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
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Monsignors’ mutiny” revealed by Vatican leaks

Monsignors’ mutiny” revealed by Vatican leaks

source mailed by : Gordon Jacobs

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Call it Conspiracy City. Call it Scandal City. Call it Leak City. These days the holy city has been in the news for anything but holy reasons.

“It is a total mess,” said one high-ranking Vatican official who spoke, like all others, on the condition of anonymity.

The Machiavellian maneuvering and machinations that have come to light in the Vatican recently are worthy of a novel about a sinister power struggle at a medieval court.

Senior church officials interviewed this month said almost daily embarrassments that have put the Vatican on the defensive could force Pope Benedict to act to clean up the image of its administration – at a time when the church faces a deeper crisis of authority and relevance in the wider world.

Some of those sources said the outcome of a power struggle inside the Holy See may even have a longer-term effect, on the choice of the man to succeed Benedict when he dies.

From leaked letters by an archbishop who was transferred after he blew the whistle on what he saw as a web of corruption and cronyism, to a leaked poison pen memo which puts a number of cardinals in a bad light, to new suspicions about its bank, Vatican spokesmen have had their work cut out responding.

The flurry of leaks has come at an embarrassing time – just before a usually joyful ceremony this week known as a consistory, when Benedict will admit more prelates into the College of Cardinals, the exclusive men’s club that will one day pick the next Roman Catholic leader from among their own ranks.

“This consistory will be taking place in an atmosphere that is certainly not very glorious or exalting,” said one bishop with direct knowledge of Vatican affairs.

The sources agreed that the leaks were part of an internal campaign – a sort of “mutiny of the monsignors” – against the pope’s right-hand man, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Bertone, 77, has a reputation as a heavy-handed administrator and power-broker whose style has alienated many in the Curia, the bureaucracy that runs the central administration of the 1.3 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church.

He came to the job, traditionally occupied by a career diplomat, in 2006 with no experience of working in the church’s diplomatic corps, which manages its international relations. Benedict chose him, rather, because he had worked under the future pontiff, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office.

“It’s all aimed at Bertone,” said a monsignor in a key Vatican department who sympathizes with the secretary of state and who sees the leakers as determined to oust him. “It’s very clear that they want to get rid of Bertone.”

Vatican sources say the rebels have the tacit backing of a former secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, an influential power-broker in his own right and a veteran diplomat who served under the late Pope John Paul II for 15 years.

“The diplomatic wing feels that they are the rightful owners of the Vatican,” the monsignor who favors Bertone said.

Sodano and Bertone are not mutual admirers, to put it mildly. Neither has commented publicly on the reports.

WHISTLE-BLOWING ARCHBISHOP

The Vatican has been no stranger to controversy in recent years, when uproar over its handling of child sex abuse charges has hampered the church’s efforts to stem the erosion of congregations and priestly recruitment in the developed world.

But the latest image crisis could not be closer to home.

It began last month when an Italian television investigative show broadcast private letters to Bertone and the pope from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former deputy governor of the Vatican City and currently the Vatican ambassador in Washington.

The letters, which the Vatican has confirmed are authentic, showed that Vigano was transferred after he exposed what he argued was a web of corruption, nepotism and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts to contractors at inflated prices.

As deputy governor of the Vatican City for two years from 2009 to 2011, Vigano was the number two official in a department responsible for maintaining the tiny city-state’s gardens, buildings, streets, museums and other infrastructure, which are managed separately from the Italian capital which surrounds it.

In one letter, Vigano writes of a smear campaign against him by other Vatican officials who were upset that he had taken drastic steps to clean up the purchasing procedures and begged to stay in the job to finish what he had started.

Bertone responded by removing Vigano from his position three years before the end of his tenure and sending him to the United States, despite his strong resistance.

Other leaks center on the Vatican bank, just as it is trying to put behind it past scandals – including the collapse 30 years ago of Banco Ambrosiano, which entangled it in lurid allegations about money-laundering, freemasons, mafiosi and the mysterious death of Ambrosiano chairman Roberto Calvi – “God’s banker.”

Today, the Vatican bank, formally known at the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), is aiming to comply fully with international norms and has applied for the Vatican’s inclusion on the European Commission’s approved “white list” of states that meet EU standards for total financial transparency.

Bertone was instrumental in putting the bank’s current executives in place and any lingering suspicion about it reflects badly on him. The Commission will decide in June and failure to make the list would be an embarrassment for Bertone.

ITALIAN POPE?

Last week, an Italian newspaper that has published some of the leaks ran a bizarre internal Vatican memo that involved one cardinal complaining about another cardinal who spoke about a possible assassination attempt against the pope within 12 months and openly speculated on who the next pope should be.

Bertone’s detractors say he has packed the Curia with Italian friends. Some see an attempt to influence the election of the next pope and increase the chances that the papacy returns to Italy after two successive non-Italian popes who have broken what had been an Italian monopoly for over 450 years.

