The Catholic Church claims that it is Indian because it has chosen Indian forms to worship Christ, though they are borrowed mostly from Hindu practices. But fundamentalist Hindus argue that Catholic exclusive worship and preaching of a "foreign god" is enough to reject their claims to being Indian. For them indigenization is only a cover-up for the age-old Christian and Western goal of world conquest (Shourie, 2000, pp. 1-2)…
Vatican II gave theological sanction to the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India (C.B.C.I.) to oversee the implementation of the directives of the Fathers of the Council (Duncan, 1999, p. 8). The Mass, once translated into vernacular languages such as Hindi, could then be put to music that was also Indian. Likewise, other forms of Indian worship were studied and some were deemed acceptable for Christian worship. One of these is the lighting of the lamp, called Aarti, which Catholic churches practice all over the country.
The Catholic position since Vatican II considers these practices to be Indian and therefore neutral, and usable in Christian worship (loc. cit.). The traditional view of Protestants, however, has been to call these practices not Indian, but Hindu. Far from being neutral, they are believed to be deeply intertwined with idol worship, and therefore have demonic origins. Therefore they are unacceptable for worshiping Jesus Christ.
This view, that most of what is Indian is Hindu and unusable, has been ingrained in the minds of Protestant Christians for two centuries. Though many missionaries in the last 150 years have attempted to correct this view, they have not succeeded.
Pope Beatifies Mother Teresa in Front of 300,000 - Founder of Missionaries of Charity Honored
Vatican City, October 19, 2003
A visibly moved John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa of Calcutta, "whom I have always felt close to me," before a crowd of 300,000 overflowing St. Peter's Square.
More than 100 cardinals and numerous bishops accompanied the Pope as he beatified the world-famous servant of the poorest of the poor. The beatification of the founder of the Missionaries of Charity came on World Mission Sunday.
Some 500 Missionaries of Charity in their white-and-blue saris attended the ceremony, where the front rows were reserved for 3,500 poor. Also present were representatives of the Orthodox Church and two Muslim communities from Albania. Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was born to an ethnic Albanian family.
Next to Sister Nirmala Joshi, Mother Teresa's successor and superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, were the heads of other institutes founded by the new blessed. Also present was Monika Besra, the Indian woman inexplicably cured of an abdominal tumor through Mother Teresa's intercession.
"Brothers, sisters: Today also, God raises new models of sanctity, such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta," the Pope said.
Archbishop Lucas Sirkar of Calcutta implored the Holy Father: "We pray that he will raise to the register of blessed the servant of God, Teresa of Calcutta." The archbishop gave way to the reading of biographical data on the religious.
John Paul II then pronounced the formula of beatification -- "We allow that the venerable servant of God Teresa of Calcutta henceforth be called blessed." The faithful broke the silence with great applause as a tapestry was unveiled depicting a smiling Mother Teresa.
With her beatification, the number of blessed proclaimed during this 25-year pontificate rises to 1,321.
Then, amid Indian dances and songs, and a sense of prayer, a group of young Indian women dressed in white saris carried a relic of Mother Teresa in procession to the altar.
Following in Jesus' footsteps, Mother Teresa became an "image of the Good Samaritan," undertaking a "journey of love and service which goes against all human logic," the Pope said in his homily, integrally read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for general affairs of the Vatican Secretariat of State, and by Cardinal Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay.
Added to today's eucharistic liturgy was the "Arati" Indian ritual of adoration and reverence and intimacy with God, used in solemn Masses. During the rite, several Indian women dressed in colorful saris danced and offered incense and the light of flames among flowers, which they raised before the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Lawrence D’Souza, Gregory Noronha, Anthony Alphonso and Anthony Rodrigues were seminarians at the Pius X major seminary in Goregaon in the Archdiocese of Mumbai. They left the Church and joined the Lefebvre movement’s Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and were pursuing studies in the Society’s Australian seminary since 2003. An EXTRACT from the Newsletter of the District of Asia, July-Dec 2003, Scandalous Ecumenism with Hinduism, and Hinduism at a Glance, author Lawrence D’Souza who returned later to the Mumbai seminary:
http://www.sspxasia.com/Newsletters/2003/Jul-Dec/Scandalous_Ecumenism_with_Hinduism.htm; http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1283096/posts (Traditionalist)
Lawrence D’Souza says that one of the decisions taken at the Catholic Priests Conference of India (CPCI) 1996 was to "Open Archdiocesan Ashrams (a Hindu-styled hermitage) to participate in Indian forms of prayer, liturgical worship and community, thereby to have a "God-experience" in Indian setting."
"This revolution of Inculturation or Hinduisation was begun intensely in the 1970's by a Fr. Amalorpavadass, the younger brother of Cardinal Lourduswamy of the Vatican Congregation for Promotion of Inter-Religious Dialogue. He built a centre for Inculturation known as NBCLC (National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Centre) at Bangalore, modeled in the form of a temple with symbols of all religions engraved on the door of the temple. It is here that lay people even today are taken, even sponsored by dioceses and parishes, to be "brainwashed" into paganisation by drinking the poison of the "Indian Rite Mass" fabricated by Fr. Amalorpavadass… who himself died a most cruel death being crushed under a truck that left him "faceless" in his death… Fr. Amalorpavadass is the first to construct the 'Indian Rite' incorporating in it all the Brahminical rituals of Hinduism with the chanting of Vedic and Upanishadic mantras. It includes readings taken from the Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita. The words of consecration keep evolving and changing as per the "creativity" of the celebrant. The mass is said squatting on the ground, on a little table surrounded by small lamps. The priestly vestments were completely cast away, the celebrant being in his civil clothes wears a saffron shawl with the character OM in its centre. All the mantras and prayers in this abominable mass begin with 'OM'. 'Tilak' is applied on the foreheads of priests and people. Arati (an act of worship performed by moving in a circular fashion a plate with incense-sticks) is done with a bronze pot, leaves and coconut (it symbolises the 3 deities Shiva, Ganesh and Parvati — the fertility cult of the Hindus). The reason given is that it is a sign of welcome. The Mantras invoking Vishnu and Shiva are attributed, of course falsely to Our Lord Jesus Christ. The 'Indian Rite' yet stands unapproved by Rome and yet is widely practiced in all seminaries, convents and gradually in many parishes… Seminarians are sent to Hindu Christian Ashrams where they live-in, imbibing in themselves the elements of Indian worship and meditations…” The Hindu syllable 'OM' … is the abode of the 33 crores (330 million) of deities that are contained in the infinite cosmic sound 'OM'. The Hindu Puranas (Epics) demonstrate that 'OM' is the sexual sigh of Shiva while engrossed in mystical union of generation with his consort Parvati. One of us, Anthony Rodrigues has witnessed Fr. Rufus Pereira exorcising a woman possessed with the spirit of 'OM'."
