Removal of ‘anti-Church’ contents in text book recommended

June 28, 2011 by  
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Dawn of Modern Era, The RenaissanceA panel set up to look into the complaint about “anti-church” references in a 10th standard text book in Kerala has recommended removal of controversial portions.

The two-member panel constituted by the state government said the controversial portions hurt religious sentiments of the believers.

The panel, comprising former additional chief secretary D. Babu Paul and historian Raimon, however, discounted the church’s allegation that the inclusion of such ”anti-religious” contents was the result of a “deliberate Marxist plot to run down the church.”

“There are some factual errors and objectionable contents in the textbook. We have submitted our suggestions and it is for the government to take action on them,” said Raimon.

After studying the chapter titled “the dawn of modern era” dealing with the Renaissance, which deeply influenced the history of Europe since the 14th century, the panel found that it contained factual errors resulting from approaching history from purely Marxist perspective.

The Catholic Church in the state had objected to the contents in the book, alleging it contained “grossly baseless anti-church contents” and “propagated Marxist political ideology.”

Eminent historian M. G. S. Narayanan had refused to join the panel set up by the Kerala government to review a school text after the Church’s complaint.

– ibnlive

Kerala textbooks & Church construction stopped in Delhi

June 1, 2011 by  
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Kerala school textbook propagates MarxismThiruvananthapuram, 30, May 2011: Catholic Church in Kerala has taken serious objection to the new Social Science textbook for the 10th standard, prepared during the previous LDF’s rule, alleging that it contained ”grossly baseless anti-church contents” and “propagated Marxist political ideology”. The newly installed UDF Government recently set up a three-member committee headed by former Chief Secretary Dr. D. Babu Paul to examine the controversial textbook following the church’s complaint. According to Fr Philip Nelpuraparambil, secretary of Education Commission of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council(KCBC), the textbook makes a “deliberate attempt” to propagate anti-religion ideology by looking at history through a “purely Marxian perspective”. After the church’s complaint, the state government recently set up a three-member committee to examine the class Xth Social Science textbook, which was prepared during the previous Left Democratic Front’s regime.
“The textbook is not merely an attempt to mislead and instill anti-religious outlook in young minds but also contains several totally untrue and adverse observations against the Catholic church,” Fr Nelpuraparambil told PTI. The textbook, prepared by a research council set up when the state was under the LDF rule, did not contain the authentic history of the world but the Marxian version by running down religion in general and Catholicism in particular, he alleged. For instance, the chapter on Renaissance titled ‘the rise of the modern world’ was entirely meant to defame the church and establish that Catholic ideals were outdated, Fr Nelpuraparambil claimed. The book described Renaissance as an “intellectual reaction against irrational ideals imposed on people by the Catholic church,” he said. According to the Church, ever since the Left came to power in Kerala for the first time in 1957, it has made attempts to deride the church and the religious orientation of all other sections by infusing Marxist ideological contents in textbooks.
“On the whole, the textbook appears to be an effort to blame the church and religion for all the evils in the society and dark phases of history. This could only be seen as a covert attempt to propagate Marxian political ideology and its historical perspective based on class struggle at the state expense,” Fr Nelpuraparambil alleged. “While trying to glorify Marxism, it entirely blacked out the cruelties perpetrated by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. It also says that the United States is a country where islets of affluence and poverty exist side by side,” he said. “A textbook should ultimately aim to lead the students to goodness and mould them as model citizens. Now, the attempt is to infuse anti-religious feelings in the books,” he claimed. The content of the textbook also ran against the spirit of Indian Constitution and secular tradition which allowed its citizens to believe in religion of his or her choice, Fr Nelpuraparambil said.
Church construction stopped in the national capital
Delhi, 30 May 2011: A group of people from a fanatical religious group shut down a church construction project in Delhi, India, on May 20. The building was near completion with only a few finishing touches remaining when the leader of the anti-Christian group arrived on the site and said, “You cannot build any church building in this village. You are only allowed to construct a house to live in, not a church.” Because of this instigation, construction has stopped. Gospel for Asia-supported missionary Satyankar Gedam, pastor of the congregation planning to meet in the building, faces discouragement. “He has asked everyone to pray that God will remove all the obstacles and help them complete the building without any further problems,” reports a GFA field correspondent. Satyankar’s ministry in the area has flourished under God’s care. Many people are coming to know the Lord, and they know this new church building would be a testament to God’s faithfulness. In many parts of South Asia, having a permanent building to worship in represents the permanency of the religion. It also establishes credibility among the community. For Christian believers it also means having a safe place to freely worship the Lord. The area where this construction project is taking place has a complicated land ownership process. It is not uncommon for outside groups to question the legality of any construction process. This causes frequent delays in all kinds of building projects, including churches. Satyankar asks for prayer that God will change the hearts of those who are opposing Satyankar’s ministry.

