Fraud in the name of 160 houses for the poor

 Fraud in the name of 160 houses for the poor, each costing for 2.5 lakhs in memory of 125 years of existence of Mangalore diocese by the Bishop of Mangalore(business man doing business in the name of Jesus Christ).

By now most of you know that the fraud played the secular priest on the poor Christians of Mangalore. In the name of giving them free houses costing 2.5 lakhs (land cost separate) they have given only Rs.50000 for the first 2 houses built by owners. Other houses will also be given only Rs. 50000 but the marble plaque will announce that the house was donated by the Mangalore diocese. Compared to this fraud by this most corrupt people in this country see what our Karnataka Jesuits have done. They have built 127 RCC houses at Raichur, which may cost not less than 5 lakhs, and already handed over to the victims of recent floods in Raichur. Read the news below.

Raichur: 127 Families Get New Houses Donated by Karnataka Jesuits

Fr Terence Farias

Raichur, Feb 24: A total of 127 newly-built houses for flood victims of Manvi and Sindanoor taluks were inaugurated on Thursday February 23.

These houses were built by The Centre for Non Formal and Continuing Education (CNF&CE) an NGO run by the Jesuits of Karnataka, in Manvi, Raichur district, for needy people irrespective of caste, creed, and religion.

The Jesuits have been working in the remote corner of the district for the past 10  years  and have been instrumental  in starting a CBSE school  and a PU college for Dalits, where more than 1,500 students from 65 villages are being educated.

Manvi MLA Hampayya Nayak, former MLA and KPCC secretary Bosraj,  former MLA and CADA president Basavan  Bagvat, former MLA Gangadar Nayak, Pannur Mission superior Fr Terence Farias, Jagir Pannur parish priest Fr Maxim, CNF&CE director Fr Eric Mathias, and civic authorities were present.

Hampayya Nayak, speaking on the occasion, reiterated his appreciation of the Jesuit Fathers’ commitment to the cause of the poor and added that they have shown to these people where God is really found. He appreciated the commitment of Pannur Jesuits for setting aside their CBSE school for Dalits, the untouchables, ‘Deavadasi’ children, and a preferential option for the village girls.

Bosraj, the former MLA, was all praise for the quality of the new houses built with great care and love. He appreciated the quality of whatever is done for the poor.   He assured the Jesuits of his full support in their ventures for the betterment of village people.

Basavan Bagvat reiterated these views. More than a thousand people gathered for the programme from various villages.

Fr Farias welcomed the gathering and thanked all guests for the support assured by them.

The well-planned and neatly-built houses were appreciated by all. Children of the village staged various cultural programmes that were appreciated by all.

The Jesuit Mission of Pannur, Karnataka, includes a health centre effectively run by the St Joseph’s of Tarbes Sisters of Mysore Province, a school and a college, and extensive social work in about 75 villages. Considering the recent deaths of several little children on account of malnutrition in Raichur district, a nutrition programme for the children of 50 villages is being worked out.

There is another great man in South Kanara known by the name Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade, of Dharmasthala who is known to feed every day thousands of people who visit his holy place free of cost. Our Christian priests have never done this in their lifetime, though they collect huge fund every day. This great man (I’m not a supporter of this man) has done wonders in the entire Beltangadi Taluk and created a revolution in self employment and self help and rural help, in remote villages. Our priests may have to go to him for inspiration and training. Another great achievement of this man who does not claim to be holy man, who built 100 and odd, houses each costing approximately 5 Laks and donated them to the flood victims of Hubli, Dharvad.

I call upon all Christians who are trying to defend our cassock wearing wolves in the garb of a sheep to start thinking seriously and critically and keep their eyes and ears open and watch what is happening around our country. They will be convinced that there is something very seriously wrong with our organised church and it requires a surgery as early as possible. Otherwise the clergy will become more and richer. And the laity who are contributing money to all their frauds will become poor and poorer.

Also read an article by Dr. Michael Lobo which exposes the fraud played by our Bishop in the name of celebrating 125 years of Mangalore diocese.

How old is Mangalore diocese?

Dr Michael Lobo, February 17 2012, DHNS:
The 11th and 12th of February, 2012, have witnessed spectacular celebrations of what was termed the post-centenary silver jubilee celebrations of Mangalore diocese.

The grounds of Rosario Cathedral on Saturday, 11th February, and of Nehru Maidan on Sunday, 12th February, were packed to capacity.  The Eucharistic celebrations on both days were resplendent; the homilies preached by Archbishop Dr Savio Hon Tai-Fai at Rosario Cathedral and by Oswald Cardinal Gracias at Nehru Maidan were both inspiring.

So too were the felicitation ceremonies and the cultural programmes. Indeed, the celebrations could hardly have been better.

But…

As a historian of Catholic community, I have a serious criticism.  The term ‘post-centenary silver jubilee celebrations’ has conveyed the impression, both to the parishioners of Mangalore diocese as well as to the distinguished guests, that the diocese is only 125 years of age. Ergo…, it has conveyed the erroneous impression that prior to February 1887, the town of Mangalore and the surrounding district of South Kanara formed part of another larger diocese and that the diocese of Mangalore was carved out of this parent unit in February 1887.

Not true…

In fact, Mangalore diocese has been running continuously as an independent ecclesiastical unit since the year 1845. And if I were asked to select a specific date to mark the birth of Mangalore diocese, I would pick the 8th of November, 1845.  On that date, the sailing ship St Antony docked at Mangalore, and the Italian Bishop Bernardine, who had been appointed by Pope Gregory XVI in May that year to assume charge at Mangalore, was solemnly led to Rosario Church (soon to be raised to the status of a Cathedral), where he celebrated a pontifical high mass.

Prior to 1845, dating back to the origins of Christianity in Mangalore in the 16th century, the area now known as Kanara had been, by and large, a mission station of the vast Archdiocese of Goa.

There had been a brief period in the late 17th century, when the Holy See had appointed a Goan bishop, Thomas de Castro, to assume charge in Mangalore. But the time was not then ripe for this area to attain independent diocesan status, and, following the death of Bishop de Castro in 1684, the area reverted to its erstwhile status as a dependency of the Archdiocese of Goa.

Following the return of the captives from Seringapatam in the year 1799, the Mangalorean Catholics slowly rebuilt their lives… and by the year 1840, its leading members felt that the time was now ripe for Mangalore to be independent of Goa and be erected into a diocese in its own right.  Several leading Mangaloreans of the era took up the cause in earnest, including Fr Joachim Pio Noronha (the first native Mangalorean priest), Boniface Fernandes (the first Mangalorean to attain the position of Deputy Collector; one of his grandsons was the famous Dr L P Fernandes), John Joseph Saldanha (a subjudge in North Kanara; his youngest son was the famous Joseph Saldanha, poet and editor of the Christian Purana), and Martin Basil Coelho, head of the illustrious Falnir Coelho family of timber merchants.

Some of the correspondence between John Joseph Saldanha and Martin Basil Coelho with ecclesiastical authorities in Rome and India has been preserved (not the originals, unfortunately).

And when Bishop Bernardine was appointed to assume charge at Mangalore in 1845, he was escorted from the older diocese of Verapoly (near Cochin) in a sailing ship, the St Antony, belonging to the Falnir Coelho family (built from the family’s own timber industry).

Six young men formed the bishop’s escort, headed by Venantius Peter Coelho, eldest son of Martin Basil Coelho.

Ever since 1845, Mangalore has been an independent ecclesiastical unit – headed by a bishop, reporting directly to the Holy See.  Why then did the current diocesan council decide to adopt 1886-87 as the year of birth of the diocese?

It is simply a matter of nomenclature.

In the 19th century not all dioceses were referred to by this name. Ecclesiastical units were graded in a hierarchy – Pro Vicariate, Vicariate, Diocese and Archdiocese – depending on their size and population, number of churches, and overall importance.

Few units attained diocesan and archdiocesan status; for centuries, Goa and Mylapore were the only two archdioceses in India – and the latter was inactive. When Mangalore became independent of Goa in 1845, it was initially accorded the status of a Pro-Vicariate, being promoted to the status of a full Vicariate eight years later.

Ironically, so far as size is concerned, the Pro Vicariate of Mangalore was much larger than the current diocese of Mangalore – it stretched northwards into North Kanara, southwards as far as Calicut and eastwards into the Western Ghats. Also ironically, when Mangalore was promoted to the status of a full Vicariate in 1853, it had reduced in size, the Western Ghats having been ceded to the new Vicariate of Mysore, which had been created in 1850 (carved out of the older Vicariate of Pondicherry).

And still more ironically, when Mangalore was eventually promoted to the status of a diocese in 1886, it reduced still further in size, its parishes in North Kanara reverting to Goa (Calicut separated in 1923).