Seven of the 18 new “cardinal electors” — those aged under 80 eligible to elect a pope — at this Saturday’s consistory are Italian. Six of those work for Bertone in the Curia.

Bertone, as chief administrator, had a key role in advising the pope on the appointments, which raised eyebrows because of the high number of Italian bureaucrats among them.

“There is widespread malaise and delusion about Bertone inside the Curia. It is full of complaints,” said the bishop who has close knowledge of Vatican affairs.

“Bertone has had a very brash method of running the Vatican and putting his friends in high places. People could not take it any more and said ‘enough’ and that is why I think these leaks are coming out now to make him look bad,” he said.

POPE “ISOLATED”

Leaked confidential cables sent to the State Department by the U.S. embassy to the Vatican depicted him as a “yes man” with no diplomatic experience or linguistic skills and the 2009 cable suggests that the pope is protected from bad news.

“There is also the question of who, if anyone, brings dissenting views to the pope’s attention,” read the cable, published by WikiLeaks.

The Vatican sources said some cardinals asked the pope to replace Bertone because of administrative lapses, including the failure to warn the pope that a renegade bishop re-admitted to the Church in 2009 was a well-known Holocaust denier.

But they said the pope, at 84 and increasingly showing the signs of his age, is not eager to break in a new right-hand man.

“It’s so complicated and the pope is so helpless,” said the monsignor.

The bishop said: “The pope is very isolated. He lives in his own world and some say the information he receives is filtered. He is interested in his books and his sermons but he is not very interested in government.”

Why Catholic Bishops Have Lost Their Grip on Their Flock

Why Catholic Bishops Have Lost Their Grip on Their Flock

source: Gordon Jacobs

The Vatican’s timing was ironic. While Roman Catholic bishops in the U.S. were trying to revive their moral and political clout last week by battling President Obama over contraception coverage and religious liberty, a papally endorsed symposium was underway in Rome on how the Church has to change if it wants to prevent sexual abuse crises, the very tragedy that has shriveled the stature of Catholic prelates worldwide over the past decade, especially in the U.S. One monsignor at the Vatican gathering even suggested the hierarchy had been guilty of “omertà,” the Mafia code of silence, by protecting abusive priests.

The Roman forum was a reminder — and the birth control clash is turning out to be one as well — of just how much influence the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has lost in the 10 years since the abuse crisis erupted in America. It hopes that its protest of a new federal rule requiring religiously affiliated institutions like Catholic hospitals and universities to provide no-cost contraception in their health insurance coverage, even if church doctrine forbids birth control, will help restore the bishops’ relevance. They did win a partial victory last Friday when Obama, acknowledging the uproar, said those institutions would no longer have to pay for the contraception coverage themselves. But the President did not fully genuflect: The compromise will still oblige religious-based employers to offer the coverage, while their insurance providers foot the bill.

Although major Catholic groups like Catholic Charities and Catholic Health Services accepted that revision, the bishops are holding out for more. But their crusade to be exempted from the mandate is likely to fall short of its grail. If so, it’s because Obama read the Catholic flock better than its shepherds did.

Granted, the bishops, led by New York Archbishop and Cardinal-elect Timothy Dolan, did get the White House to acknowledge how high-handedly and ham-handedly it had managed the contraception debate — confirming along the way the public’s wariness of the so-called liberal elite — and convinced it to craft a deal that should have been policy in the first place. Yet in his refusal to cave completely to the religious liberty campaign, Obama has illustrated the reality that the bishops no longer speak for most U.S. Catholics — the nation’s largest religious denomination and a critical swing-voter group — on a host of moral issues, according to polls.

Not on abortion or the death penalty (a majority of Catholics believe those should remain legal); on divorce or homosexuality (most say those are acceptable); on women being ordained as priests and priests getting married (ditto); or on masturbation and pre-marital sex (ditto again, Your Excellencies).

And especially not on contraception. Ever since Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Church’s senseless ban on birth control in 1968, few doctrines have been as vilified, ridiculed and outright ignored by Catholics – evidenced by a recent study showing that 98% of American Catholic women have used some form of contraception. It’s hard to believe, as the bishops would have it, that those women simply succumbed to society’s pressure to do the secular thing. They’ve decided, in keeping with their faith’s precept of exercising personal conscience, that family planning is the moral and societally responsible thing to do — for example, preventing unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortions. And it explains why a recent Public Religion Research Institute poll found most Catholics support the contraception coverage mandate even for Catholic-affiliated organizations. Presumably most endorse Friday’s compromise.

Far more Evangelical Protestants, according to the PRRI survey, back the bishops than Catholics do. But that hardly makes the bishops, when it comes to the more independent Catholic vote, the same force to be reckoned with that they were in the 20th century. That is, before 2002 and the horror stories of how prelates like Cardinal Bernard Law, then Boston’s archbishop, had serially shielded alleged pedophile priests. It’s true that some bishops, like Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl, confronted rather than coddled accused priests. But when it became clear that so many of the men in miters cared more about safeguarding the clerical corporation than about protecting kids, episcopal “authority” vanished like so much incense smoke — and Catholics increasingly abandoned the 2,000-year-old notion that their church and their religion are the same thing.

