Letter to Editor! OUT OF SYNC RITUAL OF CATHOLIC CHURCH!

 

George Nedumparambil

 

It is just unbelievable that CCV has two outstanding, outspoken writers, George and Pamplanil, one Latin and the other Syromalabar, both, bankers, outspoken and honest to the core without any animosity to critics and  criticized!

 

Almost by chance, George literally bumped into me with a long dissertation, with some over 30 biblical quotes and piercing questions, that I simply mistook him for an erudite theologian! No he was simply busy with money matters, a Banker first, thinker second, trying to make sure of his bread and butter in the Middle East.

 

A Retired Banker!

Back in Kochi after retirement, he was simply pestered with all varieties of Evangelists to rope him into his/her brand of Churchianity, about which he has never bothered in ALL life. Only then, in his 60ies he started studying Bible with a vengeance, not to become a Christian but to counter the pest of Bible mongers!

 

With his marathon article he had approached all Catholic publications which rejected him with a polite smile and “Thank you” and finally me. It took me a week to read and grasp  his Biblical quotes, and I said YES, come what may! I published it in CCV and sent it for the critique to so many Church scholars, but none dared to counter or countenance  him!

 

Pious Church-goer, not Critique!

Don’t misunderstand, George was never a Church critique, but a very pious layman who never bothered about what Faith and Bible meant – where is the time for lay folks sweating dawn to dusk in the hot sun for such luxuries? Can you make out from what he writes on Church liturgy and ritual, he could have been such a person?

 

That is what happens to every one who tries to follow, the so-called Nazarine called Jesus, (not Christ the King, anointed of God, a product of Saul the persecutor, toppled from his horse-top, and turned ‘Paul the  apostle’). Lived experiences alone change one to discover harsh realities of life, not bible flaunting preachers of Bible who live in all affluent posh life, asking others to toil, sweat and follow the cross,  for Jesus’ sake!

 

Why not a Biography George?

I have too many anecdotes to recount about my friend Geroge, which would be misunderstood, as from a pied piper! So I would beg my friend earnestly, to make his next column focus on his life-changing experience as a believer/nonbeliever, still a regular Church-going public figure and banker!

 

That, I believe, will come like a bolt from the blue, a piece of absorbing reading, to make our CCV readers sit up, think and Change for the better! Words move, examples simply drag you where you hate to go.but ought, willy-nilly go! So wait for a bomb shell, shall we soon, dear George?  james kottoor, editor ccv.

 

Please read below George’s letter to Editor

 

The holiest of all the holy rituals of the Catholic Church is the Eucharistic Ceremony.  Briefly the story runs like this: that Jesus had his last supper with his disciples, prior to being crucified. He is reported to have said, while distributing the bread and wine among his disciples, that the bread is his body and the wine his blood and added “Do this in remembrance of me”.

 

The words within inverted comma appear in Luke’s gospel, but not in Mathew and Mark.  John’s book does not have the last supper event described in it. Catholic Church has been “eating his body” and “drinking his blood” ever since through its ritual called Mass.  Jesus is not around to cut him into pieces.  The Church overcomes this difficulty by having the celebrant priest recite certain magical words, bless the bread and wine and the bread is believed to have then turned into the real body of Jesus and the wine his blood.  They call this magical transformation of these substances by the name Transubstantiation.

 

During the Eucharistic Ceremony, the celebrant priest recalls the events leading to Jesus’ death. Jesus’ dying is remembered as the greatest of all sacrifices. Mass or Qarbana is the commemoration of this sacrifice and in fulfillment of Jesus’ commandment, “Do this in remembrance of me”.

 

The narrative is that the Father, new name that Jesus introduced for the Jewish god Yahweh, loved the world so much that he sent his only son to be sacrificed for the sins of many. The remembrance of this event is done dally and built up into a climax during what is known as Holy Week when the whole story is recreated, sermons delivered, with the congregation in sorrowful mode for first two evenings and the third in  happy expectation and the fourth in ecstasy of the risen Lord.  Collection of cash offerings are taken all these four days,despite being in a state of mourning for the first two days of the Holy Week.  Business has to go on regardless.

