A Chile experiment in India?

To Cleanse  Indian Church

of sexual  & financial Rot?

  1. james kottoor

Given below is a  report from ‘Horses Mouth’ (from Inside the Vatican) and therefore most reliable. This is CCV comment on it. The report  is about the concluding part of the clerical sex abuse going on  for too long in Chile. The Pope had invited all Chile’s bishops – 34 (31 worfking and 3 retired), now in Rome. The meeting will last for three days starting on Sunday May13–15.


What could be the outcome of that meet? Action, action and action after months of talk? Or Forgive 70 times 7? Voluntary resignation by the key bishop accused or suspension by Pope? Bishop Barros, the eye in the storm had offered resignation more than once.


“We all know very well that the removal or dismissal of a bishop depends on the Pope, it would be illogical for us to make any comment on a faculty pertinent solely to the Holy Father”, said one bishop, which could well be the general attitude of the whole crowd. In any case Francis Pappa is leading the whole process started three months ago, remotely from 2011, to its logical conclusion.


 The fact is that the Pope is not targeting just the episcopate of Chile but the whole People of God (faithful) who make up 90% of the Church in Chile who want to see justice being meted out through deeds, not words alone.


In India?

     What could be its application for Episcopates in other countries across the world, especially for India where both sexual and financial abuses  were and are going on for long? To the credit of USA it must be said, it was the first country to report sexual abuse cases to civil authorities  and action has been taken –many still going – against dioceses and clergy men.


In india such cases are seldom discussed in public either in the secular or religious press. But the one that has hit international headlines is the Ernakulam land-sale scandal with Cardinal Alencherry in the eye of the storm. It is still going on for the last four months in the civil court, with new allegation of church property sold or transferred to the cardinal’s kith and kin(see report  in today’s Maters India).


Similarly there are sexual abuse cases as old as  “Sr.Abhaya” case in Kottayam and similar ones pending. In the context of such happenings, what the lay people who make us 90 % of the faithful as in Chile, would wish to see is that Pope Francis take a similar initiative to get the whole Indian Episcopate, divided under three Rites, Latin, Syromalabar and Syromalankara, to come together with the Pope guiding, to do some soul searching to take practical steps to wipe out both sexual and financial corruption.


Least transparent & most silent

While the Chile episcopate is made up of some 34 bishops, the Indian Episcopate has a strength of over 100 bishops and is one of the largest bishops’ conferences in the world. As far as transparency is concerned, it is perhaps one of the least transparent and most silent in dealing with clerical sexual abuse cases, while the faithful are becoming more and more vocal in discussing such issues.


One can only hope and pray that such corrective steps  would be taken, by Bishops’ conferences aroune the world, and specially in India, in the nearest future for the  good of the whole faithful who are left confused like sheep without enlightened shepherds to guide and lead. What is important is: “Delenda est Carthago” (Carthage must be destroyed), sexual and financial corruption in the Church in India and in all countries, must be wiped out. On this issue there can’t be two opinions. james kottoor, editor ccv.


Please read below the two reports

from the Vatican Insider


Abuse in Chile, what to expect

 After the Pope-bishops’ meeting?

Iacopo Scaramuzzi & Andrea Tornelli, in Vatican Insider(La Stampa),May 14, 2018


What will change after Francis’ talks with the Chilean pastors? The immediate

 renunciation of some bishop and a soon renewal within the hierarchies?

The two bishops Luis Fernando Ramos Perez and Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz during the conference in Rome on the meeting of the Chilean episcopate with the Pope


VATICAN CITY: The 34 Chilean bishops that the Pope has sum-

moned to the Vatican to face the pedophilia scandal will have the first of a series of meetings with Francis tomorrow afternoon. They are eager to “listen” to the Argentine Pontiff with an attitude of “pain and shame” for the crimes committed against minors and adults. In a press conference organized by the Chilean Bishops’ Conference on the eve of the event, two bishops assured that they did not know whether the Pope would have some bishops resign or about other measures he intended to take, but they were preparing for a period of “synodal” discernment with the Bishop of Rome that might last more than “two or three days”.


“The Pope invited all the bishops. We came from Chile in 34, 31 operative and 3 retired”, Monsignor Fernando Ramos Pérez, one of the seven auxiliary bishops of Santiago, explained in the meeting with the press at the premises of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication. “Our attitude is above all of pain and shamepain because there are victims who have suffered from the abuses and shame because these abuses have occurred in an ecclesial environment where they should never happen.


“Secondly, we want to listen to the Holy Father, and to Msgr. Scicluna’s own conclusions, we want to listen to what the Holy Father intends to tell us with the utmost availability. And, thirdly, we are preparing ourselves for the meeting with an attitude of openness to discernment together with the Holy Father, personal and communal discernment, to achieve, as the Pope said, a broad synodal process, a process of discernment and listening that gives us profound hope. We hope that this meeting will enable us to address these serious issues with the utmost willingness and spirit of change and renewal”.


At the moment, Monsignor Ramos added “we have received from the Holy See indications that there will be “several” group meetings with the Pope in the next days, the first meeting will be held on Sunday, Tuesday 15, in the early hours of the afternoon, in the hall of the Paul VI classroom,” the bishop said. “There is currently no Eucharist planned in Casa Santa Marta and we don’t know whether there will be one-to-one meetings”. A process of synodal discernment, he said, “takes a certain time, and I don’t think two or three days will do it”. We don’t have any further detail regarding “the organisation of these days”.


The two bishops explained that they were not aware if some bishops had arrived in Rome with a pre-signed letter of resignation nor if the Pope would have some heads roll: “We do not know, we have not met the Pope yet “, said Msgr. Ramos, “many scenarios are possible, of course we want to listen to the Pope and cooperate to repair the abuses”. It is not excluded, as far as the fate of individual bishops is concerned, that the Pope will want to hold personal meetings. As for the apostolic nuncio to Chile, Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, “he returned to Chile after having been to Italy for personal reasons”, but “he did not give the Chilean bishops any indications about their journey to Rome nor about the meeting with the Pope”. 


As for Juan Barros, the bishop of Osorno harshly criticized by the victims of the paedophile priest Fernando Karadima, the bishop of San Bernardo, Monsignor Juan Ignacio Gonzalez, who in the past had defended him, explained that he has actually been close to him in the recent past: “He is a brother, wounded, alone, and abandoned, I stood by him as an act of mercy. It is not up to me to judge him. I have not been in contact with him for two or three weeks,” said the prelate, who then did not further comment the presence of Jesuit German Arana who allegedly came to Rome with Barros.


Monsignor Gonzalez did not make any predictions over Cardinal Francisco Errazuriz, whom the victims of Father Karadima have harshly accused of covering up for his crimes: “When you meet the victims, you understand their reaction very well, even the harsh words”, he said. “We all know very well that the removal or dismissal of a bishop depends on the Pope, it would be illogical for us to make any comment on a faculty pertinent solely to the Holy Father”. In general, “it may be that the holy father has more information than we do, many send information to the Holy See,” said Gonzalez, who reiterated “we want to listen to the Pope”.


Commenting on the Pope’s request for forgiveness, and his subsequent meeting with the victims, Monsignor Ramos quoted the Gospel, “We must ask forgiveness 70 times 7. I believe that this is our great moral imperative. The important thing is that the request for forgiveness is really mending. For the auxiliary bishop, “it is not important whether we are humiliated or not,” he said in response to a question, “what matters is to activate whatever necessary, as Church, at the service of all and especially of the victims. We must cooperate in reparation.


