- Gordons Funeral Timings
- Mr. Gordon Jacobs- R.I. P.
- Dreaming of Possibilities? Syromalabar Diocese in Chennai! When? Soon or Never? By dr. james kottoor
- Pope is now clear Second families can be Better than broken families
- Falling in love forbidden to Popes? ‘ Loves of the Popes’ and the Vatican’s New Normal
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Mr. Gordon Jacobs the President of the Association of Concerned Catholics passed away early this morning. Under his leadership various initiatives of transparency were taken up.Gordon was one of the few people who had the guts to call a spade a spade.
Gordon would not mince words and was one of the few people who was willing to stick his neck out without taking any personal benefit for himself or his family.
Gordon has always been a helpful person and was always there to help persons whenever they needed him. He always stood for the truth and never supported a person who was wrong even if he happened to be his friend.
May His Soul Rest in Peace.
Dreaming of Possibilities? Syromalabar Diocese in Chennai! When? Soon or Never? By dr. james kottoor
On Aug.30th 2016 CCV (Church Citizens’ Voice) published the article: “Now or never? Syro-malabar Diocese in Chennai?” by P.C.Joseph, a spokesperson for Catholics in Chennai who are opposed to creating a different, divisivse Rite-specific diocese and new divisions in the already existing, smoothly functioning and longstanding Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore of the Latin Rite which takes good care of Catholics belonging to various Rites.
Since this scribe had been writing on the subject for long from the sixties, at the request of the that group in Chennai I visited in the last week of September to meet the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore to find out his thinking and discuss it with the group who were working for a happy solution for the last 50 years. The minds of former Archbishops, starting from R. Arulappa in the 1960ies followed by Archbishops Casimir Gnanadickam sj, Arul Das James, A.M.Chinnappa sdb have been racking their brains to solve this issue for good, without much success. Now it is for the present Archbishop George Antonysamy, formerly in the diplomatic service, to try his turn and luck.
No Demand from Laity
The meeting with Archbishop Antonysamy took place on September 30th afterfoon on St.Thomas Mount. He was just finishing his retreat with the diocesan priests and was very gracious to meet me and express his thinking on the issue. Very frankly he told me, “not a single lay person ever approached him with the request of setting up a Syromalabar Diocese in Chennai.” The clamour for it first and foremost has always been from the part of Syromalabar Bishops and then priests of that Rite, who are going to benefit from such a new Ecclesiastical structure.
By benefits what is meant are positions like Bishoprics, positions of Parish priests and heads of important institutions in the new diocese. The simple lay people are not the least bothred about these things. It is something like those who form new political parties for the sake of becoming MPs or MLAs or other profitable positions in the new political party. This is beautifully expressed in the complaint of the Syromalabar Church’s oft repeated argument quoted ad nauseam at various occasions: “We produce 70% of the clergy of this country but we control only about 0.04% of the territory. Therefore we are justified in wanting more territory.”
From this as anyone can clearly understand, it is all about Control: financial and political. It is precisely for this reason, writers like me never hesitated to call this “Religious Colonization” pure and simple. True evangelization or spreading the good word is just the opposite, serving the poorest of the poor, and caring for the afflicted and abandoned, not ruling over territories or lording it over people which is diametrically opposed to the spirit of the good news Jesus preached by his words and deeds — especially his mendicant life of three years treading the dusty roads of Palestine, without having even a postal address, let alone Episcopal palaces, or posh air-conditioned rectories or offices to stay in and exert authority.
Evangelization is incarnational
Evangeliztion is incarnational, as Jesus did, becoming one with the people of the place, not importing one’s own culture and tradition. Since Jesus was born in Israel, he became a Jew, lived a Jew and died a Jew with the inscription “Jesus the Nazarene King of the Jews (INRI) on his cross. Had he been born in India, he would have been a Hindu, said this scribe, and the Archbishop readily agreed.
To start a new Syromalabar diocese anywhere the first thing needed is the consent of the Local functioning Bishop. Now that person is Archbishop Antonysamy. His wish is, and it has to be the wish of the people of the place, Chennai, which is overwhelmingly against. Some 40 years ago when a consultation of the people was done under Archbishop R. Arulappa, all participants readily welcomed Kerala priests and sisters to work in various parishes, as most of them have been known for their real missionary spirit and zeal. But when it came to entrusting certain parishes to Syromalabar priests, opposition was too strong and reportedly only 2 among the big gathering voted for entrusting. That thinking of the people reportedly continues even today. In any case, it has to be ascertained.