The promotion of Mangalore to the status of a diocese in 1886 was part of a general decision made by the Vatican to promote all vicariates in India to diocesan status. The so-called Hierarchy of India, proclaimed by Pope Leo XIII on 1st September 1886 created six new archdioceses: Agra, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras (which merged with Mylapore), Pondicherry and Verapoly – and 12 new dioceses: Allahabad and Lahore (both suffragan to the Archdiocese of Agra), Poona (suffragan to Bombay), Krishnagar and Dacca (suffragan to Calcutta), Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam, Trichinopoly and Mangalore (all suffragan to Madras; but Mangalore was later made suffragan to Bombay), Coimbatore and Mysore (suffragan to Pondicherry) and Quilon (suffragan to Verapoly).  Incidentally, Bangalore formed part of the diocese of Mysore, with St Patrick’s Church as the Cathedral (it was not until 1940 that Bangalore and Mysore were separated – the former being elevated as an archdiocese in 1953).

Just like Mangalore, all these archdioceses and dioceses could well have celebrated their post centenary silver jubilee this past year!

But perhaps they have a better sense of history than we do.

But for the fact that the term ‘Vicariate of Mangalore’ was replaced by the term ‘Diocese of Mangalore,’ the year 1886 has no particular significance in the ecclesiastical history of Mangalore.

Far more significant was the year 1870 (the foundation of the Cloistered and Apostolic Carmel – and of St Ann’s School) and the year 1879-80 (the advent of the Jesuits and the foundation of St Aloysius College and other institutions).  There were also other significant events in the 40-year-period from 1845 to 1885. All these events ought to form an integral part of any history of the Diocese of Mangalore – and thus it is necessary that the history of the Diocese of Mangalore should commence from the year 1845. But for the accident of nomenclature, this is indeed the true year of birth of the Diocese of Mangalore.

The diocese of Mangalore has just celebrated its post centenary silver jubilee.  Normally, one would expect a fifty-year interval between silver jubilee and platinum jubilee celebrations.

But I would strongly urge the Diocesan Council to seriously consider celebrating the post-centenary platinum jubilee eight years from now – in the year 2020.

And use the occasion to commemorate and honour the leading Mangalorean Catholics of the 1840s, who put in great efforts to make their home town of Mangalore a diocese in its own right – quite independent from its parent diocese, Goa.

(Author is genealogist who brought out a voluminous genealogical encyclopadiea of Mangalorean Catholic families

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Tehelka Exposes – Hindutva Lab 2.0

Tehelka Exposes Hindutva Lab 2.0

BJP-ruled Karnataka is on a dangerous path of radicalisation. Rana Ayyub traces the scary distortion of an entire society

Long march RSS members take part in the Hindu Shakti Sangama in HubliIS KARNATAKA the new Gujarat, the second “laboratory of Hindutva” for the BJP and the broader Sangh Parivar? As the BJP government in the state enters the final year of its first term in power — it had earlier ruled in alliance with the JD(S) — that disturbing question comes up again and again. Behind the morality and hypocrisy, the humbug and corruption that the BJP establishment in Bengaluru has been charged with is a harder, harsher truth: the scary distortion of an entire society.

Two weeks ago, the so-called ‘porngate’ controversy rattled the country, when three BJP ministers were caught in the Assembly watching a pornographic clip — later explained as the recording of a woman being raped — while the House was in session and discussing poverty. While that controversy claimed the headlines, it also forced the RSS and its affiliates in the state to hurriedly cancel plans of the extended session of the Hindu Shakti Sangama. A Hindu show of strength, as the name implies, the Sangama was supposed to be held across the state after the opening convention in Hubli. Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda turned up in Hubli, wearing the RSS trademark khaki shorts — perhaps the first time a chief minister has been seen thus clad at a public event. If pictures tell a story, this one spoke volumes of the saffronisation of Karnataka.

The Sangama may have been interrupted by the Sangh Parivar, embarrassed and still recovering from the shame of porngate. Nevertheless, as TEHELKA travelled through Karnataka, spending a week journeying from urbane Bengaluru to northern and coastal Karnataka, what became apparent was that right-wing Hindu attacks on Muslims and Christians were now a regular feature. This reporter came back with accounts, incidents and testimonies that were so brazen, it was shocking.

Take a small example. On 22 January, there was uproar in Uppanangadi, a hamlet near Mangalore. Kalladka Prabhakar Bhatt, a senior RSS leader known for his proximity to Sadananda Gowda and his predecessor BS Yeddyurappa, was addressing a crowd and resorted to extreme and undignified imagery. “Lift the veils of Muslim women,” Bhatt told the throng, “and glimpse what they have to offer.” His listeners cheered; policemen listened too, but strolled casually, as if nothing were happening.

Soon after, the local minorities — a mix of Muslim and Catholic organisations — approached the police, which reluctantly filed an FIR against Bhatt. Yet it refused to arrest him, arguing there was no basis for taking him into custody. Rather, as if to compensate, the local police then filed an FIR against the president of the Muslim Central Committee, Mohammad Masood, under Section 153(a) of the Indian Penal Code — “Promoting communal enmity between classes” — as well as Section 505(2) — “Making statements that create or promote communal enmity”.

What was Masood’s fault? He had called a press conference to condemn Bhatt’s despicable one-liner. When contacted, Mangalore SP Abhishek Goyal suggested that there were “grey areas” and the police would certainly “study” the case. While the police was still studying the footage of Bhatt’s public meeting, the man himself inaugurated the new building of the Mangalore Police Commissionerate! Sitting with him in the VIP row was none other than the chief minister.

It was the sort of moment and photo-op the media just waits for. Yet the presence of Bhatt so soon after the unseemly incident found no mention in the media coverage of the inauguration of the new building. It was almost as if there was a conspiracy of silence. Only one plucky local newspaper broke the Omerta: Karavali Ale.

At one time, Karavali Ale was Karnataka’s most popular newspaper. Part of the reason it is not any longer may have to do with the stance of its editor, BV Sitaram, who has been one of the few voices in the state warning against the rising tide of religious bigotry. For two decades, he has documented each and every communal incident, big and small, in the state — and has suffered for it.

RSS leader Prabhakar Bhatt (left) and Home Minister R AshokIn 2009, Sitaram was arrested when a case was filed against him for defamation. Twenty-five policemen turned up and surrounded him. “It seemed like they had come to arrest a terrorist,” he exclaims. His fault was he had written about the exploits of a local Bajrang Dal leader.

Sitaram points to the newspapers stacked in his office. Picking up some of them at random, from the previous month’s pile, almost every day one finds mention of an attack on Muslims and Christians, on churches and mosques. Sitaram is distraught: “They go around shouting ‘Pehle qasaai, phir Isaai’ — First butchers (Muslims), then Christians.” According to official figures, a church has been attacked almost once every 10 days in the past three years. In some cases, the very presence of a Muslim boy with a Hindu girl has caused a riot.

The opposition to Hindu girl-Muslim boy romance is part of a peculiar phenomenon that the Sangh Parivar labels “love jihad”. This paranoia began in Kerala and alleges that Muslim men are being trained to woo and then indoctrinate Hindu girls, to win converts to Islam.

Bhatt is an exponent of theories of love jihad. In December 2011, the Hindu Nagarika Samiti held a massive protest meeting in Sullia, where Bhatt attacked the police for its supposed anti-Hindu sentiment and spoke of how love jihad, terrorism and cow slaughter were rampant in the state.

He was joined by others, notably Satyajit Suratkal, regional convener of the Hindu Jagran Vedike, who said: “Whenever the Muslims provoked us, we have given a suitable response. If they want more, then there might be a recurrence of earlier happenings. If the police join hands with traitors we will teach them a lesson too.”

‘The larger threat to the nation is posed by the RSS’

MAHENDRA KUMAR, who was state unit president of the Bajrang Dal, is famous for his role in the spate of church attacks in 2008. The Justice Somashekara Commission had passed strictures against him relating to his role in that incident. Currently, an active worker of Janata Dal (Secular), Kumar tells Imran Khan that he’s a reformed man.

Kumar spent 42 days in jail after the 2008 church attacksEDITED EXCERPTS FROM AN INTERVIEW

Why did you leave the Sangh Parivar?
I was with the Bajrang Dal for 16 years and served as the state president for four years until my resignation in 2009. During the 2008 church attacks, the state government faced a lot of flak. In order to save the government, they emotionally blackmailed me by saying they would put me behind bars for two days just to show the world that action has been taken. However, I ended up spending 42 days in prison. That was the turning point of my life as prison provided me a space to contemplate and reflect on my life. Even after my release, I took another year to come out of the Parivar during which time I was not involved in any organisational activities.

What is your understanding of Hindutva now?
Hindutva is a political strategy and it has nothing to do with Hinduism or the welfare or benefit of Hindu society. Playing on emotions, projecting wrong history and some negative points of the minority community, hatred is sown among the Hindu youth. It has been the strategy of the RSS to target minorities to consolidate Hindu votes for the BJP. When it was in the Opposition, the BJP raked up the issue of hoisting the tricolour at Hubli’s Idgah Maidan. By arousing sentiments, it created a statewide struggle, which led to communal clashes and lives were lost. But the same BJP government is in power and it is least bothered about this issue now. All these issues were raked for gaining political mileage. There is also a caste and class angle to it.