Mother Teresa "beatified" with idolatrous rites
Catholic Family News, January 2004
It was a triumphant day for paganism. Simon Cardinal Lourduswamy had reached the zenith of his career of Hinduizing the Catholic Church, whilst his opponent, the late Indian Resistance leader Victor Kulanday, was resoundingly defeated. It was October 19th, 2003, and in front of an audience of millions (courtesy of television), Mother Teresa of Calcutta was allegedly beatified in a Hinduized papal Mass in St. Peter's Square.
The seeds of this false worship were sown back in 1969 by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and the chairman of its Liturgy Commission, Archbishop Lourduswamy of Bangalore. Their subversion of the Faith in India is exposed in Kulanday's book, The Paganization of the Church in India…
Equating Christ with this idolatry in which business account books are worshipped and cows receive special adoration as incarnations of the goddess Lakshmi is blasphemy and pantheism, the heresy condemned by Blessed Pius IX, that teaches God is one with the universe, falsehood with truth, evil with good. It is disingenuous for Abp. Marini to allege that the Hindu Diwali is a "non-sectarian feast of lights to celebrate life and thank God [which one?] for all his blessings and the righteousness of his dealings with human beings."
Now, during the Canon of the Mass, at the Doxology, with the Holy Father holding aloft the Sacred Species -- i.e., with Jesus present on the altar -- a triple arati ritual was performed by young ladies (Marini) or seven nuns (The Tribune). This involved a pushpa arati, the waving of a tray of flowers with a burning light in the centre, and the showering of flower petals; dhupa arati, the homage of incense; and deepa arati, the homage of light, waving of camphor fire, and the ringing of bells, accompanied by a Hindu Tamil hymn.
Camphor symbolizes the purifying cycle of reincarnations needed until one becomes divine. Hindus believe the ringing of the bell produces the "auspicious sound" OM, "the universal name of the Lord." OM is also the supreme Hindu god Krishna and it has sexual and black magic meanings. In 1980, Wladislaw Cardinal Rubin, Lourduswamy’s predecessor as Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, forbade the use of OM in Christian worship because it is "an essential, integral part of Hindu worship."( So OM was slid into the papal Mass, disguised as bells!
The lamp lighting and arati rituals were also done at the beatification Mass of Mother Teresa. (The meaning of arati will be explained shortly.) Cardinal Lourduswamy, chief architect of Hinduizing the Church in India, was a co-celebrant with Pope John Paul at the Hinduized Mass of Beatification. Although taking place in Rome, not India, it was inculturated following another rule of Abp. Marini…
After the Kyrie of the Mass and the beatification, a Hindu puja (worship) ceremony commenced. Puja has varying steps, but always includes the welcoming of the deity and offerings of gifts of flowers, incense and lighted lamps to it, accompanied by prostrations and bows.
Worship with these gifts is demanded by the gods, for their gratification and the prosperity of the offerer, in the classical Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata. The temple lamp is lit wick after wick, following the placement of flowers at the foot of the idol. As explained above, lamp lighting denotes the worship of light and the beginning of a Hindu ceremony; it is also fire worship, fire being a god. The type, colour and scent of the flowers chosen are particular to each deity. To appease angry deities, especially females, gifts include the blood and flesh of sacrificed animals. The puja is also part of the worship of a guru, saint or honored guest, "as representative of the deity." The ceremony ends with an arati.
The beatification's puja followed this pattern! There was a procession of "gifts" of flowers, candles in clay lamps, lit glass lamps, and a large framed heart icon and ampoule containing the blood of Mother Teresa. This reliquary was placed on a small table near the altar. (Monsignor Wren "believed" the blood "was extracted at the exhumation of the body." This was either sloppy reporting or deliberate disinformation as it was well known that the body was not exhumed.) With deep bows, sari-clad women did a deepa arati with the clay lamps to the altar area, crowd and reliquary, accompanied by Indian chanting and drumming. Young girls laid blue and white flowers (signifying the colours of Mother's habit?) at the foot of the icon on the table, and other people placed the glass lamps, one by one, on the lamp stand in front of it. A Hindu might be forgiven for thinking Mother Teresa -- or her blood -- was worshipped, perhaps in solidarity with those Hindus who consider her a goddess, and even equivalent to the bloodthirsty goddess Kali, who also embodies compassion.
Monsignor Wren found what he termed the "gifts ceremony" "extremely moving," and the chants "a very, very special treat for all of us." He did not name the recipient of the gifts or explain why they were needed. The gifts ceremony is Point 10 of Lourduswamy’s Twelve Points for Hinduizing the Mass.
Now, in the most solemn part of the Mass, the Canon, the faithful contemplate Jesus crucified. In the Tridentine Mass, the prayers are recited silently by the priest in memory of the awful hours during which Jesus hung on the cross, bearing in silence the scoffs and blasphemies of the Jews. But, as in Delhi, just before the Our Father in the Beatification Mass, Jesus had to endure a blasphemous Hindu ritual.
Whilst two clerics held aloft the consecrated Host and Wine (i.e., Jesus Himself), after the Great Amen, a troupe of middle-aged-to-elderly women, dressed in saris the colours of the Indian flag, sashayed along the foot of the altar to the beat of a hokey tune. They held metal trays covered with flowers. Some trays had flames in the middle, others had incense sticks. Monsignor Wren (or Arroyo?) announced a "special liturgical rite, arati, according to the Indian cultural custom." (Zenit News later reported that arati is an "Indian rite of adoration and reverence and intimacy with God, used in solemn Masses.")
