Clash of Civilizations! Huntington’s Clash Revisited

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.


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Another kidnap of Pastor in MP

Another kidnap of Pastor in MP

Kidnapped pastor,

companion denied bail Published on July 25, 2016 in Matters India Reporter

(Note: First it was the kidnap and torture of a Catholic bishop, Prasad Gallela of Kadappa on April 25/2016, now it is that of a Protestamt pastor Ramlal and his aid Nandlal in Bhopal, Madya Pradesh on July 25th. Both happen on a 25th. In the first case the crime was committed by Catholic priests, in the second by Hindus for alleged conversion activities. In both cases it is people taking law into their own hands which is the mark of an uncivilized and disorderly society. In a democratic society — and we in India profess to be the largest democracy in the world — freedom of religion should be the rule. Therefore there should not be any room for anti-conversions laws, religious belief and practice being personal free choices. It only shows that we Indians have a long way to go become a democratic free society. The remedy is to educate and enlighten our illiterates, which is the main duty of governments at national and state levels. To live and let live in harmony is the mark of an educated society. Regretably, we have a long way to go to reach that stage. james kottoor, editor)

Bhopal: The ordeal of a Protestant pastor and another Christian, who are victims of a recent kidnap incident, continued with a lower court refusing to grant them bail on Monday.

Right wing Hindu activists kidnapped pastor Rampal Kori ,38, Nand Lal ,49, a member of his church, on July 21 night from a house at Mauganj tehsil in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh, where they were leading a prayer meeting

According to Pastor Kori, their abductors tied them to a tree and beat them up with wooden sticks, kicked and punched accusing them of indulging in religious conversion, a charge they deny.

Even though the police rescued them in an early morning operation, on July 22, eight hours after their abduction, they were sent to jail on the same day charging them with hurting Hindu religious sentiments and violating the provisions of the stringent anti-conversion law that restrains conversion through allurement or force.

“They were kept in the police station the whole day on Friday after their rescue on the pretext of protection and when the evening came, instead of letting them go home, they were sent to jail”, says a fellow pastor Ram Yesh.“It was really a shock for all of us,” he told

According to the information, the police gave ample opportunity to their kidnappers to file a counter case against them in another police station for violation of anti-conversion law and hurting religious sentiments of Hindus instead of arresting them for kidnapping the duo.

The Christians waited at Mauganj police station with no clue as what was happening until they were sent to jail. The move was an apparent attempt by the Hindu activists to save their face and justify the criminal act, those in the know opine.

A senior police officer of Mauganj, Kamlesh Sharma, however, has denied any involvement of police in facilitating the right wing Hindu activists in any manner to lodge a complaint against the Christians. “We have already registered a case against Hindu activists under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, house trespass among other charges”, he told “We are trying our best to arrest them,” he added.

Now the Christians have moved an appeal before the Sessions court against the order of Judicial Magistrate’s court, which is likely to come up for hearing on July 26.“We know they are innocent and it will be vindicated in the court,: Pastor Yesh says.


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Caste atrocities: sickening, horrific, shameful

Caste atrocities: sickening, horrific, shameful

Of cows and caste By Tavleen Singh, in Indian Express, July 24, 2016

Violence against Dalits is not something that began in the past two years as the tenor of the debate in Parliament would have us believe.

The list of atrocities on Dalits is shamefully long!

(Note: Caste ugliness, racial ugliness, dalit divisive ugliness like protruding disfiguring pimples are spreading on the fair faces of the church and the country. Is it a crime to be borne a Dalit, low caste even in the Catholic church which proudly and pompously teaches all to call God: “Our Father?” It is in fact. It always was in India. Only we didn’t know or see it. Now we do because, social media: what’s up? Twitter, Facebook bring them into our bed rooms to give us sleepless nights. Still “we the people” sleep comfortably as if these atrocities are not happening. No we should not let these things happen in our neighbourhood. Can we make every one think like that with determination? Only on that day caste hatred and Dalit oppression will

come to an instant halt. Then why don’t we do that instead of blaming everyone else and shedding crocodile tears? In the political circle, to aggravate matters and trigger Dalit rage to explode, a BJP leader in UP calls Mayawathi, the patron and protector of Dalits a ”Prostitute!” Here Church is only a carbon copy of the politics of the country. You get the government you deserve, you get the Church you deserve. “Like the pastor, so the people” was in good old days. Now we the people have to be agents of change both in church and state. So don’t blame neither the state, nor the Church for casteism. Blame yourself. Change yourself to change church and state for the better. james kottoor, editor)