What is the caste angle?
Most of the top leaders of the Sangh Parivar come from the forward caste. None of their children are into active Sangh activities. Mostly, they are software engineers and well-settled. It is the youth from the backward and lower castes who fill the rank and file. And it is they who finally pay the price. Look at Gujarat, most of the youth languishing in jail for the 2002 riots are Dalits and people from the backward castes.

How much control does the RSS have on Bajrang Dal?
The VHP is a wing of the RSS and it is its job to keep a check on Bajrang Dal. And the RSS keeps a check on the VHP.

Can you give us some idea about how much of their politics is influenced by local/national issues?
It’s mostly national. Earlier, the Ram temple issue was a turning point. It has been replaced now by issues like terrorism and conversions. These have become the rallying point to influence the youth. State issues play a factor but not that much. The major issue in Karnataka was of Datta Peetha. It was made out to be the Ayodhya of the south.

Recently, there have been several cases of Sangh activists getting caught for their role in bomb blasts that were earlier ascribed to Muslims. What is your take?
The tragedy is that the greater role played by the RSS hasn’t been exposed completely. It is fringe organisations like Sri Ram Sene and others who are accused or caught. Whereas in fact, the main brain behind all these is the RSS. I have been campaigning and telling people that due to the few instances and actions of fringe elements in the Muslim community, you cannot hold the entire community responsible. And my understanding says that the Muslims of this country are largely peaceful, except a few fringe elements. But, the larger threat to this nation is posed by RSS and organisations like them who want to control the Hindu society through their divisive politics.

Recently the Sangh Parivar held a Hindu Samajotsava in Hubli and Dakshin Kannada, in which many ministers took part. What purpose do these events serve?
The BJP has lost its face due to internal bickerings and the exposure of several ministers involved in corruption scandals. BS Yeddyurappa is also threatening to break away from the party if he is not suitably rehabilitated. There is a fear among the BJP that if this happens they might lose the vote of two strong communities. Hence they are in a process of consolidating the Hindu vote bank as they will have to face polls in 2013. The recent incident of a Pakistani flag being hoisted in Sindhagi was meant to polarise the Hindu vote bank.

Is there any discontentment within the Sangh Parivar?
The middle- and lower-rank members are angry with the top leadership for siding with the government on issues like corruption. Their constant shielding and defence of top BJP leaders has brought discontentment among the workers. But since there is no place for dissent and questioning in the RSS, nothing much is coming out.

Imran Khan is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.com.
imran@tehelka.com

Other speakers were equally inflammatory. Some wanted cases booked against Sub-Inspector Ravi Kumar and action to be taken against the SP and the ASP because of alleged bias against Hindus. Soon all three officers were transferred. Ravi Kumar was “shifted back” to his earlier posting in Puttur town a day after his suspension was formally sought by the BJP district unit.

WHICH DIRECTION is Karnataka taking? In many senses, it seems to be a replay of Gujarat, with a shorter time-span. Like in the western state, there is a manipulation of class and commerce for religious ends. In Gujarat it took religious riots beginning with the bloody killings of 1969 — and extending from the 1970s to the 1990s — for the Sangh Parivar experiment to mature. Karnataka saw a similar surge with the Ayodhya movement in the late 1980s, and escalation with the Suratkal riots of 1998, which killed 18 people. In the process, relatively peaceful Mangalore, Suratkal, Bhatkal and Ullal became the fulcrum of the Hindutva movement.

The rise of the Sri Ram Sene, Hindu Jagran Vedike, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Sanathan Sanstha and Bajrang Dal were part of this radicalisation project. So was exploitation of socio-economic conditions, says Suresh Bhatt of the PUCL. The current communal tensions in Dakshina Kannada and Mangalore have their roots in the region’s rapid development since the 1970s.

Land reforms created new spaces for different castes and communities to operate in and compete with each other. Dominant social groups like Konkani Brahmins, Bunts and Christians found opportunities in new ventures like banking, education, tile manufacture and cashewnut trade. Many Bunts moved to Mumbai to establish Udupi eateries.

As studies done by fact-finding missions show, traditional backward castes like Mogaveeras and Billavas, who were freed from dependent tenancy, moved into small businesses like fishing. Here they had to contend with the Bearys, a Muslim community with a sizeable (15 percent) presence in Dakshina Kannada, and a heavy concentration in districts like Mangalore, Bantwal, Belthangady and Surathkal. All these areas are today communally sensitive.

The Gulf boom of the 1970s and the new industrialisation enabled the Beary community to prosper in petty business (textiles and groceries) as well as mid-level ones such as hotels and the spice trade. All this led to disgruntlement among the newly-empowered backward castes. It created room for religious mobilisation.

Minority Report

Ever since the BJP came to power, attacks on minorities have only multiplied

2008
19 AUGUST Farmer Sadananda Poojary, who is also a part-time cattle trader, is murdered by ‘Hindutva’ activists in Udupi.

7 SEPTEMBER Roopashree and Vikhar Ahmed are assaulted and paraded in public by ‘Hindutva’ activists in Vittla. A group of ‘Hindutva’ activists drag Deepa and her fiancé Abdul Wahid out of a bus in Mangalore and assault them.

15 DECEMBER A group of 24 Muslim youth from Bhatkal go on a picnic to Nethrani island. Hundreds of ‘Hindutva’ activists land there and attack them. One person is killed and two sustain serious injuries.

2009
24 JANUARY ‘Hindutva’ activists attack Hindu girls for hanging out with Muslim boys at a Mangalore pub.

16 AUGUST Right-wing activists throw pork into the compound of the Badriya Darussalam Madrassa at Madhva near Bantwal.

3 NOVEMBER Clashes break out between Hindu and Muslim students at Uppinangady First Grade Government College.

19 NOVEMBER ‘Hindutva’ activists attack two Muslim men in Mangalore alleging that they had written love letters to a Hindu girl.

2010 
25 JANUARY Two churches are vandalised and a statue of Mary is damaged in Mysore and Uttara Kannada district.

2011
5 JANUARY Malpe sub-inspector Santosh Shetty is suspended for allegedly assaulting Bajrang Dal member Kishor after Hindutva outfits lay siege to the police station.

1 FEBRUARY Puttur ASP Amit Singh earns the ire of Hindutva groups for allegedly insulting Bantwal City Development Authority Chairman Govinda Prabhu, against whom there are police cases. Around 200 persons led by MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and MLA Mallika Prasad lay siege to Singh’s house. The cop is later transferred out.

16 MARCH Car mechanic Badruddin, 21, is murdered for falling in love with a Hindu girl in Bantwal. Ganesh, the girl’s father, is later arrested for the murder.

23 MARCH Ullal resident Mymoona appeals for a CBI probe into the arrest and jailing of her husband Muhammed Ali and son Javed Ali. She claims they were arrested on trumped-up charges of terrorism and that the Dakshina Kannada police, under the influence of the Sangh, is targeting Muslims.

26 FEBRUARY Bajrang Dal activists trash a Muslim boy and Hindu girl at a juice shop in Kadaba. The couple is handed over to the police, who let them off after a warning.

8 JULY Nityananda of Peral is attacked by Yuva Morcha activists, who accuse him of taking cattle to an abattoir.

18 JULY Mangalore resident Bushra, a mother of four, alleges that Bajrang Dal activists threatened her and forcibly converted her to Hinduism.

13 AUGUST Bajrang Dal activists raid a farmhouse in Ullal, alleging it was hosting a rave party and attack the youth gathered for a birthday bash.

22 AUGUST Some Hindu youth in Sullia were in the habit of teasing Muslim girls. When Mohammed Riyaz confronted them, they beat him.

30 OCTOBER Hosa Diganta, a newspaper brought out by the RSS has received undue favours from the state government. It has been given the status of a state-level paper.

26 DECEMBER Asif of Sakleshpur and a Hindu girl elope to Bengaluru and stay at a rented house. ‘Hindutva’ activists got wind of this and tried to convert Asif to Hinduism. Asif is arrested and charged with kidnap and rape, along with his two friends.

28 DECEMBER A 20-member mob attack a prayer hall of the Hebron Assembly of God in Mangalore. The attackers allege that conversions were taking place and vandalise the building.

The Sangh Parivar began by consolidating unemployed youth in the Billava and Mogaveera groups. Neither have strong community organisations, and the Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sene filled the gap. Billavas form a majority of Sri Ram Sene cadre and have moved from being followers of Sri Narayana Guru to champions of Hindutva. Mogaveeras have found a niche in the Bajrang Dal.

Using various frontal organisations, the Sangh network infiltrated virtually every village in these parts of Karnataka. All this preceded the actual coming to power of the BJP by a good decade and speaks for the assiduous cadre-based skills of the Sangh Parivar. In February 2006, the BJP entered the government as a junior partner of the JD(S). In May 2008, it was in power on its own, having won the mid-term polls.