Suddenly one was jolted by the abrasive discordant wails of a Tamil chant and Indian instruments as the women went to work. The trays with flames were held aloft and circled around clockwise, flowers and petals were strewn (deepa and pushpa arati), and the incense sticks were offered up (dhupa arati). Viewers were told the chant was, "Lord, we adore you with light, we adore you with incense, we adore you with flowers." Enthusiastic clapping and cheering greeted this "entertainment" that disguised a Hindu ritual.
As explained above, adoration with flowers, incense and light is demanded by the Hindu gods. Arati is defined as a temple ritual in which a fire on a plate is waved in front of a deity in a clockwise direction. We have already seen that light is worshipped as the Supreme Lord of inner consciousness. The one who burns the arati becomes divine and escapes the purifying cycle of reincarnation. The clockwise direction symbolizes one's divinity, worshipped in the exterior idol.
Now, an early-nineteenth century French Missionary, Abbé Dubois, who spent thirty years in south India, wrote a highly-acclaimed book, Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies. Like Saints Thomas and Francis Xavier, he discovered no seeds of the Word (i.e., Christ) hidden in Hinduism; rather, he found that Hindus "appear to have surpassed all the other nations ... in the unconscionable depravity with which so many of their religious rites are impregnated." Regarding Hindu music, he said, "Every note of the Hindu scale has a mark characteristic of some divinity, and includes several hidden meanings...."
Arati, he reported, is performed only by married women (which might explain the mature age of the women during the Canon) and courtesans (dancing girls and prostitutes of the temples). Arati is the most important Hindu ritual, performed during almost all ceremonies… The ritual is done "to please the deity with bright lights and colours and also to counteract the evil eye." It is thus also performed in public or private on idols, important people, children, new property, crops, animals and anything valuable, to prevent harm from the evil eye. The plate takes on the power of the deity and itself becomes an idol.
Does Jesus Christ, True God, need protection from the evil eye? Or did the arati symbolize that Jesus is not the true living God, but a mythological idol on par with Hindu deities? Or was the ceremony done to protect the Pope and his concelebrants? In the Hinduized Mass in India, the celebrant is greeted with arati (Point 10). But in Hinduism itself, women never perform the arati on a priest inside the sanctum sanctorum. It is considered an abomination. Women are not allowed near the sacred precincts of the temple altar.
The triple arati is Point 12 of the Twelve Points. Therefore, it is misleading to claim that arati is an Indian way of worship. Indian Catholics never did arati or puja. These ceremonies were imposed on them in 1969. Now, 34 years later, the world is conned into believing arati is a solemn rite they have always used on special occasions.
Professor Fr. J. P. M. van der Ploeg, OP, Doctor of Sacred Theology and Sacred Scripture, said the Hinduized Mass is a “syncretistic liturgical blend” that “will break the Church’s unity. In this way, a new sect will be born: a Hindu-Christian one, and it remains to be seen whether this will be predominantly Christian or Hindu.” Catholicism mixed with Hinduism is pantheism, not Catholicism. Therefore, was the syncretic ceremony a valid beatification?
Our first parents also worshipped the light of forbidden “inner” knowledge in order to become divine. All idolatry is worship of Satan. Jesus died on the Cross to redeem mankind from the damnation deserved by such an abominable sin. In Delhi and in Rome, whilst hanging on the Cross, He was once again subjected to man’s worshipping the light of knowledge, proclaiming his divinity. Could the worship of Lucifer blended into a papal Mass constitute the “abomination unto desolation” of the last days?
The late Valerian Cardinal Gracias of Bombay stated that Hindu pujas and mantras are “alien” to Catholic ceremonies. “In adopting forms of expression alien to our Liturgy,” he asked, “have they made sure of the specific Hindu ideology underlining those forms?” Another Indian bishop bluntly declared, “People who Indianize ... are out to destroy the Catholic Church.”
In 1988 Victor Kulanday warned:
“Unless the present mad craze to paganise [sic] the Faith is ... given up, the 21st century will only see a hybrid form of Christianity, hardly alive but suffocated and perishing. God forbid that such a catastrophe should happen. But happen it will unless the Holy See realises [sic] the danger and acts firmly and quickly.”
Mercifully, he did not live to see a Hinduized Papal Mass of Beatification, which gave a papal imprimatur to the abomination that will surely spread worldwide. As Archbishop Marini notes, “The liturgy of the pope has always been imitated.... the papal liturgy has always been a point of reference for the entire church.”
Looking to the Global South for orthodoxy
By Fr. Dominic Emmanuel, SVD, February 4, 2004
The Western church could also look to the Third Church for the way it has adapted liturgies for different cultures… Indians have been particularly adept at cultural adaptation, adopting aarti (honoring God or the priest with flowers, an oil lamp and incense sticks arranged on a steel plate) and singing bhajans (continuous recitation of the name of Jesus or the Trinity). Such cultural adaptations make the liturgy rich and meaningful for participants, lessons from which the West could learn.
Photo Report of Hindu Ritual at Fatima
Catholic Family News Special Report: Pictures of a Desecration. (Traditionalist)
By John Vennari, May 5, 2004
Catholic Family News has obtained a video copy of the SIC television broadcast of the Hindu ritual performed at Fatima. As reported last month, the sacrilege took place on May 5 with the blessing of Fatima Shrine Rector Guerra, and the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, D. Serafim de Sousa Ferreira e Silva.
SIC, a national television station in Portugal, reported on the Hindu ritual at Fatima the same day it took place. The announcer called it an "uncommon ecumenical experience.”
The broadcast shows morning prayer at the Radha Krishna temple in Lisbon. “Light and water, energy and nature, mark the rhythm of the Arati, the morning prayer,” the announcer says. “Hinduism is the oldest of the great religions. It is characterized by multiple deities, worshiped through a triple dimension of life and sacredness: the creator god, the preserver god, and the god who has the power to destroy.”