That’s essentially what Catholics like me are asking for, especially from my colleagues in the media, during episodes like the contraception and religious liberty fracas: Stop equating what the bishops say with what we think, because we’re not the obedient, monolithic bloc that newspapers and cable news networks so tiresomely insist is in “jeopardy” for this or that party whenever they smell church-state friction. When a hardline U.S. bishop calls for withholding communion from a Catholic politician who supports legalized abortion, stop assuming all Catholics have the prelate’s back rather than the pol’s. When Catholic politicians draft legislation like the religious liberty bills popping up on Capitol Hill right now, stop accepting their assertion that the birth-control ban is “a major tenet” of Catholic faith, as Florida Senator Marco Rubio called it this month. For the vast majority of Catholics, it isn’t.

And for that matter, stop forgetting that in the 2008 election, 54% of Catholic voters ignored their bishops and backed a pro-choice presidential candidate like Obama. I certainly don’t point that out as some kind of endorsement of Obama in 2012. I’m simply noting that pundits and politicians need smarter criteria for gauging the Catholic vote — just as advisers in Obama’s White House shouldn’t have been so clueless about religious issues when they first decreed the contraception mandate. If the tragedy of the 2002 abuse crisis reminds us of anything, it’s that religion does matter in politics. Just ask the church leaders who are still paying a political price for their religious code of silence.

Must Read – Address by Dhuje Parbhu at the Inaugural Christian Reforms Foundation meeting at YMCA Hall, Mangalore

Must Read- Address by Dhuje Parbhu at the Inaugural Christian Reforms Foundation meeting at YMCA Hall, Mangalore

Bishops and Clergy in this country think that the church belongs to them and we the laity are docile, simple, cows and buffaloes. So far because of lack of proper laity organisation in the church, they took us for  a ride. Vatican II never favors the laity and calls us as the “subjects” of the Bishops. After all one must know that Vatican II is the council of Bishops to safeguard their interests…..Read More

CLICK HERE to Download the Article

First beneficiary of Diocese’s 160 house-project says she has been deceived

First beneficiary of Diocese’s 160 house-project says she has been deceived

Source: Coastal Digest

Saturday, 21 January 2012 14:08

Mangalore, January 22: “Jesus Christ will not forgive the sin of the Mangalore Diocese, which is fooling poor Christians without any sense of shame” —  This was the reaction of a poor Christian couple, which was projected as the first beneficiary of the ‘Mangalore Diocese’s ‘philanthropic project’ of donating 160 houses to poor as part of its post-centenary silver jubilee celebrations.PUCL_21Jan_1

“We are deeply hurt after coming to know that media projected us as the first beneficiaries of the Mangalore Diocese’s so called ‘shelter-for-poor’ project. In fact we were the first victims of the unpardonable lie and deceit of the Diocese”, said Irene Rita D’Souza, whose husband John D’Souza had received the key from Mangalore Bishop Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza on January 16, at a formal ‘house donation function’ in the presence of media at Maroli near here.

“Neither me, nor my husband were aware that Mangalore Diocese was going to project our newly constructed house as donation, when they forcefully organized a ‘house-warming’ celebration”, said D’Souza at a press conference convened by the local unit of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties here on Saturday.

“How can the Church people call it a donation, when I had pledged my gold ornaments to construct this 400 square feet house on our own land?,” questioned Irene D’Souza, who claims herself to be an illiterate.

Irene and her husband who resided in a rented house in Kulashekara for many years, had dreamt of constructing a house of their own.

“By pledging three gold ornaments including a wedding ring, I was able to raise Rs70, 000 to construct the house. However, we needed more money to complete the house” she said.

PUCL_21Jan_2

“Meanwhile, Kulashekara Church furnished me a loan of Rs 1 lakh and asked to sign on a stamp paper committing me to pay Rs 2,000 every month. They also gave me Rs 50,000 additional loan. However, when the Church people invited me for the loan they did not inform me about the Diocese’s plan of house donation,” she said.

She said that she came to know about the real picture only after people began to point fingers at her.

“I felt humiliated when I was told that the house was a donation of the church. Feeling robbed of my self-respect, I immediately returned Rs 50,000 to Fr Valerian Pinto in Kulashekara church,” she said.

She also said that she wanted to return the loan of Rs 1 lakh too at a public function in front of the media. “Let Mangalore Diocese organize a function to take back their loan and remove the plaque with the engraving that the house is a donation of Mangalore diocese,” she said.

She also criticised the double standard of the priests. “They preach in the Church that when you do alms, let not your left hand know what your right hand does. But the same priests projected the house constructed with my own money and with the help of loans, as their donation”, she lamented.

PUCL State President PB D’sa said the family’s plight was just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the blunders of the Mangalore Diocese. He predicted that there would be a repeat of such incidents as diocese completes 160 houses.