Peoples’ Synod Suggested
So the Archbishop told me, that he is thinking of inviting Cardinal George Alanchery, the head of the SMC, other interested Syromalabar bishops and priests, as well as the people’s representatives in Chennai for holding a Synod in Chennai to asses the general thinking of the people of God and act accordingly. On his own, he cannot, he will not and he should not say “YES” or “NO” to a Syromalabar Eparchy, in Chennai, which is right and proper. No one can object to his stand.
I discussed this thinking of the Archbishop on Oct.3rd with the group headed by P.C.Joseph, T.J. George, Peter Manavalan and others in Chennai. The right outcome of such a consultation will depend on the proper representation of the members of the synod, depending on whether the participants are mostly nominated Yes-men and women of the bishop or the Parish priests or elected persons and therefore representing the views of the local people.
When the present Pope ordered a survey of the people of God (lay people) on “Challenges facing Christian Families” all over the world for the last two Vatican Family synods, most of our Indian bishops never conducted any real survey, but sent the opinions of the bishops and their council of priests as the opinion of the laity. That should not happen in this consultation on a SM Diocese in Chennai.
Voting with Slips
To prevent such a mishap, what I would suggest is the following. Once the date of the Synod of the people is fixed, all parish priests may be requested to announce it in their parishes with a sermon highlighting the pros and cons of a new Syromalabar Diocese and request the laity who wish to take part in the Synod to vote by dropping a slip with the voter’s: “Name, postal address and phone and with the inscription: “I am for the Syromalabar diocese” or “I am against a Syromalabar diocese” and drop it in the collection box to be put up in every parish. A period of three Sundays should be given for the laity to drop their votes. Those who voted in this way should be invited for the Synod to discuss various issues. Of course the organisers of the Synod may work out better ways for people’s participation.
The major threats afflicting the Church in India are manifold. Remember the priestly prayer of Jesus “that they may all be ONE” which included not only the believers and followers Jesus, but of the whole world, followers of different religions, unbelievers and atheists. That is why Jesus presented himself as the Son of Man, the ideal humane human being for all times, peoples and places.
Six Major threats
The main threats to this unity in India is: 1. First it’s age-old divisive Caste system and caste mentality afflicting the whole church starting with the Bishops. A clear proof of Bishops and priests infected with caste mentality was the recent kidnap on last April 26th of Bishop Gallela of Kadappa, a Dalit by his own three parish priests who belonged to the superior Reddy caste. I wrote several articles on it and sent them to all Indian Bishops. A major aberration was that practically no Catholic weeklies wrote on this Kidnap. No area of India is free from this Caste mentality. In Kerala they have the community of Puthuchristianies (newly converted from Pulayas and Parayas) and separate places and positions allotted to them in the Church in Kerala. In Tamilnadu and Andhra this caste division is more sharp and biting.
- Second is the inter-Rite rivalries between various Catholic Rites in India – Latin, Syromalabar(SMC) and Syromalankara Churches. This can be compared to two main political parties – Congress and BJP – and the ever so many skeleton parties sticking to them to get visibility, political and financial benefits. The Syromalabar and Malankara churches may be compared to skeleton parties, which they are sure to object although facts may prove the contrary.
- A third threat shattering the quality of the Catholic community is the pure blood marriage (Endogamy) practiced by the Kottayam Diocese in Kerala which is part and parcel of SM Church and endorsed silently and promoted by word and writing by many Bishops themselves. In the present case we have the latest letter of Bishop Angadiath of Chicago diocese supported by Cardinal Alancherry and Archbishop of Kottayam. We discussed this clearly racist practice, against the decrees and directives of the Vatican, especially of the Easten Rite many times in CCV and sent them to all Indian Bishops, with not a word of response from any of the bishops, except one stay bishop of Faridabad in Delhi.
- Fourth is the sharp Clergy-laity divide in almost every diocese in India where they have not constituted either the
Diocesan and Parish Pastoral Council to guide the spiritual needs of the parish or the Parish Financial council to look after the financial needs and issues which are not to be left to the whims and fancies of the Bishop, Parish priests and their yes-men. This is a directive from the 50 year old second Vatican Council, still to be implemented in most of the dioceses and parishes in India.
- Fifth is the exhibition of the pomp and posh living of the Pyramidal structure of the Church which Jesus turned upside down down when he washed the feet of his disciples and when Pope Francis gave his momentous address on the Synodality of the Church during the two Vatican Family Synods. This scribe wrote it more than 40 years ago as New Leader editor.