The images were so haunting that you did not need to be Dalit to be horrified. When I saw the video of the skinny, half-naked men with their hands tied to a car being beaten with iron rods by fat, ugly cow vigilantes, I was sickened to the core. And yet I felt compelled to watch the video again and again to assure myself that this was actually happening in my country.

Many horrible things happen daily in our land of ancient hatreds, but when is our ruling class going to understand that they cannot happen any more? Social media and very vigilant TV reporters have made it impossible for such things to occur and remain hidden as they did in older times.

Violence against Dalits is not something that began in the past two years as the tenor of the debate in Parliament would have us believe. The list of atrocities on Dalits is shamefully long. Dalit bridegrooms have been stoned if they have dared to ride a horse on their wedding day, Dalit girls are nearly always the main victims of rural rapists. And in rural India, Dalit workers are often killed if they get uppity enough to demand fair wages. The only thing that has changed in the past two years is the advent of cow vigilantes.

This column has pointed out often that cow vigilantes were out of control and that the Prime Minister must intervene if they are to be stopped. It harms him personally to not have spoken even after this latest atrocity in his home state. Had he stopped his chief ministers from making a noise about beef, the cow vigilantes may not have become so emboldened as to commit murder in the name of saving cows.

Victims included a young Kashmiri boy who was traveling out of the Valley for the first time. Zahid Rasool Bhat, 16, was burned alive by Hindu fanatics in Udhampur for the ‘crime’ of travelling in a truck that was transporting cattle. News of his murder spread throughout the Kashmir valley, giving ordinary Kashmiris yet another reason to hate India.

The Prime Minister should have spoken after Mohammad Akhlaq became the first victim but chose not to. So the violence continued. Now Dalit communities who depend on the leather business to earn their livelihood have become new targets. The irony is that although Hindus do not kill cows or eat beef, it is mostly Hindus who are involved in the leather business and the cattle trade. But cow vigilantes appear not to know this.

Last year the Pushkar fair reported a drop of 94 per cent in cattle sales. It is insane to believe that only Muslims were affected. From Kolhapur which makes the most famous of India’s slippers there have been complaints of leather shortages, but for reasons unknown, senior BJP leaders remained oblivious to the depredations of murderous vigilantes.

The BJP today faces a serious Dalit problem. This has been compounded because of a BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh choosing the exact moment of the debate in Parliament on the Gujarat atrocity to compare Mayawati to a prostitute. Inevitably there has been an explosion of Dalit rage across the country. This may not have happened if the Prime Minister had spoken earlier and if his handpicked Chief Minister of Gujarat had shown more sensitivity.

She appeared not to notice what had happened till angry, violent mobs of Dalit protesters took to the streets 10 days after the Una incident. Then she put on a crisply starched blue sari and made a perfunctory visit to the homes of affected families. Her stiff, implacable demeanour gave every

indication that she was making this visit on instructions from above.

So in one of the ironies of Indian politics, the BJP could have lost the most important cow-belt state on account of its inordinate reverence for our holy cows. It is unwise to predict election results in advance, but I am going to stick my neck out and say that whatever chance the BJP had of winning in Uttar Pradesh is now gone. It was because Uttar Pradesh gave the BJP 71 Lok Sabha seats that Narendra Modi became the first prime minister in 30 years to get a full majority, which will make the loss of this state early next year even more painful. The mandate was for change and development not Hindutva, but it seems to have been misread by too many BJP leaders and the RSS.

If the Prime Minister had paid more attention to the atrocities being committed by cow vigilantes, he may not today be staring at what could be the most significant political defeat of his career. It is however not too late to reverse an ugliness that is spreading across India in the name of our sacred cows.

