Pope is now clear Second families can be Better than broken families

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”.


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Falling in love forbidden to Popes? ‘ Loves of the Popes’ and the Vatican’s New Normal

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.”

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Do we really believe in one holy Catholic Church?

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,
‘Archbishop’s House’,
21, Nathalal Parikh Marg.
Scindia Society, Police Colony,
Apollo Bundar, Colaba, Mumbai – 400001.

His Eminence,
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.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,
Jubel D’Cruz

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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 mattersindia.com.

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 mattersindia.com “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: jameskottoor@gmail.com

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