Face challenge from narrow, unitary cultural nationalism, says Church

As many as 178 Catholic bishops from 171 dioceses in India participated in the CBCI.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru | Published:March 10, 2016 3:48 am
  Catholic Bishops Conference of India, CBCI, india church, CBCI bengaluru, Christian Dalits, SC christian, SC christians in india, india news Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) was concluded in Bengaluru.

A narrow culture-based interpretation of nationalism, lack of clarity on the government’s stand on intolerance amid growing fundamentalism, and increasing saffronisation of education have been identified as key challenges facing the Church in India by the 32nd plenary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) which concluded in Bengaluru Wednesday.

Presenting a manifesto of issues raised and discussed at the plenary — the theme was ‘Response of the Church in India to present day challenges’ — CBCI president Cardinal Baselios Cleemis identified “narrow, unitary cultural nationalism… widespread intolerance… a systematic concerted effort to manipulate the education system’’ as the main challenges.

Although it stuck to the conservative line on issues like sexuality and divorce, the CBCI announced it would initiate a new way of thinking in the Church on looking at India .

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“We want to bring in a new way of being a church, of looking at the country from a faith point of view. Not a fundamentalist approach but keeping an open mind to build the nation that has been in existence for thousands of years and which has a population of diverse faiths, culture, ethnicity and language. This is our pastoral plan and not a political manifesto,’’ Cardinal Cleemis said.

“We do believe that this is a country with diverse realities and cultures and everybody has got an obligation to fulfil towards the nation. We say that our moral values is to accept everyone. I should accept everyone, not just people who adhere to my views. That is not the way India remained for centuries. India remains a united culture, a vision that is expressed in different ways,’’ he said.

“We don’t have a clear picture from the government on the issue of intolerance. Some people sometimes say positive things and the next day we have someone saying the opposite. We don’t know what to believe. As we see it, there is a growing tendency of fundamentalism in this country which has to be stopped. This is against the nature of this great tradition,’’ Cardinal Cleemis said.

The week-long plenary of Catholic bishops discussed, among other issues, incidents of fundamentalism including the recent attack on a church in Raipur.

“It happened at a time of prayer. This is never heard of in our country that people are attacked when they are praying,’’ he said on the Raipur incident last Sunday.

Despite church-run schools and institutions having a reach in the remotest parts of India, there is an increasing tendency to ignore these institutions while planning education initiatives, the CBCI said.

“Saffronisation in education is a concern. Looking at our Indian reality only from one perspective is a danger. It is a threat to the nation. We are not demanding that the only way is the Catholic way. The government must include us in discussions on how to modernise education in India because we are in the field. We are in the most remote areas. Natural justice mandates that we should also be heard in deciding a new structure of education,’’ Cardinal Cleemis said.

“We find a growing tendency at the moment of not consulting anyone. Those who disagree are seen as enemies of this country or what? We should listen to everyone,’’ he said.

The CBCI also identified Western secular values and atheism as threats to the church and prescribed adherence to conservative dogma as key to addressing homosexuality, divorce and family issues in the modern world.

“There is a growing tendency to view things from a materialistic or Western secular point of view — not from an Indian secular point of view — that some things are permissive and normal. India faces such threats from a sexual point of view. When such threats increase, we have to uphold basic and traditional family values,’’ CBCI vice president Archbishop Andrews Thazath said.

“India’s secularism is not against the spiritual and divine as secularism is understood in the West. India’s secularism is not against religion or belief but there is no monopoly of religion. Everybody has the right to believe, practice and propagate. We want to highlight that. Unilateral understanding of one religion can also create confusion, so things like atheism come in, bringing down the value of religious life and orientation of people,’’ Cardinal Cleemis said.

Among other concerns identified by the CBCI is the continuing issue of lack of Scheduled Caste status to Christian Dalits. “They are deprived of their share because of their affiliation to the Christian community. Is it a genuine sign of secularism in India? This is mere discrimination and denial of justice,’’ the CBCI president said while indicating that a march would be held in Delhi Thursday to highlight the issue.

As many as 178 Catholic bishops from 171 dioceses in India participated in the CBCI.