Shantivanam in a Chalet: An American Experience
By Sr. Pascaline Coff, OSB, Bulletin 72, May 2004
Fr. Bede Griffiths, one of the twentieth-century great leaders in interreligious dialogue, died on May 13, 1993. To commemorate the tenth anniversary of his death, we are publishing this and the following article, both written by former members of the MID board. The articles first appeared in the May 2003 issue of The Golden String, the bulletin of the Bede Griffiths Trust, and are here reprinted with the kind permission of that bulletin’s editor, Fr. Bruno Barnhart, OSB Cam. Sr. Pascaline, a former editor of our own bulletin, resides at Osage Monastery in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.
My year (1976/7) with Fr. Bede Griffiths at his Shantivanam Ashram in South India was one of the highlights of my life. … Wayne Teasdale, Russill and Asha Paul (New Agers all), Fr. Bede, and I were here in semi-community, praying together, cooking and doing dishes. Father even sat on a chair near the sink in order to help dry dishes, while sharing some of his English humor with us all. We took turns at preparation for the liturgy, lighting the oil lamps, incense, and the camphor for the sacred arati—the Fire Blessing. We sang bhajans, read portions of the Scriptures from the East and West, and listened to Fr. Bede share some of his favorite Tamil poetry…
Russill brought to the chalet his music synthesizer and his Indian musical instruments, often used at Shantivanam during the sacred liturgies there. After setting everything in place he suggested that we create a music tape entitled “An Experience of Shantivanam.” Wayne coordinated the sequence and format and had Fr. Bede and each of us take turns reading a text in English or translating one of the Sanskrit chants we had all just sung. Even the bells for the sacred arati could be heard resounding. Fr. Bede’s voice was weak but firm as he read some of his favorite passages from the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. This was probably one of the last recordings made of the beautiful Shantivanam liturgies with Fr. Bede’s own voice.
God cannot be 'imported,' God must be 'incarnated'
By Janina Gomes, May 6, 2004
Mumbai, India - The Second Vatican Council initiated a revolution 40 years ago. Its document Sacrosanctum Concilium recognized that the church had become a world-church characterized by pluralism. The liturgy was opened to different languages and adaptations for different cultures of the world.
Ten years later the term inculturation was applied to this process. According to Fr. Michael Amaladoss (see also pages 31, 46), a leading Indian theologian and an expert on inculturation, though the official church in the name of liturgical reform has cleared away accretions that accumulated over history, substantial creativity has not been encouraged apart from some local external decorative elements permitted in India and the Congo.
A 12-point plan for adapting the liturgy with certain elements of Indian worship was put together by experts and the Indian bishops issued guidelines. The points suggested using certain postures during liturgy, such as squatting, anjali hasta (hands folded in prayer) and panchanga pranam (a full prostration with forehead touching the ground), arati as a form of welcome or worship; incorporating different objects, such as shawls, trays, oil lamps, and a simple incense bowl with handles; as well as different gestures, such as touching objects to one's forehead instead of kissing them.
When these Indian adaptations began to be used, reactions ranged from enthusiastic welcome to strong criticism, according to Jesuit Fr. Julian Saldanha, a professor of theology at St. Pius X seminary in Mumbai.
Saldanha said: "There was wider acceptance in the northern dioceses than in the southern ones. The 12 points were more welcome in villages than in urban areas. They were better accepted in institutions or certain groups, e.g., religious houses, than in parishes. It was found that youth take to them more easily than adults. The opposition was greater to those adaptations which more strongly remind the people of non-Christian worship." These included, for example, saffron shawls, squatting during liturgy, and using a samai (oil lamp) instead of candles, according to Saldanha.
Terence Fonn from the Ministry of Gospel Sharing for Small Christian Communities in the Mumbai archdiocese says westernized Catholics fixed in their ways of thinking opposed the changes. "For them the liturgy is often simply a ritual. If they are to change, they need to be re-educated."
Fonn quoted a writer who said that God cannot be "imported"; God must be "incarnated." "We have just imported westernized forms of Christianity," he said. "If Christ had been born in India, maybe he would have called himself "Gopal" or protector of cows [an epithet of Krishna] rather than the Good Shepherd. Real inculturation means transforming a culture with the values of the Gospel," he said.
Joaquim Reis, a lawyer for the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court, organizes the Deepen Your Faith Theology courses for the laity in Mumbai. He also emphasizes the importance of re-education. "If the signs and symbols used are Indian and part of our cultural heritage and if they are not opposed to any of our Christian beliefs, if they bring a person closer to God and their faith, we should encourage their use," he said. But he adds that for some Indian Christians already infused with western culture "it is necessary to educate them in the need for inculturation."
He also cautions that the journey to truth must be made with the correct methodology, so that the signs and symbols through which we encounter God fits with the Christian understanding of God. The way Hindus and Muslims understand God may be different, he said.
Inculturation is sometimes identified with mere adaptations to the liturgy, says Thomas Dabre, the bishop of Vasai and chairperson of the inculturation committee of the western regional council of bishops. He calls for a deeper interpretation of inculturation.
Dabre wrote in the Mumbai archdiocesan weekly, The Examiner, "Some have reduced inculturation to some cultural practices like arati, dance, squatting … While these things have their symbolic significance, authentic and comprehensive inculturation is as wide as the life of the people around us."
Amaladoss makes a case for a church presence in public festivals and for a more conscious exploration of the possibility of using scriptures and symbols of other religions and interpreting them in the Christian/Catholic faith context. Amaladoss says: "For me, Hinduism is not another religion. It is part of my own heritage. It is the religion of my ancestors. God has reached out to my ancestors through it. So I do not look at its scriptures, symbols and methods as something foreign to me. I have the right and the liberty to integrate them as part of my spiritual tradition."
Divine Word Fr. Sebastian Michael, professor of anthropology at the University in Mumbai and a member on the western bishops' committee for inculturation says: "The intellectual articulation of Christian faith in theology must be expressed emotionally in the Indian culture through well thought out and theologically sound popular devotions, pilgrimages, observances of fasts, processions, parish feasts, bhajan singing [Indian popular devotional songs] and passion plays."