We believe that it is a very important moment for the Church, which is made not only of bishops, priests, religious men and women but for its 90% by the people of God of whom we pastors are at the service. This is a complex moment, but it is also a moment that offers us the opportunity of great renewal”. For Ramos, “learning that there has been abuse in one of our communities is shocking. An abuse is unacceptable, intolerable, unjustifiable from every point of view, yet in the past we had neither the ability nor the knowledge to know what a victim experiences, it takes many years for them to decide to talk about it, there is an asymmetrical relationship and abuse of power: these are all things that we have discovered, we are in the process of discovering, and we want to move forward”.


Monsignor Gonzalez, for his part, claimed that the Chilean Bishops’ Conference has had since 2011 a commission for the prevention of abuse, of which he is a member, that has already developed various measures, but stressed that “we must make progress in some areas”. The bishop explained that some guidelines are inspired by Benedict XVI’s letter to the Irish Catholics, “but now we have come to listen to Peter”, namely Pope Francis, who “is an example to us” for having admitted errors, apologized and met with the victims. The “central point”, for Monsignor Gonzalez, are “the victims”: “We must walk on the path towards reparation for the victims, something we have already attempted, perhaps we have not been able to do it in the best way, but we must do it again: we will commit ourselves with humility, hope, following the teaching of Jesus”. For the prelate, however, “experience teaches us that the victims are always right. I don’t know the case of Karadima, my committee has been working since 2011, but you always have to give credit to the victims”. 


The two bishops have not said who is, in their opinion, to have misinformed the Pope on the situation of abuses in the Chilean Church. “We don’t even know what information he had received,” Ramos said. As for the letter revealed by the Associated Press in which some years ago the Pope dismissed the hypothesis of having the bishops who had been students of Karadima resign, “we never felt betrayed by the Holy Father”, Monsignor Ramos replied, “but we do not know how the facts evolved, what happened before, what actually happened, what information he received, and therefore we cannot say much”.


Finally, with regard to the hypothesis of financial compensation for the victims, “as Church – Monsignor Ramos said – we want to help heal a very deep and very painful wound and we are willing to look for the form that really helps heal the pain”. In some cases in the past, Gonzalez said, the victims have already “received economic compensation”.


The following is another report from Vatican insidser by Andrea Tornelli




Pope Franacis  had written this down in the letter sent on 8 April to the bishops of Chile, when he humbly requested their “collaboration and assistance in discerning the short, mid and long-term measures that must be adopted to re-establish ecclesial communion in Chile, with the goal of repairing as much as possible the scandal and re-establishing justice.”


And after the prolonged meetings in Santa Marta with the three victims of Father Fernando Karadima, and the press conference during which Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo called for “exemplary actions” so that the words of forgiveness would not “be in vain”, it is foreseeable that some decisions will arrive very soon.


The Holy See announced that at the end of the three days of talks with more than thirty Chilean bishops, from 15 to 17 May, there will be no statements by the Pontiff. But this does not exclude statements by the bishops themselves, just as obviously it does not exclude that Aannounced.


So, what to expect? The growing expectation, and the deterioration of the situation in Chile for all the clergymen close to the serial pedophile Karadima, suggest that a first papal decision may concern the four bishops belonging to Karadima’s brood, formed in his priestly union, of about fifty priests, many of whom today are in positions of responsibility. The bishops are Juan Barros Madrid, Bishop of Osorno, Horacio Valenzuela, Bishop of Talca, and Tomislav Koljatic, Bishop of Linares.


To these three must be added the auxiliary of Santiago Andrés Arteaga, who is seriously ill. All belonged to the priestly brotherhood of Karadima. All four allegedly presented their renunciation to the Pope before coming to Rome. As we know, Barros had already resigned twice before: yet his renunciations had always been rejected by Pope Bergoglio.


It is plausible that this time the willingness to step aside will be readily accepted. But the four closest to Karadima are not the only ones. There are several other bishops who have already passed the canonical age and have extended their service. Among these is the Cardinal Archbishop of Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello. Within a few months he could also be replaced, along with others over the age of seventy-five. Certainly, also the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, who has decided to retire, will be replaced shortly.  


A separate discourse is that concerning Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, Emeritus of Santiago, member of the C9, the council that helps the Pope in the reform of the Curia, accused by the victims of having covered up Karima’s crimes. He could soon leave the C9 due to his age as he is already 84 years old. After saying at first that he would not have come to Rome “for personal reasons” and that he had left a report of 14 folders on the Karadima case in the hands of the Pope, Errazuriz changed his mind and embarked on a flight to Rome.


 He, too, will be present along with the other bishops. With next June meeting, and the presentation of the draft for the new apostolic constitution concerning the reform of the Roman Curia, part of the C9 work will conclude . Francis could take thus the opportunity to renew it, replacing some of its members, including Errazuriz. 


We should also expect that the prayers and the penitential attitude of the Chilean Church will continue, and that the same Episcopal Conference, in order to avoid similar situations, will give more precise and effective guidelines on how to act in the face of complaints and reports, finally meeting the victims and showing them the closeness that Francis personally witnessed by receiving clerical sex abuse survivors in Santa Marta and having a long discussion with them.

However, the problem of misinformation remains in the background. Who did wrong? Who failed to adequately inform the Pontiff and led him to make mistakes that today Francis acknowledges and for which he has asked forgiveness? There are Chilean bishops, even of recent nomination, who have publicly declared that they want to know who is responsible.


In the certainly not bland nor indulgent communiqué released by the Holy See to announce the meetings with the Pope, explicit reference is made to the need to “discern together, in the presence of God, the responsibility of all, and of each one, for these devastating wounds” caused by sexual and power abuse occurred in the country, and “study changes to study suitable and long-lasting changes that can “prevent the repetition of these always reprehensible acts.”


Published May16/18, in CCV, Iindia;




Isaac Gomes ·

Executive Secretary at A.F.Ferguson & Co.

Dr Kottoor’s observation that the Indian episcopate is among the least transparent and most silent in dealing with sexual abuse cases, is because the Indian Church Hierarchy constantly drums from the pulpit the precept, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” without actually practising it!

  • See no Evil means the Bishops want their flock to be blind – not to see the wrong-doings (financial mismanagement / defalcation and sexual abuse) of the Church Hierarchy. (2) Hear no Evil means the Laity should not pay heed to its slip ups in its craze for money and power and (3) Speak no Evil means to be mute and meek and not discuss these (like taking Cardinal Alencherry to court for his Ernakulam land deal scam).

    Dr Kottoor’s observation that the Catholic lay people in India are becoming “more and more vocal in discussing such issues” is partially correct. Though the Laity constitutes ninety-nine percent of the Catholic Church (as was mentioned on 28th February 2018 by Bishop Stephen Lepcha -Chairman and Fr. Philip Kattakayam National Secretary for Laity Commission, at the Regional Laity Commission Convention at Sanjibani Pastoral Centre, Krishnanagar, West Bengal), it still prefers to be in a state of bliss code-named “Sleeping Giant” and is not alive to the murky goings-on in the Church. This is either due to its blind faith in the clergy or its inertia to make the church accountable in temporal matters. The Laity forgets that the Indian Church or for that matter the Universal Church, survives on the charity/donations of the Laity meant to be used for the welfare of the needy. Also many Lay Leaders are hand in gloves with the Church Hierarchy. They allow themselves to be used like rubber stamps to grab catering (liquor included), real estate, foreign exchange and other contracts from the Church. This is why they are on all important church committees and hold on to their posts through rotational basis. The Church finds it more convenient to deal with known devils than those who call a spade a spade. Here let me clarify, all priests and bishops are not tainted. A few good men and women do exist but they are outnumbered and silenced under the pain of ignominous transfers for going against their vows of obedience. Blind OBEDIENCE is the key word. But rules are meant to be bent or circumvented by the smart or the priviledged ones!

