Crucifix Vandalised Again in Mumbai, Christians Protest

Christian Today.

A crucifix in Mumbai that was vandalised in December 2013 was once again attacked and desecrated on Monday, 14th July 2014 early morning and arrested a lone Catholic man instead of the real culprits, prompting Christian bodies to organize protest.

The historic crucifix, located on Swami Vivekanand Road near the Life Insurance Corporations building in Vile Parle West, a Mumbai suburb, was found by locals to have been attacked. The miscreants had hacked off the statue’s hands.

Christian groups such as Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF) and the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) that jointly organized the protest noted that this was the second time the same crucifix was desecrated.

Mr. Joseph Dias, the general secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) believes this was part of an attempt to polarize votes on communal lines with the state assembly elections just a few months away.

The police arrested Agnelo Pereira, who according to the police vandalized the crucifix on the sole witness of a drug addict and on the confession of the accused himself, ignoring pleas of Christians that many other suspects were not arrested, including the addict, the press release by the Christian bodies noted.

Meanwhile, “the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, appeals to the Christian community to remain peaceful, calm and lift up the perpetrators of this crime in prayer,” the Archdiocese of Bombay stated.

“We urge the police to investigate the crime with full earnestness and to provide police protection to this sacred image.”

“Till date no updates have been provided to the Christian community at Vile Parle or to the Archdiocese of Bombay with regards to the investigation of the previous vandalisation which took place on December 15, 2013,” the archdiocese noted.

The crucifix, which was erected in 1880, is visited regularly by the faithful, who offer prayers and floral gifts, and is also generally treated with reverence by Mumbaikars of other religions.



Satan Worship in India Worries Christians

So it should.

Christian groups in India’s northeastern state of Nagaland are working to quell the rapid growth of Satanism after reports that thousands of teenagers from churches had taken up devil worship in recent months.

The Vatican’s Fides news agency recently reported that more than 3,000 young “worshipers of Satan” have been identified in Nagaland’s capital of Kohima alone.

The actual strength of Satan worshippers is difficult to determine, but such groups also exist in Nagaland’s largest city of Dimapur, and they are using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to expand their network…

“Some of the Christian youth who have renounced Satan worship have told us that they would be called for services after midnight at the Kohima War Cemetery and other locations, and asked to wear black T-shirts and be called by their new nicknames,” Longkumer said.

Longkumer said he has seen membership forms for a group calling itself the Black Bulls and inviting youngsters to become part of devil worship…

Rest here.



Sex Selection Abortion Behind India Rape Crisis?

National Review Online:

India and the world were shocked and appalled by the vicious gang rape and subsequent death of an Indian medical student. Some are now asking whether the rape crisis that has so enraged India is partly the consequence of sex selection abortion. From a Time essay by Erika Christakis:

Growing evidence suggests that in countries like India and China, where the ratio of men to women is unnaturally high due to the selective abortion of female fetuses and neglect of girl children, the rates of violence towards women increase. “The sex ratio imbalance directly leads to more sex trafficking and bride buying,” says Mara Hvistendahl, author of Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men. A scarce resource is generally considered precious, but the lack of women also leaves many young men without marriage partners. In 2011, the number of cases of women raped rose by 9.2 percent; kidnapping and abductions of women were up 19.4 percent. “At this point, we’re talking correlation, not causation. More studies need to be done….[But] it is clear from historical cases and from studies looking at testosterone levels that a large proportion of unmarried men in the population is not a good thing,” says Hvistendahl.

No, it’s not. But sex selection abortion is not a good thing on its face, regardless of harmful correlations or consequences.



Is Anglicanorum Coetibus Only about White Anglo-Saxons?

Deborah Gyapong asks the question, and a rather good one it is.

If you see a congregation full of people who are black say from Africa or the Caribbean backgrounds, or brown from South American backgrounds, or brown from India perhaps wearing a sari, would you assume these folks could not possibly have true Anglican backgrounds?

If the Anglican background thing is stretched to the max under Canon law, then I perhaps would not qualify to be a member as I am Slavic, with my only English blood from my maternal great grandfather, a Protestant chap whose ancestor’s set up a rope-making factory in Archangel, Russia back in the 19th Century.

To me Anglicanism is more about language than it is about race, about the contributions of English culture through the Prayer Book and the King James Bible and other aspects of that cultural ethos that has a worldwide application in the Anglosphere, which includes many countries which are not predominantly white.

Should the Holy See ensure Anglicanorum coetibus is extended to those other countries?  Was it a strategic mistake not to have episcopal delegates in some African countries and India?



Archbishop John Hepworth: Church to Hold Hearing in India

The Australian is reporting:

The Traditional Anglican Communion will conduct a special internal hearing in India next month into allegations of financial irregularities at the Australian arm of the church involving Archbishop John Hepworth, which were first raised by a priest he had tried to suspend.

Archbishop Hepworth yesterday said he had not been told what charges he was facing and would not attend the tribunal in New Delhi on October 6.

The acting primate of the breakaway church, India-based Archbishop Samuel Prakash, said the allegations against the Adelaide priest were yet to be tested.

“This matter was presented by Bishop David Robarts, a standing TAC bishop in Australia, and (is) under consideration,” he said.

Bishop Robarts yesterday refused to say what allegations he had raised with the church’s international leadership, but said he hoped the issues would be resolved at the tribunal.

Archbishop Hepworth, who was instrumental in seeking his church’s reunion with Rome, was forced to resign as the global head of the TAC in April, seven months after he raised allegations that he had been raped by Adelaide Catholic priest Ian Dempsey and two others in the 1960s.