Caste system in India has only four grades or steps in the ladder upwards and down wards – Bhramins, Shetriays, Vaisias and Sudras the good for nothing Dalits and untouchables. But the pyramidal government structure in the church has many more steps – from the Pope at the very pinnacle of the Pyramid to the good for nothing laity at the bottom with ever so many descending divisions like – Cardinals (His Eminences), Archbishops (His Graces), Eparchs, Bishops(His Ecellencies), Monsignors, Priests, Religious, Chevaliers(from the laity) and finally the riffraffs called the laity.
Francis & Inverted Pyramid
When Pope Francis overturned this Pyramidal structure in his epoch making Synodal speech, he placed himself one step below the bottom group laity to truly deserve the title (“Servus servorum”) Servant of Servants. Recall his start at the very outset of his pontificate, calling himself a sinner (“I am a sinner” in his first interview) not calling himself “His Holiness”. For this and many other things Elton Johnson graphically described Francis as: “Miracle of humility in an Era of vanity.”
His latest description of the laity was that the clock has stopped and now it is the “Hour of the Laity” when every one should look up to (not look down on) the laity to draw inspiration and listen to what they have to say in pastoral and financial practice. Are the bishops and the clergy listening to these admonitions of Pope Francis? To Solve the burning issue of starting a new Syromalabar Church in Chennai, this is a MUST, that is, listening to the people of Chennai and drawing inspiration and guidance from them. Readers with different or better views and suggestions are cordially invited to send in their suggestions for publication in the CCV for further reflection, modification and action.
- All honorific appellations and different styles of royal dress in red and purple, in silk and satern must be wiped out as an insult to the “Behold the Man” half naked and going to be crucified. Jesus never wore a special glitering royal dress of a prince even during his royal ride into Jerusalem on the back of an ass with the accompaniment of olive branches, not gold studded ambrellas and golden or silver crosses. Here the first need of the Church is to evangelize the so-called “Evangelizers”.
There are many more things to say. But it is enough to point out, what is happening to many organised religions, especially to Islam and the start of divisions within Islam into Sunni and Shia, which reminds us of the bitter animosities between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. The Rite rivalries in the Church in India has all the potential to grow into such an open confrontation between Suni and Shia, if the sharpening divisions are not nipped in the bud. Unity is strength, divided we fall, the whole Church in India, both Syro and Latin. Let not misguided zeal for the House God (are they shining posh cathedrals?) lead us literally to ZERO!
Contact at: email@example.com, Mob:09445219203
(This write up will be forwarded to all Indian bishops for information, reflection, sharing, reaction and new suggestions. Please do something similar or better for the greater good of the public or (ad majorem Dei gloriam) for the greater glory of God! which in fact is the creation of a humane humanity!
Published in Church Citizen’s Voice(CCV) Kerala, 10/7/16;
A very pointed article, especially the six points which ail the Catholic Church. But unfortunately it is our Laity stalwarts like John Dayal who are mum on Casteism among Catholics. The Casteist issue helps him pose as a leader of the Laity which is absolutely misplaced.
Pope is now clear
Second families can be Better
than broken families
Andrew Brown, in the Guardian UK, 14 September 2016
The last time Pope Francis intervened on the issue of divorced and remarried Catholics, he was ambiguous. His new, clear stance will upset conservatives
Pope ‘agrees that suitably trained priests can decide on their own initiative whether remarried couples are to be admitted to communion even when they are having – brace yourself – sex’.
(Note: Given below are two reports from the Guardian UK, one by Andrew Brown and another by Stephanie Kirchgaessner, on Pope’s final approval of admitting the divorced to communion.
Admtting to communion civilly divorced and remarried was the isse the bishops could not resolve after two years of synodal discussions, though Francis and Cardinal Walter were for it, but wanted to get the consensus of bishops. To bring together the fighting factions, the conservative traditionalists led by a group of 7 who even wrote a book to defend their hard position and others willing to accept the hint given by Pope, he finally wrote his apostolic exhortation, Joy of the Gospel, after the two Synods. Even that failed to produce a consensus.
Papal exhortation also had explicitly said, it was not the final word and it was not closing all discussion, and Francis himself was not satisfied with the wording of the exhortation. It was when he was waiting for a better lucid explanation, that bishops of Argentina, his home country, came out with a more clear explanation which satisfied Francis and he at once endorsed it saying: “The document (the Argentenian draft) is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations.” More explanation on the modalities of admitting the divorced and remarried should be forth coming. james kottoor,editor)
Pope Francis has two modes of dealing with opposition – patient manoeuvring, which can go on for years; and sudden blows, delivered in a few short memorable words. On the question of how to deal with divorced and remarried Catholics, he has been until this week an exponent of persuasion and the long war of manoeuvre. He summoned two meetings of bishops from around the world, in 2014 and 2015, and had them argue with unprecedented ferocity in public over whether and how the Catholic church should recognise second marriages.
