Delhi Archbishop’s prayer for secularism: Tempest in a tea-cup? Becomes controversial

”A tempest in a tea cup!”  That was the instant reaction of some over Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto’s call for prayer for the dawn of a  truly secular government in 2019. Biased minds judge according to their leanings, even as tree can fall only to the side it is leaning.

He raised his concern about “the turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation” What else were the unbelievable happenings that played out in Karnataka in a week ago  in vain effort to prop up a BJP government?

When party men jump up to support party line –right or wrong —  democracy is demeaned, defamed and tramped under foot like the drama enacted by Yedurappa’s tall claim to prove his majority in Karnataka. The comment of KJ Alphons the Christian face in he NDA is a brilliant  example of one crawling instead of bending to please the party’s hidden agenda.

One is instantly reminded of the great democrat and statesman Atal Bhihari Vajpai who “hang his head in shame, sorrow and disgust” when the Australian missionary and his children were burned alive in his car and who never hesitated to admonish to hold on to “Raj Dharma” to Modi whenever he acts as the leader of the nation, not of a party.

If ‘God men’ and religious leaders have to keep away from politics and hold their mouths shut where is freedom of expression in Indian democracy? Is the CM of UP a religious leader or a political pundit? Why this double talk and double dealing by today’s BJP politicians? Like honorable Vajpai, upright Indian citizens are driven to hang their heads in shame in today’s BJP dispensation.

It is in this context that Julio Ribeiro’s article in TOI deserves special mention and praise. In spite of being an aging retired IPS officer and a Padma Bhushan awardee, he is out in the battle field to uphold truth, decency and political decorum. Where  are all the stalwarts of an All India Catholic Union and other moral brigades who should be in the forefront to set an example for lovers of democracy?

Unfortunataely this is the curse of the vast majority of minority sections in the country, especially of the Christian laity who should be shouting to make their voices heard in defense of TRUTH, which is spreading the good word for the common good or evangelizing. The worst offenders in this area are the clerical class and bishops themselves who proclaim they are in complicit with wrong doing by their vociferous silence.

It is this silence that Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi has broken to set a glowing example in the religious field (praying    to God almighty) for the good of Indan secular democracy. Now the acid test would be to wait and see how many bishops will speak in support of Couto.

Possibly none will! Why? In the case of Bishop Alex Dias of Port Blair,(we pointed out in our recent editorial)  not a single Indian bishop supported his good example of giving up honorific titles and  his humble request to call him by his pet name “Alex” only.

Oh Tempora, Oh Mores! About the spirituality  and morality of Indian bishops. They are sure to prove the unforgettable prophetical statement of Frederich Nietze: “There was only one Christian alive, he died on the cross!”

But  to our luck, exemplary persons like Julio Ribeiro continue to hog the lime light as trail blazers with the courage of their convictions even at the  fag end of his life.

May his tribe increase and multiply to infect umpteen number of Christian or Catholic  associations like the Indian Catholic Union, whose names can  be found in historic records kept for safe keeping in libraries, if not in the humdrum happenings of India’s democratic or undemocratic march.  james kottoor, editor ccv.

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