The cardinal now seems to have hurt the feelings of the
maoists and marxists in this country who have of late
been taking up religious causes with
a venegence..... :(
BJP - A lesser Evil
MUMBAI, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Mar 23: A move by the Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS) to castigate the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) for apparently praising the virtues of the BJP over those of the Communists, has sparked a vigorous debate over the intellectual flexibility allowed by the Church and the attempts to politicise academic remarks.
Earlier this week, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, the Kerala-based 82-year-old head of the CBCI, was reported as saying that the BJP is a “lesser evil” compared to the Marxists. The cardinal, while speaking after the release of his biography Straight From the Heart in Kochi, was asked which of the two he considered a greater threat.
His reply: “The greater threat will certainly be the Marxist one, because it is much better to live under those who believe in a God of love and mercy than to live under those who don’t believe in God and will do anything to bring about social justice, social equality and destroy all differences of class and caste.”
For those who have known the outspoken, liberal, progressive priest, this was just another scholarly observation. For them, Vithayathil could never hold a brief for any party, let alone the BJP, as he has consistently opposed the Church meddling in politics and even taken on the Vatican for trying to impose its decisions on bishops.
But that did not stop the BCS from slamming the cardinal and asking the CBCI to draw a line. “While BCS neither holds a brief for the BJP nor for the Marxists, but to compare them and what they stand for is odious to say the least,” said BCS President Dolphy D’Souza. “Religion is a personal matter and religion should not be mixed with politics. People are being polarised because of such mixing.”
“We are also shocked that one of the leaders of the Church has chosen to speak in this fashion at the run up to the elections...the Church all along has maintained that we need to vote on secular lines and this statement is misleading,” he added.
Christian religious and community leaders expressed surprise over the BCS stance and said Vithayathil’s comments seem to have been misunderstood, with some accusing D’Souza of jumping the gun. “He may have made the statement out of frustration with Left parties in Kerala as they have been targeting Christian institutions and also making changes in school texts which are trying to promote atheism,” said Dr Abraham Mathai of the All-India Christian Council. “These acts have been opposed by churches in Kerala. The statement in that sense is limited to Kerala and is being blown out of proportion.”