Tag Archives: Proselytization

New Cardinal from India

Pope Benedict XVI names Major Archbishop Mar Baselios Cleemis, head of the Syro-Malankara Church, in Kerala of India as Cardinal. He is the first Cardinal of the Syro-Malankara rite of the Catholic Church. At 53, he is among the youngest Cardinals in the Catholic Church. Kerala is now home to two Cardinals, with Mar George Alencherry of the Syro-Malabar Church being appointed as Cardinal earlier this year.

Born Isaac Thottunkal in Pathanthitta, Mukkoor, Kerala, June 15, 1959, Mar Cleemis will become the youngest of the 211 members of the College of Cardinals (with 120 under the age of 80). His record spans from the pre-degree he completed at St. Berchman‚Äôs College, Changanassery, to the doctorate he obtained at St. Thomas Pontifical University in Rome (in Ecumenism) in 1997. He was a priest at the diocese of Bathery and has also served as patron of the Indian Christian Forum and the St. Thomas Ecumenical Federation of India in the U.S. Mar Cleemis was consecrated as Bishop of Thiruvalla in 2003 and was elevated as Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Church in 2007. New Cardinal has urged Christians to focus on human life, human dignity and human rights as obligations. He is focussed on very practical means of evangelization: a witnessing model, devised by Mother Theresa. The new cardinal’s appointment is viewed as an acknowledgment of “the vibrancy and diversity of the different rites in the Catholic Church.”

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic Church based in the southwest Indian state of Kerala. It has more than 400,000 members, including 10,000 in North America. Currently about 600 priests serve the Syro-Malankara people, while the seminarians are nearly 500. There are also 2,000 nuns in 16 different religious institutes and 480 charitable agencies, and almost as many formation institutes.It is one of two Eastern churches that, along with the Latin Church, make up the Catholic Church in India. The other is the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.

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.