President, PUCL Comments:

This is a huge Fraud played by the “Cassock wearing Wolves in Sheep’s Garb”. When 50% of Mangalore belongs to Mangalore Diocese occupied by their Mulgeni tenants of the diocese, which Bishop is administrating as the trustee for the benefit of the laity or the final beneficiaries. Is there any need to collect further money from the laity and build small dungeons unfit for even pigs to live?
The entire Christian communities specially the Mulgeni holders who are numbering around 4 Lakhs (Subject to corrections) will benefit immensely and become the most prosperous community in South India, forget about only in Mangalore. I have personally and on behalf of several organizations demanded from the Bishop this for the last 15 years and he has arrogantly told me that it is his property and I have no right to demand this. Simply because he is a Bishop he does not become the owner of the diocesan properties. The entire laity’s numbering 98% of Christian Population are the co-owners of this land. But unfortunately the Bishop Who calls himself the most religious and charitable man is trading with the land belonging to somebody else and committing a serious offence of breach of trust and cheating a huge fraud on the public. Bishop requires to be put “Behind the Bars” for this offence for collecting 33.33% of the amount on the land and swallowing the same without showing any account of this.160 houses for poor is a mere drama under the pretext of this scheme Walter D’Mello and Denis Moras two collaborators with the Bishop have gone to the Middle east and collected about 18 crores. What has happened to this amount? The so called first house is handed over by the Bishop was another public fraud. About this there was a press conference addressed by me and the office bearers of united Christian Association on 22 January. I would request Daijiworld and Mangalorean.com and other media to give proper publicity to our Press Conference.
 I have fought for press freedom and the let the press be true to their profession.

Comment 2:

I congratulate coastal digest management for upholding press freedom and projecting the problems of the least and the last who have been pushed to the wall. As against this we have one or two websites belonging to Christians who have repeatedly blacked out the genuine news released to them by PUCL and Christian Reforms Foundation. Just because the rich and powerful can affect their business they behave like Rats in Front of These rich and powerful people who have actually become rich by dubious activities and criminal methods.
“Birds of the same feather flock together”
As a social activists i have released a true fact finding report about the mischief and fraud played by the Bishop and his followers in two cases, But these websites have given credence to the false news of the Bishop and their Gang and the true revealed by us does not find any place anywhere in their pages. 
“Rats will remain Rats”, you cannot turn them into Lions.

Important – STOP PRESS – PLEASE PRAY & ACT

STOP PRESS – PLEASE PRAY & ACT

Islami Shariat Court Indicts Dutch Fr. Jim Borst & Pastor CM Khanna?

Srinagar, Jan 11: Supreme Court of Islami Shariat Wednesday indicted Christian Pastor C M Khanna and Dutch national, Jim Bhorst for their involvement in luring people to convert their religion. The court said it will announce its verdict against the accused soon. The court had summoned Khanna in connection with the case today. His statement was recorded and he was shown a CD – proof of his involvement in the sensitive issue. “During the hearing, Khanna confessed about luring people to change their religion to Christianity. He also made some startling revelations.” 

Deputy Mufti-Azam Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Muhammad Nasir-ul-Islam said, in a statement, that it has been proved beyond doubt that the accused pastor who is putting up in Kashmir for past many years, has been along with other accomplices luring people to change religion. “The Kashmir situation is going through a critical phase and if such elements are not brought to book it will have a serious negative impact on the society. It is shocking and surprising that state government was allowing such activities. Kashmir society will not tolerate such activities at all and we stand united against such elements,” Mufti Nasir said adding that detailed verdict against the accused would be made public soon.

http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2012/Jan/12/islami-shariat-court-indicts-pastor-dutch-national-65.asp

Anti-Christian Violence & Persecution Peaks
The CSF 2011 India Persecution Report Released
A Major Attack a Day on Christians – 1000 cases in Karnataka
Orissa Leads in Killings and Inordinate Delay or Denial of Justice
Top 10 Persecuting States Indentified. Incidents & issues in others too
Anti Conversion (Blasphemy) & Cow Slaughter Laws Affect Minorities…
Missionaries who Served for Decades also Threatend with Deportation, etc.

Over 1000 major cases of anti-Christian violence: The CSF 2011 India Persecution Report

Justice Michael Saldanha, the former judge of the Bombay and Karnataka High Courts, stirred a hornets nest, when he said that he had evidence of a thousand cases of religious liberty violations in Karnataka alone, where the State Minorities Commission members, rather than helping the victims, asked them questions like – How many lakhs had they had been given to convert? and You don’t know the teachings of Jesus, because you complain and don’t forgive? Justice Saldanha whose report on the Karnataka anti-Christian violence is the last credible and authoritative word on the subject, was speaking at the release of The CSF 2011 India Persecution Report, which highlighted that there was at least one attack a day on Indian Christians and also described other freedom of faith issues. He therefore called for effective minority forums, which help the community, rather than cover-up the misdeeds of the culprits in cases of persecution of minorities, as is the case in Karnataka and elsewhere too.