  • That the Church in India is seeped in corruption is evident from the fact that out of the 174 dioceses (of which 132 are Latin Church, 31 are Syro-Malabar, and 11 are Syro-Malankara), most DO NOT HAVE Parish Finance Committees (PFCs). In spite of repeated reminders and write-ups in various journals, the local bishops including the CBCI, are sleeping on the implementation in each parish. The parish priests show scant respect for the deadlines set, if any, by the respective bishops, for implementation of PFCs. NO OFFICIAL STATISTICS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE CBCI WEBSITE on how many parishes have PFCs. The Archdiocese of Calcutta is a classic example of this failure/inertia.
  • Also to show the world that everything is hunky-dory, hardly any Diocese or parish has a CRISIS MANAGEMENT CELL to take care of: (1) Smoldering Crises (which build up without being attended to and may erupt like a volcano any time), (2) Aftermath of crisis and (3) Recovery after a crisis.
  • The irony is the Indian Church hierarchy knows that the Vatican is 5920 kilometres away from New Delhi. It knows very well that it is very difficult for the Pope to keep a tab on it in the absence of systemic checks and balances as in done by corporates through monthly/quarterly MIS to Head Office. The Papal Nuncio at New Delhi is just a figurehead. He,like most bishops, does not even acknowledge communications from members of the Laity.

    The Church’s stand is: Spread only the “Good News.” So many good deeds worth reporting are being done by the Church. So why look for bad news, even if it is the Truth like financial impropriety, land scam or sexual abuse? Why publicise a truth which rattles up our community and does not help build it? Why should the Laity tax its brains? It should just Pay, Pray and Obey! Isaac Gomes, Kolkattsa

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George Nedumparambil ·

Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Thevara

An excellent presentation!

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George Nedumparambil ·

Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Thevara

What can the Pope do to prevent sexual abuses among priests? Precious little other than probably issuing a papal letter. The root cause is high testorone levels of some among the clergy. The priests can’t be blamed for it as they are simply victims of nature, a body function. So, it seems the priests have come to some kind of an informal understanding among themselves which essentially amounts to looking the other way when sexual escapade of one priest get noticed by the other. This ‘you scratch my back and I will yours ensures that rarely do abuses enter public domain. Therefore, the Pope may consider making celibacy optional.Also when victim is minor report to law enforcement officers.

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John Vigilius ·

Fujaira, Al Fujayrah, United Arab Emirates

This is the most appropriate thing to do for Pope Francis and would do a lot of good to the Church in India








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Cardinal Alancherry land deal loss … Dr. James Kottoor

What’s on Your mind? Asks face book


Cover story on cardinal

Alancherry land deal loss


                            http://almayasabdam.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/James-Kottor.jpgdr. james kottoor


                     What follows is what I happened to write on Face Book on December 30th night after seeing the night TV edition of the “cover story” on Saturdays. 


                     What is on your mind? Asks face book. It is 10 pm Saturday and I just finished seeing the Cover story on TV at 9.30 pm. It was all about Cardinal Alancherry and all the uproar  by around 300 Ernakulam priests who met on Dec. 21 against land deal which allegedly caused crores of loss and their plan to write to Pope before 31st to remove the cardinal from the post, according to reports in Times of India, but not in  any Malayalam dailies.


                   The commentator  said in substance.  Jesus promised to build his church on Peter the rock his representative, but the church in Kerala builds it on a firmer ROCK, money-power, than on Jesus. This alone is the cause of the great downfall from the height of moral principles they preach. Those up in arms promised to send a   letter to Pope  before Dec.31st to remove the Cardinal. Much more  details are in Times of India, for the last three days.

        “News 10 TV is all about this land deal and Pope,” rings up some one  from Chennai. So it seems the whole of concerned Christians are watching it and learning about it even when the Church authorities reportedly forbad priests not to discuss it in public, to keep the scandal as secrete as possible. Alas, when are they going to learn that the forbidden fruit is the most sought after thing, even from the Garden of Eden?


           Chasing Money power and empire building through religious colonization? Is it not what my friend Alancherry did when he went in a procession sporting a garland of Rupee Notes, which the CCV published long ago. Is it not what CCV has been writing regularly to persuade, Church men not to worship the golden calf of Money Power?

           There is no transparency or dialogue even between the three bishops in Ernakulam.  That is what Times of India report says, quoting Bishop Edayanthrath that even he did not know about the secrete Land deal. Oh Tempora oh mores! In what times are we living? Corruption of the best turns out to  be the worst! Or are we to day: “Father forgive him for he knew not what he was doing.” I am of the view that he did it out of crass ignorance! Culpable or not, you judge, I can’t!

       These are some of the many facts that forced me to write that the Cardinal should imitate Pope Benedict and go. Now that there is an uproar for it, it may wiser that he resigns on his own rather than forced to do it.   

          Of course I am unable to believe that he is that money crazy or power crazy. Bad advice from trusted friends must have forced him to do the wrong, thinking it was right. I feel terribly sorry for him, for what is happening in Ernakulam in the Syromalabar Church. Unfortunately he happens to be also   the Supreme head of the Syromalabar Church!

          Is he going to present his  Church as a Big Zero before the whole world? God forbid, let not that happen, I pray, although I am not aligned to any Church for that matter, fear of betraying JESUS! It is my belief that none of the   organized churches can bear witness to Jesus, since they all end up like Pharisee praying in the temple. Hence my commitment to be the last in the line of the CATLE CLASS of Jesus.

          Jesus had promised, that didn’t come to bring peace but war, the sword that cuts to hurt and divide. It looks the second part of his promise is being fulfilled, from Pope Francis in Rome to Cardinal Alancherry in Ernakulam. Your role and mine is not to stand and watch as mute spectators but join the side of TRUTH which  alone can lead us to light and peace through the New Year!  Delanda est Carthago! (Carthage must be destroyed) Truth is mighty and is sure to win.

            Let TRUTH grow into a mighty Mango tree and produce delicious mangoes called by various names. Only we have to make sure that we cultivate TRUTH that sweeten hearts, not embitters minds!

                 Times of India(TOI) Headlines

           TOI of Dec.27, 28, and 29 reports on the Ernakulam Church’s land mismanagement. TOI 27 headlines reads: “ Church land row: Cardinal abstains from Xmas mass. Dec.28: “Priests seek cardinal’s removal for land deal, to write to Pope,” and “Council of priests restricts functioning of Vicar General.”

             TOI 29: “Land deal a moral crisis for Church”, and “Bishop sees a moral root to Crisis.” Quoting Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath’s letter to priests,  TOI writes: The land deal “has landed the  Archdiocese not just in financial crisis, but in a serious ethical crisis as well… the auxiliary bishops were unaware of the purchase of land in Kothamangalam and Idukki…. the debt has now increased to RS. 84 crore.”