"Christians could also articulate rites of passage without alienation from the Indian context since the most important events in a culture are the rites of passage," he says.
He also argues that in India inculturation should not be Hinduization or Sanskritization of Christian life. The pluralistic culture of India should be the basis of inculturation. The Indian church must recognize, appreciate and empower the regional cultures and symbolic cultural creativity of tribals, dalits, sudras (lower castes), and other minorities as well as upper castes.
While many Catholics, especially in the old centers of Christianity, remain opposed to any changes in the liturgy in the Roman form, many clergy and groups are experimenting with adaptations to the liturgy in more private services.
The term inculturation is also better understood today than before. In a multicultural and pluralistic society like India, clinging to Roman forms of expression in insubstantials makes less sense to a growing number of Catholics.
Those who are opposed to any form of change do feel threatened by inculturation. Many who welcome change, on the other hand, would suggest going beyond the 12-point plan and finding a more Indian way of expressing themselves in Christian worship and in life.
Janina Gomes is a liberal writing in the liberal National Catholic Reporter. She contributes regularly to the "Speaking Tree", a column of philosophy and religion in the national daily, The Times of India.
All of the individuals that Gomes has cited are of the same mould. Terence Fonn was a pioneer in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal who drifted into New Age (Enneagrams, Centering Prayer, the WCCM’s Christian Meditation, etc.)
Paganisation of the Liturgy in India
By C.B. Andrade Ph. D.
EXTRACT from: Einsicht – Römisch Katholische Zeitschrift –Credo ut intelligam, München, 34. Jahrgang, Nummer 8, Oktober 2004 and Nummer 10, Dezember 2004. www.einsicht-online.org
Arati is a Hindu ritual performed by married women and courtesans to counteract the influence of the evil eye and the looks of ill-intentioned persons. It is, therefore, rank superstition and has no place in Catholic ritual and worship.
It would serve no useful purpose to deal seriatim with the remaining points of Hinduisation, for the introduction of even one pagan ritual into our All-Holy Mass is profanation enough…
What do articles 37-40 (quoted by the bishops) of the Sacred Constitution on the Liturgy (S.C.L) say? Here are the relevant parts:
"37. Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not involve the faith or the good of the whole community. Rather, she respects and fosters the spiritual adornments and gifts of the various races and peoples. Anything in their way of life that is not indissolubly bound up with superstition and error she studies with sympathy and, if possible, preserves intact. Sometimes in fact she admits such things into the liturgy itself as long as they harmonize with its true and authentic spirit",
"38. Provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is maintained the revision of liturgical books should allow for legitimate variations and adaptions to different groups, regions and people, especially in mission land..."
"39. This number is not particularly relevant to the purpose of this article.
"40. In some places and circumstances, however, an even more radical adaption of the liturgy is needed and entails greater difficulties. Therefore:
- The competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in article 22, H 2, must, in this matter, carefully and prudently consider which elements from the traditions and genius of individual people might appropriately be admitted into divine worship. Adaptations which are judged to be useful or necessary should then be submitted to the Apostolic See, by whose consent they may be introduced".
It is true, therefore, that the S.C.L. does say that the Liturgy can be adapted to the local culture BUT:
- What is meant by local culture? It is nothing but the culture of the worshipping community (i.e. the Christian community). Even if it were taken for granted that local culture means national culture, surely Indian culture cannot be identified only with Hindu culture? Indian culture is a very complex phenomenon and a multitude of influences - Dravidian, Vedic, Greek, Turkish, Persian, Arabic, British, Portuguese, French, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian influences have gone into its making.
Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying: "Indian culture is neither Hindu nor Islamic nor any other wholly. It is a fusion of all". By what right, then can, - say genuflection, - be considered un-Indian?
Catholics in India have been doing it for hundreds of years and it can, therefore, be considered as Indian as the Muslim posture for prayer can be considered Indian.
- And, why do the Indian bishops stop at articles 37-40 of the S.C.L. in support of the adaptions?
Here are some other extracts from the S.C.L. which the bishops have neglected, (deliberately?) To quote:
a) "Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them (...)."
b) "In the restoration and promotion of the Sacred Liturgy, the full and active participation of all the people is the aim to be considered before all else."
c) "In order that the Christian people may more securely derive an abundance of grace from the Sacred Liturgy, Holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the Liturgy itself.
d) "The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, can be more clearly manifested and that devout and active participation by the faithful can be more easily accomplished."
It is quite clear from these conciliar statements that the essential criteria for change were the genuine and certain good of the Church, and meaningfulness to, and better participation of, the faithful. If the good of the Church genuinely and certainly required it; if the introduction of Hindu gestures and symbols could lead to a better understanding of the Mass and to a greater participation in it, then such changes could be introduced, but not otherwise. Have these essential criteria been satisfied by the introduction of the 12 points? Did the good of the Church genuinely and certainly require them?
Has the Mass become more meaningful and the Indian Catholic a more devout participant in it because of the anjali hasta, arati etc.? The answer is to be had in the massive and persistent opposition over the years all over the country to these changes. Besides, many devout Catholics have left the Church and many more have stopped receiving the sacraments - or what is left of them after Vatican II. And, if the good of the Church genuinely and certainly required these changes - and it is now some 13 years since they were forcibly introduced - surely by now there should have been a spate of conversions to Catholicism and large numbers of Indian Catholics should have developed haloes around their heads.
