Our friend Varghese Pamplanil wrote the article in the CCV: Man sinner or crown & glory of creation? The New World! on Oct. 27th, and Dennis Daniel from Chennai, commented on it and wrote the following:
Pamplanil's knowledge is respectable, admirable and stunning. But his thoughts are evidently against the Catholic church. I am not a slave of the church. Nor do I have any admiration for the church hierarchy. But many of Pamplani's articles cause me physical and mental agony. Pamplani ji, what is the cause of your hatred against the church and the Bible? I don't think logic and reason alone has made you so venomous.”
Now Pamphalani from Texas, USA, responds to Dennis. Please read below what he has to say: james kottoor, editor,ccv
By Varghese Pamplanil, Austin, TX, USA
Dear Dennis Daniel,
My profound apologies, if I have wounded your feelings. It is not my intention to hurt any one’s feelings. However, I would like to tell facts as I see them. At the age of 78, living on bonus years, I am constrained by time; I wish to walk a long way in my journey of seeking; which keeps the grey matter ticking and endure my sanity.
I’m no blind hater of the Church or the priests per say. I don’t dislike any priests as individuals, but I don’t appreciate their craft. I would like to avoid them as a class. I don’t approve of the ways of the Catholic Church; can any one forget and forgive the atrocities committed against humanity in general and those who did not subscribe to its view of the world. Can speak against it? In my view what is required is a critical evaluation of it standing outside its sphere of influence and area of jurisdiction without the blinker of faith. You may not agree, please allow me to me to hold my opinion.
I am in search of Truth in my own way. What is “Truth” the question posed for ages. It is the same question supposed to have been raised by Pontus Pilot at the trial of Jesus. We see truth in our own manner within our limitations. But the search, seems to me, is worth the trouble. Fortunately, I do not live in the times of Giardano Bruno or Jan Hus to be burned alive at the stake by the church. The bites of the Church are not that fatal now.
I was a regular church going, often confessing adolescent. My doubts about the teaching of the church began when I studied human endocrine system in the Pre-University course back in 1958. I realised that my sexual urges are due to the hormones in my body, not due to the doings of the Devil. Sex is not a matter to be trifled with, it is responsible act, but not a sin. I uphold the integrity, autonomy and the individuality of every human especially that of the female gender, child, young, adult and old and her right to live as an integral part of humanity unmolested, in her own way. Without woman, man is incomplete.She has her personality, rights as much as much as a male. She is the epitome of biological perfection. She is no sinner Eve. She is not either a baby producing machine to be tied to the grinding stone and the cooking range. She has been demonised by the male dominated Church.
I was one of select five laity member of the highest level Financial Council of the Diocese of Kanjirappally, at the request of the Bishop shortly after I took up residence in the place in November 2000 on my retirement from Reserve Bank of India as a Deputy General Manager. I was also responsible for establishing the first ever branch level Multi- State Cooperative Society in India viz.Sahyadri Cooperative Credit Society,with the help and active support of the bishop of Kanjirapally. He calls me Pamplani Sir, because of his large heartedness, not because I am any great guy. Incidentally, I was selected by the bishop as a member of the exclusive five member Financial Council of the Diocese of Kanjirappally. The Chancellors were my friends. Bishop designate, Dr. Joseph PAMPLANY is my cousin, to him I used to send my articles. Even now I forward my articles to his brother Augustine PAMPLANY who teaches in Little Flower Seminary, Aluva whether he reads them or not, for whatever it is worth. I also send them to Dr. James Gurudas CMI who,did his PhD in Germany and has been teaching in CMI seminary for long. I am no way near the criticism of Dr. James Gurudas made in his anthology of poems “Mohana Kahalam “with a preface critically evaluating the Bible, Catholic religion, and priesthood whom he calls ‘vipers’. He generally encourages me to write the way I do. I had also discussions with Dr. K.T. Chandy SJ, Jesuit Centre, New Delhi, from whom I learned that Mary Magdalene could have been the wife of Jesus. I am still in correspondence with John Manipadam SJ, teacher for English to my two sons who studied in Loyola, Trivandrum.
Since I could not stomach the long winding blabla of a priest, I had to tell the bishop in 2005 that I would not attend any Mass if it exceeds half hour. I was forced to yell at the same priest, who happened to be a Chancellor of the diocese, “go to hell“ and told him not to visit my residence or send anybody to my place. Nothing has happened to me so far, nothing will happen on account of my shouting at the upstart. I pointed out to the bishop that, at the Catholic Churches in UK; the first Sunday Mass of about 30 minutes commences at 8.30 a.m.Week day Mass of less than 30 minutes is at 10.00 a.m. on Monday and 9.30 a.m.on other days. Wednesday all the churches are shut and barred; Saturday, no morning Mass, evening Mass is treated as the first Sunday Mass. At the Mass, the laity play major role; for the week day Mass the priest is assisted by women only. Apart from thanking the participants from the alter every Mass, on Sunday the celebrant waits at the foyer of the church greeting and shaking hands with each and every one who attends the Mass smiling. No wild gesticulations during the Mass. It is an experience to participate the Mass at the Catholic Westminster Cathedral, London.
