Protest: must we? Jose Paul (Delhi)
To protect: Gods we worship? Religions we belive in? Irrational things majority do? Start world war to end local wars?
Our Church Leaders must protest. But for what? Agnes of God? Pure blood Christianity? Tearing the mystical body of Christ? The Church Act on property? Shall we do it together as the one and only mystical body of Christ?
(Note: Today anything out of the ordinary has become an object to protest about: either to promote or to prevent it. What is needed among rational, sensible people is to discuss it’s pros and cons and think of its utility for common good to decide whether to promote or demote. A decision, that something is or is not, for the common good is to be arrived at on the basis of reason and tested facts, not on one’s feelings, sentiments and blind beliefs which can only be counterproductive. The writer very charitably highlights failures in Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities which is to be appreciated. Since he is a Catholic he rightly makes harsh criticisms which are very valid. CCV also raised them many times. It is to be taken note by those to whom it is directed. Only those who know nothing about God or Jesus will go for street demonstrations to defend or protect them.Plight of women in the Church and the racial practice of pure blood marriage (Endogamy) is highly objectionable and needs instant correction. Why are so many sisters die/killed in mysterious circmstances? Jesus started discussing with the then hierarchical class when he was 12. Why no discussion allowed even today with laity on doctrinal and money matters? Our scholarly writer John Paul, Delhi, has raised umpteen relevant questons – they are highlited by underlines or bold or colourful print – to be discussed in the CCV all through the New Year by those who love the good of Church and society. Already long ago, the Church Citizens have buried for good the “Pray-pay-obey-role” of the laity. james kottoor, editor)
It has become a fashion for all religious heads and leaders of religions to raise their voice against any posters, stories, poems, pictures, cartoons, plays, movies, books etc. which they perceive as against their feelings and beliefs about their own religion.
They make a lot of noise, organize public meetings, burn effigies, and request the government to ban the above items. In this process, they are giving free publicity and attention to the thing which the very same don’t want the public to know. Many of the plays and movies become houseful because of the free publicity they get by these protestors’ actions. Some books become bestsellers only because of the controversies created by these people.
In all religions, we believe that God is omnipresent and all powerful. We believe that God look after the universe and everything in it. We believe that He is the protector of everything and everyone. Unfortunately, the so called official leaders of all the religions believe that God is to be protected by the strength and positions of power these people enjoy due to their wealth and human resource. They are not spiritual or religious people in the core of their hearts. They are mere administrators of the wealth and managers of manpower which is in their custody. They only want to sustain and maintain their own powerful position among the religious followers and in the society at large.
None of these proud religious leaders are concerned about faith in God, religion, spirituality or the lives of followers of their religion. They are just like kapp panchayat to their followers. Before going to protest or request for ban for their perceived threat from outside, they would have taken concrete steps to spiritualise their own religious organisations. They sould have gone out of the way to cleanse their own organizations.
In the case of Hindu community, lots of changes have taken place due to governmental action as in the case of Sati, untouchability etc. But as a religious entity, the religious priests and leaders have not done much in the case of the practice of sati, widow remarriage, child marriage, caste disparity, untouchability, dowry system etc. These are touching the lives of people of that religion. Most of these are unjust and inhuman practices. The Govt is trying to stop these practices. Many religious leaders are also helping the govt. At the same time we hear a number of the so called pseudo leaders of the religion who also have no genuine spirituality openly support the above evils and create rivalry between different castes and different religious groups. Though there are many women sanyasinies, the community is mostly controlled by men of upper caste. More of gender equality is required.
In the case of Muslim community, in spite of the fact that modernity is slowly entering into the community, a number injustices and evil practices are prevalent even today. Polygamy for men, divorce by talak, Women in Pardha, alimony for the divorced wife, gender inequality are some of the areas the religious leaders of the community has to actively consider and take action instead of coming out with illegal fataws on people for their individual actions.
