Inter-faith dialogue: Vatican in sheep’s clothing – II
by Radha Rajan on 12 Jun 2009 9 Comments

Know your enemy
The Second Vatican Council exhorted the faithful, clergy and laity alike to reach out to non-Christian peoples to engage them in dialogue. This Council made the startling submission that the Catholic Church acknowledged that while all religions had some elements of truth in them, only the Christian faith had all the truth and that the Catholic Church alone was the repository of that truth. The Catholic Church states that the essence of the Christian faith is its salvific quality – the power to ‘save’. It accepts that all religions may have some salvific capacity in them but only the Christian faith is wholly salvific.

Hindus who promote inter-faith dialogue must know what they are getting into when they sit across the table with an intolerant, fascist religion. They must know the enemy before them for what it is, as it is, in its own words. Hindus go to the table with absolutely no knowledge of the nature of the enemy and go to these meetings with no prior planning and equipped with little besides their smug tolerance and pacifism. At the end of all such ‘dialogues’ Hindus have either failed to assert their position or ended up signing documents and resolutions most insulting to Hindus. These inter-faith dialogues, because Hindus did not care to know the enemy, have always ended favorably for the Church. This of course is not to say that these resolutions and declarations are in any way binding upon Hindu society which knows exactly how to deal with jihad and the evangelising missionaries. The problem is with idiot Hindus who think there is an intellectual and pacifist way to deal with issues of survival.

Non-resident Hindus and Hindu PIOs living in Europe and America, and globe-trotting gurus and sannyasis with growing numbers of foreign bhaktas and foreign funds have been guilty of drawing Hindus at home and high Hindu religious organizations into the vortex of inter-religious or inter-faith dialogue with foreigners. Growing NRI Hindu and non-Indian Hindu influence on a section of Hindu religious leaders and formerly Hindu political leaders has made these leaders look more and more at overseas Hindus and their interests to the detriment of Hindu interests in the country. It must be emphasized that in all these dialogues Hindu religious leaders have belonged to non-traditional, new cult, or neo-vedantin sects. The Mumbai inter-faith dialogue for the first time will have the high-voltage presence of the senior pontiff of the Kanchi matham while all other Hindu sanyasis at this meet come from the non-traditional stream. 

This point deserves close attention for only one reason. Religious leaders of traditional mathams are rooted in centuries-old tradition and are the living symbols of a timeless heritage with the extraordinary responsibility not only to preserve that heritage but to hand it down to the next generation. This is a mind-boggling and breath-taking responsibility. Mathathipathis, Adeenams and Mandaleshwars do not act as individuals driven by personal beliefs or fleeting interests and are therefore very unlikely to give in to any demand from the Church and even more unlikely to make any concession harmful to Hindu dharma or dharmi. And that is why at all these dialogues we find only Hindu religious leaders from non-traditional streams engaged in a dialogue with the Church, in the Church’s own territory or in territory loyal to the Church. Hindu religious leaders knowingly and willingly start with this disadvantage. One does not meet the enemy on his territory unless one is Srikrishna. 

The intense discussion of the Superiors General in New York in 2000 points to an existential dilemma among a section of the Catholic Hierarchy – if religious conversion or ‘taking the gospel to those who have not heard it yet’ is the Church’s whole and only mission, then what is the purpose of inter-faith dialogue and what is the relationship between Proclamation and Dialogue? Good question; and it has been answered unambiguously by Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger. Pope John Paul II declared on Indian soil in November 1999 that he intended to plant the Cross in Asia in the third millennium; what he did not say explicitly was that ‘Dialogue’ was all bunkum and that Dialogue and Proclamation were the classic good cop-bad cop ploy by the Church. Cardinal Ratzinger declared in Dominus Jesus that Christ was the path and the destination; what he did not say explicitly was that the soporific, all religions have some elements of truth in them and all religions have some salvific power in them was bunkum too.

When Hindus sit down to ‘dialogue’ with the enemy, they must keep the following in mind –
 The Church, as it is understood and as it is in reality, is the White Church. The coloured drops in the Hierarchy of the Church are only permitted colour and flavour.

The White Church is racist and has expanded across what were once non-White continents only by brute force.

The White race’s religion, trade, history, politics and science all share the same characteristics – exploitative, avaricious, intolerant, brutal and destructive whose only objective is to wield absolute control over all things in Creation

The White Church began by first controlling the Sovereign (King) and then expanded its horizons by controlling/converting peoples, then nations and then continents

The Catholic Church was assisted in its mission to convert the world to Christianity by Sovereigns and freebooters alike, by armies and traders alike, by the clergy and laity alike

The Church’s expansionist path in the beginning took the “trade-routes and highways” of the Roman Empire and then took the trade-routes and highways of expanding, colonizing Spanish and Portuguese Empires and then the trade-routes and highways of British, French and Dutch Empires

The White Catholic Church, White Christian Empires and White agents of Trade have not just worked in tandem but have walked hand in hand to the mutual benefit, growth and entrenchment of all three 

A Christian King, politician, shop-keeper, smuggler or academic, serves his religion first and always

This much is White Christianity’s distant and recent history. This should be kept in mind of all those who think the Church is the padri in popular Hindi and vernacular films and who maintain in public discourse and private conversations that the only mission of the Church is to provide education, healthcare and beatific smiles for those in distress. Those desirous of indulging in religious diplomacy (or so they think) by sitting across table with the White Church must also keep in mind what the White Church has said in New York in May 2000. 