                  On Dec.21st there was an extraordinary meeting of Ernakulam priests and according to TOI report  over 300 priests attended. This is the first time that Christmas celebrations in the Cathedral was conducted by the parish priest and not  the cardinal, who for the purpose of news was reported sick. What happened in Ernakulam is a howling example of what happens when top Church officials adamantly say  NO to both Transparency and Dialogue in the Church which they call “FAMILY” for display or advertising purpose only.




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Wish you A Happy or Sorry Christmas? dr. james kottoor


Christmas is YOU!
Read this beauty of Pope Francis
“Christmas is usually a noisy party: we could use a bit of silence, to hear the voice of love.
“Christmas is you: when you decide to be born again each day and let God into your soul.
The Christmas Pine is you, when you resist vigorous winds and difficulties of life.
The Christmas decorations are you, when your virtues are colors that adorn your life.
The Christmas bell is you, when you call, gather and seek to unite.
You are also a Christmas Light, when you illuminate with your life, the path of others with kindness, patience, joy and generosity.
The Christmas angels are you when you sing to the world a message of Peace, Justice and Love.
The Christmas star is you, when you lead some one to meet the Lord.
You are also the wise men, when you give the best you have, no matter who.
Christmas music is you, when you conquer the harmony within you.
The Christmas gift is you, when you are truly, friend and brother of every human being.
The Christmas Card is you, when kindness is written in your hands.
The Christmas greeting is you, when you forgive and reestablish peace, even when you suffer.
The Christmas dinner is you, when you give bread and hope to the poor man who is by your side.
You are, yes, Christmas night, when humble and conscious, you receive in the silence of the night the savior of the world without noise or great celebrations; you are a smile of trust and tenderness, in the inner peace of perennial Christmas, that establishes the kingdom within you.
A very merry Christmas for all those who look like Christmas. Pope Francis.

Wish you A Happy or Sorry Christmas?
dr. james kottoor
When the world’s affordable, comfortable class, they are very few, rejoice and revel in a sea of affluence and merry go round of a throw away culture, the vast majority of the poor of Yahweh, the Lazar ruses of this world are asked and advised to stay spiritually detached from the necessities they don’t and can’t posses!

What are they? Who lack a roof over their head, food and clothing, a job to meet daily needs, lack of humane helpful company to replace the jungle surroundings of animals like cows, goats and donkeys as in a Christmas crib.
Then comes the exhortation not to succumb to sadness and despair about the hopeless yearning for the necessities of daily living they lack, but to stay spiritually detached to rejoice like the noisy crowd, over what they posses and consume, but denied to the rest.

Is this not the harsh reality of Jesus’ birth in a cattle shed, apparently to give his heavenly (or earthly?) gifts of peace, joy, love and blessings for the dawn of abundance, instead of a paradoxical Cattle Class growing by leaps and bounds ahead of the comfortable class in numbers?
Optimism and pessimism are both taboo rationally. What about realism we all are forced to grapple with daily? Who will come to our aid to get us out of this grinding pain and misery, confusion and dilemma?
We are just ‘Know nothings’ waiting for enlightenment wondering where to turn! Come Lord, come, if you are still a live Lord above, below, around or within us, we pray! We too want to join the chorus singing heard around: Happy Christmas, happy New Year!
Only disappoint us not with stories of your triumph over a cross! We are already hung up on a cross of life, crowned with thorns surrounded by a Trump in US, May in England, Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and Modi in India! Bless them all, also us LORD!

What’s Christmas?
It’s Self-emptying, Highest
Becoming the Lowest!
(the cattle class!)

dr. james kottoor
“His (Jesus’) state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave and became as men are, he was humbler yet, even accepting death, death on a cross.” (Phil. 2,7)

Llisten more from Apostle Paul: “If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade you all,…then be united in your convictions and love, with a common purpose and common mind….There must be no competition among you, no conceit, but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interest first but everybody thinks of the other people’s interest instead.” (Phi.2, 1-5)
This is what ought to constitute the essence of anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus or calls himself/herself a ‘Christian’. This name was first used in Antioch many years after Jesus’ death, but never during Jesus’ life. With the advent of thousands of churches in the middle ages the original group was called ‘Catholic’ and the rest Christian. Thus the name ‘Catholic ’which aught to mean universal actually became ‘Ghetto’. Why?

Ghetto Catholics?
The original Christian community usurped that name, to distinguish itself after many groups rebelled and broke away especially with the historic Lutheran Schism. In effect what JESUS meant for all, his followers made it particular, each organizer assuming a particular name. Result? Today there are thousands of organized Churches, starting with names of the organizers. Hence also the hue and cry that ‘Organized Religions’ meant for organizers should end.

Slavish service: Hall mark
To come back to the main theme we started with; ‘What is Christmas and what it means to be a follower of Jesus, the simple answer is; All those who follow the life and teachings of Jesus in word and deed should do the self-emptying to become the least, a ‘slave’ to serve humbly those most in need.

If all have to have that humble mentality of a ‘Slave’ to serve those most in need, where is place for inequality; where is room for master and servant; where is place for a higher and lower of class distinctions of a Hindu caste system; where is any room for a hierarchical class system that starts with the laity on the ground and goes up step by step – religious, clerics/priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and the Pope at the top of the ladder – all of which brooks no breaking?

Outstanding Exceptions
Of course our present Pope who places himself one step below the laity to deserve the title: “Servant of servants” is a towering exception, frowned upon and fought against by many power hungry top personalities in the hierarchy, who want to shine like peacocks in appearance and dominate others like a tiger or lion in the jungles.

The patron saints of these crooked canvassers were already among the 12 apostles of Jesus: James and John who tried in vain to sit on the right and left as Prime Ministers in his kingdom. They used their mother to plead with Jesus to grant them that coveted honor. This type of canvassing is being done even today under the reign of Francis which he stoutly opposes and therefore has become a Bate Noire, an arch enemy of many aspiring bishops and cardinals.
Saint rebuking Pope
There were also Popes with such craze for pomp and power. Listen to what St. Bernard said to such a pope Eugenius III (pope from 1145-1153) who was his subordinate before: “When the pope, clad in silk, covered with gold and jewels, rides out on his white horse, escorted by soldiers and servants, he looks more like Constantine’s successor than St Peter’s”. That was witnessing par excellence to the spirit of Jesus, which we are discussing here.

It was precisely to correct this wrong lifestyle and outlook that Pope John XXIII called the Vatican II: “to sweep clean the dust of the empire accumulated on the throne of Peter, ever since the time of Constantine” and what Francis does one better by saying: “I am a sinner!”. Much before him St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo described himself: “For you I am a Bishop, but with you I am a Christian” to emphasis his equality with all followers of Jesus who emptied himself to serve as “Emmanuel”, God with us. Only the really exalted can come down and be really one “with us” in every respect.

Come down to Cattle Class!
So the message of Christmas is what Jesus told Zacheus: “Come down from the tree top if I have to sup with you.” He repeats the same call to every one in the hierarchical ladder trying to climb higher and higher by hook or crook, and to the laity in the secular domain, presenting themselves as ‘intellectuals’ or canvassing for Chevalier-type of positions. Living examples are those who are just bishops but calling and presenting themselves as Archbishops, pretending themselves, on one pretext or other, to be much more than what they really are.

