors and deceptions, which are also present in religions.“
“recognized and appreciated“, said Pope Benedict XVI; not imitated, assimilated, inculturated…!!!!!
The “Spirit of Assisi” vs. Saint Francis of Assisi
By John Vennari, April 2002 (Traditionalist)
It is becoming increasingly obvious that within the Church since the Council we are now in the age of slogans: empty, meaningless slogans that really do not have much substance and that do not convey the true picture of what is actually being promoted.
We are all familiar with the slogans: the promise of a “new springtime,” a “civilization of love,” a “new Pentecost,” and now, a novel orientation named “the spirit of Assisi”. […]
Saint Francis spoke harsh words about those who do not accept Catholic truth. He did not speak in vague terms about the “seeds of truth found in all religions.” Nor did he announce his famous trip to preach to the Moslems as “an invitation to dialogue between the great monotheistic religions in the service of the human family” (5).
No. He preached the need for conversion of the non-Catholics to the one true Church of Christ for salvation.
In one of his oldest Admonitiones (“Admonitions”) to the Brothers in his Order, Saint Francis said the following regarding those who do not accept Catholic truth:
“All, who have seen Jesus in the flesh but have not seen Him after the Spirit and in His Divinity, and have not believed that He was really the Son of God, are doomed. Also those are doomed who see the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, which is consecrated with the words of the Lord on the altar and by the hand of the priest in the form of bread and wine, but do not see in it the Spirit and Divinity and have not believed that it really is Our Lord Jesus Christ’s most holy Body and Blood” (6).
5. Sadly, this is a direct quote from Pope John Paul II. See “On Pilgrimage to Mt. Sinai,” Origins, March 9, 2000. Regarding John Paul II’s disappointing commitment to ecumenical novelties, Fr. Joseph de Sainte Marie, who was a theologian and loyal son of the Pope, emitted the broken-hearted lament and warning: “In our day, and it is one of the most obvious signs of the extraordinarily abnormal character of the current state of the Church, it is very often the case that the acts of the Holy See demand of us prudence and discernment” (Cited from A propos, Isle of Skye, Scotland, No. 16, 1994, p. 5).
6. Admonitio prima de Corpore Christi (Quaracchi edition, p. 4), quoted in Johannes Jorgensen, St. Francis of Assisi (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1912), p. 55.
For more information on this issue, see my article RELATIONSHIP TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS
CAN DOCUMENTS OF THE MAGISTERIUM OF THE CHURCH CONTAIN ERRORS?
INFALLIBILITY OF THE POPE COUNCILS PAPAL AND VATICAN DOCUMENTS
SPIRIT OF ASSISI
Categories: Hinduisation of the Catholic Church in India