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Bosco sj’s crucial letter to Cleemis Not answered till today! dr. james kottoor


An Open Letter to His Eminence Cardinal Cleemis, President, CBCI on the Kidnapping of and Physical Violence on Most Rev.Bp.Gallela Prasad, The Bishop of Kadappa was sent by AXJ. Bosco SJ, Adviser, Citizens Forum for Justice and Adviser, National council of Dalit Christians on May 18/2016.

There is absolutely nothing serious about a letter not being answere! But the matter becomes very serious when the letter happens to be about: 1. a life-death-issue, 2. by a person of outstanding credibility, 3. to a person of eminence expected to be most exemplary in doing one’s duty.

Here the life-and-death issue is the cruel kidnap of an innocent Dalit Bishop Gallela, the letter writer is Fr. AXJ.Bosco SJ totally immersed in all sorts of dalit, caste related issues as adviser, secretary, convenor etc. and eminent person to reply was the Chairman of the nearly 180 bishops of India.Failure on the part of any of these 3 vital organas should per force invite quick replacement in the interest of the overall good.

Can any of the readers imagine in this case, Fr.AXJ Bosco sj, has not received a reply to this day even after 3 months? He has not.

The most exemplary incident described in the letter is the happy participation of Bp. Prasada Rao, the CSI Bishop of Kadapa and the scandalous blot, the absence of any Catholic bishop to commiserate with Bp.Gallela. The laity organised Citizens’ rallies in Kadappa and Hyderabad which throws up the question: Are lay people in the Church much more Christian and Catholic than their Bishops today?

It was not the failure of just one man, Cardinal Cleemis. CBCI is not just one man Cleemis, but all other bishops co-responsible as brfother bishops. None of them had the courtesy to open their mouths to say a kind word. Are they Christians? Do they believe in brotherhood Jesus preached?

Even the secretary general Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas of the CBCI could not muster courage to condemn caste related Kadappa kidnap when he condemned racial attack on Africans by Indians. Bisides the Andhra bishops comference, the religious conference of India(CRI) should have spoken out collectively and individually, but they did not.

While these things are not happening can anyone claim that the Hierarchical church in India believes itself to be a united family? Definitely they do not walk in the foot steps of Jesus and so are not any different from the Pharisaic high priestly class which crucified Jesus. This is a serious question to ponder over by the entire Catholic Church in India.

For the lay people, whose hour is now according to Francis, to decide whther they should be with these bishops who bear counter witness to Jesus, or be just good Christians walking in the footsteps of Jesus not swayed by the betrayers, deniers, doubters and the power and pelf hungry who are the specimens we have in episopal fraternity. It is time for action on the part of the laity now. Speak up and act now, not to regret later. Now read prayerfully Fr. Bosco sj’s open letter to Cardinal Cleemis which still remains unanswsered. james kottoor, editor

Your Eminence, May 18th 2016

Peace and Joy of Christ.

You may know that Most Rev.Bp.Prasad Gallela, the Bishop of Kadapa diocese was kidnapped at 11.00 am on 25thApril while he was returning after saying mass in the Marian Shrine; he was blind folded, taken to an unknown place; even while they were taking him, they pushed him down in between the seats and kicked him; later he was beaten brutally; abuses and insults were heaped on him; he narrowly escaped being murdered. They dropped him back at 2.00 am. To add to this heinous crime, they have videographed the ordeal.

We appreciate the Police who acted very fast. In a couple of days they were able apprehend the culprits. To our shock and shame, it was planned by three priests who hired more than 10 gundas to do the crime.

We had a Solidarity Rally and Public Meeting on 16th May in Kadapa, organized by Citizens Forum for Justice, located in Hyderabad for which I happened to be the Adviser. Most Rev Bp. Prasada Rao, the CSI Bishop of Kadapa was kind enough to give an introductory speech expressing solidarity with Bp.Prasad Gallela and condemning the culprits. With his Prayer, we started the Rally.

About 1500 people participated in the Rally. Except for 10 priests and 8 sisters, they were all Lay people. They were mostly from Kadapa; there were also people from Kurnool, Nellore, Khammam, Vijayawada and Guntur; there were Dalit Christian leaders from Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.

All the speakers pledged support and solidarity to Bp. Prasad Gallela; they also affirmed solidarity and unity among us in the Catholic Church, saying that they will stand by justice and equality following our Lord Jesus. They condemned the three priests; like Judas they betrayed Jesus and the Church; they are a shame to Catholic community.