Heavyweight cardinals proclaimed that this could not be done. Seven of them published a book just before the second meeting to underline their beliefs. One of the leading conservatives, Cardinal Robert Sarah, compared western sexual liberalism to Isis – both, apparently, sent from the devil: “We need to be inclusive and welcoming to all that is human; but what comes from the Enemy cannot and must not be assimilated. You can not join Christ and Belial! What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion Ideologies and Islamic Fanaticism are today.”
Sarah has also demanded that priests celebrate the mass with their backs to the congregation, as they did before the great changes to Catholic worship brought about the second Vatican council in the 1960s. This suggestion was slapped down very firmly and publicly by the Vatican.
‘One of the leading conservatives, Cardinal Robert Sarah, compared western sexual liberalism to Isis – both, apparently, sent from the devil.
Against the inflexible stance of Cardinal Sarah and other heavyweight conservatives – like the Australian cardinal George Pell – have been a variety of liberal voices, mostly from western Europe but also from parts of the developing world, where families form and
reform without much in the way of bureaucracy. The document that appeared from the clash between these two views was a very long and apparently ambiguous summary written largely by the pope himself.
This restated the unchanging doctrine that marriage is a lifetime commitment, but it left open the possibility that the church should recognise that it clearly doesn’t function as one in many societies today. This is what already happens all over the western world. Married couples, where one or both have been married before, are in practice allowed to take communion even when they have not been through the process of “annulment” by which the church declares the first marriage invalid. This has always been something that was much easier for the rich and well-connected to achieve. But the studied ambiguity of the pope’s document, Amoris Laetitia, allowed conservatives to continue to maintain that this didn’t and shouldn’t ever happen.
One right-wing Catholic blogger wrote last year that conservatives are longing for Francis’s death. The pope is 80. That ambiguity has now ended. In a letter to the Argentinian bishops, who had published a liberal interpretation of the document, the pope says that “there are no other interpretations”. This means that he agrees that suitably trained priests can decide on their own initiative whether remarried couples are to be admitted to communion even when they are having – brace yourself – sex (one of the more delightful conservative positions is that remarried divorcees are of course welcome to take communion providing they aren’t actually doing it with each another.)
This is a slightly flippant way of looking at the matter, but Francis is not flippant about marriage. He supports these reforms because he believes that second families are sometimes better than broken ones.
But neither are his opponents simply posturing in their opposition to him. One rightwing Catholic blogger wrote last year that conservatives are longing for Francis’s death. The pope is 79. He has only one lung. What he has done may not change doctrine but it
ensures that the contest to choose his successor will be extraordinarily bitter, and fought for very high stakes.
Pope endorsement softens
stance on divorced Catholics
Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome,13 September 2016
Pope Francis praises Argentinian document stating some in ‘irregular family situations’ could receive communion
Pope Francis has issued a remarkable endorsement of major changes in the way priests approach Catholics who are divorced and remarried, in a move that could open the door to some of them receiving communion.
The Vatican announced on Tuesday that Francis sent a letter to bishops in Argentina on 5 September in which he praised a document they had written that said priests could – in some cases – offer the “help of sacraments” to Catholics living in “irregular family situations” as part of a broader effort to support and integrate divorced and remarried Catholics into the life of the church.
“There are no other interpretations,” Francis wrote.The pope’s praise of the document was the most direct evidence that Francis supports a significant change in the way individual priests deal with divorced Catholics. Divorce is considered a sin, and the debate over how the church approaches prevalence has become divisive, pitting progressives within the church who espouse a more gentle approach against traditionalists who do not want it to veer from hardline condemnation.
At the centre of the new development is a document that was written and released by Pope Francis in April called Amoris Laetitia, an apostolic exhortation that examined how the church ought to deal with the changing modern family. It was written after the church convened two synods on the family to debate the issues.
In it, Francis said priests and bishops need to rely on their personal judgement about an individual’s circumstances when they determine whether strict church teachings – including about marriage and divorce – ought to apply to the individual. At the time, he said that his apostolic exhortation did not mark the end of the debate within the church, and that the issues were still up for discussion.
But Francis’s latest endorsement of the Buenos Aires document, in effect, a set of concrete guidelines that were written in Argentina and could be seen as a progressive interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, could indicate that Francis is concerned about
possible misinterpretations of his document, including by reactionary forces within the church.
The Argentinean bishops did not endorse a change that would allow all divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion. But they said that, if civilly remarried couples could not abstain from sex, as the church dictates they should , and if they were unable to receive an annulment of their previous marriages, then it would be possible to take a “journey of discernment” that
Francis wrote: “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations. And I am certain that it will do much good. May the Lord reward this effort of pastoral charity.” The words could be seen as a rebuke of a very different interpretation of Amoris Laetitia that was released by the conservative archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput.