Justice Michael SaldanhaJustice Michael Saldanha: Karnataka – Rogue State No.1

He said that The CSF 2011 Persecution Report rightly accords Karnataka the Rogue State No. 1 status, even though it did not have any recorded or direct killing, as happened in Orissa, which is place second in the report. However, with all its grim and harsh reality of persecution, The CSF 2011 India Persecution Report still does not fully capture the full and comprehensive extent and impact of the attacks in Karnataka against the community. To begin with, the Hindutva warcry “Phele Kasai, Phir Isaai” (First Muslims; Then Christians) was less heard, but more practiced in the state. Both minorities were being targetted, but Christians are more severely attacked. He said if according to The CSF 2011 India Persecution Report the national average was one attacks a day, then Karnataka with a minimum of 3 – 5 attacks can correctly claim the dubious distinction of being the worst in the country. He called for the report to be circulated widely not just nationally, but also internationally that the true plight of Indian Christian be known.

Justice Saldanha said that the race for the notorious top spot seems to have won by Karnataka largely because State Terror is what singles out this state. Though no direct murder as yet, but the very large scale on which persecution is conducted almost daily by official agencies, even beats other BJP ruled states, like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, etc. The police, bureaucracy and lower judiciary give the impression of having abdicated their duty and allowing themselves to be slaves and arms of their political masters who rule the state. The communal pogroms unleashed by the fundamentalist forces is unheard of in any other state. Thousands of false cases are registered with the alleged connivance of the authorities, at the instance of the politicians to consolidate the majority vote. Justice Saldanha concluded that The CSF 2011 India Persecution Report is a potent weapon in the fight against communal forces and in a way expose the grave threat Indian Christians are exposed to.

Dr. Prof Ram PuniyaniDr. Prof Ram Puniyani: Hindutva – communalising politics

He is the mentor of Plural India and an authority on Hindutva, having studied the saffron right wing brigade for decades said that the Hindutva affiliates had now clearly turned their attention to Christians, as they found the community to be soft targets, with little fear of retaliation. He said on going through the reports coming in from all over the country, the incidents were widespread and scattered (urban and rural), but more in the latter – Tribal, Adivasi, Mofusil and Backward and. Adivasi areas. It is here, where Christians have been rendering yeoman service (as few fear to tread), that the fanatics of RSS affiliates like VHP, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Bajrang Dal etc have intensified their activities. And the Christians are helpless.

Dr. Prof Ram said that while Muslims have been on the firing line of RSS-Hindutva politics ever since even pre-partition days, the marked vicious attacks against Christians community initially came as a surprise to many. However, the ground for this was being prepared by the RSS affiliates, Swamis and godmen – Swami Aseemanand (in jail as bomb blast accused) in Dangs, Gujarat; followers of Asaram Bapu in Madhya Pradesh and Swami Laxmananand in Orissa and many of their ilk in almost every state of the country.He said that a State where the minorites are not safe, cannot be a thriving secular democracy, with tendencies to become a theocratic State or Hindu Rashtra, as is being sought to convert India into.

He pointed out that the activities of VHP-Bajrang Dal and Hindutva upstarts were intensified to frighten those Christians doing yeoman service in the field of health, education, etc.  The attacks have been preceeded by a constant propaganda that these Christian missionaries are converting by force, fraud and allurement and so are a threat to Hinduism and the nation. But, the declining percentage of Christians in India as per the census figures – 2.60 in 1972, 2.44 in 1981, 2.44 in 1991 and 2.30 in 2001 – exposes this lie. He said that The CSF Report provided the much needed well documented evidence that not only is the saffron right wing brigade live and active, but also that it is thriving with great gusto. This is a threat to India as a nation and hence the need to wake-up, before it is too late.

Dr. Prof. Ram also referred to Wadhva Commission, appointed by NDA, where its report drew attention to the fact that there was no increase in the population of Christians in the area where Pastor Graham Stains was working and that neither was he working for conversions. ” Christianity is an age-old Indian religion, when disciples of Jesus, in 52 A.D – St Thomas, established churches on southern coast and St. Bartholomew, also around the same time came to the western coast, making Indian Christians go back over 2000 years, even before it came to the west “, he concluded.

Ms. Saumya UmaMs. Saumya Uma: Kids & Women worst affected

An independent consultant on gender and human rights issues, who played an integral part in the Tribunal on Orissa Anti-Christian Violence, described the plight of women and children, which was the same irrespective where the communal attack took place.There is documentation to prove that there is at least one major attack on Christians every day, which makes it a minimum of 365 attacks, involving at least so many children, if not more. According to Saumya – The impact of communal violence on an unformed mind is indeed shattering and adverse in more than one ways. Children are often voiceless, defenseless and silent observers to the perpetration of such crimes, which affects them more psychologically, than physically. But, apart from this, other effects, include – deprivation of basic education, malnutrition even in refugee camps, fear and financial insecurity, parents fear sending children out, trafficking for child labour and abuse, separation and displacement, disease and injuries, post traumatic disorders, become revengeful and social misfits. 