IT WAS now time for the great leap. The year 2008 was a take-off point for the Hindu right in Karnataka. Once the BJP government was installed, it had a choice between broad-based development of the state and consolidation of the Sangh structure. Four years on, it’s obvious which path was chosen. In its first year itself, the government had given evidence of its agenda. Bajrang Dal activists attacked churches, with the administration scarcely taking stern action. The question of whether the government would rein in extremist elements was answered in the negative.

Then CM Yeddyurappa and his home minister VS Acharya — who passed away earlier this week — made a series of statements that sought to discount the extent and intensity of the attacks. There were repeated references to “spontaneous anger” of ordinary people allegedly due to conversions.

The other action of the BJP — and this was seen even when it was in coalition with the JD(S) — was to withdraw cases filed against Sangh Parivar activists for inciting religious hatred, under Section 153(a). One beneficiary of this was Pramod Muthalik of the Sri Ram Sene. He shot to infamy shortly afterwards, following the pub attack in Mangalore.

Many believe the Sri Ram Sene went into decline after the pub attack. The BJP disowned Muthalik even though the larger Parivar backed him. The TEHELKA sting operation (Rent a Riot by Pushp Sharma and Sanjana, 22 May 2010) proved that far from an army of committed ideologues, the Sene comprised hoodlums for hire. As a senior IB official posted in Karnataka puts it, “The Sri Ram Sene, Bajrang Dal and other fringe outfits are all offshoots of the RSS. But it conveniently dissociates itself from them when it wants to.”

A glaring example was the January incident in which five Sri Ram Sene miscreants sought to hoist the Pakistani flag and implicate Muslims. The police caught them, but there was a twist to the story. Investigating officials reveal that the RSS put pressure on the state government to protect itself. The blame was put on the Sri Ram Sene, but those arrested were apparently RSS cadre. This was hushed up.

Shiv Sunder, a political analyst with Lankesh and one of the most clear-headed observers in the state, says the police in Karnataka is not communalised, unlike Gujarat, but is forced to look the other way. “But yes,” he says, “the situation is similar. The Home Department has its own set of officers, mostly from the OBC communities; the Brahmins, of course, don’t do the dirty job. At this point of time, it won’t be right to call Karnataka the next Gujarat. But give it five years, it will prove to be worse than Gujarat.”

It’s a chilling thought.

Already neutral and professional officers are feeling the heat. Two senior police officers have asked to be moved to Central government postings because they cannot take what is happening. DG (CID) Roopkumar Dutta is one of them. Sources close to him say he has had run-ins with the chief minister and home minister. At one stage, Governor HR Bhardwaj had to step in and ask the home minister how the government could let an officer of Dutta’s stature feel compelled to want to leave. Dutta’s hands are tied because he has been refused permission to act against Sangh affiliates.

Video grabs show how police chat with Sangh activists during a church attackWHO ARE the lumpen Sangh activists being given protection? Rubina would know their type. Only 22, Rubina is a convert to Islam from Bantwal, near Mangalore. In her own city and her own state, she is a refugee, running from place to place to find a secure home. She was born into a Brahmin family but turned to Islam of her own volition, and married a Muslim man. Her idyll never lasted.

Rubina came to meet this reporter covered from head to toe, scared of being recognised. Soon after the wedding, her husband was picked up on charges of terrorism. While he was in custody, the Mangalore Police barged into her house late at night. Inspector Venkatesh Prasanna enquired about her husband, abused her for converting to Islam.

With a child to take care of, Rubina shifted to the city. She pleaded with TEHELKA that if her case comes to light, she will be in trouble with the cops. “I can’t live in peace,” she cried, “they ransacked my house, twisted my arm. I stay with a friend. I’m worried about my child.” As Rubina said this, she wept copiously — her tragedy as wrenching as it was obvious.

Rubina’s case is typical of what the state authorities call “love jihad”. While the Karnataka Police had told the high court in November 2009 that there was no case of love jihad in the state, this was not enough for the BJP and the Sangh Parivar. Despite absence of evidence, the love jihad paranoia continues to be whipped up. Recently, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar called love jihad a grave issue, and Home Minister R Ashok promised a new investigation. No wonder, in the past three months alone, 18 Muslim men have been attacked, presumably as love jihad suspects.

It is all so blatant that Sangh Parivar functionaries take responsibility for such attacks and insist they have government backing. Just a day after Bhatt’s vulgar speech, this reporter met the Karnataka unit chief of the VHP, Jagadish Shenava, and discussed his own hate statements against Muslims and Christians. He was dismissive: “See, the BJP knows why it is in power here. It is because of us, the RSS and the VHP. Whatever we do, we have their support. Do you think we will let these jihadis run away with our daughters and sisters? We know how to deal with them.” As Shenava spoke, a gun-toting security officer kept him company. Asked about it, he laughed: “Oh, this is just to take care of the jihadis, the state has given it to me.”

People like Shenava have every reason to laugh. While we were speaking in Udupi, a church was attacked in the nearby hamlet of Hallangadi. In his complaint submitted to the police, the pastor — who provided TEHELKA with video footage of the event, showing Bajrang Dal members entering the church premises on 28 December 2011 — detailed the attack but to no avail. The footage shows men in orange headscarves invading the church premises, and abusing and hitting the pastor. “If this is the police,” rues Pastor Prasanna, “where do we get help from?” He has now written to the prime minister and the UPA chairperson for justice. Local Christians went on a protest march on 22 January.

Why blame the police? After the 2008 Mangalore church attacks, Yeddyurappa had called it a “natural reaction to forced conversions”. Sadananda Gowda, the favoured child of the Sangh Parivar, merely termed the incident “hearsay”.

“The problem is beyond damage control,” says lawyer Nooruddin Ahmed, who has appeared for Muslims accused in love jihad cases. “What do you expect of a state where the chief minister has given a free hand to miscreants. Be it Yeddyurappa or Sadananda Gowda, both are first Sangh members and then state administrators. The Congress too has no interest in our issues. M Veerappa Moily, SM Krishna, aren’t they aware of what’s happening?

State favours and funds are being directed towards Sangh affiliates. In November 2011, Yeddyurappa gave land in Bengaluru worth Rs 50 crore to six frontal bodies of the Sangh Parivar. Next, the Karnataka government released several lakhs of rupees by way of advertisements to a 2012 calendar published by Hindutva organisation Sanatan Sanstha.

Expectedly, the indoctrination project has reached the education system. Changes have been sought in the curriculum. Social sciences textbooks of Classes V to VIII are being rewritten with history retold to suit old prejudices. The state government has allocated Rs 14 crore to publish these new textbooks for the coming academic year.

Divisive Legacy

By getting the Religious Bill passed, VS Acharya opened another avenue for the Hindutva cause

Karnataka state higher education and Muzrai minister VS AcharyaJUST 10 days before he died on 14 February, state higher education and Muzrai minister VS Acharya, 72, got the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Second Amendment) Bill passed. It provides for the setting up of state and district-level quasi-judicial bodies called Dharmika Parishats with the power to decide whether a religious institution is a Hindu place of worship or a composite one shared with other faiths. The parishats will also have power over composite shrines.

The Bill has been roundly criticised, with Janata Dal (Secular) leader MC Nanaiah saying management committees of prominent temples would be infiltrated by politicians from the BJP and used to further the Hindutva agenda. Voicing similar views, KL Ashok, secretary of the Komu Souhrida Vedike, an anticommunal organisation said, “From 2002, when BJP MP Ananth Kumar declared Baba Budan Giri or Datta Peetha as the Ayodhya of the south, the Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and other Hindu groups have tried actively to take over the shrine. They demanded that the sufi samadhi should be removed and a Hindu priest be appointed. After four years of litigation, the Supreme Court ordered that the status quo be maintained.”

But Acharya proclaimed, “Baba Budan Giri is not a dargah. It is Dattatreya Peetha and comes under the Hindu religious tradition. In the case of shrines like Mulki Bappa, where there is an Islamic tradition also, and Muslim priests have been traditionally appointed, the management committee will include Muslims.”

During his earlier stint as home minister, Acharya came under severe attack for his subtle support to Sri Ram Sene activists in the infamous Mangalore pub attack case. It was this and his inability to stop attacks on churches that made Governor HR Bhardwaj recommend his shifting. Acharya was also one of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa’s most vocal supporters and was opposed to Ananth Kumar’s chief ministerial ambitions. He was also accused of favouring Gopal Hosur, the state intelligence chief who activists claim has been complicit in running the Sangh agenda.

One of Acharya’s last acts etched in public memory is his defence of the practice of the annual ‘made snana’ at the Kukkre Subramanya temple near Mangalore, the practice of Dalits rolling on plantain leaves containing leftover meals of Brahmins. An unmoved Acharya defended it as a tradition that had voluntary participation.