For better understanding of what follows, it must be borne in mind that Christianity and Islam have NO native land because they are both only derivatives of the parent religion – Judaism. Therefore they do not subscribe to concepts like matrubhumi, and pitrubhumi (not fatherland but land of our pitrus or ancestors). They also reject Hindu nationalist assertion that the Hindu nation, religion, culture and dharma, while it is universal and may exist anywhere in the world with no conflict, tension or disharmony with other ways of life and worldview because of its very nature, Hindu nation, religion, culture and dharma was born on a specific territory and the sense of nation, nationhood and nationalism is only territorial even when the nationalism is narrowly construed as being only religious, only cultural, only civilisational or only dharmic. 

Hindu nationalists assert that the Hindu nation is all these. This is the territory of Bharata, Hindusthana, India and it is a nation or territory with well-defined borders even from historic times. This is the territory of sanatana dharma. Sanatana dharma may be universal but it is not amorphous that predatory religions can deny the territorial content of Hindu nationhood so that this territory too may be Christianized. 

Our religious leaders and non-sanyasi vacuous ‘scholars’ who advocate inter-faith dialogue with the Church as some defining gesture of Hindu tolerance must keep all this in mind to understand what the White Church is saying about its mission, its new goals and new opportunities and the methods that these opportunities provide. The White Church has always converted every social, economic, political trend in the world to its benefit and advantage. In the following excerpts from the statement of the Superiors General in New York in May 200, which is of critical importance to understand the Church, the White Church has a name for the two fascist, expansionist, and genocidal Abrahamic faiths – Islam and Christianity; the name is ‘great translocal religions’. The name is pregnant with all kinds of possible interpretations. Non-Christian, non-Islamic faiths and religions which have existed for millennia before these two religions are simply “local, oral traditions”. Not religions mind you, not civilizations, not worldviews, and above all, not universal; just simply “local, oral traditions”. This is what it is saying now -    

- “One thing that globalization is changing (we will return to others in the final part of this presentation) is the meaning of territory and the nation-state. Because the information and capital flow made possible by communications technology, boundaries of the nation-state, which have been a staple of political economy since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, have ever decreased significance. With the flow and migration of peoples, as well as the incursion of global cultural forces on local communities, "culture" as territory has ever decreasing significance. While neither nation-state nor cultural territory will completely disappear (as was the fear in earlier stages of discussion of globalization), its significance is greatly diminished. What does this mean for a mission that defines itself as ad gentes, if the world is no longer so neatly divided into cultural and ethnic groups? Missionary institutes ad gentes have tried to redefine ad gentes as ad extra (that is, simply going out from where one is), or more recently, as ad altera (that is, to those who are made "other").

- The first is that the converts who join the great translocal religious traditions (such as Christianity or Islam) come largely from local, oral traditions. Indeed, history would seem to indicate that people in local, oral traditions (sometimes called indigenous religions) shift rather readily to join a translocal tradition such as Christianity, Buddhism, or Islam. But once having done so, they are unlikely to move from one translocal tradition to another. Only those who have not yet been fully integrated into the translocal tradition or those who have been alienated from it are likely to change their affiliation. If that is indeed the case, then mission ad gentes will end for Christianity (and Islam) when the final indigenous peoples have been reached.” 

Hindus generally being idiot Hindus, let us break this astounding presumption into small parts. Hindus and tribal communities “readily” convert to Islam or Christianity and these Christian and Muslim converts do not abandon the religion to which they have converted to re-convert to Islam or Christianity. That is, when a Hindu converts to becoming a Christian, then that same converted Hindu Christian will not convert again to becoming Hindu Muslim convert; not unless the Hindu who converted to the Church has not been integrated fully with the Christian community.

Read this, understand this and beware. This is full of significance for the way the Church in India operates to pressure Indian polity for concessions for so-called dalit and BC Christians. Ditto with how the Muslims pressure Indian polity to keep the Muslim flock contented in the pen. And that is why the Sachar Committee report assumes significance for Hindu nationalists.

- “The story of empire and mission has been told often, by opponents and defenders of mission alike. It is not my intention to recount that history here once again. Rather, I would like to focus on one aspect of that history: namely, that the expansionist designs of Europe provided the infrastructure for an organized and concerted mission ad gentes. Empire not only provided a necessary infrastructure for transportation, protection, and even fiscal support for missionaries, but no doubt figured into the thinking of how mission itself was to be organized, both on the home front and in the distant lands. Individual efforts of missionaries can be traced through history. But the mobilization of religious institutes -- and later the founding of institutes specifically for that purpose -- followed the pathways and even assumed the military rhetoric of the empire-builders.

Now, the Church admits to how it has always played both sides of the game in any conflict to the advantage of its expansionist designs. Do Hindus who engage in inter-faith dialogue at the behest of the White Church have the sense to know the enemy with whom they are “engaged” from its own words, from its own description?