 

The above is a brief narration of the Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent rising out of his grave on day four of the Holy Week, otherwise known as Easter Sunday.  This is a story known to everyone and the reader might be tempted to ask what the point in repeating it in this article is.  It is a good question.  The answer to it is very simple that the Eucharistic Ceremony is completely out of sync with present day value system that humanity has set up for them. Will any father living today send his son, to become a human sacrifice for whatever purpose?  The answer is “No”.

 

It is criminal for a father to do so.  He can be arrested and charged with murder. Yet, the way the Catholic Church celebrates the Mass or Qarbana makes mockery of the expectation of standards of society they live in and the Laws they live under.  The Church is eulogizing the act of the God, the Father, sending his only son as a sacrificial lamb for the sins of many.  Is it something to be eulogized over?  It would seem ‘not at all’. The standards of decency and acceptable human behaviour have changed over the time.  Back in those times when Jesus made his appearance, life revolved around sacrifices.  For anything and everything an animal need to be sacrificed including for the atonement of one’s sins. Jesus’ sacrifice is considered to have put an end to all such sacrifice.  Set in those times, human sacrifice could have meant the ultimate in sacrifices.  It does not hold good any longer.  It is nothing but a horrible crime to 21st Century human.

 

No thinking person can subscribe him/herself to the idea of this Atonement Theology which is about Father sending his only son as a sacrificial lamb in atonement of the sins of humanity.  All powerful God could have simply come up in the clouds and declared that sins of everyone stand forgiven.  Why go through the rigmarole of having to cause the birth of Jesus and allow him to be crucified?  Who is Father trying to belittle in doing so? The actual killers, the Romans, have long since disappeared without a trace. 

 

As for the Jews it was the then priestly clan that wanted Jesus killed.  Ordinary Jews thronged around him to listen to what he had to say. The comedy of it all is that Jesus comes out of the grave and returns back to heaven. Where then is the great sacrifice to be eulogized on? Jesus stands declared (by humans) as God in son’s form.  So if he was God, how could humans kill a god?  Given that he comes out of the grave alive and well, there nothing left to be eulogized over as great sacrifice and conducting faithful theatrical reproduction of the events that gets enacted in millions of church all over the Catholic world.

 The atonement theology has to go.  It is out of sync with the set of value system that has evolved over the years and has overtaken the civilized world.  Church goers will continue to flock into the churches to partake the body of Jesus (blood is reserved for the celebrant alone).  As for the Church, with its ‘who cares attitude’, what matters is money.  But it is not going to be long in coming when more and more people will start questioning the whole idea of eulogizing human sacrifice and expecting the congregation to feel blessed by showing up for the ceremony. There are so many good advices and teachings within both Old and New Testaments.  The way forward for the Church is to talk about them and stop indulging itself in out of sync ritualistic expression of faith.  The writing on the wall is clear: reform or perish.

George Nedumparambil

Cochin1949@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses

  1. Vincent says:

    Great article. Thought provoking. George and Pamplanil are indeed great thinkers and writers. Their writings are about 100 years ahead of times. But their efforts will surely bear fruits. People have now begun to question their blind faith and exploitation by the Church. The Church indeed needs to reform itself to the modern times. The fairy tales will not work for long. 

  2. K.J. GEORGE says:

    Catholic Church is ritualistic. Cannot help it whether we like it or not.  Like the praying for people supposed to be in Purgatory – a great fraud played on human beings for 2000 years. The only reference about purgatory is when Pope Julius II said to the bishop " My son if you were in the purgatory I could have tried to help you but you already landed in Hell and I am helpless."

     

    Those who have visited the Vatican and seen the last judgement drawn by Michael Angelo in the Sistine Chapel can see this/had seen seen – a bishop standing in Hell.

  3. K.J. GEORGE says:

     Late N A Palkivala, a Constitutional speciality lawyer of the Supreme Court had said that Christianity tested and failed. Now e need to try the religion preached by Jesus Christ. 

    There is no sense in every ay going to church like a blind man. We have to study the Church. There is a sentence in the book Devil's Advocate by Mr. Morris West. "….whether ..so and so is a saint or not that is to be decided between God and himself but I have become a man". We must know what we believe and practice and follow. Not a blind follower. Christianity is the only religion in the world that demand blind faith – do not know if there is any other which is unknown to me. We must protest against the Church exploiting the poor illiterate faithful. The priests exploited people for 2000 years. Not to continue this .

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