Imran Khan is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.com.
imran@tehelka.com

What do they contain? The Class V textbook (Veda Kalada Bharata) says cow slaughter was forbidden in the early Vedic period. The historical record, however, suggests otherwise. Historians such as DN Jha have shown how the Rig veda has references to beef eating.

The textbook narrative runs parallel to the controversial Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2010. The Bill, passed by the Assembly and adopted by the Legislative Council, seeks a blanket ban on the slaughter of milch animals and draught cattle. It is awaiting presidential assent.

With elections in 2013, the RSS and BJP plan to renew their agitation for a presidential approval for the Bill. It is even more draconian than the controversial Madhya Pradesh law because it extends the prevention of slaughter provision to not just cows but also bulls, bullocks and buffaloes. “What do you expect the animal owner to do?” asks political analyst Shiv Sunder, “in an ordinary situation, the farmer would sell it, make money and buy younger cattle. Here he is not allowed to sell his cattle. You are attacking his means of livelihood.”

A GREATER cause for concern for Karnataka’s liberals is the attempt to inject communal polarisation even in the cosmopolitan environs of Bengaluru, India’s IT hub. A casual visit to the Satyam and Infosys complexes makes for some disturbing observations.

Umesh Hegde (name changed to protect identity) talks about the infiltration of the Hindutva groups into the IT sector: “Initially, we were asked to come to the shakha to rejuvenate ourselves and learn yoga. Within a month, my colleagues and me were shown a map of Akhand Bharat, and told how Bharat needs to be cleansed of Muslims. And believe me they have managed to find sympathisers.” In five years, the number of RSS shakhas in Karnataka has gone up by 50 percent, helped by public funds and facilities.

Attacks on churches by right-wing activists have risen since 2008In his article, Hindu Taliban Assaulting Freedom, Militarising Society, commentator Praful Bidwai was prescient: “One can only marvel — if that’s the word — at the breathtaking speed with which the Sangh Parivar has vitiated the social climate in state after state. Within months of taking power in Karnataka, it has unleashed savage repression and turned Mangalore into a Hindu Taliban bulwark, where women are attacked if they go to a bar, where Hindus must not mix with Muslims, and where there is no media freedom and free interaction among young men and women. Karnataka has become the Gujarat of the South.”

The unfortunate part in the process of communalisation of Karnataka has been the concurrence of the media. Newspapers in Karnataka have encouraged the polarisation for pecuniary benefits. For example, the Mangalore-based daily Hosa Digantha has been accorded “state newspaper” status although its circulation does not meet the required criteria. Its editor, Chudamani Aiyyar, is an RSS activist.

While Gujarat newspapers played up the supposed threat to Narendra Modi from Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists, Karnataka too witnessed such attempts. Rashid Malbari, an underworld figure and regarded a foil to Hindutva gangsters like Ravi Pujari (also from Karnataka), was put behind bars for allegedly plotting to assassinate Modi and senior RSS men in Karnataka. Local dailies played up the story just like they did in 2005 when Udayavani reported that madrassas were hoisting Pakistan flags. It had to issue a retraction when the police gave a clean chit to the madrassa. Other newspapers like Vijaya Karnataka too sedulously promote the idea of Muslims and Christians as “members of other religions”.

Come to think of it, in Karnataka, so does the government.

Rana Ayyub is an Assistant Editor with Tehelka.
rana@tehelka.com

Who is a religious person? – By Fr. Anand Muttungal

Who is a religious person?

By Fr. Anand Muttungal

In general a religious person can be defined as someone who adheres to the set norms and practices of a particular religious tradition. He shows interest in expressing beliefs in the divine power through various rituals and rubrics. An analysis of the behaviour of such persons would reveal that some special streaks of beliefs and expressions could be found. It can be summarised as total obedience to religious laws because he feels God made them, spends any amount of time in glorifying and praising to please God, feels severe remorse for committing sins because it may displease God, fasts for God and gives charity for the sake of God and above all feels that his religion is the best among all.  

Even though I tried to sketch a religious person, I feel it could be clear through a few examples. A rich religious man lived in a town. He always made sure to attend all the religious ceremonies. He felt that he was very close to God when he was with the priest. He offered much assistance to people who were serving religion and spent a lot of time with them. He made it a routine to visit the sick, the poor and the needy. He talked to them about the benevolent love of God. He invited them to join his prayers and other major celebrations. He preached the superiority of his God and his religion. One-day he came to know from the high priests that many people were leaving his God and religion. So he was very upset and made plans with the leaders and rulers to stop them. He stopped preachers of other faiths, never allowed to initiate any rational conversation. He used violence even to the point of killing preachers of the other religion. One-day morning he realized that he could not get up from the bed due to paralytic attack. Nearly a decade he lived on bed.  Now he felt that death was near him so called his sons and daughters, and told them, “I have done everything to save our religion and God but my suffering is unthinkable, I do not know whether it all pleased the God?”

If we rightly understand, Religion is a road map that leads to God. The road covers all the nook and corner where all living beings live. So to reach the destiny everyone will have to travel all through the way. I think that the basic principle to reach heaven must be cause least uncomfortable situations to people whom we know and whom we do not know because all are God’s children. 

A priest lived in a village. He practised all rules and regulations prescribed in the book. He never missed to read any obligatory prayer. He spent hours in meditation and prayer. Except in religious activities kept timing attending functions, office working, house visiting, talking to people etc. He insisted workers to be in time supervised that they never to waste time. In whatsoever reason he would cut the wage of persons who were absent part from the allotted leave. He never allowed himself or anyone else to break even a letter of the law. People called him a principled man. An elderly man lived near his monastery. He used to come regularly for prayer. He helped anyone who was in need. People called him son of God. One day he died. Crowds of people gathered to bid farewell. They brought him to the priest for his last rites and burial. The priest came out in his official attire, red out an excellent eulogy but ended with a reading from the law that prescribe requirements for a person to receive a religious funeral. He said, “I m sorry dear people, this man has not followed the law, so it does not permit me to give him a funeral, so you may take and burry him.”     

One of the greatest dangers that engulfs today is, in pursuit of a holy life people end up in being religious. Religiosity is often mistaken by the undiscerning believer for spirituality. We must understand that there is a world of difference between the two. The former is human, the latter is divine. Blind adherence to the law could make people religious, but not spiritual. Religiosity is taken up with the external and visible things and law is a cobweb that keeps all within its ambits. Will it be true to say that all religious founders gave a book of law to reach to the Supreme Spirit, but its care takers use the laws to control life and death?

Is Religion Being Led By Irreligious? – By Fr. Anand Muttungal

Is Religion Being Led By Irreligious?

By Fr. Anand Muttungal

                    There are many religious leaders who do not fit into our concept of religious leadership but it is hard to question them due to the power they wield. A religious leader according to general concept is someone who is dedicated to a life that will help promote God experience in believers as per the set norms of the religion. His/ her life is a total dedication to the cause of religious principles given by the scripture. A religious person begins his/her life as a strict follower of the religion and gradually ascends to a spiritual leader.

                      However, those deviate from the common beliefs and practises through incoherent actions to what they preach and practise is considered as irreligious. Some of their common characteristics are; ignoring the vision of the founder and gets tied up with set norms and traditions. Such persons cannot remain longer in this state instead move to losing the fear of God. Subsequently, it results to formation of arrogance mixed with crude indifference to not only to the believers but also the religious tenets. It moves a step further with loss of faith in the divine providence and fearlessness in the divine. We can find some practical symptoms in them such as not attending common people, attending mobile calls in serous meetings, rarely attends missed calls, SMSs, revengeful and competitive spirit in everything, searches ways target those opposed to their ideas, uses people as pawns to find self satisfaction and above all they perform all religious ceremonies mechanically.

                             The concept can be clearer with the parable of a religious leader who he spent long hours with God and people. He taught people ways to lead a happy life. He guided people in all round development. He established number of charitable institutions across the country for the people. He took up difficulties as part of his endeavour to help people to reach God. One day morning his disciples found him dead. After a few days they elected a new person to head the organization. As soon as he began his reigns, he made a list of people who had personal problems with each other. He appointed them all with persons whom he felt are not supporting him. As he had thought, through their fights he got information about each other and he played well the role of a healer. He told them all one-day, “God has chosen me to be Superior over you. He has given me wisdom to be perfect in all matters. So all activities will be planned by me, if you have any idea share with me, if I am pleased you can do.” He made many small committees of sycophants to execute the works. He placed such people in most charitable organizations that can generate income. Slowly all his charitable institutions began to mint money and common people were out from the map of the organisation. He avoided facing people and doing any work so he created occasions to visit his organizations all over. His religious ceremonies had no religious fervours. He interpreted rules and regulations to suit his claims. People never approached him for spiritual guidance. Within a few years he became a man with a religious title but lived like an ordinary man in his mansion with a few flatterers.