In the case of Christian Community, the catholic community is the biggest in India. So we may concentrate on that community. Since I am a catholic, I am more concerned about my community. We appreciate the voluminous and extensive work in the field of Education, health and social work being done by the catholic leaders (Catholic hierarchy) for the society at large. The catholic community has some special set up. The Catholic Church includes all the hierarchical people (cardinals, archbishops, bishops we have 170 of them in India) then the priests, Sisters and lay members of the church. All these together form the mystical body of Christ or Catholic Church. This is the theological description of the church.
But in practical life of the Catholic Church in India, Church means really the Hierarchy. The movable and immovable property of the community of Catholics is in their hands. But almost every bit of it is contributed by the lay people. The hierarchy has the ownership of the material Church. Then there are priests to help them. Many of these priests are wonderful people. But their main mandate is to be a connection between the hierarchy and the people. They have to make sure that the people are kept happy, obedient, and submissive to the hierarchy in spiritual matters and also to help the hierarchy to grow in wealth, power and popularity. Then there are sisters in convents. They are supposed to be the people, to pray, to serve, to be absolutely obedient to the priests and the hierarchy.
Basically 2 Churches due to clery-laity divide
Basically they are two churches in the Catholic Church. One is the hierarchy and the priests who own and manage the material Church and Second is the hierarchy along with the Lay people who live as the followers of Christ (part of the mystical body of Christ) and they have only spiritual membership and they have only obligations and responsibility of obedience to the hierarchy. The lay people have no right in the management of the material church or religious matters, though their names are in the Church register as members. The hierarchy is the owner of the visible (material) church and the lay people are members of the invisible divine church.
The hierarchy possesses the exorbitant wealth, which is fundamentally belonging to the community. The hierarchy twist the rules of the church so that ownership of the material wealth is absolutely in the hands of the Hierarchy. Every Church and the Immovable property of all the churches are registered in the name of the Bishop of that place. Is it moral? Is it Legal? Can we call it justice? Can we call it dacoity? Is it not time that the members of the hierarchy realize that this is against any form of spirituality of Jesus Christ. Is it not necessary that the Hierarchy also internalize and practice the teachings of Christ or also the laws of the nation they belong to.
Some of the top leaders of the hierarchy request the Govt to ban a play saying that it is against the Catholic faith and that the reputation of the thousands of celibate priests and nuns will be tarnished. They believe that any hurt to them is a hurt to Jesus. So they are going to save Jesus and the Church from any form of injustice and humiliation. Nobody is suggesting that we should not protest or not ask for ban or anything. The question is when do we protest and what do we protest? Whom are we protecting? Those who believe in Jesus Christ do not have to protect Jesus. He is God and He protects us. He is omnipresent, omnipotent. We need His protection. We are not capable of protecting whom we believe as God.
Protect Church from Enemy Within
Before we try to protect our Jesus from outside enemy, let us protect ourselves and Jesus if necessary from enemies from within. Let us look at the injustices we are perpetuating everywhere in the world in the name of Church by our own leaders,.
- 50% of the Church citizens (women) are kept away from all spiritual activities like celebrating the Sacraments of the Church. Are they weak? Incapable? Uneducated? Sinful? Genetically having impure blood? When will the members of Hierarchy openly think about it discuss about them in the church forums and let the members of the church know about the decision? How are they inferior to man? A woman who gave birth to you and other Children of God are impure until the priest pours holy water and purify her. The church should take correct and just decisions on this type of illogical practices and some superstitious faith matters. Who are the people to deliberate on such matters? Only the Hierarchy of a few men or the real Church comprising of lay men and women? Church is not a collection of priests, bishops and the Hierarchy. One of most important work of Jesus was to discuss the teachings and practices of the jewish priests of those days for the reformation of that community.