Is this not the same message that the “self-emptying of Jesus in a cattle shed, borne there because there was no room for Him in the palaces of the comfortable class, tells us? Shouldn’t all those who consider him as lord, master, teacher, guide and ‘Son of Man’, the ideal human for all humans, think seriously and change their lifestyle to become humbler and more credible? That is precisely why we the CCV group call ourselves the CATTLE CLASS to make a small beginning at least in this direction, for two reasons:

Two aspects of cattle class
First: Jesus self-emptied himself in a Cattle shed. He could not have lowered himself further. He thus became one with the wretched lot of humanity – like the haggard looking migrants who trudge the dusty, dirty roads, shot at and tortured or drowned in sea or the helpless women folk, young and old raped and brutally murdered for no valid reason.

Second: Cattle class has come to become synonymous with the lowest, despised rung in society, the poor, abandoned, untouchables, outcastes and uncared for of which no one wants to be a part. Recall a typical marriage add: “Wanted, a beautiful, well educated, Suriyani girl.” While all are in the rat race for top class, followers of Jesus are called to run for the last place in the CATTLE CLASS, in the company of ‘sacred’ cows, dogs and donkeys. Any takers? At least for a trial?
Some one once said: “There was only one Christian in the whole world. He died on the cross. Literally true! Not even St. Francis, though called the second Christ. Rani Maria suffered like Jesus on the cross. Fr. Damian kissed, embraced and served the lepers. Myriad are the roles the cattle class offers each one of us to serve. What ever they be, what is vital is to have that humility and readiness to serve the least, last and needy.
To serve, not to be Served
It is variously said: “Those who stand and wait also serve”, also, “to serve the Lord is to reign” (Servire Domino regnare est). Therefore those alone who are ready to serve the poor and needy in humble surroundings have any right to celebrate or rejoice at the birth of Jesus. Wish you all that Spirit of ‘self-emptying’ during this Christmas!

Published Dec.20/2017: in CCV, Kerala; Daily News, New York;

Build “Peace-loving Man”
To make this burning Hell
heaven of peace on earth!
dr, james kottoor

Building “peace-loving man”,(says Fethullah Gulen, read his article below) that is, humans, man/woman, totally committed to non-violence, tolerance and dialogue, is the only sure route to lasting peace on earth.

It is tedious task — laborious and time consuming like building a huge concrete structure like the twin New York towers, brick by brick. Therefore, instantly comes also the conflicting thought – NY trade centre was felled and met the fate of the biblical “Tower of Babel”, a monument built to proclaim the greatness of the builders, to make a name for themselves, not for common good. So the staggering question, the dilemma straining in our face is: “Is it worth striving to build the ‘towering peace-loving Man, as if we have never learn any lesson from history? I leave that question to you for answering.

Implanting a ‘Wish-bone’ in humanity through public opinion is a day dream, a quick-fix like writing on ocean surface, a starting point at best! But in New York, didn’t they rebuild the New York tower? So the message could be: ‘Never give up’, but try until you succeed.

Teen-ager story
You all know the story of the teen-ager who fixed the world map torn to bits and jumbled, in no time thanks to the picture of a man behind the map. He just fixed the man behind and the tattered bits of the whole world fell in due places! That means, fixing up the “peace-loving man”(world) is the unfinished challenge facing humanity today. The question is: How? Easy like fixing up the world map?

There have been and there still are ‘peace-loving’ men around. Two towering historical figures are the Man from Galilee, known also as the carpenter of Nazareth, Son of Man, Jesus the Jew. Some say he was the only good Jew, others, he was the only good Christian who was a Jew who died on the cross! The other is Buddha, a perfect picture of peace. One was born in utter destitution, in a cattle shed the other in lap of luxury! Which means, what matters is not how one begins his life on earth, but how he crowns it.

Peace to Good willed
Now think of the followers of these two spiritual giants of history! “Glory to God in the heavens and peace on earth to men of good will” the angels sang reportedly at the birth of Jesus. Yet from the time of the Prince of Peace to this day Jerusalem remains a zone of war and blood shed, not peace. As for Buddha, just think of the heart rending stories of war and violence targeted by or against the Rohingas in Miyanmar!

Think also of India, called the light of the East, supposedly yearning for “Vasudaiva Kudumbakam” and praying for “Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu!” and the on going fight for dominance between the forces of division and unity on the basis of religion, caste, class and cultural habits like what one eats, drinks, wears and whom one marries, even when all speak of ‘development’ or ‘Acche Din’.
Emergency coming?
What about clash of ideas – use of “Neech or “Congress-Pak collusion to defeat BJP in Gujarat? What about total inaction against culprits of daylight murderers, by Cow vigilantes, of love-jihad man lynched, burned and video graphed to proclaim his valor, of the son of a top leader who amassed crores in one year and the nation’s media silenced as during emergency?

One feeble silver lining amidst the encircling gloom was the warning followed by quick suspension of Mani Sankar Ayar and Rahul’s inauguration speech portraying himself as a ‘very very humble person, not even a shadow, but at best a dummy or dwarf beside towering giants who led the destinies of the nation’ knowing well that it is going to be a race between the hare and the tortoise?

Shadow of Global scenario
What is happening in India is only a faint reflection of the global scenario led by a an incompetent world police, Trump trying to take the world to the dark ages of ‘Might is right’ and India’s Modi trying to win him over by ‘hug-diplomacy’. Globalization, already a fact, should not mean getting uprooted from one’s own moorings and culture. It should instead mean unity in diversity, complementing and enriching the universal with what is precious and particular to each country. It should turn out to be a synthasis, a happy marriage of local and global = Glocal, an enriching of the inseparable duo. Possible if building ‘peace loving man’ can be done. How to go about it?

The work is ours, we the people, you and me. The starting point is where humans are borne, our own homes where bricks of society are fashioned first, then the nursery schools to universities where humans with “good will” to collaborate and compliment, not to collide, conflict, terrorize and eliminate each other in a nuclear holocaust, are polished to perfect finish.

Not a call to evangelize
This is the timely message of “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of good will” already heard sung around the world. This is not a call to make the whole world Christian. The one at whose birth this was sung in heavens, was a Jew. He never became a Christian, but lived as a Jew. died as a Jew, (INRI Jesus the Nazarene King of the Jews) was the inscription on the cross he died. He never established any Church or organized religion. His followers were called Christians first in Antioch years after his death. In Kerala they were called “Margam Kooiyavar” (those followed his path).

He presented himself as the SON OF MAN, as the ideal Man for all peoples, places, creeds and cultures and befriended the poor, untouchable, lonely and those in utmost need. If ever he started a class of people it was the CATTLE CLASS on the road, homeless and address less. The class culture was created by man, the most comfortable class headed by Constantine, not the ‘Ever lasting Man’ (Chesterton), the “Man from Galelee” (Fulton J.Sheen). His God was his Father, (Our Father who art in Heaven} who is the Father of all humanity.

All humans were his brothers and sisters. Nay he explicitly told them to treat him as their close best friend, not master at the last supper. None of the churches follow those instructions of his. They worship him, adore him and pray to him, all forbidden by him. Who is to blame for all these, except the Churches themselves, who want a King and Emperor figure, so that they can sit at the right and left as Prime Ministers, which James and John tried and failed miserably?