A meeting of the church leadership in South Africa this year found Archbishop Hepworth had tried to suspend Bishop Robarts from the church on “insufficient” grounds.

Yesterday, he denied any wrongdoing. “This is la-la land,” Archbishop Hepworth said. “Of course I’m not going to India – I don’t know what I’m charged with. I wasn’t even a signatory on the church’s accounts in the last six years.”

‘la-la land’?



Catholics Upset at Portrayal in New Bollywood Film

Mumbai – Catholics have threatened to stop the screening of a forthcoming Hindi movie directed by Priyadarshan, “Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal” if certain scenes making a “disresptful portrayal” of the community and its priests are not deleted, an official said here Sunday.

A delegation of representatives of Catholic groups and a priest representing the Archdiocese of Bombay met and submitted a memorandum to Central Board of Film Certification chairperson Leela Samson Saturday.

Copies of the memorandum highlighting the community’s grievances have also been sent to Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and censor board CEO Pankaja Thakur, according to Judith Monteiro, secretary of Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC).

“We have registered our protest against the movie. We have demanded a special screening of the movie urgently and deletion of objectionable scenes based on a review by the Catholic community representatives,” Monteiro said.

Catholic Secular Forum chief Joseph Dias pointed out that stereotyping of Christians has existed in films.

“This time with the priest shown in such bad light, Bollywood has hit a new low. We call for the resignation of Leela Samson and transfer of (Pankaja) Thakur,” an angry Dias said.

Father Rueben Tellis, representative of the Archdiocese of Bombay, also referred to an earlier movie, “Kya Superkool Hai Hum” which had offensive scenes of a Catholic priest and reiterated the community’s demand for a permanent representative on the censor board to prevent such recurrences in the guise of “cinematic liberty”.

The delegation included members of AoCC, CSF, Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum, Catholic Residents Organisation for Social Servicess (CROSS) and Father Tellis.

Demanding a special screening by Monday, Monteiro listed out some of the objectionable scenes which have hurt the community’s sentiments.

These include a Catholic priest (Asrani) dancing with a rosary around his neck and wearing a garland of lottery tickets with a church in the background, an actor (Shreyas Talpade) misusing and indiscriminately using the Holy Water Sprinkler, a priest with a bouquet of flowers with an ‘I Love You’ message, a notorious character with garlands of currency notes shown with the church in the background, among others.




McDonald’s to Open First Vegetarian Restaurant

In India. Where’s the beef?

McDonald’s, known worldwide as the “standard-bearer of the hamburger,” will be opening its first two vegetarian restaurants in India in 2013, BBC reports.

The fast food giant will be setting up the meat-free outlets near the Golden Temple in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar and the small northwestern town of Katra, which is located near the Hindu Vaishno Devi shrine, India’s second busiest pilgrimage spot, notes the Financial Times.

The vegetarian outlets are part of an ongoing effort by the fast food chain to increase its popularity in a country that has yet to fully embrace the franchise.

“There is a big opportunity for vegetarian restaurants as many Indians are vegetarian,” said Rajesh Maini, a spokesperson for McDonald’s in northern India. “At the moment, India is still a very small market — we just have 271 restaurants in India, and across the world, we have nearly 33,000.”

“When you look at the potential of the country, it’s one of the top priority countries and we’re laying the groundwork for capturing the market,” Maini told the AFP, adding that the fast food franchise hopes to double the number of outlets in India in the next three years.

McDonald’s has already altered its Indian menu to appeal to the country’s large Hindu and Muslim populations, the Telegraph notes.

For instance, McDonald’s restaurants in India do not serve beef or pork, instead opting for lamb, chicken, fish and vegetarian options, such as the McAloo Tikki (a deep fried patty of spicy mashed potatoes) and the McSpicy Paneer (a patty of traditional Indian cheese).

About 80 percent of India’s population is Hindu, while more than 13 percent are Muslim, according to a 2001 census. For religious reasons, beef is not consumed by Hindus and Islamic dietary laws prohibit the consumption of pork.

The Financial Times reports that McDonald’s is planning to “seriously bulk up its menu line-up for its all-green restaurants.”

“Since this is going to be an exclusive vegetarian restaurant, we will have to look at opening more products,” Maini said.

But even with its meat-free makeover, it seems that not everyone is excited about the franchise’s new outlets.

According to the Telegraph, one of the two locations chosen by the fast food giant is proving controversial with an Indian religious group.

Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a Hindu nationalist group, said it would oppose McDonald’s plan to open a restaurant in Katra, describing it as an attempt to “humiliate Hindus.”

“It’s an attempt not only to make money but also to deliberately humiliate Hindus. It is an organization associated with cow slaughter. If we make an announcement that they’re slaughtering cows, people won’t eat there. We are definitely going to fight it,” said national co-convener S. Gurumurthy.

This is not the first time that McDonald’s has provoked the wrath of Hindus.

In May 2001, McDonald’s “restaurant windows were smashed, statues of Ronald McDonald [were] smeared with cow dung, and Hindu nationalist politicians called for the chain to be evicted” from India after the fast food franchise was slapped with a lawsuit in America over its beef-flavored French fries.

According to a 2011 New York Times article, plaintiffs representing the Hindus and vegetarians of America had accused McDonald’s of “deliberately misleading its American customers” after it was discovered that the franchise’s famous french fries were seasoned with beef flavoring before being sent to restaurants to be cooked in vegetable oil.

McDonald’s, however, insisted that it had never claimed its French fries were vegetarian in the U.S. and that it did not use beef, pork or their by-products in its franchises in India and Fiji, as well as its outlets in Muslim countries.