Chaput released a statement in July in which he said that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics were welcome to accept Holy Communion as long as they abstained from sex and lived out their relationships like “brother and sister”.
Chaput also advised Catholics who were attracted to people of the same sex that they ought to frequently seek penance and could still consider entering heterosexual unions despite having “some degree of same-sex attraction”.
Falling in love forbidden to Popes?
‘ Loves of the Popes’ and
the Vatican’s New Normal
By David Gibson Sep 13/16, in America, National Catholic Reviews
Revelations of the private lives of popes are part of a humanizing trend
Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd during “Many Hearts for the pope, messenger of peace” meeting at the Vatican on June 28, 2004. Photo courtesy of REUTERS
(Note: Administration was not Benedict’s forte, but he had the guts to break up a “Gay Lobby” that flourished inside the Vatican, called also the “Holy Sea”. Why the Pope himself is addressed even today as “His Holiness” which I described as blasphemy pure and simple long long ago? But the most humanizing part of Pope Francis is that he was the first among all Popes to describe himse: ”I am a sinner” to the interviews after his election.
Why wonder if there was or is, Gay Lobby in Vatican? Was there not a betrying Judas, denying Peter and doubting Thomas and power hungry James and John who wanted to sit on the right and left of Jesus seated on his royal throne? Also didn’t Jesus tell his disciples to allow the wheat and weeds to grow together till the harvesting season to separate the weeds as fodder for fire?
If the smart and good looking young Benedict did not fall in love with girls and vice versa, there must have been an abnormal human development in him? If he did, he was fully a normal guy. That was the story with Pope John Paul ii and Francis. Only they did correct their youthful flirtations unlike many womanizing popes of history who became a scandal to the faithful. To err is human, to mend one/s ways in time is divine.
Don’t worry, be prepared even to get shell-shocked beyond imagination, not now but in the distant future, when people will be discussing the natural human development of a “pregnant pope”. That is not to say Celibacy has lost all its sanctity and glamour. It will continue to shine as a pearl of great price side by side with married priesthood, not monopolized by the patriarchal section but shared also by the fairer section who forms 50% of humanity, following scriptural principle “Jew or gentile, man or woman..” you are all one Jesus. And Jesus himself was always surrounded by the fairer section and publicly attached to one whom he had to caution not to touch him because he had to ascend to his father in heaven. He knew how to keep his civilized distance. So should others – man or woman -. who choose the path of a celibate life.
God carried all in the Arc of Noah and all are called to cohabit happily in the bark of Peter as well. Jesus was the exemplar par excellence of humane humanity and it should infect the whole of humanity, not just the divided churches. He never founded any of them. The whole of humanity is groaning to grow into a humane humanity surviving the petty to pernicious divisions of class, caste, community, country and common wealth. The only wealth common to all is “humane humanity”. Into that heaven of peace and harmony let my country awake, let our churches awake, let our human race awake! james kottoor, editor)
The big news out of the Vatican last week was the publication of a book-length interview with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in which the former pontiff reflects—the first to do so, as popes almost always die in office—on his controversial eight years as pope.
In the volume, poignantly titled “The Last Conversations,” the 89-year-old Benedict told his fellow German, the journalist Peter Seewald, that he was shocked when he was elected pope in 2005. He also said that while administration was not his strong suit, “I don’t see myself as a failure” and he took credit for breaking up a “gay lobby,” or clique, that he said operated inside the Vatican.
But the revelation that had tongues wagging was not in the book. Instead it came in a magazine interview with Seewald in which he said that Benedict—who was born Joseph Ratzinger—“fell in love
… in a very serious way” as a student and struggled “very much” with the idea of taking a vow of celibacy when he became a priest.
“He was really a very smart-looking guy, a handsome young man, an aesthete who wrote poetry and read Hermann Hesse,” Seewald told the German news weekly Die Zeit in a story published on Sept. 8. “A fellow student told me he had quite an effect on women, and vice versa. The decision to choose celibacy wasn’t easy for him.”
The news brought to mind other stories in that vein, such as the confession by Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio—which emerged the week after he was elected Pope Francis in 2013—that he was “dazzled” by a young woman he met at a relative’s wedding while he was a young man in seminary.
“I was surprised by her beauty, her intellectual brilliance … and, well, I was bowled over for quite a while. I kept thinking and thinking about her. When I returned to the seminary after the wedding, I could not pray for over a week because when I tried to do so, the girl appeared in my head. I had to rethink what I was doing.”Francis decided to continue the path to the priesthood, but said “it would be abnormal for this kind of thing not to happen.”
