INDIANISE THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

via Pradeep Krishnan published on June 12, 2007

INDIANISE THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH


MINORITY RIGHT IS GRANTED NOT FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CULTURE OF THE MAJORITY COMMUNITY.


 


[Joseph Pulikunnel, Director, Indian Institute for Christian Studies]



 


            The need for Indianisation of the church was mooted by RSS and late Cardinal Joseph Parekattil Archbishop of Ernakulam diocese supported the move. He wrote on 15 the August 1986 that it is imperative to launch a movement of indigenisation of the Churches. “When a non-Christian embraces Christianity, following the dictates of his conscience, he should not be penalised for that, by uprooting him from his social and cultural traditions. What affinity, relationship or indebtedness has he to the foreign culture? From an apostolic point of view, the thought patterns, language terminology, symbols, gestures, postures etc. of our liturgy should be intelligible to the non-Christian population as well. This process of Indianisation is a basic right of ours and not a concession made by anybody, and no one should misinterpret it as bait to attract more flies.” (Syro-Malabar Liturgy as I see it, Appendix, page 118).

u003c/font>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:16pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>u003cspan>           n u003c/span>u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:16pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>u003cspan>            u003c/span>Indian Institute of Christian Studies (I I C S) an organ of catholic Reformation Literature Society was established in 1994 by Sri. Joseph Pulikunnel to reform the church on Biblical concepts. u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:16pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:16pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>u003cspan>            u003c/span>About the need for such an Institute, He says “The church is at present westernn in organisation and administration and also, completely clergy centered. Indian churches have a great tradition of spirituality and ecclesial organisation. The Institute is exposing through its study and publications, the umbilical and unchristian character of the Indian church. It is to say the least sometimes ante Christ. The study of Bible and theology was once the exclusive portfolio of the clerics. ‘Brahmanical’ hierarchy in Hindu society has disintegrated. But the same Brahmanism has been in ascendancy in the Christian society.” When the I I C S was started the clergy tried in the beginning is isolate Sri. Joseph Pulikunnel from society. But thinking Laymen gave active co-operation. The intellectuals in the Episcopal churches have come out in open to protestn against the monarchial pristocracy that exist in the church.u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:16pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:16pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>”,1]
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            Indian Institute of Christian Studies (I I C S) an organ of catholic Reformation Literature Society was established in 1994 by Sri. Joseph Pulikunnel to reform the church on Biblical concepts.


 


            About the need for such an Institute, He says “The church is at present western in organisation and administration and also, completely clergy centered. Indian churches have a great tradition of spirituality and ecclesial organisation. The Institute is exposing through its study and publications, the umbilical and unchristian character of the Indian church. It is to say the least sometimes ante Christ. The study of Bible and theology was once the exclusive portfolio of the clerics. ‘Brahmanical’ hierarchy in Hindu society has disintegrated. But the same Brahmanism has been in ascendancy in the Christian society.” When the I I C S was started the clergy tried in the beginning is isolate Sri. Joseph Pulikunnel from society. But thinking Laymen gave active co-operation. The intellectuals in the Episcopal churches have come out in open to protest against the monarchial pristocracy that exist in the church.


 


            u003c/span>The main purpose of the institute is to give to the Christians the high ideals of Christ. The Christians are intellectually awake on this issue. But the other communities in India have not opened their eyes on the going on in the church Sri. Pulikunnel suggests to the leaders of the Hindu community to start a dialogue on National rather than with the Bishops and priests of the church.n u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:16pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;text-indent:0.5in;line-height:16pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>The I I C S is situated in a sprawling 10 acres of Land at Hosanna Mount,Bharananganam, 80 Kms east of Kochi. Apart from I I C S, which has a library of nearly 10,000 books, a herbal clinic and herbal garden brings fresh air and blessings of nature to the picturesque surroundings. After graduating from Presidency College, Madras Joseph Pilikkunnel taught at the St. Joseph’s College, Devagiri, Calicut during 1958 to 1967. A monthly Journal titled ‘Hosanna’ was started by him in 1975 to educate Christens, about the real character andn role of Indian church. He has authored ‘Identify of Nazarani Church of Kerala a book in English and several other books in Malayalam. He spoke at length to u003cb>u003ci>Haindavakeralam special correspondent Pradeep Krishnanu003c/i>u003c/b> on different aspects of Christianity in India: Excerpts. u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>1.u003cspan>         u003c/span>u003cb>u003ci>When RSS chief Sudarshaji made a call for the need for Indianisation of the Church, many Church leaders condemned him. What are your views in then matter?u003c/i>u003c/b>u003c/font>u003c/span>”,1]
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            The main purpose of the institute is to give to the Christians the high ideals of Christ. The Christians are intellectually awake on this issue. But the other communities in India have not opened their eyes on the going on in the church Sri. Pulikunnel suggests to the leaders of the Hindu community to start a dialogue on National rather than with the Bishops and priests of the church.


