The Archbishop Anil Couto’s call is in line with the Church’s malignate policy of political interference to target the Hindus
The papacy has never been reticent in using its temporal power for political purposes. In the 12th century, Pope Hadrian IV encouraged Henry II of England to annex Ireland and authorised him to do so in the bull Laudabiliter. Edward II was deposed in 1327 after bishops had promoted the idea of his deposition in their sermons. He was murdered later the same year, reputedly by having a red-hot iron inserted through his insufficiently devout anus.
Neither Church’s involvement in politics is new nor its Hindu hatred. The church is organisationally big enough to interfere in any country’s politics.
As per an article on October 4, 2011, With more than 1.2 billion adherents—about one-fifth of the world’s population—the Church is the world’s oldest and largest organisation, present through more than 400,000 priests, 800,000 religious sisters and 219,655 parishes. Caritas Internationalis, the 60-year-old Rome-based confederation of 165 national bodies of Catholic charities in more than 200 countries, estimates their combined budget at over $5 billion. The Catholic Church is the only religious body to have an unofficial presence—that of Observer Status—at the United Nations (UN). It is the only religion with a diplomatic corps.
The moment a country accepts the presence of Church on its soil it accepts the interference of Church in its politics, China and Islamic nations are an exception. Church has been hounding Hindus across the world, not only for conversion but also to throw them away from political power.
Fiji’s four coups had involvement of the Church. In each of the four coups, rights of Hindus were curtailed. The coup by Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka in 1987 led to a constitution that ensured Hindu Fijians could only have less than half of all seats in parliament and banned Hindus from the post of prime minister. The coup of 2000, by George Speight, removed the elected Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudry, who is a Hindu.
The next target, are the Hindus of Mauritius. In 2016, Mauritius got its own cardinal (an exception) and it is a matter of time that Hindus of Mauritius will have the same fate as that of Hindus of Fiji. And, of course, Nepal is high on the agenda of the Church. In between all these when in a letter addressed to churches across Delhi, Archbishop Anil Couto calls for a prayer campaign beginning May 13 in the face of “turbulent political atmosphere threatening democracy and secularism” before general elections next year, one should not be surprised.
Initially, the Congress party under the leadership of Indira Gandhi had tamed the Church through the Niyogi Committee.
The Niyogi Committee Report on Christian Missionary Activities was published by the Congress Government of Madhya Pradesh in 1956. The Committee was set up in response to the Bharatiya Jana Sangh"s protest movement, “The Anti-Foreign Missionary Week”. The Roman Catholic Church withdrew its co-operation with the Committee, and filed a petition against the Committee in the High Court in 1955. The High Court dismissed the Petition in April 1956. The recommendations of the report influenced Bills passed by the State Governments against forcible conversions.
Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia “Maino” got engaged by the end of January 1968 and since then Church has not looked back in India and Congress has looked at the Church as an ally. In North-East and Kerala the church has been issuing ‘fatwa’ before every election openly and covertly in states. It came out in open in 2017 Gujarat elections against Narendra Modi and BJP. It was logical next step for the church to jump into 2019 Parliamentary elections.
Church has been working systematically towards it. Kamal Hasan and Prakash Raj, who lean towards Church (am not sure of their religion) have been speaking against Narendra Modi on religious lines. Julio Francis Ribeiro, retired IPS officer has openly stood for Christianity disowning the Indian identity. Even serving Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph declined to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dinner for top judges on Saturday on the ground that the event and the ongoing judges conference clashed with Good Friday and Easter weekend. If the government of the day thought that banning foreign funding of few NGOs will put church on the back foot then it was grossly mistaken about the size and resources of the church (Revisit the second paragraph).
Over the last many decades Church has made deep inroads in all the pillars of democratic India, and its backlash is going to severe. It has declared open war.
Earlier, in my article in Organiser, “Christian Missionaries: Time for Niyogi Committee—II” not only I had argued for another committee on the lines of Niyogi Committee but had also listed some of their misdeeds. It is not that the government machinery is not aware of the misdeeds that I listed, but it is a question of political will. What is required is a serious broad-based enquiry into several misdeeds of church and take appropriate action as per the constitution. The Government of the day can ignore it on its own peril.
(The writer is a political analyst)