Similarly, one of the most affecting stories about Saint John Paul II was about how he apparently had at least one flirtation as a young man growing up in Poland, with the apparent object of his attention—or he of hers—a beautiful Jewish girl named Ginka Beer.
Earlier this year a potentially more explosive revelation emerged in correspondence that John Paul, who died in 2005, carried on with a married Polish-American woman over the course of their adult lives. There was never any suggestion in the exchange that John Paul ever broke his vow of celibacy, and the pontiff was known to have close friendships with women and men.
But the intimacy of the letters created a frisson of scandal, as if some boundary had been crossed. In a sense it had. Centuries ago, of course, the love lives of the popes—and cardinals and various powerful prelates—became a source of constant fascination and scandal, and the tales of a bed-hopping Renaissance pontiff like Alexander VI can still make for remarkable reading.
As if in reaction to such episodes, however, popes in following centuries became virtual ciphers, regal monks who seemed to be spiritually and physically in another realm, above and beyond real life. They were encased in piety and stripped of passion, especially of the romantic kind.
The teaching on papal infallibility—which only pertains to solemn declarations by the pontiff and the bishops, not the pope’s personal conduct—was elaborated in the 19th century and added more degrees of papal separation from the flock.
But by the middle of the last century there was also a sense that the popes had become too remote and needed to be humanized, a development that paralleled the Catholic Church’s broader pivot to a more open and pastoral style—and a style that had to be modeled by more open and pastoral, and human, popes.
Part of that “humanizing” trend was to let it be known that popes could also fall in love—at least in an innocent way, and always in their pre-ordination lives.
Hence the promulgation of the story that even Pope Pius XII, one of the more aristocratic and distant figures to sit on the Throne of Saint Peter, had a crush on a girl when he was a teenager. If she had reciprocated his affection “there would be no Pope Pacelli today,” as his parish priest told a reporter in St. Peter’s Square on the evening Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected pope in 1939.
In these days of great anxiety in the church about the role of gays and gay rights, leaking stories about papal crushes can also be useful for signaling that a pope is straight, and not just straight but also virile and seriously attractive to women, an attraction he naturally must renounce.But it’s still a balancing act—trying to advertise a pontiff’s shared humanity with the flock while not encouraging prurient speculation.
Benedict, with his characteristically wry sense of humor, seemed to understand that. In his first book-length interview with Seewald, published back in 1996, the journalist asked then-Cardinal Ratzinger if he had ever fallen in love. The future pope said demurely
that he was “touched by friendship” in that regard but “my plans never progressed as far as a clear desire for a family.”
A year later, asked at the launch of his memoirs why the extensive account of his youth mentioned no girlfriends, the future pope quipped: “I had to keep the manuscript to 100 pages.” Even if Benedict was not known as the most warm and fuzzy of popes, he knew the trend line is clearly toward more humanity, more humor, more “normalcy,” as they say—a trend Francis has also pushed ahead.
“The Pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps peacefully, and has friends like everyone else. A normal person,” as he said in a 2014 interview. “To depict the Pope as a kind of superman or a star seems to me offensive,” Francis added.
Indeed, at heart the issue is not just about whether a pope can fall in love, or out of love, but about whether the popes as people are so sacred as to be immune from the spiritual and even physical challenges that afflict humanity. The more important message is that they are men, and Christians, not religious robots.
In this latest, and apparently last, interview, the aging Benedict said that was a central lesson he hoped people learned from his shocking decision to retire in 2013—the first pope in six centuries to do so. “I think it is also clear that the pope is no superman and his mere existence is not sufficient to conduct his role, rather he likewise exercises a function,” Benedict said in explaining his reasons for resigning.
“If he steps down, he remains in an inner sense within the responsibility he took on, but not in the function. In this respect one comes to understand that the office of the pope has lost none of its greatness, even if the humanity of the office is perhaps becoming more clearly evident.”
Read below the account of catholic who was denied extremeunction because she was not a parishioner.
Shame , Shame and more Shame on these type of priests who have divided the Church. The words in I Believe should be changed from ” One Holy Catholic Church” to many holy Catholic Churches.
His Eminence Archbishop Oswald Cardinal Gracias,
21, Nathalal Parikh Marg.
Scindia Society, Police Colony,
Apollo Bundar, Colaba, Mumbai – 400001.
I am a former parishioner of ‘Infant Jesus Church’, Dombivili-Thakurli. I have shifted to Dharavi in May 2015 and have been a parishioner of ‘St. Anthony’s Church’ since then.
