What do the ‘un-read’ have to say? I have read Sr. Lucy’s book! – Dr. Valson Thampu
As compared to those who are crying foul against Sr. Lucy’s book, Karthaavinte Naamathil, I have a disqualification. I have read it. I managed to get hold of the pdf version, pre-publication. In a context where everybody knows everything about a book -– especially how dangerous it is — without reading a word of it, I am an odd creature. So, I apologize for saying the following:
It is true that Sr. Lucy hasn’t named the offenders. Is that cowardice? Or isn’t it courtesy? To name the offenders is to shame them individually. To keep their anonymity is to direct attention to the system that needs change. What those who crave cheap entertainment want is not reform but titillation. They may think that the author’s considered decision to refrain from shaming the offenders dilutes the authenticity of the work. I hold the humble opinion that the author’s approach proves her spiritual sensitivity and sense of purpose. It also underlies her nobility of intent.
This confronts us with an anomaly. We are happy to have individuals named and shamed. But we are unhappy to have the system reformed. Yet, these individuals who we want named and shamed are victims of the system. The author’s unwavering aim is to press for systemic reform. She has revealed just enough to alert readers, and her detractors, to the rot in our midst. Her approach is suggestive, not comprehensive. It is good that it is. It illustrates the sort of person that she is. She holds no ill-will against anyone. For that reason, she is not the type that fears anyone. I wish there a few male Christians like her! I wish I could be like her!!
Last night (4. 12. 2019) a night protest, with country torches blazing, against this lone nun was organized by the zealous watchdogs of the church at the convent in Mananthavady. Those who came to Jesus at night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, came to arrest him. They were maddened with religious zeal. The same DNA works in church-zealots. They shouted abuses at Sr. Lucy. They burned her effigy. They sang her funeral dirge. All these illustrate the relevance of the title of her book, “All in the Name of Christ”! Who were these people who came shrieking against her at night? Fellow-worshippers! Members in the self-same family of God!! It is a scary thought.
It is not about Sr. Lucy that I worry. It is about the Pope, whom I greatly revere. Sr. Lucy hasn’t revealed half as much as the Holy Father has. Just recall what he said in February this year; that there are thousands of nuns who live in sexual exploitation. That they endure their degradation in silence for ‘fear of reprisal’. That they are conditioned to submit themselves to ‘authorities’. The Pope also urged Christians not to turn a blind eye, like the priest in the parable of the Good Samaritan, to the suffering of these hapless victims. Sr. Lucy, I assure, hasn’t gone that far! So, it is likely that church bigots will organize an uprising against the Pop. It is only a matter of time.
Or, is it the case that their courage can twirl its mustache only against a lonely, lowly nun? There are some valourous types who become very bold when they feel safe from reprisals; like bullying a boy. In olden days they used to be called cowards. Now they pass for the Knight Errands in shining arms, ever alert to save the modern day damsel in distress: the church, jeopardized by lonely nuns! I was amused when a spokesperson of the Catholic officialdom described this book as a mighty conspiracy to bring down the Catholic Church. He hastened to add that no force in the world can do any harm to the church. Disapprovingly, he didn’t say, in that case, this tiny little book written by a nun should be such a terror!
It has never been an easy option for anyone to bear witness to truth. All through history, bearing witness to truth has been a costly vocation, a bleeding journey that winds its way up the mountain trail to the atop, where stands the Cross of Christ. In comparison, it is safer and profitable to stand with the crowd shouting, “Crucify him! Let his blood come upon us and our children!”
What emerges from Sr. Lucy’s the narrative is somewhat like this: she has been like a square peg in a round hole called the convent. There is palpable incompatibility between her individuality and the convent. The serious question immanent in the narrative is this: should a nun ‘sacrifice’ or kill her God-given individuality to be in a convent? By what idea of spirituality is this cremation of individuality a justifiable demand? Has Jesus prescribed it, or proscribed it? Doesn’t Jesus expect a believer to develop her personality to its fullness in accordance with the gifts and graces she is given? Isn’t the practice of degrading thousands of innocent girls who enter convents with a vague and hazy notion about what conventual predicament entails — an arrangement for ‘dehumanizing’ individuals and to use them as faceless, unsexed tools to subserve unspiritual interests — a scandal to the way of Jesus? Doesn’t such a system lend itself, inevitably, to abuses and perversions? Does biblical spirituality exclude freedom of choice, or does it enlarge and celebrate freedom? Can coercion co-exist with God’s plan for human beings?
Surely, these are not kindergarten questions. That is why this book is causing excessive turbulence in certain quarters. Here Newton’s third law of motion applies. Action and reaction must be equal and opposite. That is nature’s law. So, when ‘reaction’ exceeds ‘action’, it points to something ‘unnatural’ on the side of those who over-react. Quite simply, they expose themselves. That is precisely what is happening. The offence of this book is not in the details of the narrative, but in the indefensibility of the system it defrocks. All that the system can do, what it is good at doing, is to discredit and demonize her. This may seem a clever thing to do to the eyes of the establishment. But it won’t work. The truth will come out. It will walk the streets. It will reach homes. And there will be laughter in the marketplace.
Small editorial note: I received this write-up from Rev. Valson, an outspoken defender like myself of Sr.Lucy, the hunted by the hounds of the Institutional Church, just today Nov. 5th 9 pm.
Valson is in the Vanguard, I just a follower! As I too am equally, if not more convinced, she rightly deserves to be defended! Let the final verdict decide, who is right, who is wrong! Jesus was in the minority of ONE, when all else shouted: “Crucify, crucify him!” I put my lot with Him alone! Not at all with those, who shout to vilify and shame, Lucy sister. I too have 3 of my younger sisters, all “Sari-clad Nuns” working in Northen states like Behar, sweating among the poor and god-forsaken!
Church of Great Saints!
Of course the great Catholic Church has great womanizer SAINTS like Augustin of Hyppo, who converted SEX, he enjoyed it to the hilt all his youth until his “getup and go, got up and went!” and stole heaven like bad thief on the Left. Nowadays “Procreaton is the only recreation” for the poorest of the poor sweating and working in the blazing sun, not for the clerical comfortable class who never have to sweat.
The Clerical class go about clad in clean snow white habits called Cassock receiving salutations in the Market place from those clad in rags! “Habits make the Monks” it is said, what they actually make are “Monkies!” Because it is also said: “Cassoks cover up a multitude of sins!” which is, not close, but closest to TRUTH!
Clerical Garb a Garbage!
Looking at what is happening today in the Catholic church, what is reported in the printed and visual media about the “Sexploits” of the priestly class, from Cardinals to clerics, the clerical class both Catholic, Jacobite, Orthodox or unorthodox, all combined have reduced their Clerical garb, literally into a dirty, stinking “GARBAGE” impossible to be washed clean!!
What is to be done is that this ‘garbage’ – with their outlandish headgears, otherworldly – not definitely heavenly, possibly hellish, if there is a hell, and revolting to civilized dressing – should be made into a bonfire, lest this rubbish pollute and poison the clean atmosphere around!
More Letters in Que!
I have also other letters to publish, from India and abroad, in defense of Lucy!! What is written by Valson and this scribe sbove in a lighter vein, is already mouthful, stomach full and by much too much!!. So being a ‘know-nothing’, I stop for fear of causing indigestion to my dear, revered and better enlightened readers!
But please, you my esteemed Readers don’t stop, until you have answered all the most relevant questions our erudite Dr. Valson has raised! james kottoor, editor ccv.