No parish priest is allowed into my home: he has no authority over me. I don’t meet the umpteen demands for money by the Church. My pension, paid by the Reserve Bank, is just enough for me and my wife. Fortunately my two sons, one an Oncologist, working in UK and the other an IIT- IIM degree holder, a soft ware in U S A have their own independent lives with no demands from me.
As a trained inspector of banks, I am competent to evaluate its methods of operation and to arrive at its net worth. I can spot the misdoings of a bank. Incidentally, I was a member of the team that last inspected the now defunct Bank of Cochin detecting number of misdeeds by analysing the balance sheets among other things.
My investment of money and time should give me some tangible returns; the money I pay requires over sight. My donations to the Church do not fall under this category. I have seen how money collected from the laity is mis-spent. So I have not been meeting monetary demands of the Church in the form of “desamsam“ and others since 2002. I do not want any priest or nun to butt into my affairs. I have seen the abject terror in the eyes of my female relatives mentally unbalanced on account of their blind obedience to the priests and frequenting the church and attending charismatic circuses, retreats and the like.
My will stipulates to avoid priest supervised burial. I prefer cremation of my dead body. At the worst it can be placed in the vault in the church cemetery on long lease where my grand father is buried. The joke I say is that grand father and grand son is unlikely to quarrel if buried together. The vault was taken over by me at the behest of the Vicar of the parish. I dare a hoot whether my dead body is burned, buried or chemically dissolved or given for medical study or dumped in the garbage heap.
Any one who studied Bible and its evolution over the years in depth will realise that it is not a book revealed by God. Experts who studied it has come to the conclusion that it is full of contradictions and factual errors. The considered view is that hardly 12 sayings can be attributed to Jesus. Why there is no Bible in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. Some thing is smelling fishy. The more I study, the more I am convinced that the entire thing is a tissue of lies and a big fraud. A reading of the book “Word” by Irving Wallace will be an eye opener to how a spurious bible can be created.
I am a keen student of the history of human civilisation, myths, history of Christianity, Catholic Church/ Papacy. I have notes and photo copies of about 50 books I read in Sutton Public Library, Borough of London on these topics. I have a small collection of about 60 books on Christianity, gnostic writings including the Gospel of Thomas unearthed in Nag Hamadi in 1947, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, gospel of Philip, 11 volumes of “Story of Civilisation“ of Will Durand, 1926 published “Story of Philosophy” by the same author, abridged version of the first five volumes of “Study of History” by Arnold Toynbee, and the “Eunuchs for Heaven” and the “Putting Away Childish Things“ by Ute Ranke Heinmann, first women Catholic Theologist, Essen University, Germany, The “ Naked Ape” series by zoologist Desmond Morris, “Eastern Religions and Western Thought “, the Cambridge lectures of Dr. Radhakrishnan – first prize given to me by the Catholic Union, Bombay in 1965 for essay in English (!incidentally I received the first prize for elocution of the same year.) and many more. Books have been my friends since the age of 11 or 12. I am a voracious reader some times finishing a book of fiction in one sitting, in the good old days reading no-stop day and night. My children are also avid readers. C.P.Varkey erstwhile principal of Loyola, Trivandrum was of the view that his best students were voracious readers of books.
The book “Atlas Shrugged“ by Ayan Rand says, quoting from memory, that “I am not guided by the unknown dictates of an Unknown God or an Unknown society” and that in order to have hegemony over a human being belittle the person branding him or her a ‘worm’ an intrinsically ‘guilty one’ and further ask him or her to follow impossible virtues etc. Incidentally if you are resident of USA, the previous Chairman of Federal Reserve was a follower of Ayan Rand in economic matters.
I would like to end this letter by quoting from the Nobel prize winning book by Tagore, ‘ Gitanjali’ : “open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee “ ( verse 11, if I remember correctly )
Once again I am very sorry for hurting your sensibilities.
With the best regards, Pamplanil.
Just one reaction:
There are many thought provoking things to comment on what our friend Pamplanil wrote. I don’t attempt it here to make this piece longer. But “Without woman, man is incomplete” in the above piece is not seen in any one’s writing, although I wrote it many times quoting Cardinal JoãoBraz de Aviz, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Religious while addressing the triennial meeting of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). He said: “Man without woman is not fully human. And woman without man is not fully human either. Each without the other is a piece of humanity, incomplete." I had elaborated on it else where. Just think of it!
In any case I think Pamplanil has given ample proof to another good friend of ours, Dennis Daniel of Chennai that Pamplanil is neither a priest basher or Church hater. Many have been and are still hell bend on reforming the Catholic Church, especially the Zeromalabar. To them I had often said it is an exercise in futility. What could be done is to dynamite its high rise hierarchical pyramidal structure, as they did to the two towers of the NY trade centre. Research says it was done with the help of two planes from outside and dynamite from within. In its place then can possibly come up the CATTLE CLASS of equality and fraternity of Jesus. Possible? james kottoor