We (my wife Shirley, my daughter Sweta and myself) have cancelled our names as parishioners of ‘Infant Jesus Church’, Dombivili-Thakurli in May 2015 and have even taken a letter from the Parish Priest and gave it to Fr Christopher Jeyakumar, Parish Priest of ‘St. Anthony’s Church’, Dharavi. We have even filled up a form with our photographs affixed on it in order to get our FAMILY CARD. One and a half years have passed, but Fr Christopher Jeyakumar has not given it to us. Whenever we ask him for our Family Card, he does not give us a polite answer. He favours only the Tamil-speaking Catholics of the parish. As for the Marathi and English-speaking Catholics, he’s very harsh to them. He’s also never available to parishioners. He closes the door of his room and sleeps the whole day. Archbishop, what do we do now to get our Family Card? Fr Joaquim, the former Assistant Parish Priest had even requested Fr Christopher Jeyakumar to give us our Family Card but he gave him no answer.
On August 8, 2016, one of my aunt residing at Vasai was admitted at Sion Hospital as she was in her last stage. In the evening at around 6.00 p.m., my wife had requested Fr Christopher Jeyakumar to give her the last sacrament, but he refused to do so and told my wife ‘I have no time’. Two hours later, my aunt expired without a priest hearing her confession and giving her the last sacraments.
Fr Amal Charles, Assistant Parish Priest who is also a Tamilian told my wife that since my aunt is not a parishioner of the Church, he cannot come.
Fr Prashant Padu, the Assistant Parish Priest who is a very good priest like Fr Joaquim, was not available as he had gone out for some meeting. Had he been there that evening, he definitely would have come.
I am sure there are many priests like Fr Christopher Jeyakumar who are spoiling the name of our Catholic Church. The entire Marathi-speaking Catholics (Kolis and East Indians) of Dharavi are against Fr Christopher Jeyakumar and want him to be transferred to some other parish.
Also, on weekdays, there are no Marathi or English masses, only Tamil masses for the Tamilians, one in the morning and the other in the evening.
Clash of Civilizations!
Huntington’s Clash Revisited
David Brooks in New York Times, March 3, 2011
(Note: It is against the background of Islamic State prompted terrorist attacks in Europe, Middle East, US and elsewhere that Huntigton’s Clash of civilizations becomes very relevant. It was some 23 years ago in 1993 that Samuel Huntington appeared on the American horizon with his novel, fascinating and provocative theory of the Class of civilizations — pleasing to some and painful to others, especially to the Muslim world fraternity. He was instantly labeled “the greatest political scientist” because he seemed to give a vivid live sketch of the bleeding, horror spewing face an ISIS which we see almost daily today with shudder and horror but could not visualize then in 1993 even as remote possibility. Why?
Because shouldn’t violence diminish, recede and disappear in thin air without any trace as man in the jungles makes progress from his barbaric ways and days and places where the “might-is-right-principle” ruled root once, to becomes more refined, polished and humane? Isn’t that what we call “Civilization?” Didn’t we then speak also of the White Man’s burden of conquering, domesticating, humanizing, civilizing and Christianizing the barbaric nations of the world? Where then can there be room for brute force today tearing at each other (Homo homini lupus=man becoming a wolf to man) and the hugging of loving embrace (declaring: let us make love, not war) becoming bedfellows in the cage termed: civilization? So aren’t we today witnessing instead a living “Oxymoron”, a “cruel kindness” or a “living death?” A caging in of two incompatibles? Shouldn’t civilization which is refinement ought to eliminate or do away with any and all physical clashes, relics from barbaric days? That was how Huntington’s “Class of Civilizations” was first welcomed or criticized at least by sections of humanity then.
Now with the advent of ISIS claiming paternity for terrorism anywhere and everywhere including the slitting of the throat of an elderly pious priest in France at the altar praying and offering the sacrifice of the “spotless lamb.” perhaps we are better equipped to swallow this Oximoron, this living contradiction, this paradox of a civilization! For Huntigton there was no universal civilization but only cultural blocs or bricks. Was he perhaps rephrasing the American dilemma of the “melting pot” in which the ingredients refused and still refuse to melt, the result of which we saw as fire works at Orlando, San Bernardino and Dallas! What one expected was unity bordering on uniformity like white and black becoming brown, not bloody conflict. What then would be the result of religions melting into each other? Possible? Nationalities melting into each other? Languages melting into each other? Like English becoming, not Queen’s English, but Manglish in Kerala?