- “In saying this, I do not wish to reduce organized mission ad gentes to a byproduct of empire. That would be simplistic and inaccurate. Missionaries often became the opponents of empire, siding with local people against their colonizers. Missionaries preserved local culture through writing down indigenous oral languages even as empire was crippling or destroying it. What I am trying to do here is trying to indicate some factors arising from this convergence of empire and mission ad gentes which may be instructive for our own time.

- The convergence of mission ad gentes and empire created a powerful way of thinking wherein the notion of mission ad gentes became bound up with territory. One sees this as early as the founding of the Propaganda Fide in Rome in the seventeenth century and as late as the establishment of the "jus commissionis" in the twentieth century. Rather than models (of religious conversion) wherein going ad gentes meant going to the sovereign (the King) to effect his conversion, mission was seen as Christianizing a territory. The convergence of empire and mission provided models of mission which were derived from the empire and colonizing process.

- Most prominent throughout the period of European empire was the civilizing model, which meant bringing European education, technical training, and health care ad gentes. Put in late twentieth century terms, models of human promotion go hand in hand with mission. Today we would think more in terms of social justice or the defense of human rights. In both the earlier and more recent models, what evangelization is becomes extended in terms of an infrastructure which supports mission.

- Two characteristics of globalization today which are of significance here are its homogenizing power, whereby it interlinks the world and communicates the same message throughout this network; and its fragmenting power, which in local settings disrupts social arrangements, creates resistance, and heightens the sense of the particular and the local. How does this aspect of globalization interconnect with mission ad gentes?

- In responding to the interlinkage through communication as a form of homogenization, missionary institutes and the Church itself should utilize its resources as a transnational and non-governmental organization to bring people together in the solidarity of the human family, and form networks of support and advocacy. Missionary institutes should show by how they live and operate that transnational organizations need not be oppressive, but can bring together human and material resources for the betterment of life for humankind. They should use their resources to reach the gentes, who are now scattered throughout the world, as a result of migration and refugee status, those gentes who drift into our huge cities and lose their identities in the process. We need to think through as missionaries and missiologists how the homogenizing factors in the world today are shaping our thinking and our relationships.

- Globalization also fragments the world. Here it seems to me that the mission ad gentes is called to address the consequences of that fragmentation, where people reshape and construct new identities to resist the encroachments of globalization, where refugees and displaced persons have to rebuild lives and heal memories. The work of mission here is a work of reconciliation; that is, restoring human dignity and healing a broken society. It is about telling the truth, seeking justice, and creating a new moral vision. Indeed, it seems to me that reconciliation may well be the metaphor for mission as we enter the twenty-first century.”

The Superiors General, the White Catholic Church has nothing to hide because there are in effect, no real challenges to their agenda, which they have articulated with an openness that is insulting, but which is a commentary on Hindu powerlessness to deal with this agenda. The Church is backed and supported thoroughly by the US and the EU. The US and the EU will first create, trigger and nurture conflicts around the world (and these are always countries and regions where the Church has not been successful so far) and once the people have been devastated by prolonged conflict, then the Church will step in to administer the healing touch!

US and European aid agencies and funding agencies – USAID, DFID, Red Cross, World Vision, these are the foot-soldiers of the White Church. Human rights, religious freedom, freedom of conscience, social justice, justice with peace are the new weapons of war in this war-by-other-means. Truth and Reconciliation is the new Church Opening Gambit in this great chess game between the Church and its victims; and we the idiot Hindus mindlessly parrot the slogans the White Church has coined for entrapment, and which have been legitimised by the supporting White Christian nations as the new liberal universal political ideology for the world. The globe-trotting Sri Sri Ravishankar is one of the “spiritual” (not religious, by his own admission) leaders who will be sitting across the table today and he conducted with much media fanfare his own variation of the (in)famous “truth and reconciliation” circus with the dalits in India.

Swami Chidananda Saraswati, another loose-cannon from something called ‘Divine Life Society, Uttaranchal’ who will also be present at the table today, was also present in Advani’s  house last year with the Archbishops of Orissa and Delhi, and penned his name to the declaration called infamously, the Delhi Declaration, which the BJP proudly mentioned in its election manifesto. The Delhi Declaration stated that Swami Chidananda Saraswati would re-build the churches burned down by angry tribal communities after Christian terrorists gunned down the venerable Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. This Chidananda Saraswati signed the Delhi Declaration which also stated that he deplored not only “unethical religious conversion’ but also “unethical re-conversion”. He deserves nothing but the strongest condemnation, not only for his pathetic understanding of religious conversion, but also for his poor understanding of the critical necessity for re-conversion on Hindu bhumi to the parent religion.

The presence of the revered mathathipathi of the Kanchi matham is the only saving grace in this whole disgraceful event. Hindu nationalists and Hindu bhaktas are hoping passionately that the Pujya Kanchi seer will tell the White Church on its face that until the Church declares that it will no longer undertake or countenance religious conversion in India, this will be the last inter-faith dialogue with the Church on Hindu bhumi. 

The author is editor

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