Some questions too were asked and they need response

When a nun was raped in Kolkata, there were Protest Meetings, Candle Light Processions and, Press Statement in the National Media; it was rightly so. It was great injustice done to the sister and the Church Leadership responded appropriately in condemning the injustice and demanding severe punishment for the culprits. Citizens Forum for Justice organized a Candle Light Rally in Hyderabad; Priests and Nuns in big numbers along with people attended; Muslims too participated in the meeting.

Now a Bishop, the leader of a Diocese has been kidnapped and brutally beaten, neither Telugu Catholic Bishops Council (TCBC) nor the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), nor the Conference of Religious, India (CRI), national or regional, has responded collectively.Is it because Bp.PrasadGallela belongs to the Dalit Community and the threecriminal priests belong to a dominant Reddy caste? Are all the Prayers, Statements, Promises and Assurances of the Hierarchy and Church leaders only in words? Why is the Church leadership frightened or unwilling to act? Are they afraid of their caste communities; or they do not care about the Dalits even if they happen to be Bishops? The sad and criminal event has been published in the media; no significant response condemning the culprit priests or supporting the Bp.PrasdaGallela has been in the nationalmedia. You can very well imagine what would the people especially the DalitCatholics would think and feel about the significant silence on the part of theOfficial Church?

People who gathered for the Solidarity Rally, most of whom were Dalits expressed their hurt, frustration and anger at the inaction of the Church Leadership.We know that there is caste discrimination in the Church and it is a great challenge to the Christian Community inIndia. The question to ask is- If Jesus were to be here what he would have done?

Your eminence, I know that you personally sympathize with DalitChristians. We appreciate you for your stand. When will the Church Leadership collectively respond appropriatelyto the Monster Caste in the Church, which goes against the basic principle of our Lord Jesus – Equality, Justice and Love?

I wish and request, and this is the yearning and desire of all Dalit Catholics, that you direct the CBCI, TCBC and CRI to come together and discuss concrete plan of action to respond to the menace of caste issue in the Church i.e. among the Bishops, Priests and Religious which in turn will have positive effect on the Laity.

It will be very beneficial to trace out the Bishops who are unwilling or unable to respond to the problems of the Priests and the Laity in their Diocese, and transfer them to Dioceses where they may comfortably exercise their call and divine vocation.

I am ready and many other Dalit Leaders too will be willing, to help in this process of bringing about action oriented dialogue, so that we are able to implement concrete actions at all levels in the Church, thus bearing witness to our Lord Jesus and building up a community of love and justice.

Yours in solidarity

AXJ.Bosco SJ

Adviser, Citizens Forum for Justice,

Secretary, SC, ST and BC Commission of TCBC

Adviser, National council of Dalit Christians

Convener for AP and Telengana, Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace

18 – 05 -2016 Contact at:

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HC relief for Mahim Church plot residents

HC relief for Mahim church plot residents
In a relief for residents of a building on St Michael Church property at Mahim, the Bombay high court has directed the trial court to decide afresh whether a builder should be restrained from carrying out construction of a multi-storeyed tower on plots reserved for three gardens.

HC relief for Mahim church plot residents

| Jul 22, 2016, 01.14 AM IST

Mumbai: In a relief for residents of a building on St Michael Church property at Mahim, the Bombay high court has directed the trial court to decide afresh whether a builder should be restrained from carrying out construction of a multi-storeyed tower on plots reserved for three gardens.

Justice R M Savant heard an appeal by members of Our Lady of Vailankanni and Perpetual Succour Housing Society against the dismissal of its application against Suraj Estate Developers by the City Civil Court. The high court disagreed with the trial court that the plot was a Mhada property and provisions of Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act did not apply to it.

The judge, said that in the instant case, it cannot be said that the property belongs to or is vested in the housing authority which is a pre-requisite for provisions of the Mhada Act to be applied.

“Merely because the redevelopment is in respect of structures which are amenable to cess which a private landlord is required to pay to the municipal corporation, it would not mean that the properties either vest in or belong to the Mhada,” said Justice Savant, while ruling that the trial court’s order that Mhada Act is applicable on the plot is unsustainable. The trial court is directed to decide the issue within six weeks and also look into what will be the effect on the redevelopment vis-a-vis the obligations under MOFA.