Ms. Saumya Uma also pointed out that the most vulnerable section of victims, after children is that of women as noticed in studies on gender violence in the anti-Christian violence. Nuns who are known for their celibacy, and sisters, like wives or daughters of pastors or community leaders, are especially targeted. Several cases have been recorded, where apart from the sexual abuse, such as rape and molestation, the victims face problems with their reproductive organs, suffer miscarriages/abortions, have issues during giving birth to children, freedom of movement restrictions, etc.

Ms. Saumya Uma said that the victims and their families could not resume their livelihood, due to social pressure and ostracism, much time being spent due in pursuing justice, suffering psychological traumas, non availability of women doctors & medical attention, inhuman state of refugee camps… ” The women often do not complain for fear of the allegation that it was not rape, but consensual sex on a regular basis and being susceptible to human trafficking, menial jobs, etc. Often women are targeted not for sexual gratification, but to heap humiliation on the males, who are putting up a fight “, she added.

JoeJoseph Dias: Highlights of the persecution

The general secretary of The CSF, who compiled the report thanked the hundreds of activists and NGOs, who sent in reports from different parts of the country through out the year. Joseph Dias publicly acknowledged the great community service undertaken by organisations like the CBCI, NCCI, AICC, GCIC, EFI, Prashanti, MP Issai Mahasangh and office-bearers/activists of these, whom The CSF is eternally grateful. He also commended the media, including community / social networking websites, which played a major role in providing inputs for report. A detailed listing of these would be available in the complete report, expected later. Here below are some highlights

The Worst Ever Harsh Reality – 2011: A communal riot-free India will continue to remain a distant pipe dream with stiff opposition to the proposed Communal Violence bill, likely to ensure that it is not passed. Until and when that happens though, the vociferous Hindutva militants and right wing parties continue to have a field day preying on the minorities. The study of the attacks on the minorities in 2011 clearly shows the year to be one where persecution has peaked. This, despite the fact, that there has been no major pogrom, (like Orissa or Karnataka) causing massive threat to life, limb or property. The reason 2011 is the worst-ever year for Indian Christians, as the sheer number of attacks indicate, is because the persecution has become more widespread, covering almost all states of the country. A minimum of a 1000 Christian families have been affected by these attacks.

As per the reports coming in during 2011 from almost all Indian states, there is a perceptible increase in the Hindutva attacks; even in places where the Hindutva brigade (RSS, VHP, BJP, Sangh Parivar, Ram Sene and their spawns) was not traditionally strong. Of serious concern is the fact that a clear pattern is emerging, which shows that Christians are next on the Hindutva radar of terror. The pan India attacks well documented, expose a pre-meditated sinister campaign to make soft targets of this micro-minority across the country in the year to come. If one goes by the number of reports coming in, in 2012, the numbers of persecuted Christians and discriminated institutions/NGOs are bound to go up, as more incidents get recorded.

This preliminary annual persecution report 2011 wishes to highlight about 250 of the most heinous crimes of targeted violence against Christians in India. It raises relevant issues of freedom of faith and religious liberty, besides abuse of basic human and constitutional rights. The CSF would like to reiterate that these are only the serious ones, that have been brought to light and the attacks that are unreported by the media or not recorded by the authorities, could well be over three times this number. If one were to add, all major and minor persecution incidents against Indian Christians, the number could well swell to over 1000 cases mark in 2011 alone. The most recent form of persecution is Christians branded as naxalites, Maoists (in central India), like Arun Ferreira or anti-national as in the north east region – profiling or stereotyping of Christians, as all Muslims get painted as terrorists.

Forms, Extent & Nature of the Attacks

The nature of these crimes have been categorized alphabetically to reflect the nature and intensity of persecution as – (A) death and murder; (B) grievous injuries and merciless beating; (C) rape, molestation and trauma against children; (D) destruction and desecration of churches, religious articles, seminaries, cemeteries, statues, bibles, etc; (E) Christian institutions, believers’ houses, property, transportation, source of livelihood destroyed; (F)religious service or Sunday / Festival worship disrupted; (G) Christians jailed, arrested or detained by police or acted against by the authorities; (H) Clergy, Church workers or Christian laity abused, insulted, threatened or sentiments hurt; (I) Foreign missionaries deported or acted against by government and (J) other forms of persecution/attacks not mentioned above. All the above human rights violation is exclusively directed due to the opponents’ objections to the victims’ professing and practicing the Christian belief, which is a universal fundamental right.

Top 10 Persecution States

Karnataka heads the list of top 10 persecution states, being guilty of all the above heinous crimes, except no recorded murder. The dubious distinction for most Christian killings, making it second on the black list goes to Orissa, with half a dozen martyrs, who died for the faith and include pastors, a catechist, a presbyter and community leaders. The other 8 states who recorded crimes against Indian Christians, in order of intensity are – Andhra Pradesh, coming a close third, with Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, following it. Among the others in the notorious list of persecuting states are the national capital Delhi, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.

Hundreds of Christians are being persecuted under anti-conversion laws and other sections falsely foisted upon them like 295A, which indicts them for creating enmity on trumped-up charges. In as many as seven states there is legislation that curbs freedom of religion, such as Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan.