Whether we like it or not, we cannot disagree outright with Huntington saying: “Islamic civilization is the most troublesome; Muslim world has bloody borders; it is in conflict with other civilizations, especially the Western; it does not hunger for pluralism and democracy; it takes selectively from the West what suits it but doesn’t reciprocate to give in equal measure; so it is better the two civilizations don’t intermingle or intermarry to produce worse tensions.” In practice then are we back to square one: “East is east and West is west and the twin shall never meet?”
As for bloody borders it was not Islam but the Catholic Church that started the holy crusades (another Oximoron) and got its hands sullied, dirty. Finally it got cleansed, tamed and domesticated through a period of enlightenment while Islam has still to go through that process of enlightenment to become a decent member in today’s parliament of religions where they should start dialoguing and learning from each other and not shooting and destroying each other. If this is to happen, first the cut-throat culture of ISIS must change, must stop once and for all. The rest of the world must help it to see reason and do it through persuasion, not through bombardment. That should be the message Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” ought to convey to all of us today. james kottoor, editor)
Samuel Huntington was one of America’s greatest political scientists. In 1993, he published a sensational essay in Foreign Affairs called “The Clash of Civilizations?” The essay, which became a book, argued that the post-cold war would be marked by civilizational conflict.
Human beings, Huntington wrote, are divided along cultural lines — Western, Islamic, Hindu and so on. There is no universal civilization. Instead, there are these cultural blocks, each within its own distinct set of values.
The Islamic civilization, he wrote, is the most troublesome. People in the Arab world do not share the general suppositions of the Western world. Their primary attachment is to their religion, not to their nation-state. Their culture is inhospitable to certain liberal ideals, like pluralism, individualism and democracy.
Huntington correctly foresaw that the Arab strongman regimes were fragile and were threatened by the masses of unemployed young men. He thought these regimes could fall, but he did not believe that the nations would modernize in a Western direction. Amid the tumult of regime change, the rebels would selectively borrow tools from the West, but their borrowing would be refracted through their own beliefs. They would follow their own trajectory and not become more Western.
The Muslim world has bloody borders, he continued. There are wars and tensions where the Muslim world comes into conflict with other civilizations. Even if decrepit regimes fell, he suggested, there would still be a fundamental clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. The Western nations would do well to keep their distance from Muslim affairs. The more the two civilizations intermingle, the worse the tensions will be.
Huntington’s thesis set off a furious debate. But with the historic changes sweeping through the Arab world, it’s illuminating to go back and read his argument today. In retrospect, I’d say that Huntington committed the Fundamental Attribution Error. That is, he ascribed to traits qualities that are actually determined by context.
He argued that people in Arab lands are intrinsically not nationalistic. He argued that they do not hunger for pluralism and democracy in the way these things are understood in the West. But it now appears as though they were simply living in circumstances that did not allow that patriotism or those spiritual hungers to come to the surface.
It now appears that people in these nations, like people in all nations, have multiple authentic selves. In some circumstances, one set of identities manifests itself, but when those circumstances change, other equally authentic identities and desires get activated.
For most of the past few decades, people in Arab nations were living under regimes that rule by fear. In these circumstances, most people shared the conspiracy mongering and the political passivity that these regimes encouraged. But when the fear lessened, and the opportunity for change arose, different aspirations were energized. Over the past weeks, we’ve seen Arab people ferociously attached to their national identities. We’ve seen them willing to risk their lives for pluralism, openness and democracy.
I’d say Huntington was also wrong in the way he defined culture. In some ways, each of us is like every person on earth; in some ways, each of us is like the members of our culture and group; and, in some ways, each of us is unique. Huntington minimized the power of universal political values and exaggerated the influence of distinct cultural values. It’s easy to see why he did this. He was arguing against global elites who sometimes refuse to acknowledge the power of culture at all.
But it seems clear that many people in Arab nations do share a universal hunger for liberty. They feel the presence of universal human rights and feel insulted when they are not accorded them.
Culture is important, but underneath cultural differences there are these universal aspirations for dignity, for political systems that listen to, respond to and respect the will of the people.
Finally, I’d say Huntington misunderstood the nature of historical change. In his book, he describes transformations that move along linear, projectable trajectories. But that’s not how things work in times of tumult. Instead, one person moves a step. Then the next person moves a step. Pretty soon, millions are caught up in a contagion, activating passions they had but dimly perceived just weeks before. They get swept up in momentums that have no central authority and that, nonetheless, exercise a sweeping influence on those caught up in their tides.
I write all this not to denigrate the great Huntington. He may still be proved right. The Arab world may modernize on its own separate path. But his mistakes illuminate useful truths: that all people share certain aspirations and that history is wide open. The tumult of events can transform the traits and qualities that seemed, even to great experts, etched in stone.