Just a note to introduce Denis Daniel who is 82 and I am 85. Though I don’t remember to have ever met Denis, he regularly writes inspirational and instructive comments on ever so many articles appearing in the CCV, This is something the younger generation, that is, younger to both of us, should think of and imitate.
So curiosity forced me to find out the background of this ‘young and enterprising person’(that is what I thought of him) and I discovered he is from Mathdyapradesh, MP, Polipathar, Jabalpur .
Here he gives first, his own honest assessment of my Chicago address on Aug.10th in a letter to the editor addressed to me, as his elder brother which is so kind of him. I wish I had seen him, met him and discussed so many things from his long experience in life.
Secondly he gives his full Biodata at the end of his ASSESMENT, also in a personal letter addressed to me, which really touched me to the core. Readers of CCV are free to respond and react as the LIGHT ETERNAL prompts them. My heart felt thanks to my younger brother, dear Denis. james
My dear and beloved elder brother James,
You don’t want to be praised; you call yourself ‘know nothing’ count yourself in the ‘cattle class’ and belittle yourself in many other ways. You go to the extent of saying ‘if there be a God’.
On the other hand your write ups prove that you are an outstanding scholar; you have command over so many languages, you have so many degrees from so many distinguished Universities; and so many courageous, adept, learned, wise and experienced men and women who hold you in the highest esteem.
Therefore, though creation may be the greatest wonder of God, you are a bigger wonder for me. I am actually little educated if not totally ignorant. Yet I am always keen to learn if the way is easy. Because knowledge comes through hard work, I am destined not to become learned and wise. I depend to get whatever I want from God provided that it is also His will.
My few conversations with you make me feel that you have a very strong and exceptional faith in God. Your reasoning is convincing. That is why people are not only inspired but also scared of you. I shall not comment on your Chicago speech point wise because I lack the ability to do so, and I am very slow at reading, writing and understanding. My comments will be haphazard. So please bear with me.
Whatever little experience I have, based on that, I can boldly say that not only Popes but also the entire hierarchy are first and foremost notorious diplomats. They have all the weaknesses of common human beings. They are shrewd, cunning, scheming, intriguing and opportunistic. Their teachings terrify me; make me restless and also feel guilty.
There are innumerable changes that need to come in the church. Purity, chastity obedience in all priests, nuns and religious; humility, fairness, impartiality, honesty, simplicity and discretion in the hierarchy; and excellence of the highest order in the laity would miraculously change not only the church but also the entire world. Honesty and humility both are required; they are complimentary to each other not contradictory.
Your speech is full of challenges to every individual listener and reader. You have presented innumerable points for endless reflection, meditation and discussion. I personally find nothing to disagree, criticize or denounce. Whatever I am able to understand makes me marvel at the ease and simplicity that you manifest in solving complex issues or diffusing a bomb. There is nothing which is obnoxious and hurtful.
I would have enjoyed the speech as a soul stirring song if I had a little more knowledge, information or familiarity with the text of the Bible, church history, fables, tales and anecdotes that abound in the address. There is also a need of great amount of study and understanding of religion, philosophy, theology and scriptures etc. for your speech to sink into the brains of common listeners and readers like me.
I don’t think that I am a status quo adherent, but I do have fear of hell and aim for the reward of heaven. I can never dare question the Holy Trinity or the divinity of Jesus. All this may be the result of the catechism I have received and the lack of reasoning. There is no time to unlearn what I have learnt all my life, and start learning afresh what actually Jesus taught his disciples mainly through parables. I depend solely on my prayers to the Triune God. I am very sure that He will always be kind and merciful to me.
My dear elder brother I cannot match the qualities of Jacob Macwan, Varghese Pamplanil, George Nedumparambil, Job Xavier etc. who express their opinion with much courage and ability. I am sorry that I can’t find fault in your speech. I can only praise and admire you for all what you have done and continue to do in your own unique way for the upliftment of entire humanity.
I wish you a very happy and long life. May you as a beacon continue enlightening, inspiring and serving the CCV family in the best possible way.
His personal letter of Biodata follows
I have been your admirer since you were the editor-in-chief of The New Leader. I used to be inspired by your writing. From you I got the courage to write letters to the editor wherein I used to bring to light the injustice, arrogance and partiality of Catholic priests who were heads of Catholic educational institutions.