Mar George Alencherry Elected Major Arch Bishop of Syro-Malabar Church

May 28, 2011 by  
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Mar George Allencherry

Mar George Allencherry

Kochi, Kerala, 26 May 2011: “The CSF hails the election of Mar George Allencherry and looks forward to an era of greater collaboration between the various rites, denominations and even between religions, since Kerala is a state, marked by unity in diversity”, said Joseph Dias, The CSF general secretary.

How does Major Archbishop George Alencherry feel being the first elected Asian Church leader?

“I feel it is part of the plan of God for this individual Church. I happened to be the instrument for that plan,” the prelate said, a day after his election as the leader of the larger of India’s Oriental Catholic rites. Although Church observers and media groups described him as the dark horse in the race, the new leader says he was prepared for the post as other bishops had recently given him enough indication for him to believe he could be elected. “The surprise was lessened because other bishops used to tell me to accept the post if such a call comes from God. So, I was reflecting on their friendly advice,” the 66-year-old prelate said. He is convinced he has a special mission and he will fulfill it with the cooperation of bishops of his Church as well those in Latin and Syro-Malankara Churches that make up the Catholic Church in India. Major Archbishop Alencherry says his priority is to collaborate with other Churches and religions for the welfare of all people in the country. He would also strive for unity and communion within his Church so that it can take up “effective evangelization” works within India and in other mission countries. He regrets, however, that his Church cannot exercise its right to evangelize because Rome has restricted its jurisdiction to Kerala, the southern Indian state where it is based.

His election indicates divine intervention. He is simple… and not a man of confrontation. The Syro-Malabar Church needs a person like him to guide the Church in modern times,” said Babu Paul, a theologian and expert on Church affairs. Bishop Alencherry emerged as the “dark horse” as he was not even among the probables, he said. Sebastian Paul, lawyer and former Member of Parliament, said Bishop Alencherry’s election “surprised us all.” He said: “I’ve no doubt that he emerged as a dark horse. Nobody thought about him till he was elected. Most of us were expecting Curia Bishop and Administrator Bosco Puthur would be elected.” Several television channels in Kerala state, where the Church is based, flashed Bishop Puthur as the winner, prior to the official announcement, he said.

Thuckalay Bishop George Alencherry has been named the new Major Arch Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Church. Born on 19 April 1945 at Thuruthy in Changanassery, Alancherry was ordained priest on 18 December 1972. Alancherry who graduated in economics from the Kerala University with second rank in 1965 also came out with flying colours from of the the Pontifical Theological Institute, Alwaye where he completed his Masters in Theology with a first rank. Alencherry also has a D.S.E.B. and D.Th. conjointly from Sorbonne University and Institut Caholique de Paris, France in 1986. He was ordained the bishop of Thuckalay on 2 February 1997.

 The Syro-Malabar Church has for the first time elected a new head. The Kerala-based Oriental Catholic rite, which claims its origin to St. Thomas the Apostle, elected Bishop George Alencherry of Thuckalay as its Major Archbishop May 26. The newly appointed bishop said his services will be for all people of India. He stressed inter-rite relations, inter-faith harmony and ecumenism. The Syro-Malabar Church along with the other Oriental rite Syro-Malankara Church and the Latin rite make up the Catholic Church in India. Bishop Alencherry, 66, succeeds Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, who headed the Church. The 84-year-old cardinal died April 1 after a prolonged heart ailment. Pope John Paul II had appointed Cardinal Vithayathil its Major Archbishop in 1999.

Bishop Alencherry, however, is the first head to be elected by the Oriental Church’s synod. The election is part of the new administrative system put in place within the Syro-Malabar Church after Pope John Paul II made it a Major Archiepiscopal Church in 1992. With that elevation the pope appointed Cardinal Antony Padiyara as its first Major Archbishop. However, the pope reserved the powers to appoint the major archbishop and bishops. The Vatican in 2004 granted full administrative powers to the Church, including the power to elect bishops. The synod, following Syro-Malabar Church rules, met at its headquarters in Kochi to elect a new leader. The synod will conclude on May 29. He is currently the secretary of the Syro-Malabar Synod and also the chairman of the Synodal Commission for Catechesis.

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