                       This story tells how the religious leaders slip into the array of leaders who are without religious principles. There are many religious groups being led by such irreligious leaders. Their leadership has brought the religion to all time low status. We need religio-spiritual leaders who have sufficient experience of the divine. If we are looking for divine experience then we need to pray for ordinary persons in the divine garbs. It might look impossible in the modern world but “nothing is impossible for God”. So pray for divine intervention, God can do wonders with seemingly useless persons too!

The Church’s scandals are having serious repercussions on Christians in India

The Church’s scandals are having serious repercussions on Christians in India

Taken from Vatican Insider
TELESPHORE PLACIDUS TOPPO, ARCHBISHOP OF RANCHI

Interview with Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo on the faith situation in India: “I can see and feel churches getting emptier. It is vital therefore for us to stay united and close the Pope”

FABIO MARCHESE RAGONA
ROME
Telesphore Placidus Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi“Whoever does a thing like this is not a real Christian. Here in India we were really sad to hear about the letters.” The comment was made by 72 year old Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi, in North-Eastern India, who spoke with a steady voice and a tone that sounded almost reproachful. According to the latest report published by the Catholic Secular Forum, 2141 Christians suffered violence, persecution and discrimination in India, in 2011. The cardinal came to Rome to take part in the consistory called by Pope Benedict XVI. He said this was a great moment of celebration with the Holy Father and the 22 newly created cardinals, but at the same time, it is a moment to reflect on the events going on in the Roman Curia.
So, Eminence, the news about the Secretariat of State’s leaked letters has reached India as well?
Yes, the news reached us very quickly and we were greatly saddened by it. Whoever is responsible for this does not lead a true Christian life.
Did cardinals in the consistory talk about it at all?
Many of the older cardinals spoke about it and said on a number of occasions: “We stand by the Pope.” But it is not just a matter of talking about unity. It also needs to be put into practice. Otherwise what is the point in us being created cardinals? Certainly in order to stand by the Pope and help him in the administration of the universal church.
The latest report published by the Catholic Secular Forum on the persecution of Christians shows very clearly that numbers are going up each year…
This is true unfortunately but one should not generalise. India is a big Country, it has a number of regions and Christians are only being persecuted in some of them. There are some unusual situations in which Hindu fundamentalists take advantage of this to attack the Church. And I am very concerned about this.
Is there a problem of religious freedom?
Not exactly; despite the drama of the persecutions, we must look at the “bright” side of things. It is true that as Christians we are being persecuted, but there is more freedom in India compared to other Countries. Take the Countries where our Muslim brothers are the majority, for example, there there is no freedom whatsoever. In India on the other hand, the Constitution is very clear on the fact that Christians can profess, practice and preach their faith. But there are still plenty of fundamentalists around!
What is India doing to contain the problem?
We need your help, economic as well. We on the other hand need to find a practical solution and continue to evangelize, following the rules of the constitution; Italy has helped us a great deal in developing our church. But now, with the international crisis and the recession, everything seems to have been put on the back burner. But we are still in need of help and especially of prayers.
You need prayers because Christians are going through a crisis there?
We have inherited faith thanks to missionaries from your continent, Europe.  But today, Indian Christians are facing a crisis as a result of the scandals in the Vatican. And churches are getting emptier and emptier. The same thing is happening across Europe. I can see and feel churches getting emptier. It is vital therefore for us to pray and especially to stay united in Christ and close the Pope!
Perhaps a visit by Benedict XVI would help Indians rediscover their faith!
It would be wonderful to have the Pope in India. During our “ad limina” visit last year, we invited him to the Country. He seemed very positive and interested. But obviously getting to India is no easy task. It will all depend on his health!