 


The I I C S is situated in a sprawling 10 acres of Land at Hosanna Mount,Bharananganam, 80 Kms east of Kochi. Apart from I I C S, which has a library of nearly 10,000 books, a herbal clinic and herbal garden brings fresh air and blessings of nature to the picturesque surroundings. After graduating from Presidency College, Madras Joseph Pilikkunnel taught at the St. Joseph’s College, Devagiri, Calicut during 1958 to 1967. A monthly Journal titled ‘Hosanna’ was started by him in 1975 to educate Christens, about the real character and role of Indian church. He has authored ‘Identify of Nazarani Church of Kerala a book in English and several other books in Malayalam. He spoke at length to Haindavakeralam special correspondent Pradeep Krishnan on different aspects of Christianity in India: Excerpts.


 


1.         When RSS chief Sudarshaji made a call for the need for Indianisation of the Church, many Church leaders condemned him. What are your views in the matter?

u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cb>u003ci>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/i>u003c/b>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>The first question to be answered is “ who are the so-called Church leaders? ” The media as well as the political parties treat the ecclesiastical authorities like Bishops as leaders of the Church. The bishops and the priests also would like to parade themselves in public as church leaders. But Bishops and priests are not leaders of the Christian community. They are only the spiritual mentors and not community leaders. A leader is one who is elected by a community. The bishops and priests are not elected by the faithful norn are they answerable to them. The Pope of Rome who is the spiritual head of the Catholic appoints the bishops of the Catholic Church.u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;text-indent:0.5in;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>The general public in India as well as the political parties do not know how the Catholic Church functions. Pope of Rome, as successor of Peter, the Apostle, is only the spiritual head of the Catholic faithful. A Catholic is bound to obey the Ex-Catholic-pronouncements of Pope on faith and morals. Christ had no material possessions and was never a temporal leader. Lord Jesus categorically stated “Myn Kingdom is not of this world.”u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>u003cspan>            u003c/span>Unfortunately from 4th century onwards, the Church became a part of Roman Empire and Popes began to overstep their spiritual authority and became temporal rulers in Europe. Rev. Dr. Koodapuzha, former Professor of St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary (Catholic) writes as follows: “The leadership of the Church is supposed to play its role as “,1]
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The first question to be answered is “ who are the so-called Church leaders? ” The media as well as the political parties treat the ecclesiastical authorities like Bishops as leaders of the Church. The bishops and the priests also would like to parade themselves in public as church leaders. But Bishops and priests are not leaders of the Christian community. They are only the spiritual mentors and not community leaders. A leader is one who is elected by a community. The bishops and priests are not elected by the faithful nor are they answerable to them. The Pope of Rome who is the spiritual head of the Catholic appoints the bishops of the Catholic Church.


 


The general public in India as well as the political parties do not know how the Catholic Church functions. Pope of Rome, as successor of Peter, the Apostle, is only the spiritual head of the Catholic faithful. A Catholic is bound to obey the Ex-Catholic-pronouncements of Pope on faith and morals. Christ had no material possessions and was never a temporal leader. Lord Jesus categorically stated “My Kingdom is not of this world.”


 


            Unfortunately from 4th century onwards, the Church became a part of Roman Empire and Popes began to overstep their spiritual authority and became temporal rulers in Europe. Rev. Dr. Koodapuzha, former Professor of St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary (Catholic) writes as follows: “The leadership of the Church is supposed to play its role as

servants u003ci>of the People of God.u003c/i>u003c/u> In his official teaching addressed to then whole Christian community the Pope starts with the formula “u003ci>u003cu>servant of the servants of God”u003c/u>u003c/i>. At the same time it is a fact of history that due to various social, religious and political factors Papacy was forced to develop a secular kingdom in the West, which is known in history as Papal States. Pope was its king. The papal monarchy existed from 754 to 1870. It came to and end at the time of the unification of Italy under the leadership of Victor Emmanuel, Cavour and Garibaldi. . During these centuries the papacy was playing political as well as religious roles in Europe” (Christian Orient, Dec. 2000)u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;text-indent:0.5in;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Timesn New Roman”>Coming to India, the Pope has divided India into 140 diocese. All revenue districts in India are brought under the jurisdiction of different catholic diocese. For example, the diocese of Satna in Madhya Pradesh has only 2640 Catholics, and the revenue area on which the bishop exercises his jurisdiction are districts of Satna, Chabalarpur, Panna, Rewa, Sidhi and Tikamgargh. For these 2640 members of the faithful, there are 23 parishes and 3 stations, 27 convents, 9 ecclesiastical institutions, 4 Higher Secondary schools, 9 high schools, 4 middle schools and number of other institutions including press and publications. All these are temporal wealth. The faithful have no say in the affairs of the diocese. To run these institutions the diocesan bishop is getting huge amount of money from foreign countries. u003cb>The Bishop according to the canon law of the Church is not accountable to anybodyn including the governmentu003c/b>. u003cb>So, the bishops appointed in India by Pope are like erstwhile native Maharajas of India ruling over the revenue districts in India. The Maharajas in pre-independent days had only to answer to the paramountcy of the Britishraj, likewise bishops are accountable only to the Pope of Rome who is the head of the state of Vatican.”,1]
);