Shameful Catholic Racism: Endogamy
- In the family year, some of the bishops In India were bent upon breaking the catholic families in the name of pure blood. We all know about the Kanaya Catholic families’ fate due to the illegal orders of the prelates. Not even a single one from 170 bishops in this country can tell us that they are not aware of this inhuman and evil order recently published from the hierarchy. No protest against such unchristian act from any of the Prelates. What a shame for Catholic Church? Can these shepherds who keep silent on matters of blood purity be called followers of Christ? The shepherds will protest and ask ban from the govt for a play. The person sitting on the top of the Bishop’s conference have nothing to protest, nothing to ban his own brother shepherd from dividing the Church of Jesus and crucifying Jesus by destroying the Christian family life. Have any them got the right to wear that big Cross on them?
- All over the world, where Catholics living as one family, without thinking of any “rite” rivalry, the highly cultured bishops of Kerala have decided to break the catholic church all over the world. So far the Catholic Church was divided only in Kerala. These shepherds of Jesus could not be satisfied with the division only in Kerala; they wanted the division and rivalry to be present all over the catholic world. This attitude is not Christian. This is purely devilish. But our 170 Bishops, or the Bishops conference have nothing to say about breaking Catholic Church all over the world. They call themselves shepherds of the people of Jesus. What right have they to remain as Catholic. Are they followers of Christ or Anti-Christ?
- When anything happens to church properties or that of clergy or convent sisters, they want the lay people to shout slogans, to conduct rallies, protest marches. In such occasions, the Catholic Church for you includes the lay people to organize, run around, to contribute. Then they invoke the mystical body of Christ. When it comes to ownership of the movable and immovable properties, they want to keep the lay people away. Why are they not encouraging the church act to be promulgated making the lay people in partnership with the hierarchy? Do they mean to say that the lay people should not have any say in matters of movable and immovable properties of the church? Here the” Church” is hierarchy only, Is it the Christian Justice specifically taught by the Christ for your Lordships? Is this law also a sacrament that they always proclaim as founded by Jesus?
- One hand of Prof: Joseph was chopped off by the fringe elements of Muslim group claiming that he insulted their religious feelings by asking a question in the question paper he prepared. It was a misunderstanding on their part. But the catholic hierarchy who owns the college, instead of protecting him, dismissed him from the college as incompetent teacher. The hierarchy was afraid of the violent fringe elements. The Court decreed that Prof Joseph was true to his academic duty and asked the college to reinstate him in the college. During this time, the utter poverty and the humiliation he and his family have gone through prompted his beloved wife and mother of his children to commit suicide. In spite of all these incidents, the hierarchy made it a point to allow him the college only a day or two before his retirement date. There was not a single member of the 170 shepherds or their apex body spoke openly of this injustice and evil act of one of them on an ordinary believer of Jesus. The travesty of Justice.
We will come across many instances that the Church has to re-examine its activities and aspects of what we think are a matter of faith. We need to examine the truth because we are followers of Christ and we need to follow Him genuinely. Don’t misunderstand me. For example, I am just wondering which of the saints or angels of the Lord appeared to which member of the hierarchy and asked him to declare that if you go to a particular newly declared pilgrim church, you will get so many days of indulgences. The ordinary lay catholic person, who is also a part of the mystical body of Christ assume the reasons for these decisions as a source of….,………
Why is it that so many sisters are facing unnatural death? Why is it that these are declared as natural death? What can church do to save the lives of our devoted sisters? How could a Catholic Community tolerate a separate church for Dalits? At the age of 13, Jesus openly discussed with priestly class on reform the Jewish community and their religion. He himself has shown us the way that the lay people can openly share with Hierarchyby his own life example . He also showed us a way how to deal with merchants of religion and spirituality in the church at Jerusalem.
This is a call to every one of the catholics lay people(men and women), all sisters who have left their home to serve Jesus, Brothers and Priests of all congregations and dioceses and the 170 Bishops, and the Cardinals to pray to Jesus for building a true catholic church and help us to reform the Church from all its ills in a loving, peaceful and healthy manner. If we don’t join this chorus, Christianity will perish not because of outside enemies, but by our own folly.