So goodbye to all organized fighting religions and more strength to Sri Narayana Guru pleading for ‘One God, one Religion and One Caste, the human caste male or female’. And more power to that God (if thre is a God) the Father of all, and His heavenly peace to all people of Good will, his true followers around the world! Wish you a Happy Christmas without Christ personified as a religious head, but as a leader of a pilgrim humane humanity of Good will! james kottoor, editor, ccv.
Sample Reactons
One solitary reaction from Indian bishops: above messages were sent separately to all bishops.

Bishop Gratian Mundadan, Dec.24/17

to me

My dear James,
Thank you very much for your Christmas and New Year Greetings. I appreciate that you thought of me at this Holy Season. I sincerely reciprocate your Greetings with my promises of Prayer for you during the Holy Masses at the Christmas Midnight and New Year Day. God bless us all!
James Kottoor <jameskottoor@gmail.com>

to Bishop

It was indeed very gracious of you to say a kind word on what we the cattle class group is trying to do, to give wings to the self-emptying message of Jesus. May He bless you. james, who wants to be the last in the cattle class of Jesus.

Another from one of CCV columnist
Hats off to james!
Behold the Poorest
And Lowliest
and the Lost! Varghese Pamplanil

(Note: Words are easy like the wind, but faithful friends are hard to find! He spoke not a WORD in the cattle shed, but his thundering silence roars to the four corners of the sea of humanity to remind us all that we are ONE and INDIVISIBLE in rain and shine! Let the Pamplani tsunami thunder along unabated! james)
Read Pamplanil
Hats off james for your cry in the wilderness for the poorest and the lowliest and the lost: “Wish you Happy or Sorry Christmas”.

When the midnight hour strikes on the 24 December, while the bells of a thousand churches ring loud in joy on the Birth of the Fisherman Saviour, from the thatched derelict huts of the fisherfolk on the Malabar Coast, loud cries and wailings of despair of the daughters and mothers will rise in a crescendo for their beloved ones lost in the Arabian Sea due to the devilish dance of destruction of Cyclone Ockhi.

But there will be no let up in the merriments in the nearby palaces of the Arch-bishops, the bishops and the well-healed, who have been shedding copious crocodile tears for the lost; the corks of choicest cognacs and rare matured single malt scotch whiskies will pop-up; the best quality cashew nuts, almonds and pistachios and the best of pork, beef and mutton, crabs and lobsters will be there on their dining tables as usual. Merry Xmas to them all.

“Pride can never approach to where thou walkest in the cloths of the humble among the poorest, and the lowliest, and lost, and last.

My heart can never find its way where thou keepest company with the companionless among the poorest, the lowliest, and the lost.”

“This is my prayer to thee, my lord –strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.

Give the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might.

Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles. “ (Gitanjali)

Become silence breakers to spread His Peace!

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The Real Reason Catholics cant be Freemasons


The real reason Catholics can’t be Freemasons

by Ed Condon

taken from Catholic Herald uk

An 1891 cartoon in Puck shows Pope Leo XIII doing battle with Freemasonry

The principles of Freemasonry are fundamentally incompatible with Catholic teaching

The mutual antagonism of the Catholic Church and Freemasonry is well established and longstanding. For most of the past 300 years they have been acknowledged, even in the secular mindset, as implacably opposed. In recent decades the animosity between the two has faded somewhat from the public consciousness as the Church’s direct institutional involvement in civil affairs has become less pronounced and as Freemasonry has waned dramatically in numbers and prominence. But as Freemasonry turns 300 years old, it is worth revisiting what was at the core of the Church’s absolute opposition to the group. Freemasonry can appear to be little more than an esoteric men’s club, but it was and remains a highly influential philosophical movement – one which has made a dramatic, if little-noticed, impact on modern Western society and politics.

The history of Freemasonry itself is long and interesting. Its gradual transformation from the medieval workers’ guilds of stonemasons into a network of secret societies with their own Gnostic philosophy and rituals is a fascinating tale in itself. The era of the latter version of Freemasonry began with the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 in the Goose & Gridiron pub near St Paul’s Cathedral. In the early days, before the Church made any formal pronouncement on the subject, many Catholics were members and the English Catholic and Jacobite diaspora was crucial to spreading Freemasonry to continental Europe. At one point it was so popular among Catholics in some places that Francis I of Austria served as a formal patron.

And yet the Church became the greatest foe of the Masonic lodges. Between Clement XII in 1738 and the promulgation of the first Code of Canon Law in 1917, a total of eight popes wrote explicit condemnations of Freemasonry. All provided the strictest penalty for membership: automatic excommunication reserved to the Holy See. But what did and does the Church mean by Freemasonry? What are its qualities which are so worthy of condemnation?

It is sometimes said that the Church opposed Freemasonry because of the lodges’ supposedly revolutionary or seditious character. There is a widespread assumption that Masonic lodges were essentially political cells for republics and other reformers, and the Church opposed them as part of a defence of the old regime of absolute monarchy in which she was institutionally invested. But while political sedition would eventually come to the front of the Church’s opposition to Masonic membership, this was by no means the initial reason the Church opposed the Masons. What Clement XII described in his original denunciation was not a revolutionary republican society but a group spreading and enforcing religious indifferentism: the belief that all religions (and none) are of equal worth, and that in Masonry all are united in service to a higher, unifying understanding of virtue. Catholics, as members, would be asked to put their membership of the lodge above their membership of the Church. The strict prohibition, in other words, was not for political purposes but for the care of souls.

From the outset, the primary concern of the Church has been that Masonry suborns a Catholic’s faith to that of the lodge, obliging them to place a fundamental secularist fraternity above communion with the Church. The legal language, and penalties, used in the condemnations of Freemasonry were actually very similar to those used in the suppression of the Albigensians: the Church sees Freemasonry as a form of heresy. While the Masonic rites themselves contain considerable material which can be called heretical, and is in some instances explicitly anti-Catholic, the Church has always been far more concerned with the overarching philosophical content of Freemasonry rather than its ritual pageantry.

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the Catholic Church and its privileged place in the government and society of many European countries became the subject of growing secularist opposition and even violence. Now, there is little if any historical evidence of the lodges playing an active role in beginning the French Revolution. However, the anti-clerical and anti-Catholic horrors of the Revolution can be traced back to the secularist mentality described in the various papal bulls outlawing the Masonic lodges. Masonic societies were condemned not because they set out to threaten civil or Church authorities but because such a threat was the inevitable consequence of their existence and growth. Revolution was the symptom, not the disease.

The alignment of Church and state interests, and their assault by seditious and revolutionary secret societies, were clearest where the Church and state were one: in the Papal States of the Italian peninsula. As the 19th century began, a new iteration of Freemasonry came to prominence which was explicit in its revolutionary character and avowed in its opposition to the Church; they called themselves the Carbonari, or charcoal merchants. They sanctioned and practised both assassination and armed insurrection against the various governments of the Italian peninsula in their campaign for a secular constitutional government, and were perceived as an immediate threat to the faith, the Papal States and the person of the pope.

The link between the passive threat of the philosophy and secrecy of Masonry and the active revolutionary plots and acts of the Carbonari was laid out in Pius VII’s apostolic constitution Ecclesiam a Jesu Christo, promulgated in 1821. While the Carbonari’s avowed and active opposition to the temporal governance of the Papal States was addressed and condemned, it was still made clear that the gravest threat posed even by these violently revolutionary cells was their philosophy of secularism.

