Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Christianity

Jesus Christ did not show the other cheek

Some Christians say they are opposed to death penalty because they are Christians. There is nothing is Christianity that is against death penalty. Jesus did not preach against death penalty. Throughout centuries many persons were burnt at stakes for heresy. The church declared crusades.

Jesus spoke of forgiveness. He spoke of showing the other cheek when one is struck on one cheek. But he did not show the other cheek when he was struck during the trial by Jewish leaders. He said “If I have said something wrong, show me where I am wrong. If I am right, why do you strike me?”

At the temple Jesus got angry and whipped the merchants. He did not reply when asked what authority he had to do it. He asked a counter question.

Jesus spoke of casting millstones around the necks of people who cause little ones to sin and throwing them into the sea.

Let not opposition to death penalty be linked to Christianity.

Midnight masses

Christians have traditionally had midnight masses for Christmas, New Year and Easter. Some years back the Supreme Court of India banned use of loudspeakers in open spaces between 10.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. The Central Government passed a law permitting such use on 15 days in a year to be decided by State Governments. When the Supreme Court judgment came many churches held those masses at 8.30 p.m. of the previous day. Christians should fight for their right for midnight masses. Those 15 days can be increased to 18 days. Or midnight masses can be held within churches with use of loudspeakers.

Inculturation

NDTV 24X7 in its Mumbai Live on 26/10/2005 at 10.30 p.m. had news and discussion about inculturation. Srinivasan Jain was the anchor. Fr. Anthony Charanghat of Bombay Archdiocese, Fr. Dominic Emmanuel of Delhi Archdiocese and Swami Agnivesh took part in the discussion. Three persons outside a church were interviewed. Two were Christians. They did not want change. Third was a Hindu. He goes to church for novenas. He did not want arati in the church. Anthony and Dominic were in favour of inculturation. Agnivesh was not in favour of inculturation. He said Hinduism of today is a degenerate form of Vedic religion. Arati has no meaning.

Dominic said these are not Hindu customs. These are Indian customs. Tribals are not Hindus.

Culture and religion are different fields. Religion is the field of the clergy. The talk of inculturation keeps coming back and there is nothing new in it. What are local customs? How something anti-Christian can be adapted in the name of inculturation? In Christianity all are equal. There is no caste system. Adaptation of caste system is wrong.

Hindu festivals cannot be celebrated by the church by giving it different meaning. Diwali celebrates return of Rama to Ayodhya.

If the intention is to please Hindus who are opposed to Christians and conversions it is naive. They will never be happy. Sonia Gandhi gave up whatever practice of Christianity she had at the time of marriage. After Rajiv Gandhi’s entry into politics she gave up western ways. Yet her rivals continue to call her a Christians and foreigner and oppose her becoming Prime Minister of India. The same people want double citizenship to foreigners of Indian origin who are predominantly Hindu. RSS branches outside India are known as Hindu Swayamsevak Sanghs.

India imitates West. Bollywood imitates Hollywood. Indian culture is chaging. In which world votaries of inculturation living?

What about Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Zoroastrians, Jews, Bahais and others?

Reading of Indian Anaphora and non-Biblical scriptures during mass was banned in 1975.

Dominic said Pope Benedict XVI spoke of dialogue. Dialogue does not mean imitation. Dialogue is for spreading Christianity.

Let Catholic Church retain its present practices and not imitate Hindus.

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