Tag Archives: Conversion

Evangelization by diluting Family system

In October 2014, Pope Francis will convene an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.  The topic of the meeting would be “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization”.  The meeting would explore the ways and means the Churches should go about showing compassion in the context of modern views and practices on sexuality.  In simple words, the meeting would take decisions to relax Church laws related to marriages so that it would become easy for the Church to retain the existing Christians in their fold and convert others to Christianity.

The importance of the meeting can be understood by the fact that only three such meetings have been called since 1965, when Synod of Bishops was created.  Typically, such extraordinary meetings are called when crucial decisions are taken affecting the Church in a significant way.

Francis is continually emphasizing the importance of softness in the conversation about what the Church condones and condemns. There is less emphasis on condemning and more on condoning. The Pope is cleverly exploiting the tone of the message to enhance the impact of the content.  In the October meeting, the Church would take convenient positions on divorce, remarriage and cohabitation – in order to take the message of Christ to wider audience.  A document with details of proposed changes has already been circulated among Bishops. The Vatican’s official position is that remarriage can only happen if a previous marriage is annulled, meaning declared to never have truly existed. Cohabitation is frowned upon.

In mid-September 2014, Pope Francis attended a marriage ceremony where live-in partners were entering into the wedlock.  This is being interpreted as one of the outcome of the October meeting – relaxing rules of the Church to the marriage of co-habitating couples.  It should be seen whether the Church would provide official recognition to the marriage of the divorced.  Marriage itself, like communion, is a sacrament in Catholic theology, and both are a way that the faithful can experience life in community with fellow believers. Local churches currently make their own decisions about serving communion to divorced and remarried, or cohabitating Catholics.  The Catholic Church has a minimal role to play as of now as it is unable to enforce theological guidelines on the masses.  The Church, as an institution, is aimed at bringing the whole world under Christianity.  The discrepancy between the theological guidelines and the popular practices is reducing the Church influence in the public domain. The strategy of the Church remains the same – dominate the public affairs through educational, health and cultural activities. And use the influence accrued due to social activities for conversions.  The October meeting would calibrate the Catholic theology to reduce this conflict between two of its objectives.  The meeting is an attempt to review and consolidate domination in public affairs across regions of the world.

Non-Christian groups point to the focus of the Church towards conversions and its readiness to dilute principles affecting the stability of family life. Catholic Church for the time being may continue to stick a common sense definition of marriage between a man and one woman.  While doing so, Church leaders are providing a vague justification – “This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man, Here we see the reciprocity of differences.” But compulsions of conversions may change even that somewhere in the future.

According to some analysts, dilution of family set-up through divorce, live-in relationships are encouraged by various Christian denominations over a sustained period.  Many active Christian groups in the west are advocating same sex marriages.  Changing the pattern of how people marry and separate would affect the followers of other religions in a significant way.  By granting official recognition to the dilutions would be seen as a reformative act helping well-established propaganda machinery of the Church.  Those religions who continue to follow stricter marriage laws would be labelled as archaic and unreformable.  When the followers of other religions dwindle in numbers, the Church would be ready to provide a popular alternative.

Hindu organizations not involved in attack on Christians reports Commission

The Justice B K Somasekara Commission of Inquiry, constituted to probe the attacks on churches in various parts of Karnataka in 2008, has given a clean chit to the ruling BJP and its affiliate, the Sangh Parivar. “There is no basis to the apprehension of Christian petitioners that politicians, the BJP, mainstream Sangh Parivar and the State government are directly or indirectly involved in the attacks,” the commission said in its final report submitted to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa in Bangalore on Friday, 28th Jan 2011.

The commission, which launched its investigation from October 2008, has found no merit in the allegations that top police officers and the district administration colluded with attackers in attacking the churches or places of worship.

The Somasekara panel said the main reasons for the attack on churches were circulation of literature derogatory to Hindus and attempts to convert Hindus to Christianity. Some of the attacks were deliberate, well-planned and fuelled by fundamentalism brewing for years.

Though the commission does not point to any particular organisation for the attack, it has found merit in the Christian memorialists’ plea to take action against Mahendra Kumar, the then convener of the Bajrang Dal.

The commission has ruled out the involvement of the Roman Catholic Churches or their members in the conversions. However, the commission has found that there were “clear indications” of conversions to Christianity in the districts of Bangalore, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Bellary, Davangere, Chikkamagalur, and Udupi by a few organisations and “self-styled” pastors using “unaccounted local and foreign funds.”

Commission in its report has said that attacks on Christians were “self inflicted, some make believe, some blown out of proportion and some totally politicised”.

Bangalore Archdiocese termed the report as “unfair” as it had not done ‘justice’ to the minority community by not naming the culprits. “The commission has very badly let down the Christian community and the entire community is disappointed and feel the report is unfair,” vicar general Archdiocese S Jagayanathan said in a statement in Bangalore.

The highest bodies of the respective Christian churches in Karnataka and the Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights will study the final report and would initiate the future course of action, he said.

State unit BJP spokesperson CT Ravi welcomed the commission report which he said had brought out the “truth”. The opposition parties which had blamed BJP for the attacks should desist from such criticisms hereafter, he said.

Dara intended to teach lesson to missionaries

The Supreme Court on Friday, 21st Jan 2010, upheld an Orissa High Court judgment that commuted the death sentence a trial court awarded to Dara Singh to life term. The court rejected CBI’s plea for death penalty to him. The bench comprising justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan delivered the verdict.

Lawyer Minakshi Lekhi hailed the Supreme Court judgment “While burning someone to death is abhorable, at the same time converting an innocent tribal is also an abhorable act. I appreciate all the findings of the supreme court,” she said. Few others felt that judgement is lenient.

Judgement concluded that the intention was to teach a lesson to the father about his religious activities , namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity. “All these aspects have been correctly appreciated by the High Court, which modified the sentence of death to life imprisonment, with which we concur. The deceased, Graham Staines, was engaged in propagating and preaching Christianity in the tribal area of interior Orissa,” the bench recorded the prosecution case. The court held that this was not one of the rarest of rare cases in which the death sentence should be awarded to the accused. Deploring the religious intolerance, the court noted “It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone’s belief by way of ‘use of force,’ provocation, conversion, incitement or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other.”

Dara Singh, reacting to the verdict from Keonjhar district jail, told “All right. If it’s the verdict of country’s highest court, I accept it. My conscience says I am innocent. But I will go by the court order. My lawyers will decide the future course of action”. He declined to speak to the media. 54-year-old Dara has spent 11 years in different jails in Orissa since his arrest for the January 22, 1999 murders of Graham Staines and his two minor children at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district.

He leads the evening prayer inside the jail. He also helps us in guarding the premises. He is staying among more than 500 inmates, nearly 40 of whom are suspected Maoists. No one has ever complained against him. No special security is arranged for him including during occasions when he is taken to the court to face trial in cases.

DaraSingh conscience is clear   Intolerance deplorable   Conversion is abhorable act