Throughout all the various papal condemnations of Freemasonry, even when lodges were actively supporting military campaigns against the pope, as they did with Garibaldi’s conquest and unification of Italy, what was always the first objection of the Church to the Lodge was its threat to the faith of Catholics and the freedom of the Church to act in society. The undermining of the teachings of the Church in the lodges, and the suborning of her authority on matters of faith and morals, were described repeatedly as a plot against the faith, both in individuals and in society.

In the encyclical Humanum Genus, Pope Leo XIII described the Masonic agenda as the exclusion of the Church from participation in public affairs and the gradual erosion of her rights as an institutional member of society. During his time as Pope, Leo wrote a great many condemnations of Freemasonry, pastoral and legal. He outlined, in detail, what the Church considered to be the Masonic agenda and, reading it with contemporary eyes, it is still shockingly relevant.

He specifically referred to the aim of secularising the state and society. He referenced in particular the exclusion of religious education from state schools and the concept of “the State, which [Masonry believes] ought to be absolutely atheistic, having the inalienable right and duty to form the heart and the spirit of its citizens.” He also decried the Masonic desire to remove the Church from any control in, or influence over, schools, hospitals, public charities, universities and any other body serving the public good. Also specifically highlighted was the Masonic push for the reimagining of marriage as a merely civil contract, the promotion of divorce, and support for the legalisation of abortion.

It is almost impossible to read this agenda and not recognise it as the underpinning of almost all of our contemporary political discourse. The settled view on these matters of many, if not all, of our major political parties, indeed the very concept of the secular state and its consequences on Western society, including the pervasive divorce culture and near universal availability of abortion, is a victory of the Masonic agenda. And this raises very real canonical questions about Catholic participation in the modern secular political process.

Throughout the centuries of papal condemnations of Freemasonry, it was normal for each pope to include the names of new societies that shared the Masonic philosophy and agenda and which should be understood by Catholics to come under the heading of “Masonic” in terms of canon law. By the 20th century, this had come to include political parties and movements such as communism.

When the Code of Canon Law was reformed, following Vatican II, the canon specifically prohibiting Catholics from joining “Masonic societies” was revised. In the new code, promulgated in 1983 by St John Paul II, explicit mention of Freemasonry was dropped completely. The new Canon 1374 referred only to societies that “plot against the Church”. Many took this change to indicate that Freemasonry was no longer always bad in the eyes of the Church. In fact, the reforming committee made it clear that they meant not just Freemasons, but many other organisations; the “plot” of its secularist agenda had spread so far beyond the lodges that to keep using the umbrella term “Masonic” would be confusing. The then Cardinal Ratzinger issued an authoritative clarification of the new law in 1983, in which he made it clear that the new canon was phrased to encourage broader interpretation and application.

Given the crystal-clear understanding in Church teaching regarding what the Masonic plot or agenda against the Church includes (marriage as a merely civil contract open to divorce at will, abortion, exclusion of religious education from public schools, exclusion of Church from the provision of social welfare and or control of charities), it seems impossible not to ask: how many of the major political parties in the West can now be said to fall under the prohibition of Canon 1374? The answer may well be rather uncomfortable for those who want to see an end to the so-called culture wars in the Church.

More recently, Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken of his grave concern at Masonic infiltration of the Curia and other Catholic organisations. At the same time, he has warned against the Church becoming a mere “NGO” in its methods and goals – which is the direct danger of that secularist mentality which the Church has always called a Masonic philosophy.

Masonic infiltration of the hierarchy and Curia has long been treated as a kind of Catholic version of monsters under the bed, or McCarthyite paranoia about commie infiltrators. In fact, when you speak to people who work in the Vatican, you will quickly discover that for every two or three people who laugh at the very notion, you can find someone who has directly encountered it. I myself know at least two people who were approached about joining during their time working in Rome. The role of Masonic lodges as a confidential meeting point and network for those with heterodox ideas and agendas has changed little from pre-Revolutionary France to the modern Vatican; 300 years after the founding of the first Grand Lodge, the conflict between the Church and Freemasonry is still very much alive.

Ed Condon is a canon lawyer. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the history of the Church’s legal sanctions against Freemasons

This article first appeared in the August 11 2017 issue of the Catholic Herald. To read the magazine in full, from anywhere in the world, go here


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Prominent Catholic writer criticises Pope for creating ‘liquid society’ Church by Nick Hallett

Prominent Catholic writer criticises Pope for creating ‘liquid society’ Church

by Nick Hallett

posted Wednesday, 8 Nov 2017

(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Vittorio Messori said Pope Francis is in danger of undermining the ‘stability and firmness’ of Church doctrine

A prominent Catholic writer has accused Pope Francis of turning the Church into a “liquid society” where uncertainty is the only certainty.

Vittorio Messori, who came to prominence after interviewing Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1984 for the book The Ratzinger Report, said the Pope is in danger of making the same mistake as Protestants by reinterpreting doctrine and undermining the “stability and firmness of the Catholic Church”.

In an article for Italian magazine Il Timone, translated by the National Catholic Register, Messori started by criticising a “disconcerting interview” with the Jesuit superior general Fr Arturo de Sosa.

He accused Fr de Sosa of effectively “‘liquefying’ the Gospel itself” by saying Jesus’s words were not recorded on tape and “we don’t know exactly what he said”, meaning we can “adapt” the Gospel according to the times.

He then accused Pope Francis of having a similar attitude, especially when the Pontiff criticises a “Catholic temptation” to have “rigid” rules rather than judging on a “case by case basis”.

The old Jesuit tradition of “discernment”, Messori added, has been twisted so it now means to “freely interpret even dogma, depending on the situation, as has happened in some official documents containing [the Pope’s] signature, which have aroused perplexity (to use a euphemism) in some cardinals.”

Messori said “in all humility” that such an approach seems “wrong and damaging to the Church and the faith”.

“In a ‘liquid world’ where everything becomes uncertain, precarious, provisional, it is precisely the stability and firmness of the Catholic Church that all humanity needs, and not only believers,” he added.

“Those rocks of dogma, to which the superior general of the Society of Jesus is allergic, could and should become firm ground in a society that flatters itself and tends towards mushy chaos.”

More than ever, the Church needs the “full clarity of the Catechism” rather than the “ever-changing ‘in my opinion’”.

He said that Protestantism has gone down this road, “and history has shown what it has led to, but unfortunately, as usual, history is not magistra vitae [life’s teacher].”

As well as the Ratzinger Report, Messori also published a best-selling interview with Pope John Paul II, and has been described as the “most translated” author in the Catholic world.


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Has the sacrament of Marriage lost its sanctity ?

Mumbai is a metropolitan city. We have fast food, fast cars, fast life…. Now the latest is fast marriages.

To get married in a Church one needs to do a marriage preparation course obtain a certificate , get ones marriage banns read and wait and see that there are no objections.

All this while there were ” allegations” that priests were involved in Court marriages but there was never proof since things were done by remote control and the Priest would never come in the forefront.

A court marriage can be done by giving  5 days notice in the case of Christians in Man tralaya. Compare this with the waiting period in the case of Church marriage where one needs to wait for at least 4-5 months before the marriage can be solemnised. Moreover there may be impediments.