Has the "good of the whole (catholic) community" not been 'involved' (S.C.L., article 37) and jeopardized by these Hindu innovations? The widespread, violent and sustained reactions against them give the answer to this question. Can the bishops of India honestly and in all conscience maintain that none of the 12 points is "indissolubly bound up with superstition and error"? (Article 37, S.C.L.) Two Hindu converts to Christianity, one of them (Mr. Parmanand) a quondam Hindu priest, categorically state the contrary. Such gestures as the anjali hasta (an obeisance made by Hindu devotees to their minor gods and goddesses, e.g. Lakshmi, Hanuman, Kali, Ganesh etc.) and the arati (a superstitions ritual for driving away evil spirits) are definitely not bereft of overtones of false belief, nor of the specific Hindu ideology underlying these beliefs…
No. 2: In the 'Commentary' (The Twelve Points were explained in an "Official Commentary" by the NBCLC of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India) the celebrant is called 'a sign' of Christ. Certainly not! If he is a Catholic priest, he acts in the person of Christ (a doctrine denied by Protestantism) which is much more than being only 'a sign'. The celebrant is greeted with arati (the waving of a lighted lamp before his face). Walker's "Hindu world" Vol.11, London 1968, says that the "object of the arati rite is to please the deity with bright lights and colours and also to counteract the evil eye" (P. 609). Dubois-Beauchamp, in their famous "Hindu manners, customs and ceremonies" Vol.1, Oxford 1897, tell us that arati is one of the commonest religious practices of the Hindus. It is performed by married women and courtesans; the object is to counteract the influence of the evil eye and any ill-effects arising from the jealous and spiteful looks of ill-intentioned persons. It is performed over distinguished persons or those of high rank, elephants, horses, domestic animals, idols etc. Therefore, arati used at the beginning of the celebration of the Mass is apt to create the impression that a pagan ceremony is about to follow. This impression is fortified by what follows immediately. […]
An EXTRACT from the “Catholic” Ashrams movement’s Ashram Aikya newsletter 46 of September 2005:
Swami Narendranand’s Hindu Sadhana: Failure or Error?
(Fr. Andrew Thottunkal SJ, 1915–1995)
By Shilanand Hemraj, 70/1 Robertson Road, Frazer Town, Bangalore –560 005
Tel: 080-25485694 email@example.com
Shilanandji, originally from Belgium, has lived a number of years in Bihar and UP. I have translated (in brackets) some of Swamiji’s and Shilanandji’s Sanskrit terms. — Ed.
Fr. Andrew was a solid follower of the French phenomenologist Marechal. His restless search took him away for 5 years to Kurisumala Ashram but he did not join them. In 1964 he returned, this time to the Ranchi Province. For another few years he worked at several mission stations. By now his superiors recognised his ministry, gave him full freedom to pursue it and even financial assistance. He took the name Narendranand…
Inspired by his guru, Swami Sampadanand of the Trikutachal Ashram, Santhal Parganas, he donned the garb of a sannyasi... He diffused his peculiar approach to God while adhering strictly to Sanatan Dharm (traditional Hindu way of life)*. Occasionally he conducted satsanghs without drawing great numbers. He opened his Divya Jyoti Ashram in 1973 near Itki Chowk, Hehal, Ranchi. It attracted a few steady followers. As one of his admirers, I too visited him there in the early days. He kept in touch with St. Albert’s Seminary. He was encouraged by Fr. Quirijnen who himself had tried the life of a sannyasi earlier at Hazaribagh... There was a routine of daily morning and evening Puja, during which the (eucharistic) Bali-Bhoj with Mahaprasad was quietly performed. One of the students had been initiated into Guru-diksha by receiving the (baptismal) Mahashirvad. The Maharati (waving of lights at the conclusion of worship) was loud and prolonged with blowing of conch-shell and beating of gong…
He gladly went when invited by families to rituals of karn-bhed (piercing of ears), yagyopavit (investing with sacred thread) or panigrahan (marriage).
Swamiji envisaged some kind of separate Indian Church-Community, with its own Hindu Rite…
Swamiji made a radical option, deciding that personal faith in his Ishta Dev Yeshu should not prevent him from being a spiritual acharya within the Hindu fold. When problems about his identity started arising, he even obtained an affidavit, stating that he was not a non-Hindu…
Together with Arya-Samajis we had gone to the basti (colony) of safaikarmcharis (sweepers - i.e., outcastes). An open-air agnihotra (Vedic fire-sacrifice) was conducted and the sacred thread was distributed to all to symbolise universal humanity.
An EXTRACT from the “Catholic” Ashrams movement’s Ashram Aikya newsletter 47 of Pentecost 2006:
14th National Satsangh of Ashram Aikya, Sameeksha, Kalady, 27th to 31st October 2005
The Satsangh was preceded by an optional six-day Sadhana based on the Upanishads given by Fr. Sebastian Painadath SJ, the Acharya of Sameeksha. Of the 30 who participated, 20 were AA members. Early morning on the 27th a group of them left to visit the Ashram of Amritanandamayi near Kollam and another group Kurisumala in Vagamon founded by the late Francis Acharya.
The Satsangh proper began on the 27th night. The hall where we assembled had a mystical ambiance created by the paintings of the artist at Sameeksha, Fr. Roy Thottathil SJ. Sadhvi Sradhanjali, Secretary of the Kerala Region welcomed us with an arati… We were also able to taste powerful vibrations when sitting all together at the Eucharist and at the midday Sandhyas (meditations).
We have just read two extracts from two newsletters of the heretical Catholic Ashrams movement (see http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CATHOLIC_ASHRAMS.doc). While Rome approved the use of the arati at particular places during the Mass to give honour to God, one can see that it is used whenever and wherever it is thought fit including, as above and as observed in some other places (photographs provided) outside the liturgy.
One can also see that wherever the arati is used by Catholics, other elements of Hinduism abound. More:
INDIA: THE LOTUS AND THE CROSS
This is the title of a documentary film, released September 2005, a DVD produced by Canada-based non-Christians (Hindus) but with the fullest cooperation of leading Indian priests (an Archbishop has denied his involvement in it), that records the forms of “inculturation” and inter-faith dialogue in which the Catholic Church in India is engaged. The transcription of the contents of the DVD is available at LOTUS AND THE CROSS-THE HINDUISATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN INDIA http://ephesians-511.net/docs/LOTUS_AND_THE_CROSS-THE_HINDUISATION_OF_THE_CATHOLIC_CHURCH_IN_INDIA.doc. EXTRACTS:
Fr. Noel Sheth, President, Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV)/Papal Seminary, Pune: The officials in the Church are interested in what we call inculturation. That is the religion has to be in a particular culture, in a particular soil. Otherwise it is going to be something artificial. The people of the place should experience God through their culture…
The process of inculturation involves adoption of a particular culture, but not necessarily everything. But then certain other things may have to be adapted. So the first point is adopting, the second is adapting. You make certain changes because of the situation in which you are as a Christian. In the Indian tradition there is something called arati. This arati was originally the waving of lights, but nowadays we wave not only lights but also incense and flowers. The Christian Mass itself has gone through various phases, adopting and adapting different things in the different religious cultures and traditions that it went to. So it’s not something new in India.