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servants of the People of God. In his official teaching addressed to the whole Christian community the Pope starts with the formula “servant of the servants of God”. At the same time it is a fact of history that due to various social, religious and political factors Papacy was forced to develop a secular kingdom in the West, which is known in history as Papal States. Pope was its king. The papal monarchy existed from 754 to 1870. It came to and end at the time of the unification of Italy under the leadership of Victor Emmanuel, Cavour and Garibaldi. . During these centuries the papacy was playing political as well as religious roles in Europe” (Christian Orient, Dec. 2000)


 


Coming to India, the Pope has divided India into 140 diocese. All revenue districts in India are brought under the jurisdiction of different catholic diocese. For example, the diocese of Satna in Madhya Pradesh has only 2640 Catholics, and the revenue area on which the bishop exercises his jurisdiction are districts of Satna, Chabalarpur, Panna, Rewa, Sidhi and Tikamgargh. For these 2640 members of the faithful, there are 23 parishes and 3 stations, 27 convents, 9 ecclesiastical institutions, 4 Higher Secondary schools, 9 high schools, 4 middle schools and number of other institutions including press and publications. All these are temporal wealth. The faithful have no say in the affairs of the diocese. To run these institutions the diocesan bishop is getting huge amount of money from foreign countries. The Bishop according to the canon law of the Church is not accountable to anybody including the government. So, the bishops appointed in India by Pope are like erstwhile native Maharajas of India ruling over the revenue districts in India. The Maharajas in pre-independent days had only to answer to the paramountcy of the Britishraj, likewise bishops are accountable only to the Pope of Rome who is the head of the state of Vatican.

  u003c/span>Thus, religious affiliation to the Pope is being used to perpetrate his domination over the temporalities of India.u003c/b>u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;text-indent:0.5in;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>The Bishops inn India being the vice-roys of Pope in India naturally opposes the concepts of a National church. You remember once the native Maharajas opposed the Indian Independence. The Bishops likewise are naturally against the concept of a national Church but the Catholics in general are in favor of a National Church.u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>2.u003cspan>         u003c/span>u003cb>u003ci>You supported the Indianisation of Churches in an article in your Magazine. How do you view Indianisation of the Churches?n u003c/i>u003c/b>u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cb>u003ci>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u003c/i>u003c/b>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”>Christianity in India is as ancient as Christianity itself. Centuries before Christianity reached Europe, Christianity flourished in India. The Indian Christians have great Christian spiritual experience within the cultural milieu of India. Ancient Christians in India were known as Nazranis. The Nazranis of India had no connection with the Western Christianity. It was Portuguese who launched religious colonialism in India. Christians in India ardently fought against the religious colonisation of the Portuguese. In 1653 then representatives of the Christians assembled in Mattanchery near Kochi and took the oath that they would never be under the Portuguese. This incident is known in history as “slant cross oath” of Christians. Perhaps, this was the first non-violent freedom struggle against the Western colonialists. The reason for the revolution of the Christians against Portuguese was the Portuguese began to tamper with the ancient system of administration of the native church, which is known as the ‘Thomas Law’. As a result of this oath of the Christians, Portuguese had to leave Kerala.”,1]
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  Thus, religious affiliation to the Pope is being used to perpetrate his domination over the temporalities of India.


 


The Bishops in India being the vice-roys of Pope in India naturally opposes the concepts of a National church. You remember once the native Maharajas opposed the Indian Independence. The Bishops likewise are naturally against the concept of a national Church but the Catholics in general are in favor of a National Church.


 


2.         You supported the Indianisation of Churches in an article in your Magazine. How do you view Indianisation of the Churches?


 






Christianity in India is as ancient as Christianity itself. Centuries before Christianity reached Europe, Christianity flourished in India. The Indian Christians have great Christian spiritual experience within the cultural milieu of India. Ancient Christians in India were known as Nazranis. The Nazranis of India had no connection with the Western Christianity. It was Portuguese who launched religious colonialism in India. Christians in India ardently fought against the religious colonisation of the Portuguese. In 1653 the representatives of the Christians assembled in Mattanchery near Kochi and took the oath that they would never be under the Portuguese. This incident is known in history as “slant cross oath” of Christians. Perhaps, this was the first non-violent freedom struggle against the Western colonialists. The reason for the revolution of the Christians against Portuguese was the Portuguese began to tamper with the ancient system of administration of the native church, which is known as the ‘Thomas Law’. As a result of this oath of the Christians, Portuguese had to leave Kerala.

u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv styleu003d”margin:0in 0in 0pt;line-height:15pt;text-align:justify”>u003cspan styleu003d”font-size:13pt”>u003cfont faceu003d”Times New Roman”> u003c/font>u003c/span>u00

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