Christianizing India is Catholic Church’s major goal

published on October 14, 2012

 Christianization of India – and not Indianization of Christ – is the major goal of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Any attempt to derail this goal should be defeated through solidification of faith through spiritual campaigns, says a study document on protection of faith prepared as part of the Year of Faith observance by the Catholic Church

In the particular context of the strengthening of several smaller Christian sects, especially in Kerala, the document says that measures will have to be adopted to avoid the splintered sects, including the Protestants, influencing the faithful belonging to the Syro-Malabar Church. It criticizes some such sects by identifying them by their names.

“It doesn’t have any mysterious connotation,” said a Kochi-based senior priest of the Catholic Church when asked to explain the concept of Christianizing India. “There cannot be different Christs and Christian beliefs for different countries. In that sense, Indianization of Christ is impossible. It would be contrary to faith if anybody is attempting to do this,” he said.

The document, submitted to the Syro-Malabar Synod by the Syro-Malabar Doctrinal Commission under the leadership of Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangattil, calls for controls on activities that contradict this major goal of the Church, especially in the context of the increasing tendency among the faithful to approach retreats and self-styled spiritualists.

Pointing out that it is the inertia prevalent in the parishes in matters of spiritual missions which is taking the Catholics to the splintered groups and new evangelical sects, the document says that religious teaching is essential to avoid this. It also calls for earmarking a minimum of 25 percent of the Church’s revenues for spiritual training and awareness programmes.

According to Syro-Malabar Church spokesman Father Paul Thelekkat, the Church will have to view seriously the invasion of “superstitions” into the Christian community. By superstitions, he refers to practices like consulting certain people (astrologers and spiritualists) to know of the suitability of particular times for marriage, foundation stone-laying, etc.

“The faithful among the Catholics should not fall prey to commercialization of faith in the new age,” says Fr Thelekkat, while the document admits that conservatism could not be totally neglected in the field of spirituality. However, efforts at commercialization of spiritual life cannot be allowed, says the document.

The document warns that the cultural models – in reference to things Fr Thelekkat describes – that negate Christian characteristics could lead to the loss of the believers’ faith in the Church, adding that the efforts of certain sects to put the Catholic Church in the dock in the name of cultural models.

The Kochi-based senior priest said that the Catholic Church was going through several challenges, both internally and externally. “The Pro-Life Movement was launched some time ago when the growth rate of Catholic population was falling dangerously. That is indeed a challenge. Now it is time to defend and rescue Faith from those who are commercializing it,” he said.

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