Brutal & Inhuman Nature

Joseph Dias said that “What makes such acts of persecution and anti-Christian violence even more shocking is the fact that they are perpetrated on a micro-minority (2.3%), who commanded by their faith to turn the other cheek. The believers of no other religion would tolerate such abuse and insult. Further, the communalists are sure of no retaliation from the Indian Christians, as they are indoctrinated by the Church to suffer, forgive and love in return their persecutors. How else would one explain the silence of the lamb victims, many of whom are senior citizens, women and children, even handicapped and many times with the implicit or tacit involvement of the police, politician and administration.

He said that while all the other faith followers are free to pray and celebrate their religious festivals or observations, thousands of Indian Christians across all states cannot do so. Sunday services, prayer meetings, Good Friday, Christmas, Easter, etc. have all been occasions to provoke, threaten and attack. Another trend noticed in 2011 is that Christians are not even allowed to pray for the country on national holidays like Independence and Republic Days. While a strike by the Hindutva brigade prevented Christmas celebrations for the fourth consecutive year in Kandhamal, in Karnataka a vicious attack by religious fanatics, left dozens grievously injured on Christmas day, battling for their lives. The situation in other states were no different with reports coming in of Christians having to go underground, remain in their houses and observe religious days in an atmosphere of fear and threat.

Missionaries Deported: The year 2011 also saw a record number of missionaries and evangelists threatened to be or even deported. It took a huge public outcry for the Supreme Court to expunge its remarks on January 21 2011, seeking to almost justify the murderer Dara Singh’s motive for killing Australian missionary, Graham Staines and his two minor sons. This was followed by repeated threats to expel an 80 year-old Fr. Jim Borst, a Dutch missionary serving in Jammu & Kashmir for almost half a century, educating the locals. 

Another 63 year-old nun, Sr. Jacqueline Jean from the UK, who served lepers in Bangalore, was denied permission to stay on and continue her work, even though she came in through the Commonwealth Agreement operating at the time. American evangelist, William Lee, who had been visiting India since 1998, was deported for joining a prayer meeting in Kerala, besides being jailed and fined, for doing so.

Most countries allow freedom of worship with the clergy or believers of other faiths allowed to express their beliefs. It is for this reason that Hindu godmen like Sri Sri Ravishankar, Ramdev Baba and congregations like ISKCON and even the VHP freely operate abroad, especially in the western countries. However, in India, not only are Christian believers from abroad not allowed in many cases, but these foreigners are harassed and are under constant threat. This is a violation of under international practice, but even worse is that in India, Christians too have to take permits in many states to pray & worship.

Lokpal & FCRA:

The draconian FCRA has been used by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, to ban or freeze the funds, without allegedly little justification. Further, in the recent Lokpal Bill, NGOs have been put under the ambit of the Lokpal, which is bound to limit social services by these NGOs, many of whom are Christian ones. According to the government, 60 NGOs were banned from receiving foreign contributions and the accounts of 20 others were frozen. The government also released details of those organisations that received more than Rs 1 crore annually in the past five years.

At present, there are 42,202 NGOs registered as receiving funds from abroad, of which at least 958 got Rs 1 crore or above last financial year. Of the NGOs receiving Rs 1 crore and above from abroad last year — a majority were Christian missionary organisations working in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka. World Vision of India, based at Egmore, Chennai, tops the list of 958 for 2010-11, with Rs 233.74 crore, followed by Kolkata-based Missionaries of Charity (Rs 62.29 crore) and Compassion East India (Rs 59.96 crore).

Evil Designs for 2012, as Persecution Increases

Earlier it was believed that only the Muslim minority was being targeted by the Hindutva forces. However, ground zero updates indicate that not only have attacks on Christian become a regular affair, but also that it would proportionately outnumber the attacks on Muslims, especially since there is no fear of retaliation. In 2011, the general secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Pravin Togadia called for a new constitution allowing ‘anyone who converts Hindus to be beheaded.’ Such extremist hate speech tolerated is indicative of a growing hostility towards minorities in the country. This does not augur well for India’s international reputation, at a time when it is seeking closer ties with the developed world for its economic progress.

There are instances of over 2141 Christians affected in 2011, which does not include their family, relatives and friends, who were also victimized. The current scenario is not only unprecedented and widespread, but is also marked in terms of its severity and intensity. The recent attacks have clearly exposed the bold and blatant involvement of the State machinery abetting, if not participating in the violence. This too is expected to rise in 2012, with the alleged increasing communalization of a few in the political parties, administration, judiciary, police, etc.

Please await the next part of this report soon.

– joseph dias

Clergy brawl at Bethlehem church

Clergy brawl at Bethlehem church

source: Belfast telegraph & MUMBAI LAITY

Armenian and Greek Orthodox clergymen scuffle inside the Church of the Nativity (AP)

The annual cleaning of one of Christianity’s holiest churches deteriorated into a brawl between rival clergy as dozens of monks feuding over sacred space at the Church of the Nativity battled each other with brooms until police intervened.