The residents had moved the trial court for directing the church, the owner of the land on which the building stands, to execute a deed of conveyance in favour of the Society. It was in this matter, the residents sought an interim restraint on the builder.

They argued that a clause in the agreement between Suraj and the flat purchasers provides that it shall be subject to the provisions of MOFA.

Also, that the developer cannot construct without the consent of the Society. But the trial court dismissed their plea saying development is being carried out in terms of the modified DCR 33/7 and Mhada’s no objection certificate has been obtained as 12 cessed structures and Quinny House are to be rehoused free of cost. Therefore provisions of MOFA will not be applicable, it had ruled.


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The Mumbai Church Should stop its double standards

We, are reading in todays newspapers that the Mumbai Church and its yes men are opposing the DP plan.While there is nothing wrong in opposing the DP if there are genuine problems which I believe there may be , but what is totally wrong is the Churches double standards.

The Churches lose their lands to public amenties- The Church hierarchy opposes and uses the mass and parish councilors to tell people to oppose and collect signatures.

The land on which the churches stands is shown not as a church but as a school- The Church hierarchy opposes and uses the mass and parish councilors to tell people to oppose and collect signatures.

The churches land is being lost for a public road – The Church hierarchy opposes and uses the mass and parish councilors to tell people to oppose and collect signatures.

Now my question is St. Michaels Church which had to give 150 flat owners conveyance(99% of whom are Roman Catholics ) are themselves not giving conveyance which is a statutory obligation as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act are themselves guilty of contravention of the law of the land why are these organisations not agitating? Where have all their ethics gone? Do they really believe in Christ?

St. Micheals Church passes a plan which shows three gardens. Flat purchasers ( not tenants) purchase flats on the basis of these plans and pay for these amenities.Two of the said gardens are resold and plans have been passed to build multistoried buildings on them . The Church  declares the year of the environment. The Church states that open spaces, gardens etc are to be protected when it is not their property but the same rule does not apply to them when they sell my societies gardens.

On church property in Marinagar, 6 persons who have already been rehoused once are shown as yet to be rehoused . Quinny house which was demolished and on the same spot a seven storied building has been built and all tenants rehoused is shown fraudulently by all beneficiaries as yet to be built.The spot of Quinny House has been fraudulently shifted from its original spot to the place where Salus Infirmatory Stood.This unholy alliance benefits all ie the tenants get bigger flats , the builder gets over one lakh square feet additional fsi and more money. The Church benefits as more the fsi more the money. MHADA officials and BMC officials are all hand in glove. I dont need to say more. Bombay Catholic Sabha books an office in the same building which were sold to us as gardens.

The Church is clean then why is no police complaint being lodged till date?

We, should grow up. The Mumbai Church hierarchy should stop having double standards.Stop fooling people.

A wrong is a wrong irrespective of who the wrong doer is . The church authorities are custodians of the faith and should stop being capitalists.

Ezekiel Chapter 3 verses 16 to 21 states that if we are aware of a wrong it is our duty to point out the said wrong to the wrong doer other wise the said sin will be upon us. The sin of complicity.

Let one person contradict what I am saying .


Adv. A.M. Sodder

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Kolkatta’s Retired Prelate Great Archbishop, Friend of New Leader Promoter gone to Heaven dr. james kottoor

Retired Archbishop Henry D’Souza of Kolkatta

Thanks to Matters India, Delhi, I came to know that Archbishop Henry D’Souza, a friend of Mother Teresa for more than 35 years and a founding member of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), died of age-related illness on June 27 in Kolkata.

He was equally a friend and promoter of the over hundred and twenty five years old New Leader(NL) of Chennai, in the 1970ies when dr. james kottoor was its editor and publisher. Aarchbishop Henry was 90 years old and his funeral will be held on June 30th according to report in Matters. Precious and manifold were his contributions to the Church in India as the secretary general of the CBCI and president of the CCBI (Conference of Catholic Bishops of India—Latin rite)

He headed the Archdiocese of Calcutta during 1986-2002, played a crucial role in fast-tracking Blessed Mother Teresa’s canonization process. Archbishop D’Souza often hailed Mother Teresa as “the face of Christ

in the world” for spending her life time helping people understand the nature of the divine.