Unfortunately what happened for many centuries really it got crystallized and fixed or ossified.
For example if a person comes and celebrates Mass in India with all those vestments- some of them are very thick- they will not really fit the climate. Now it is alright for a country that is cold, but why impose it on everyone?
Cut to footage of Fr. Noel Sheth during one of his Indian Rite Masses chanting “OM SHRI BHAGAVATE SAGUNA NIRGUNAYA NAMAH, OM SHRI BHAGAVATE SACCIDANANDAYA NAMAH…” ad nauseam.
Fr. Seby Mascarenhas, the Pilar Fathers. Goa
The initial visuals are of the Pilar Fathers’ social activities while Fr. Seby tells us about the mission school which has produced 2 doctors, 2 engineers, 40-45 teachers, and 4 priests.
Fr. Seby: The percentage of Christians would be 3 or 4 or 5%, not more, hardly anybody has become a Christian. Maybe in their hearts they became Christians, that would be nice [laughing].
This is followed by an adivasi dance performed by Pilar-trained girls for an ordination ceremony at the commencement of a Mass.
Narrator: The Indian Rite Mass, still in its infancy, is celebrated once a week and forms the leading edge of change.”
Visuals of the performing of arati, the application of tilak/bindi on the foreheads of the concelebrating priests, and the chanting of the OM mantra follow that announcement.
(All this, Indian musical instruments, bhajans, agarbatti incense sticks, shawl-draped priests, and yet the concelebrants, including the main celebrant use CHAIRS for sitting on during the Pilar Mass.)
Rangoli, the intricate Hindu art form, is demonstrated by Hindu girls for their Christmas decoration.
Fr. Seby: Elements of Indian culture are taken in, like the arati, the kumkum for greeting, the purification rites which are very important in Christianity because Christianity is an oriental religion, not a western religion.
The Eucharist and the Christian Community
By Michael Amaladoss, S.J., (see also pages 28 and 46) East Asian Pastoral Review 2005 » Volume 42 (2005) Number 3
(Among other things, Amaladoss mentions here that "The first Indian Eucharistic prayer was never officially forwarded to Rome by the bishops" and that the "second Indian Eucharistic prayer which was sent by the bishops to Rome has not elicited any response so far." Even as he slights Rome's position that "the unity of the Latin Rite (be recognized) as a paramount principle of inculturation" he admits that the "12 points were proposed experimentally" and "have not since been reviewed after many years of experimentation."
–Austine Crasta, owner, Konkani Catholics yahoo groups list.)
The phase of preparation for the next ordinary Synod for the Bishops in October 2005 has started. Its theme will be the Eucharist and will be preceded by a year dedicated to the theme. The Synod is supposed to treat pastoral questions concerning the Eucharist. Its freedom of discussion will inevitably be conditioned by two recent documents: Ecclesia de Eucharistia,* the encyclical of John Paul II and Redemptoris Sacramentum** the disciplinary document of the Congregation for Divine Worship. The Lineamenta, published by the Synod secretariat, is an introduction to the questions that follow it. Though no one will discuss the Lineamenta itself, it does lay down a theological outlook which, together with the other two documents, will guide the discussions at the Synod. In the following pages I shall try to focus on some pastoral issues that bishops in India and Asia could keep in mind before and at the Synod. I have no intention of entering into a theological discussion with any of the Roman documents. But even pastoral suggestions will be oriented by a particular theological outlook. I shall outline this very briefly in the beginning before going on to make my pastoral suggestions. In making these I shall feel free, knowing well that some of these will not be allowed to be taken up at the Synod, even if one or other bishop ventures to raise them during the first week. We have been asked to reflect and we must make our honest proposals, hoping that some of these suggestions may be taken up later by people younger than I at a more propitious time. But it is worth laying them on the table now. However, while the Eucharist may be understood theologically—as primarily a sacrifice followed by a meal or a sacrificial meal or a sacrament of Christ’s bodily presence which becomes food and drink for the community—there is no doubt that its basic symbolic action is a shared community meal taken in memory of Christ celebrating his paschal mystery. This symbolic action may be interpreted differently according to different theological perspectives. It cannot, however, be simply reduced to a common meal. Its mystical or sacramental dimension of meaning is based on this symbolic action. The more meaningful the symbolic action, the deeper the mystical experience. The agent of this symbolic action is the community headed by the priest which becomes and acts as the Body of Christ with its head, namely Jesus Christ. The priest prays and acts in the name of the community. The community is part of the action. It is not outside it, only drawing benefit from it. It is not a meal that follows a sacrifice. It is not a meal that replaces the sacrifice. The memorial meal itself is sacrificial. The meal consists of shared food and drink. This means that it is the high point of the life of a community that expresses its love for each other by sharing its goods. It strengthens such ongoing solidarity.
Eucharist and Community
All the documents insist on the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Christian community. The Second Vatican Council describes the Eucharist as "the source and summit of Christian life" (Lumen Gentium, 11). John Paul II insists again on this in his recent encyclical: "The church draws her life from the Eucharist" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 1). But how seriously do we take account of this, if more and more communities today are deprived of their regular Eucharist because of the absence of a priest? We know very well that today in many parts of the world, either because of far-flung parishes which the priest cannot cover every Sunday or because of the paucity of priests who cannot cater to the parishes in their charge every Sunday, most Christian communities go without a weekly Eucharist. At a recent meeting a friend from Brazil said that 70% of communities in his country do not have a priest to celebrate the weekly Eucharist for them. Another from Portugal spoke of priest friends who are each responsible for 8 to 12 parishes. To wait and pray that God will somehow raise vocations to the priesthood in countries where the birth rate is going down, refusing to make any viable alternate arrangement seems unreasonable, when what is involved is not a matter of faith, but of ecclesiastical discipline. To make matters worse, the lay people who generously cater to these communities celebrating the Liturgy of the Word are working under all sorts of restrictions. The aim of ecclesiastical discipline seems to be to protect the "sacred" identity and power of the priest and to set him apart from the community rather than to worry about its Eucharistic need. The image of the priest need not be a monolith. The Oriental Churches distinguish between the priests who lead the community Eucharist and the monks who are its intellectual and spiritual animators. However, we need not spend more time on this issue since I suspect that it will not be allowed to be discussed at this Synod.