The ancient church, built over the traditional site of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem, is shared by three Christian denominations – Roman Catholics, Armenians and Greek Orthodox. The fight erupted between Greek and Armenian clergy, with both sides accusing each other of encroaching on parts of the church to which they lay claim.

The monks were tidying up the church ahead of Orthodox Christmas celebrations in early January, following celebrations by Western Christians on December 25. The fight erupted between monks along the border of their respective areas. Some shouted and threw brooms.

Palestinian security forces rushed in to break up the melee, and no serious injuries were reported.

A fragile status quo governs relations among the denominations at the ancient church, and to repair or clean a part of the structure is to own it, according to accepted practice. That means that letting other sects clean part of the church could allow one to gain ground at another’s expense. Similar fights have taken place during the same late-December cleaning effort in the past.

Tensions between rival clergy at the church have been a fact of life there for centuries and have often been caught up in international politics.

In the 1800s, friction between the denominations at the church – each backed by foreign powers – became so fraught that Russian tsar Nicholas I deployed troops along the Danube to threaten a Turkish sultan who had been favouring the Catholics over the Orthodox.

Those disagreements threaten the integrity of the church itself, which was originally built 1,500 years ago and parts of which have fallen into disrepair. Although the roof has needed urgent work for decades, and leaking rainwater has ruined much of the priceless artwork inside, a renovation has been delayed by disagreements among the denominations over who would pay.

Only recently, the Palestinian Authority brokered an agreement to move ahead with replacing the roof, and officials hope work will begin next year.

Vatican: The position of bishops who do not want to retire

Canonical law requires bishops to retire at 75 years of age. But many bishops do not want to leave the chair. The latest case is the Archbishop of Chicago: “I hope the Pope refuses my resignation”

GIACOMO GALEAZZI
VATICAN CITY

source: MUMBAI  LAITY

Cardinal Francis George

Cardinal Francis George

The latest to “rebel” against mandatory resignation at 75 years of age isCardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and, until last year, President of the American Conference of Bishops. From the beginning of his pontificate, Benedict XVI has come under some pressure to abolish the rule established by Paul VI on the retirement age for ecclesiastics. So while most Western governments are grappling with the protests of citizens required by the exigencies of public finances to stay at work longer, the Roman Curia is receiving opposite signals from the Sacred College.

Despite the prominent appeals that have rained down upon the Holy See, Benedict XVI has continued, as did his two immediate predecessors, to retire bishops and cardinals at 75 years (as required by the rule established by Pope Paul VI),without extending the retirement age to 80 years, as many have requested. Based on under the first paragraph of canon 401 of the Code of Canon Law – the text approved in 1983 and signed by John Paul II in the fifth year of his pontificate –bishops are required to submit to the Pope their resignation from the pastoral governance of their dioceses at 75 years of age. According to the rules set down by the current “charter” that regulates the internal life of the Catholic Church, the issue of resignation and renunciation is armor-plated. As a rule, then, Benedict XVI has almost always accepted appointing a new bishop, barring some unforeseen extension for reasons of force majeure.

Joseph Ratzinger does not believe it appropriate to set aside the rule that requires ecclesiastics to submit their resignation upon reaching the age of 75. The former head of the American bishops supports raising the retirement age for ecclesiastics. Cardinal Francis George, in fact, has said he hopes that Benedict XVI “does not accept the letter of resignation” he must send next month according to the Code of Canon Law. On 16 January, the cardinal (the first ecclesiastic to occupy the post of Archbishop of Chicago who was also born in that city) will celebrate his 75th birthday, precisely the age upon which the bishops are asked to immediately send their resignation letters to the Vatican. At that point, the Pope can decide to immediately move the “over-75” into retirement or keep him in service until his successor to the episcopal chair is appointed.

Speaking on TV station WLS Channel 7, Cardinal George said that he hopes to stay at work and describes himself as “happy” that his health has improved. Cardinal George also joked about the situation: “I’m the very first Archbishop of Chicago that has lived long enough to do this, and I’m kind of glad about that. I expect to continue on.”

There are many head bishops of dioceses who are waiting for the option to stay in the governance of their local Churches beyond the limits of the Code of Canon Law. Very often, news filters down (never confirmed by the facts) about the Pope’s intention to remove the bishops’ mandatory resignation at 75 years and set the new limit at 78 years. Essentially, it is often hypothesized that Benedict XVI would grant another three years of pastoral governance to the approximately 4,000 bishops who currently oversee, as delegated by the Pope, the government of dioceses worldwide. Only bishops who hold administrative offices – such as those involved in the Vatican Curia, the Conferences of Bishops, the nunciatures – would be excluded from this benefit, with a view to, in the more-or-less near future, changing the retirement requirement for bishops without pastoral duties as well. The jurisdiction of any dossier in this regard on this subject would fall to the Congregation of Bishops. Many requests on this subject have been received by the Roman Curia from bishops on five continents.