Letter to the Cardinal Gracias regarding Political Support

Letter to Cardinal Gracias Taken from the Website of CNPaul

The Hindustan Times report dt 22/10/13

The Hindustan Times news report dated 22/10/13

Respected Cardinal Gracias,

I refer to a report in the Hindustan Times dt 22/10/13 captioned “Its congress over BJP for Jamiat Leader, Cardinal”.  The news report refers to you as one of the Pope’s chosen 8 advisors.

The report states that you recently met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and praised her policies, signs that minorities still view the grand old party favourably”  The report further states that you “met Sonia Gandhi” and appreciated the  key role played by her in caring for the poor and downtrodden.  He pledged support for the Congress -led UPA Government’s welfare programmes”.

This is a very disturbing report as you are the CBCI President, and in the Pope’s inner circle.  I do not know why you called on Sonia Gandhi and whether what is reported is correct.  If the report is correct then you have erred grievously in a politically surcharged atmosphere, by pledging the Catholic community’s support to a particular political party.  This is not the business of religious leaders.  If the  report is correct then you owe an apology to the community.  If, however , the report is incorrect then you need to issue an urgent clarification denying the newsreport.

As past National President of the All India Catholic Union (AICU) I wish to state that politics is the specific sphere of the laity, as clearly expressed in Vatican II documents.  The CBCI should actively support the AICU and its affiliated Catholic Associations, instead of trying to don all hats itself.

We are only too well aware that most political parties seek the support of caste and religious groupings, some blatantly and others covertly.  Unfortunately  your meeting with a political party chief, in a highly charged political atmosphere, that is assuming larger communal overtones, is not helping the cause of secularism in India.  The newsreport in question has already clubbed you with a Muslim religious leader.  This is just what the BJP is working for to cry “Foul”.

I therefore humbly request you, as CBCI President, to please refrain from political statements, and leave political affairs to the laity.

Yours respectfully,
Former National President, AICU

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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6 Responses to Letter to the Cardinal Gracias regarding Political Support

  1. Isaac Gomes says:

    Very well said Chhotebhai! One wonders what made Cardinal Gracious who is both Chairman of CBCI.and one of the eight inner circle men of Pope Francis meet Mrs Sonia Gandhi and reportedly praise her for the pro-poor welfare projects of the UPA government. None of the projects have added skills to the poor or will teach them how to fish. True welfare projects help communities to come up on their own feet and are not doles which result in permanent paralysis.

    I doubt whether the Church will allow politics to be a domain of the Laity. For our Parish Priest (Auxilium Parish Kolkata) said several times that politics in the church is a must and it is politics which keeps up the blood flow to the brains! He is well-known to play politics wherever he goes, including hobnobing with political dadas. He cares two hoots for the Vatican II mandate of forming transparently elected Parish Pastoral Councils and Parish Finance Committees, loves to play with unaccounted money, gets involved in huge land / housing scams with Provincial’s patronage, breaks vibrant elected Lay Units for fear of losing control over them and replaces them with his own cronies. The Archbishop turns the other way in spite of repeated reporting of these matters to him even by the religious order.

    Can Chhotebhai suggest a solution? A small hint – this very parish priest was the kingpin of Loreto Lucknow September 2006 case during the Chief Ministership of Mulayam Singh Yadav!

    Isaac Gomes

  2. Mr. Chhotebhai is very correct in cautioning our dear blunderbuss church boss man, against spouting his wisdom in areas where he should not be even thinking about.
    But dear Mr. Chhotebhai, how many times are you going to be the watch dog for all his blunders and shut eye to all the rot that this weak, uncaring boss man is up to ???? good luck and best wishes in your crusade for what is right; I certainly support you !!!!!

  3. A well written article.However the actor is “Thick Skinned’ or that what he says one needs to be. This issue must be taken to the highest level and ensure he does not make such comments and suggestions.He is a religious leader and must stick to his spritual and church duties. Just a reminder to him, please dont cry foul in case of any backlash.In fact you have asked and invited the same on you and the Catholic community in India.

  4. Andrea says:

    Hello Chhotebhai
    I just do not kn what this fuss is about our Respected Cardinal Gracias visiting Sonia Gandhi. Why does one not see it like this that his Respected self has gone to visit a family member of our Community (Catholic community). I’m sure if she was with the other party too he would have visited her there too. Our Cardinal visits us at our Parishes and as Sonia being in the Political field there would be some restrictions if she comes to church, with all her body guards and that would prevent the other members of our community to visit the church too at the same time.
    Basically we are all Indians even if we belong to various Communities. What is there if Our Cardinal is the President CBCI he too has to vote and has a freedom of movement and speech.

  5. Francis S. Lobo says:

    Dear Chhotebhai,
    Thank you very much for your letter to Cardinal. The biggest threat the Indian Church is facing today is the Hinduisation of the Catholic Church, Liturgical abuses, OM chanting, Ashram culture, Yoga and many other occult practices within the Church. Bishops and Cardinals did nothing to correct it. Instead they sweep issues under the carpet.
    On 06th November 2013, in Chennai, a City Civil Court has granted a permanent injunction restraining Roman Catholic Bishops and priests from using a Tamil translation of the Missal 1993, the liturgical book, in churches under their jurisdiction. “Judge terms the translation as improper, incorrect, illegal and unbiblical”. We also need to raise a voice against the liturgical abuses in the Church.

    Can’t follow 1993 version of Tamil Missal as court says it is unbiblical

    Court restrains bishops from using liturgy book

    Tamil version of Catholic prayer book banned

    Court bans altered Tamil Missal

  6. Hello Chhotebai,
    Do you believe he will ever admit to the error. Of course he has made a gross error, but he is “think Skinned” as he says one needs to be.Cardinal Oswald Gracias has been mixing religion and politics for a long time without regret. I do recall a couple of years ago he along with a political figure attended a church celebration at Kalina, Santa Cruz Mumbai. Life size arches were erected by the church and Our Dear Cardinal and the Political figure walked under the same, when this was brought to his notice he claimed he never noticed it, and since it was me who gave a simple statement to the press, I was dubbed’ Enemy of the church” my appeal went in vain yet however the parish priest of that church was immediately transferred.
    Its all one big bloody sham with the church administration and the laity. Its time people wake up and see the truth.
    I dont have any hopes in the administration of Our Dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias and all this talk of being one of the 8 chosen ones by pope Francis needs to be exposed. Its shameful and double standards.

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