I was so disgusted of teaching that I decided to join your weekly. But you told me that financially I would be at a loss. After you left the New Leader, I stopped writing. When I learnt that you were in Hong Kong and had left the priesthood, I again contacted you and expressed my love, respect and solidarity with you. Your admirable quality is that you don't ignore, overlook or cast aside unknown and petty people like me.
You were condescending and responded to my letter. Here I must also mention that besides you I owe my educational, mental and spiritual growth to late Fr. Cassien, O.F.M. Cap. who later became the Provincial Commiserate of the Capuchin order at Coimbatore. The second priest was late Dr. Raimundo Panikker, a distinguished Spanish theologian. Luckily I met both in Canada and Spain respectively; and paid my obeisance before they left the world.
I received my Primary education at St. Mary’s Convent School at Varanasi in U.P. The school was managed by German nuns belonging to the congregation of the Queen of Apostles. I completed my middle and higher secondary education from St. Thomas’ Inter College at Shahganj, Dt. Jaunpur, (U.P.) Finally I took my Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Banaras Hindu University.
I began my career as a teacher and continued with it for 26 years. I was so insecure in my profession that I had to go for my B. Ed and LL. B. Degrees from Rani Durgawati Vishwavidyalaya, Jabalpur after being in the teaching profession for 15 years. Then after 23 years of teaching, through God’s mercy, I got a job as ‘redattore’ at the Hindi Section of Vatican Radio in 1986 at the age of 48.
There also I found sinister discrimination, partiality, arrogance and injustice. Nevertheless I continued in the job for 18 long years and retired on 31st August 2003. After returning to India on Feb. 8, 2004, I again got in touch with you through CCV. I even contacted you on phone and enjoyed your short and sweet conversation.
I always read your editorials; am always impressed by your knowledge and get spell bound by your courage and conviction. At the same time I get a bit scared, confused, lackadaisical and wary of the general get up of CCV. I don’ have any complain against CCV but at times, the wide range of articles, though of very high academic standard, scare me with their content. Sometimes I get so shaken up with fright and nausea that I just stop reading the article and abandon it mid way.
I don’t mind reading charges of various kinds, levied against priests, nuns, religious, the hierarchy and church officials. Actually I am aware of the abuses in the church and deeply detest all the prevalent vices and duplicity. But when doubts and aspersions are cast against the basics of Christianity very especially Catholicism, I am hurt to the core of my being. Nonetheless, I am always impressed by the knowledge, logic, understanding, honesty, truthfulness and powerful expression of your contributors.
My shortcomings are that I lack empathy, knowledge and wisdom to fully appreciate these great authors. I have great respect, admiration and confidence especially in you besides your collaborators and contributors. I also consider you, your sub editors, collaborators and contributing writers highly learned, deep and adept. Yet I don’t have the courage to side them when they vehemently denounce the church. I consider it my pious duty to be a witness to our Catholic faith. In fact what I am today is all because of the Church. She has been a real mother to me since the age of little over three when I lost both my parents.
Now I am running 82. I am physically incapable to attend church or participate in other social and religious gatherings. My wife is bed ridden for the past six years. Still it appears that the community has ostracised me. I don’t mind it; I am not disgruntled. Pope Francis has recently comforted us by saying that ‘no one is lost to Jesus, neither should they be considered lost to the Church and her members.’
I am regular with my devotion to Divine Mercy. I keep in touch with news and views and occasionally give a short comment on important issues. I am sorry that I am not able to put all my writings together because I have not preserved them. I hope you will not be disappointed by the way I have presented my resume. If there be any other way to be of service to you, I shall only consider it an honour.
With all my love and best wishes,
C-13, Triveni Green Residency, Polipathar, Jabalpur 482008. M.P.
Post script: One point that struck me in your writing above is: “There is no time to unlearn what I have learnt all my life, and start learning afresh” What we have imbibed together with our mother’s milk is hard to give up. All, including myself have to do this ‘chewing the cud’, the tragedy of life. Yet we have to be led by the brighter light called reason. That is what I am struggling to do, until I find a better option. May this option help you, james.