Five questions about the Vatican’s leaks scandal

Five questions about the Vatican’s leaks scandal

Posted on : MUMBAI  LAITY

In the run-up to a consistory, Rome takes on the atmosphere of a college reunion.
Church people from all over turn up, making it hard to walk down the street without bumping into someone you know.
That’s been the case this week, ahead of Saturday’s consistory in which Pope Benedict XVI will create 22 new cardinals, including Americans Timothy Dolan and Edwin O’Brien.
This week, whenever such a chance encounter has occurred, conversation fairly quickly has turned to one question above all: What the hell is going on around here?
The basis for the question, of course, is the mushrooming Vatican leaks scandal, in which confidential documents are appearing in the papers almost on a daily basis, putting the Vatican in a highly unfavorable light.
By now, there are almost too many to keep track, but big-ticket items have included:
  • Letters written to the pope and to the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, by the current papal ambassador in the United States, Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, complaining of corruption in Vatican finances and a campaign of defamation against him. At the time, he was the No. 2 official in the Vatican City State, and desperately trying to avoid being sent away.
  • An anonymous memo written about a new Vatican law against money laundering, which suggests the law contains an enormous loophole — that it blocks action against any offense before April 1, 2011, when the law came into effect.
  • Leaked materials fueling charges that the Institute for the Works of Religion (the so-called “Vatican Bank”) recently transferred millions of Euro to foreign banks to evade Italian controls, and that it’s dodged various Italian inquests.
  • Another anonymous document, written in German, describing a conversation Cardinal Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Sicily, allegedly had during a trip to China, in which he predicted the pope would be dead within 12 months and replaced with Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan. That document was passed along to the pope by retired Colombian Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos.
  • Two internal Vatican memos, including one written by Cardinal Atillio Nicora, who heads a new financial watchdog agency, warning that recent modifications to the Vatican’s law against money laundering would be seen as a “step back” on reform, and could create “alarm” among international regulatory bodies.
As this column is written, rumors have it that more leaked documents are on the way, perhaps as early as the end of this week. Obviously, someone inside the Vatican — what L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, recently called a bunch of irresponsible “wolves” — has decided to let the photocopies roll.
In the spirit of this week’s conversations around Rome, here are five questions and answers about the current spate of Vatican scandals.
How bad is all this?
This is a strange case in which it’s not so much the content of the leaks, but the fact of them, which is the real problem.
As the dust has settled, none of the recent revelations seems especially fatal.
The story of the anti-papal plot collapsed under its own silliness, while the Vatican has issued unusually thorough point-by-point explanations of the materials concerning IOR and its new money-laundering law.
If anything, publication of the Viganò letters actually might have helped the Vatican.
Before, Viganò just looked like a reformer who got the shaft.
The letters, however, revealed a somewhat defensive streak, making it easier to believe his removal could have been about personality rather than policy.
Yet whatever one makes of them, these documents are all real, and they’re really being leaked. Vatican personnel themselves are fueling the scandal, which is taking both an internal and an external toll.
Internally, the situation has some church leaders alarmed and, in a few cases, hopping mad.
For one thing, bishops around the world would like to think they can share confidential information with the pope and Bertone without reading about it in the newspapers.
More basically, both the leaks and the apparent motives behind them reduce confidence that Vatican decisions will be made on merits rather than being swept into petty internal squabbles — especially, it has to be said, if they end up in the Secretariat of State.
As one senior prelate, who’s nobody’s idea of a flaming liberal, told me this week, “I wouldn’t bring a problem here right now to save my life.”
In other words, the Vatican risks losing trust — not among its critics or enemies (that boat probably sailed long ago), but among its best friends.
Externally, where perception is often reality, it almost doesn’t matter if the documents are truly damaging. The public take-away already is that the Vatican is once again mired in scandal, fueled by churchmen stabbing one another in the back.
That perception makes it more difficult to tell any other story about the Catholic church (including basically good news for the Vatican, such as its recent sex abuse summit or its efforts at financial glasnost), and hardly provides a promising launch to Benedict XVI’s project of a “new evangelization.”
So how bad is all this?
The answer is, fairly bad.
Who’s leaking this stuff?
To date, nobody knows. The three things most observers agree on are:
  • The leaks have the effect of making Bertone look bad, leading many to believe they’re coming from insiders hostile to him.
  • At least some seem to be coming from within the Secretariat of State itself, or rather, Bertone’s own shop.
  • For the most part, this would not seem to be about a courageous whistle-blower who’s trying to expose wrong-doing or prompt reform. The motives seem more personal and political.
Beyond that, three popular theories are making the rounds, but they’re merely hunches and speculation.
I summarize them here only because they’ve become ubiquitous in the papers and on TV, and thus they’re part of the story.
One view holds that the leaks stem from people close to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, former Secretary of State under John Paul II and current dean of the College of Cardinals.
The theory goes that Sodano’s crowd represents an old guard in the Secretariat of State that has neither forgiven nor forgotten the fact that Bertone is an outsider, someone who got his job because he worked for Benedict XVI in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
That resentment has been compounded, or so the thinking goes, by the fact that the current “substitute,” meaning Bertone’s top deputy, is also basically an outsider.
Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu comes out of the Vatican diplomatic corps, but prior to his appointment in May, he’d never worked in the Secretariat of State.
Another interpretation holds that the leaks come from Italians with links to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the powerful former president of the Italian bishops’ conference.
According to this view, Ruini’s allies resent the fact that Bertone clashed with Ruini over his successor at the bishops’ conference, and more generally, that Bertone has taken over the role of primary spokesperson for the church in Italian affairs.
A third view holds that the leaks originate in circles around Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.
Piacenza hails from Genoa, from the school of the late Cardinal Giuseppe Siri (the famous “pope who was never elected,” a perennial favorite papal candidate of the church’s conservative wing).
Piacenza has worked in the Vatican since 1990.
Under this view, Piacenza sees himself as a logical successor to Bertone, or at least as a candidate to play an enhanced Vatican role should Benedict XVI decide that Bertone needs help running the show.
While all these theories have a surface plausibility, a strong note of caution is in order: They may also reflect cultural psychology in Italy, which holds there must always be a grand hidden design underneath surface events. Italians have a word for it, dietrologia, which literally means “behind-ology.”
The fact that there is no English equivalent is telling.
It’s possible the hunt for a Vatican version of a unified field theory is misguided. Since the documents are heterogeneous, the sources might be different in each case.
The Viganò letters, for instance, might have been leaked by friends still smarting over his removal; the financial documents could be coming from people at the IOR or another Vatican office with personal axes to grind.
As far as the letter about an anti-papal plot discussed in China, some believe the aim was to weaken Scola as a papal candidate, others that it was designed to block a gradual process of détente between the Vatican and the Chinese government.
Of course, in some cases, it could be as simple as that somebody in the Vatican happens to be friends with a few journalists, realizes this stuff makes good copy and isn’t worried about the consequences of letting it loose.
Whatever the case, the Vatican has launched an internal investigation, but it remains to be seen if that will stop the bleeding.
What’s the fallout for Bertone?
If the aim of the leaks is truly to undercut Bertone, one wonders what the point is for two reasons.
First, Benedict XVI has made his personal affection and support for Bertone abundantly clear; and second, to be honest, it’s not as if Bertone needed the help in terms of calling his leadership into question.
Ever since the cause célèbre surrounding the decision to lift the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying traditionalist bishop in 2009, it’s been the Vatican’s worst-kept secret that many insiders regard Bertone as a weak Secretary of State. He’s well liked on a personal level, and no one questions his personal integrity or his loyalty to Benedict XVI, but there’s long been serious doubt about his capacity to make the trains run on time.
Bertone is now 77, and some have speculated this latest meltdown might convince Benedict XVI to accept his resignation.
Others wonder if a more face-saving solution might be found in which Bertone would stay in place in a sort of titular fashion, while the pope appoints another figure, along the lines of a “proto-secretary,” to do more of the heavy lifting.
Yet given that Benedict XVI is disinclined to worry much about matters of governance, and probably wouldn’t want to reward a campaign of character assassination, the smart money is likely on Bertone staying in place.
If so, the $64,000 question becomes: Is there a way to fix the Vatican’s internal disarray without a change at the top? Many of the cardinals who are meeting today with Pope Benedict XVI for a day of prayer and reflection ahead of tomorrow’s consistory, could quite possibly find themselves pondering that very point.
What does this mean for the next pope?
There are two bits of fallout that seem to have implications for the next conclave.
First, whenever the cardinals next gather to elect a pope, high on their to-do list will be finding someone who can get the Vatican’s internal affairs in order.
If a candidate seems to have a mixed record running his own diocese or the Vatican office he presently heads, that’s likely to be the kiss of death.
It’s not that administrative chops will be the only thing the cardinals are looking for, but it’s now become a baseline for giving someone serious consideration.
Second, the current scandal might well have reduced the odds of the next pope being an Italian, given that these leaks seem to have brought some of the less attractive features of Italian ecclesiastical culture to the surface.
At a minimum, the mess has put a serious dent in the old assumption that Italians have a special genius for church governance just because they’ve lived with the institution for so long and know it from the inside.
Let’s put it this way: The next pope could still be an Italian — but if he is, he’ll probably be elected in spite of, not because of, his nationality.
Does this mean anything for the United States?
There are also two dimensions of the story with American implications.
First, the profile of American bishops in Rome has long been that while most might not be great intellectuals or towering spiritual figures, they tend to be good managers, meaning practical figures able to get things done. Although some Americans might quibble, that view is still largely in force here.
Privately, many Italians are already saying that the Vatican needs a shake-up, a fresh approach, and it’s natural for them to think of the States as one place where it might be found.
Whether that will be enough to offset the historical taboo against a “superpower pope” is anybody’s guess.
However, it could render somewhat more plausible a move that would be equally shocking to longtime Vatican insiders: an American Secretary of State.
Second, the present scandal could turn out to be a boon for Viganò as papal ambassador in the States, at least in terms of his dealings with the American bishops.
Here in Rome, where people have actually read his leaked letters, the working assumption is that Viganò has been badly compromised and might even be recalled.
Yet most American bishops haven’t read the correspondence (which is written in fairly dense Italian), and even if they had, the Vatican personalities Viganò complains about mean nothing to them.
For them, Viganò’s story is far simpler: He tried to clean house, drew fire and paid the price.
At a time when many of those bishops themselves believe the Vatican is overdue for a house cleaning, that’s actually not a bad calling card.
Here’s what Dolan, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, told me about Viganò in an interview Tuesday: “In a way, [it] enhances his credibility as someone who does not look upon the internal workings of the Holy See with rose-colored glasses, but is well aware of difficulties there.”
At least for some American bishops, in other words, Viganò seems a welcome change of pace.

PRESS RELEASE – V.S ACHARYA by P.B D’Sa

PRESS RELEASE – V.S ACHARYA

 (P.B D’Sa)

                     Dr. V.S Acharya who died recently, was a colleague of mine in the erstwhile Janata Party which was formed in the prison by the opposition leaders when the then congress prime minister clamped an emergency in India and suspended the constitution of India and denied even the right to life to the citizen of India from June 1975 to March 1977. 1977 till the Janata Party collapsed and disintegrated, I was a member of Janata Party and the Secretary of minority cell of Mangalore City. Dr. V.S. Acharya was the district president for erstwhile South Kanara (D.K and Udupi). He gave me an impression that he was a great democrat and a secular man. He was a soft spoken gentleman. I admired him for remaining in the opposition and for having spent nineteen months in jail for the sake of Democracy. He was of my age. I miss him very much not because of the impressions I have of him during our association in the Janata Party. I remember him more because of his role in attacking the Muslim and Christian Minorities in Karnataka, during his ministership especially as a Home minister in the present BJP government of Karnataka.

                   He had let loose a rule of tyranny never seen before by the minority people of Karnataka during his ministership. Soon after the church attacks PUCL Karnataka requested Justice Saldanha to head a one man enquiry commission to bring out the truth, Why and how the unprecedented attacks took place, in a place (Coastal Karnataka) where great peace, communal harmony and exemplary fraternity and brotherly feeling was existing?. If RSS has to choose any person and award a National award for permanently ruining the communal harmony in Karnataka, that award should go to Dr. V.S. Acharya. Even till today I am unable to believe that a man like Acharya could be capable of so much of hatred towards the minorities.

                  I agree that it is not fair and proper to comment adversely on a friend once he dies. But not to comment on a public figure who has been crooked, cunning and in one word evil, Could be wrong as history of a place, state, country or a people has to be recorded truly and fairly.

                      Dr. V.S. Acharya who died at the age of 71(my age) comes under the category of a public figure who changed the very relationship of minority communities with the majority communities and damaged personally the communal harmony that existed in Karnataka and especially in the Coastal Karnataka. History will not excuse this man and certainly I am not prepared to excuse him. I would not like to be a hypocrite like our clergy ( Christian Padries) who invited him for their 125th anniversary in Mangalore in spite of knowing fully well that he was the architect of Church attacks in Mangalore and around in 2008, along with another Doctor known as Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat.

            I quote from Justice Saldanha’s report of church attacks of which more than 1 Lakh copies are in circulation in different languages all over the world.

                 “Sometime around 5.00 PM, the SP of the area along with about 20 officers of different ranks, all in uniform, with helmets and riot-control gear arrived at the place armed with lathis. They had come in a number of jeeps and police vans. The police constables were also armed with lathis and other equipment that is normally carried by the police while dealing with a violent mob. The records also indicate that apart from the SP and other police officers, the then DC was also present. The strange part of the operation was that these vehicles came from the City Centre and since there were a relatively large number of them, the majority of them were parked on the main road adjoining the Church, while about one third of the vehicles drove through the persons assembled there and stopped on the road beyond the assembled group opposite the Moti Mahal Hotel. Why the persons assembled there were blocked-off from both ends was not apparent at that time, but as I shall presently indicate, it was part of the Police master-plan which subsequently became apparent.”