We now have documentary evidence of a Roman Catholic priest presently posted in St. Micheals Church Mahim of having stood as a witness in a Court marriage of a couple who is yet to get married in a Church. The said priest is good at making videos and was recently in the news when a video was released  showing a mirror under the camera in a ladies toilet. Surprisingly the mirror disappeared after various ladies approached the Police. Normally mirrors are always above wash basins but this was not the case here.

The said priest gives wonderful preachings on morality and being Christ like in all our dealings but has himself chosen to bypass a catholic marriage nay a sacrament in case of this couple and has opted for a court marriage.

The saddest part of all this is that our beloved Cardinal Oswald Gracias has chosen to remain silent despite the happening being brought to his notice .

Till today no official has been released by the Cardinal condemning this type of acts by his Priests who are all bound by a vow of obedience.

In my opinion the said act of the priest challenges a Sacrament and  is a grave liturgical abuse.

Our catholic leaders who were in the forefront and are all prominent letter writers have suddenly become silent.

Its sad that we have reached such a state in Mumbai.

Adv. A.M.Sodder

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What is religion pure & undefiled?Make yourself useful to people Stop using people for your gain-dr.james kottoor




What is religion pure & undefiled?


Make yourself useful to people

Stop using people for your gain

dr.james kottoor

What is important is to be a ‘good person’, not to be a believer or unbeliever or to be like any one else which we can’t however much we try. Each one of us has to use our own God-given talents and multiply them to a 100 fold.  Think of the parable of the talents. So the  fist thing necessary is to be good, to be true, honest to God, to ourselves, to others and to be busy like bee to multiply the talents God has given us without burying any of them in the ground. Even Pope Francis said it is better to be an honest atheist than a hypocritical Catholic.


                      Change and growth is the essence of life. But growth can be for the better or worse. We now live in a fast changing world. Religions and religiosity or spirituality are not the same but different. We see  many religions when we look horizontally, especially organized religions competing among themselves because all of them are tainted and defective. Organized religions are for the organizers. Like political parties they want to lord over others and so we campaign against it. In spirituality and religiosity we look vertically,  in our relationship with the Supreme spirit  or that power called variously – God, Iswar, Sachidananda, One without a second or Jesus whom Christians call God incarnate.


Perfection is no Trifle!


 Here our first duty  is to become like Jesus, a perfect human being like him by using all our God given talents to reach that goal. It is said no one could accuse him of sin. Is it possible to be perfect like Jesus?  Here recall what Michael Angelo said: “Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle!” A slight shade or a small spot on a fair and lovely face may be trifle, and all of us are loaded with such defects in our character and getting rid of them all is perfection, which is not done even if we try the whole of our life time. That is why it is said, “Perfection is no trifle.” 



                    Comparisons are odious and in true religion or spirituality there is no place for proving oneself to be better than our neighbor to dominate as we are clearly taught by the parable of Pharisee and publican praying in the temple. True religion is all about service, making ourselves useful to our needy neighbor and not using our neighbor. Being useful to our neighbor and using our neighbor for our benefit make the whole difference. Hence St. James (1.27) says: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

                    What does it mean? It means just the opposite of what the organized religions are often busy with and doing: a whole lot of ritualistic exercises – noisy prayers and singing, (actually or derogatively called ‘Lip service’ often without the slightest involvement of the mind), kneeling, standing, sitting, handshaking ( all sorts of physical exercises),  all forbidden by Jesus who wants us to pray in silence closing the five doors of our senses. In St.James’s definition of true religion none of the items cited above are included.


Today’s unbelievers, atheists

                   But in the report below many labelled as  lapsed Catholics, unbelievers, agnostics or atheists are doing just what St. James describes as marks of true religion – compassionate treatment of those in need. An atheist is busy providing affordable houses for the African-American community; a lapsed Catholic travels to India to do voluntary medical service; a former evangelical is busy attending to the mental health of gay and lesbian community; an agnostic has joined Pace Corps and is organizing food coops for the hungry. And the reporter below says:


                   “No, most of them do not belong to an organized religion. But many are more compassionate, welcoming and devoted to those on the margins of society than quite a few Catholics I know.” What is it that you want? Persons who tom-tom about the glories, name and fame of your personal or organized religion or those busy showing mercy and compassion to the needy, hungry, sick, lame, blind, lonely and in margins of society? St. James and Pope Francis are saying the same thing: “Get out, get out of the Church of the sacristy and go to the peripheries, to befriend the stranger and foreigner!”

                   To become truly religious and spiritual you need not belong to any organized religion, big or small. It is enough you opt to become one of the CATTLE CLASS, the  compassionate Company of Jesus who worked for the poor and needy, the lowly placed, the afflicted and homeless migrant or neighbour. Organised religion and high positions in it may be a Peacock’s feather to sport on your cap to receive unsolicited salutations and undeserved appellations but it will not make you practitioner of true religion: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father” which consists in making yourself  “USEFUL” to those in need, and not “USING” your neighbour for your own benefit. james kottoor, editor ccv.



Please read below report on unbelievers & atheists in US


Half of U.S. Catholics say

belief in God is not necessary

to be a good person

Michael J. O’Loughlin America the Jesuit Magazine,October 19, 2017




                       For the first time, a majority of Americans—56 percent—say it is possible to be a good person without religious belief. And about half of all U.S. Catholics agree.


                        Those are the findings from a new Pew Research Center report drawn from two polls conducted among about 5,000 American adults in June and July.


                       The majority of Americans now believe that “God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality,” said Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of research, in a post about the findings. “[T]he public’s increased rejection of the idea that belief in God is necessary for morality is due, in large part, to the spike in the share of Americans who are religious ‘nones,’” he explained.



                 The majority of Americans now believe that “God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality.” “In the 2011 Pew Research Center survey that included the question about God and morality, religious “nones” constituted 18 percent of the sample. By 2017, the share of ‘nones’ stood at 25 percent,” the report notes.


              But even some believers have changed their opinions on the matter during the past few years. According to the report, among white evangelical Protestants, 32 percent now say belief in God is not necessary to have good values and be a moral person, up from 26 percent who said this in 2011.


About half of all U.S. Catholics—or 49 percent—agree that it is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. But there is a sharp difference between Hispanic Catholics and white Catholics. Fifty-seven percent of white Catholics say God is not necessary for morality, but just 38 percent of Hispanic Catholics agree.


 Regarding these so-called atheists Columnist Kaya Oakes writes labeling them:  Devoted Atheists: “In finding a way to be compassionate toward nonbelievers, it helps that many of my non-believing friends are not simply spending their Sunday mornings paging through The New York Times and lingering over brunch, but are actively engaged in community service and social justice issues.


               “An atheist friend works in affordable housing issues in the African-American community. Another atheist friend writes about feminist issues, particularly focusing on empowering young girls. The lapsed Catholic son of a friend travels to India to volunteer in medical clinics. A former evangelical I know works to bring attention to mental health issues in the gay and lesbian community. Atheist and agnostic students of mine have served in the Peace Corps, started food co-ops in inner-city food deserts, volunteered with literacy organizations, taught inmates to read at San Quentin and tirelessly worked to correct the notion that millennials are interested only in cellphones.

 “No, most of them do not belong to an organized religion. But many are more compassionate, welcoming and devoted to those on the margins of society than quite a few Catholics I know.” It shows loss of faith sometimes reflected a sense of sorrow for some, for many others, leaving one faith tradition behind to explore others or to explore living without faith, led them to an amazing discovery.”

(Material from Religion News Service was used in this report.)



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