He was first appointed the bishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar in 1974. In 1985, he was transferred to the Calcutta as the coadjutor Archbishop. He succeeded Cardinal Lawrence Picachy as the archbishop of Calcutta on April 5, 1986 according to Matters India. It was when Henry was the Vicar General to Cardinal Picachy that he had a lot of close contacts and interaction with the Editor of NL. He started Life Assenting, a newsletter for senior citizen, and edited it until the end. This shows his interest in editing and spreading the Good Word through press.

Here I describe just one incident, among many, to show the interest he took in promoting Catholic publications, especially NL from Chennai.

It was during the time of Cardinal Picachi who took a special interest in NL of Chennai, even when he had his own Archdiocesan weekly The Herald. NL was at its peak of popularity then since it was the most outspoken frankly speaking paper publishing controversial issues like Birth Conrol, in the wake Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI. NL was the daily recipient of bouquets and brickbats from readers __ Right, Left and central.

Just think of even Bishops joining in this fray. Cardinal Picachy sent 25 gift subscriptions as a token of his appreciation for the “High standard of Catholic Journalism” of the then New Leader. He wrote several letters in support, so did also Cardinal Gracias of Bombay. Once he even gave an unsolicited advise to other publications, may be he had also Examiner in mind, asking them to “take a que from the short and crisp editorial notes attached to most piercing letters to make them blunt,” or break their sharp edge. Sharp letters for and against Pope’s encyclical on birth control used to come fast at that time.

At that time the CBCI meeting was to be held in Kolkatta and New Leader was in the forefront giving publicity to the main theme of the meeting. Unlike what is happening today at that time the theme of such meetings used to be announced months in advance and discussed in public in the Catholic press specially.

As editor I did just that and before going to Kolkatta to report the CBCI deliberations, I prepared a special issue on the theme of the meet containing so many letters from all over India responding to our request to readers: “Speak to your pastors through your paper” It brought more than two full pages of Tabloid size of NL at that time.

The cartoon on the front page of NL was a Kite Baloon with the inscription “Oh Kolkatta” (name of a sexy movie I think), up in the Sky with all bishops dancing around and string from the floating balloon held by urchin(lay people) on ground shouting “Please Come Down). It was a message to bishops not to make their CBCI discussions something too airy and up in the clouds but make them all down to earth.

The editor of the NL used to be a regular invitee to all CBCI meets then. Only now it has become all closed door secret meets only for bishops. In Kolkatta Cardinal Picachy, in the midst of a crowd of participants, was speaking to me thanking for the publicity NL gave and he said: “New Leader is the best Family Paper which should be promoted. This is not just my personal view but of my Vicar General Henry D’Souza who is a very perceptive person.”

That was a personal boost, bordering on flattery. But I did’t know what more shocking things were to come. Before official start of the Meet there was the Mass and a sermon focussed on the meet. Msgr. Henry happened to be the celebrant and speaker. When he came to the podium for the sermon he didn’t have a bible in hand. Instead he opened one of the copies of the New Leader and read aloud the two-page sprawling banner head line: SPEAK TO YOUR PASTORS THROUGH YOUR PAPER, and showed the letters to the congregation.

I had brought some hundred copies of that Issue so that all bishops could get a copy and read all the letters from the laity. If there is a better way to get laity participation in CBCI meets, please write to our portal CCV( Later I had to resign from the editorship, left priesthood, got dispensation, got married etc but none of these things made any change in our relationship and communication. Even last year I got a personal letter from the Retired Archbishop Henry. This was also the case with Archbishop Eugene Desouza of Bopal, who invited me to stay with him when I announced my decision to leave priesthood. And I did stay with him for few days.

A lot of changes in the Church is happening due to exemplary leaderships given by great Visionaries like Henry, cardinals, Picachy, Gracias and Parfekattil. May their race increase and multiply. May the Lord give eternal rest to the Soul of Archbishop Henry and we pray that he guide us from his heavenly abode. Contact at:



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