India: Anxiety over the Rise in Hindu Extremism

Source: FSSPX News

Cardinal Cleemis Thottunkal.

In the north of India, about thirty miles from the city of Aligarh, Hindu extremists have “reconverted” 72 native Christians of the Valmiki tribe, converted in 1995. On August 26, in the village of Asoi, they transformed a Protestant temple into a temple to Shiva. According to a press release from the Catholic press agency AsiaNews on August 27, the cross that was on the building has been taken down and a large image of the Hindu goddess Shiva has been installed after a “purification” ritual called “shuddhi karan” was performed on the site.

In the south of India, there is growing anxiety over the use of Mass wine ever since the State of Kerala announced that in 2015 the consumption, production and sale of alcohol will be forbidden. According to the agency Ucanews in a press release on August 27, “debates exploded between the different Christian traditions,” especially concerning the question of transubstantiation, “as the Protestants see no harm in using other drinks”, “such as grape juice.” Only five-star hotel bars will be able to obtain a special authorization. According to Ucanews, a political leader pointed out that licenses have also been delivered to parishes, allowing them to make wine and use it for Mass. However, Hindu activists have asked the government to cancel some of these permits, arguing that “no cult can place itself above the law” and that “certain religious groups sell Mass wine.”

On August 18, 2014, Cardinal Cleemis Thottunkal expressed to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “the Church’s deep worry at this rise in Hindu extremism”, during a meeting organized at the request of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). According to a press release from the agency Church of Asia on the same day, the primate of the Syro-Malankare Church reminded the head of state that it is “the responsibility of the Prime Minister and of the party in power to ensure that the Constitution is respected;” this Constitution “recognizes the diversity of religions” and therefore the legality of the Catholic Church on Indian soil.

(sources: apic/eda/AsiaNews/Ucanews – DICI no.300, dated Sept 12, 2014)

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