               “Now comes the most significant part of the incident. The police had brought with them two blue coloured tempos which were private vehicles (not Police vehicles) were bearing yellow coloured number plates. One of these was brought to the front of the Police vehicles on each of the two sides, with all the assembled persons sandwiched between the vehicles. What is very significant is the fact that each of these tempos was carrying about 20 young men per vehicle, ALL IN PLAIN CLOTHES. Each of these persons was armed with lathis or sticks. The Videos clearly show a fellow sitting above the driver’s cabin of each Tempo carrying a TRISHUL! I have done considerable research in trying to ascertain the identity of these persons. I have written to the SP asking him for an explanation with regard to the presence of these tempos and the occupants of these vehicles. Neither this man nor his subordinates have tendered any explanation nor have remained present on any of the eleven occasions when asked to do so. The occupants of these tempos had nothing to do with the police department. The victims in this and in all the other incidents where the same modus operandi was followed have clearly identified these armed miscreants who occupied the two tempos as local Bajrang Dal activists. When I discussed this matter with the Hon’ble Dr. Acharya, Home Minister, he told me that they were CONSTABLES IN PLAIN CLOTHES! (One of his many witticisms)”

                 “From the day the BJP Government came to power in the State which coincided with Dr. B. V. Acharya assuming the portfolio of Home Minister, militant activity of all the saffron brigades took an ugly turn. Open war was declared on the Christians and the Muslims. The Saffron brigades took charge of all the Police Stations in the District and dictated terms to the officers and staff, most of who willingly fell in line. What was the immediate fall-out? “

(A)                “The members of the saffron brigade could commit any atrocities or crimes; they had total immunity from the law enforcement authorities.”

(B)                  “Any member of the minority community who had been threatened, beaten up or looted who went to complain at the Police Stations was assaulted and arrested under a host of NON-BAILABLE OFFENCES and put behind bars. It soon became evident that it was extremely dangerous to go to a Police Station or call the Police even in the most serious of cases. It is not surprising therefore that the police brought their partners in crime in the two Tempos openly, brazenly and brandishing TRISHULS! (refer Page No. 62 and 63 of the Report)”

                     “In the ‘synopsis of finding’ on Page No. 292, Justice Saldanha says, that every one of the attacks and incidents which took place was instigated and pre planned. They were state sponsored and not only sponsored but covered up by the state. The responsibility for this devolves squarely on the home minister Dr. V.S. Acharya and the Chief Minister.

                    The government had announced to withdraw all the three hundred and thirty seven cases filed against Christian protestors on the next day of the church attack but so far, no cases are withdrawn nor paid the promised damages are paid. However all the cases filed against the culprits belonging to Ramsene and Bhajrang Dal have been withdrawn long back. When the home minister was asked in the assembly for withdrawing the all those cases filed against the culprits the unique answer he gave was, that “they were all political activists and not criminals”.

                     On page 299 he says a serious allegation was levelled particularly by the chief minister and the home minister that the minorities namely the Christians are indulging in conversions. I had devoted special attention towards examining this allegation thread-bear and found it to be downright false. It was pleaded as a justification for the violence; it is a sham allegation and afterthought. All the same it merited a deep examination and my finding is that it is factually incorrect, completely baseless and it should not have been pleaded at all.

                    Finally I must express with deepest disgust that the Home Minister Dr. V.S Acharya never thought it fit to visit the churches which were attacked thus proving beyond all doubts that he was behind this attack and that with his blessings the Police Department executed the operation. The part played by Bhajrang Dal and others was a very insignificant one.

                The legacy of Acharya is still being kept up by is saffronized police, who were told by Acharya that each station should file 20 false cases against Christians alleging “Conversions”. This process is still under execution.

Must Read – Prakash Lasrado’s Letter

Prakash Lasrado’s Letter

Dear PB D’Sa,

Laypeople must not run the church and must not look after church property since they are less ethical than priests.

If one reads the New Testament, Peter spent his time worshipping God and the task of collecting money was given to Ananias and Sapphira (husband and wife, a lay couple) (Acts Chapter 5) who to seek a good name from the public gave the collected money to the apostles for the poor. However they were stealing part of it. Peter inspired by the Holy spirit got to know of it and rebuked them severely since they were not interested in the poor but were benefitting from donations by getting a good name and getting good money for themselves. They had disguised their evil as good. We all know that Ananias and Sapphira fell dead instantly. 

Same is happening today also. 

Two women accused of stealing $1 million each from two archdioceses

http://www.uscatholic.org/news/2012/01/two-women-accused-stealing-1-million-each-two-archdioceses

Mother, son confess to stealing church funds

http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6146/53/

Laypeople are worse than priests in terms of ethics so it is better that priests govern finances since laypeople cannot be trusted entirely. Laypeople can only assist priests.

Regards,

Prakash

Reply from – P.B D’Sa

Dear Prakash Lasrado

I totally agree with Mr. Prakash Lasrado, that both priests and laymen are corrupt. but i do not agree that the lay men are more corrupt. both belong to human race and both have human weaknesses. But when Chosen people of God who live with God, Walk with God, Sleep with God and Market God, cannot and should not be corrupt, arrogant, liars, crooks etc. etc.
I totally agree that all temporal issues, all properties and money matters of the church  should be jointly handeled by laymen and priest. More specificaly the laymen should handle all temporal issues properties, cash etc. and the priest should be both internal and external auditors. they should not be “spiritual directors”- This is a funny word and misleading word. this word should be scrapped from church vocabulary.
Most of the priests are mediocre and repeat things parrot like. i have not found creativity and dynamism in any priest. They are lazy , pleasure and leisure loving and too much  in love with their bodies.
This forum will give equal opportunities to diverse views on the matter. We do not want to waste our time in speaking about good work done by the priest. Every human being is expected to be good and to do good work. W have no time to praise and pamper them our priority is to sweep, clean the mess created by useless people and make this world  a better world to live in. the mess created during the last 2000 years cannot be cleaned by a small number of people. We need more people like Prakash Lasrado, Gordon, Sodders, Alban Menezes, Maurice Mascarenhas, Walter mascarenhas, Jeevan Vas, Dr. Joe Lewis Arthur Rasquinha, Augustine Rodrigues, etc. etc.
We have already an Army of More than thousand people with us we want to reach 50000 within 5 years. i promise that together we will clean the mess created by the ” Wolves in the Garb of Sheep” and do Christ’s work, which will continue even after our death.
P.B D’Sa

Leaked letters reveal Viganò’s complaints of corruption

Leaked letters reveal Viganò’s complaints of corruption

source: mailed by Prakash Lasrado

In another, addressed to Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Viganò said that the management of Vatican investments had been entrusted to a group of Italian bankers “who look after their interests more than ours.” He complained that contracts are “always given to the same companies at costs at least double compared to those charged outside the Vatican,” on the basis of personal connections and patronage ties.

Viganò also described a campaign of defamation against him inside the Vatican, openly naming names as the alleged ringleaders. They include an Italian monsignor who works at the Vatican museums, and a well-known Italian layman who’s held senior positions both in the Vatican and at the Italian public broadcaster RAI, and who is viewed as especially close to Bertone.

Viganò accused both figures of various forms of misconduct, and accused both of being the source of “calumnious judgments, evil insinuations [and] lies” circulating within the Vatican, intended to discredit him with Bertone.

Transparency in Church finances gives the faithful satisfaction, says cardinal

Transparency in Church finances gives the faithful satisfaction, says cardinal

Genoa, Italy, Feb 16, 2011 / 01:57 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The head of Italy’s bishops sees transparency in money-handling as one of the keys to the Church’s credibility and a source of joy for parishioners who can track where their charity dollars are going.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, the president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, spoke at an Italian convention for diocesan finance workers on Feb. 15. The focus of the meeting was to promote learning to help others through “co-responsibility and transparency” in the Church. During his address, Cardinal Bagnasco put particular emphasis on “the absolutely decisive importance of transparency” in society today.

“When we speak of transparency, it doesn’t just mean highlighting honesty and correctness … but a clear administration of assets that can be verified by all,” he said. According to the cardinal, the success of donations to the Church depends on the ability of all the faithful to track its use.

It is not just about having a clean image on the exterior, he said, but exhibiting “true transparency” in fidelity to the vocation and mission of the Church, he said. “The credibility of the Church is never damaged by the clarity of her behavior,” said Cardinal Bagnasco. In fact, transparency in finances will aid fundraising because people will know what they are working towards, he explained.

He said that it is “essential and necessary” for all people to have access to financial statements and budgets as well as the total amount of offerings. In this way, parishioners “will be more motivated and aware of the importance of their economic sharing.” “If this real transparency exists in every parish, the faithful will no longer look at the offering as a type of duty, but donating will become a great joy because each will live with the satisfaction of doing something good and concrete,” thus opening them up further to the needs of the Church elsewhere, he said.

The cardinal called the laity and clergy to a greater shared responsibility for this to make it local practice. “In the Church,” he concluded, “no one can say, ‘it doesn’t concern me’. No one can call think of themselves as outside of this family, none must feel (they are) in the margins … all of us are active protagonists.”