Another point that will not probably be discussed at the Synod is the role of women in Eucharistic celebrations. Even if we do not think of women as priests, there are so many other roles that women can play and actually do play in many communities where there are no priests. In some parts of the world (Europe and Latin America) women, religious, and lay administer parishes, doing everything except celebrating the Eucharist. They prepare the young and the old for the sacraments. They conduct services of the Word and of prayer. They counsel people. They minister to the sick in the hospitals and homes. They organize and run community events. They facilitate community sharing. Their generosity and commitment deserves formal recognition and encouragement by the Christian community. In a recent letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to all the Bishops on The Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World (31 May 2004) there is not a word about what women are actually doing to animate the Eucharistic celebrations of many communities across the world. There is a section (IV) on the importance of Feminine values in the life of the Church. It speaks about how women are called to be unique examples and witnesses for all Christians of how the Bride is to respond in love to the love of the Bridegroom (16). Following Mary’s example, they can only receive the Word. It is significant that in this context reference is made to the reservation of priestly ordination solely to men (16). What the women are actually doing, even within the limits imposed on them, to animate the Eucharistic communities will not disappear because we choose to close our eyes to them.
Discussions concerning contemporary Eucharistic practice takes for granted the celebration of Sunday as the Lord’s Day and the community as primarily a territorial unit. These two could be rethought today. For many years now, in many places, the Saturday Eucharist is offered as a replacement for the Sunday Eucharist. The effect of this is that the link between Sunday and the weekly Eucharist is broken. Even earlier, in ‘mission’ lands, many communities living far away from the parish center used to celebrate the Eucharist whenever the priest happened to come by, whatever the day be. The priest came, rang the bell of the church and the people gathered for the celebration. In some places a catechist may have preceded the priest by a day. We hear from pastors that people who take part in a small community celebration during the week, whether Eucharistic or not, do not seem to feel the Sunday "obligation." Basic Christian Communities (BCC) of all types may have an occasional Eucharist even when they are meeting on a weekday. The people may also find these smaller community celebrations more meaningful than the Sunday parish celebration. In some countries Sunday may be a working day. It is worth reflecting, therefore, without detriment to the symbolic importance of Sunday as the Lord’s Day, whether we can focus more on the importance of occasional meaningful celebrations of the Eucharist in community.
Territorial parishes have always been large in "mission" lands. Today this is becoming true also in post-Christian countries. Besides, in many urban situations territorial parishes may be culturally pluralistic. We can think of creative ways of catering to such cultural pluralism. Even today in many parishes we can see that, during the Liturgy of the Word, the children go to another room with their catechist to have the Word of God explained to them in a different way. Could we think of more such groups in a parish community: the youth, people belonging to a particular association, the old people, etc.? We can think also of inter-territorial groups that focus on a particular culture or other element that naturally brings people together. We should take care of course that the larger community also experiences and celebrates its multi-cultural nature occasionally. But this need not be done every week. We can imagine a pluralistic pattern of celebrations in a given area. The ministers too may have different charisms and may be differently, though appropriately, qualified and prepared.
Inculturating the Eucharist
The Second Vatican Council inaugurated a period of inculturation in the liturgy. It laid down as a guiding principle the promotion of full, conscious, and active participation by the people. It affirmed the right of the Church to change whatever has not been "divinely instituted." Though it suggested the preservation of the unity of the Latin Rite, it went on to evoke the emergence even of new ritual families and authorized bishops’ conferences to take initiatives in the matter. The Church in India responded to this invitation positively and got twelve points of adaptation approved by the Roman authorities. The first Indian Eucharistic prayer was never officially forwarded to Rome by the bishops.1 A second Indian Eucharistic prayer which was sent by the bishops to Rome has not elicited any response so far. In the meantime Rome has maintained the unity of the Latin Rite as a paramount principle of inculturation. While inculturation is now officially allowed, the conditions laid down are such that nothing is likely to happen. I do not wish however to go into the details of this painful history. However, on the occasion of reflecting about the reinvigoration of Eucharistic practice I cannot but evoke the prospects of inculturation, at least in some areas. I shall limit myself to four points.
First of all, this could be an occasion for the many bishops’ conferences across the world to reassert their right given to them by the Council to inculturate the liturgy, and the Eucharistic celebration as part of it, even leading to the emergence of new Ritual families in order to promote the full, active, and conscious participation by the community which is the agent of the celebration. We are told by the central authorities in the Church that the period of experimentation in the liturgy is over, while it has not been allowed even to start in a serious way. If various groups were doing various "experiments" because nothing was being allowed to happen, that is a reason to start real experimentation. Here the initiative belongs to the bishops’ conferences. I think that it is time that they asserted their responsibility and freedom in this matter.
Active participation demands that the people recognize the symbols spontaneously and do not need an elaborate introductory explanation. The symbols have a double meaning structure. The washing with or immersion in water at Baptism symbolizes purification and rebirth. The Hindus too wash themselves in the Ganges for the forgiveness of their sins. But in the context of the Christian faith, Baptism means, at a second level, dying and rising with Christ, becoming a child of God and becoming a member of the Christian community.
The first level of meaning of religious and sacramental symbols should be natural and self-evident. Only the second level needs to be explained. The symbols that Jesus and/or the early Church chose for the sacraments are natural, human, and social symbols like washing with water, anointing with oil, imposition of hands, and eating and drinking together. These are found in all cultures and can be understood at a first level by everyone. Only the second level of meaning will have to be explained in the light of the Christian faith.