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  1. D
    Ding Dong
    Mar 10, 2016 at 12:12 pm
    That is fine but Hindus dont propagate any religion bribing while practising paedophilia. Go to Vatican and ask why they need a department for that.
    Reply
    1. H
      HateAAPtard
      Mar 10, 2016 at 2:18 am
      Saffronization of education???? What the is it?? Is it because Yoga was introduced???? Is it because Sanskrit is given importance??? Is it because some moral value lessons are added from ancient books?? ya I know you believe in christianization of education right??? .Targetting economically poor section of society.. luring them with money and freebies ... since it was khangress you were enjoying .. Now ur NGOS are stopped , You are some wherer restricted in converting people... now that burns u right???????
      Reply
      1. H
        HateAAPtard
        Mar 10, 2016 at 2:28 am
        So why do you have Jesus ,and Holy VIRGIN Mary statue in churches??? they are not stones??? Dumbo.....
        Reply
        1. H
          HateAAPtard
          Mar 10, 2016 at 2:21 am
          Uneducated Hindus?? What a joke .. Thats why you see most of theIntelligent people in world are Hindus.... You weak soul.. U got conveted doesnt mean all are weak
          Reply
          1. H
            HateAAPtard
            Mar 10, 2016 at 2:25 am
            u rabbed weak soul.. Come and see the temples ... yuo come to know...
            Reply
            1. L
              Lunatic
              Mar 10, 2016 at 6:29 am
              Indians have to rise up to face this narrow minded unitary God theological society with intention of spreading its ideology on others.
              Reply
              1. L
                Lunatic
                Mar 10, 2016 at 6:34 am
                Wrong !. When they "did NOT understand the significance of worshipping the spirit of God in everything they see, feel and touch", they were enticed and seduced by money to conversion by the churches. Please tell the truth even if it hurts. What a great ideology! Droves are running away from the parish pedophilia scandals rocking the Vatican all over the world. Ignorant and the willfully ignorant cannot be woken up from sleep when they are wide awake.
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                1. L
                  Lunatic
                  Mar 10, 2016 at 6:36 am
                  Yes only parish pedophilia can be a christian think for which they have a department in the Vatican! Shame on the Christian hierarchy for propagating this vacuous ideology as theology on the unsuspecting through monetary and other modes of bribery.
                  Reply
                  1. V
                    VIPLOVE
                    Mar 10, 2016 at 1:27 pm
                    "Saffronisation" is brought up as an issue in India by a religious body??? Saffron FYI is the first colour in our national flag! What is the sentiment this article aims at triggering?
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                    1. A
                      ak dev
                      Mar 10, 2016 at 6:59 am
                      Hinduism allowed Christianity to prosper in India but they seem to abuse the freedom given to them by the consution of India. They hate Hinduism and want to destroy it. All religious conversions should be banned in India.
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                        ak dev
                        Mar 10, 2016 at 7:10 am
                        Today's world don't need any religion to be followed strictly. If there is anything I'll like to spit on it's the religions the demand strict code of conduct such as Islam and Christianity. Hinduism allows me to believe, like or hate things as allowed by the law and the consution.
                        Reply
                        1. A
                          arati
                          Mar 10, 2016 at 12:16 pm
                          Indian secularism is not like western secularism you say - then why call up western countries representatives to comment on our secularism? If caste people are caste people then they are hindus as there is caste issue only in hinduism, if they are christians, they are not caste people but come in the general minority cl as there is no casteism in christianity. You cannot have the cake and eat it too my dear christians.
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            arati
                            Mar 10, 2016 at 12:34 pm
                            Religion has everything to do with caste - otherwise why there is no caste system in islamic and christian countries?
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              arati
                              Mar 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm
                              The syrians, turks and turks are giving you the fruits of your brutal christian occupations in all part of the world. You are bound to see more of it - no matter how narrow you call others' beliefs- you are the one who will be shown how narrow you are .
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                arati
                                Mar 10, 2016 at 12:18 pm
                                do not come up with new lies -we know very well what the missionaries are up to since the times of british in india. We find attempts for soul harvesting in the streets, in parks, in public transport and where not. It is so so so very disgusting. I had to shout at a girl who would not let go of me on the street for this business.
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                                1. A
                                  arati
                                  Mar 10, 2016 at 12:33 pm
                                  if they wirte as christian dalits then they are not christian or dalits. Why should there be dalits in christianity - do they also follow manu smriti?
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                                  1. A
                                    arati
                                    Mar 10, 2016 at 12:38 pm
                                    in that case all religious followers are following a way of lie - why only say that only hinduism is a way of life? If conversion is not by force then why be afraid of things like ghar wapsi- what different have they done from the christians - they were only addressing an audience stating what they think is right about hinduism and how it is right for the audience - just as the christians do?
                                    Reply
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                                      arati
                                      Mar 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm
                                      soul cannot be havested through business - see the fate of phillipines - forever poor inspite of being such a great ally of the great christian country called america See how islamists and christians will fight in kerala and chop each other and see who will win ultimately - whoever wins europe will win here also and guess who will win europe - the syrians, turks and iraqis.
                                      Reply
                                      1. A
                                        arati
                                        Mar 10, 2016 at 12:29 pm
                                        tell this to your people who pester especially hindus with their pamphlets and insist on speaking of the jesus on the middle of everything.
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                                        1. A
                                          arati
                                          Mar 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm
                                          then it is false christianity. you people have brought hyppocrisy on its head. Like all other issues in India you people have messed up with this also. So how does jesus explain casteism among his followers? I think it is better to convert to the more terrorist oriented religion called islam as there seems to be more honesty there. Why do you think christianity will survive and will not die like hinduism if it continues with its caste practices.
                                          Reply
                                          1. B
                                            bhuvana
                                            Mar 10, 2016 at 2:01 pm
                                            If this is so, then why should they convert ? They can remain Hindus.
                                            Reply
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