Skip to main content

Catholic Bishops take exception to 'narrow, divisive' nationalism based false ideloogiies


Counterview Desk
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, which met for its XXXIV plenary assembly, at the St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru, on February 13-19, 2020, has, in a statement, said that “patriotism is different from narrow and divisive cultural nationalism, which is radically different from Constitutional nationalism.”
Indirectly referring to the alleged efforts of the country’s BJP rulers to impose its own version of nationalism, the statement says, “No one has the right to question patriotism of any Indian citizen on subjective grounds. Authentic patriotism unites us amidst divergences.”
Without referring to the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which seeks make religion the basis of citizenship, the statement, issued following the plenary assembly, in which 192 members participated, said, “Patriotism is defined as directing the attention of the citizens to the good of the whole human family, united by the different ties which bind together races, people and nations.”
Criticizing what it called “false nationalistic ideologies”, the statement says, these “instigate contempt for cultures other than the majoritarian dominant culture are capable of perpetrating atrocities”, adding, “It is necessary to clarify the essential difference between patriotism and pseudo nationalism… Nationalism, particularly in its most radical and extreme forms, is thus the antithesis of true patriotism.

Excerpts:

The hallmark of Indian society is its pluralism. From ancient times, India has been a mosaic of many religions, cultures and languages with a strong Indian identity. What unites us is stronger and deeper than what divides us.
We are proud of our Constitution that envisions a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic which resolved to secure for all its citizens Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity as enshrined in the Preamble. Justice is spelt out as social, economic and political; Liberty is explained as liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; and Equality is understood as equality of status and opportunity.
These Constitutional values form the ethos of Indian identity that promotes fraternity, dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation. Every citizen must be ever vigilant against all attempts to undermine the ennobling human vision of the Constitution so that our beloved country ever remains united.

Biblical foundations

Various streams of thoughts running through the biblical texts enrich our understanding of the necessity of dialogue among peoples and cultures. Dialogue with other religions is integral to the Biblical Revelation. The different aspects of dialogue in the Bible are rooted in our faith in God as Trinity: God as the Creator of all, the universal presence of God’s Spirit, and Jesus as the Saviour of all mankind.
In the Gospels, Jesus’ encounters with people reveal that God is the Father of all. The Kingdom of God that Jesus preached embodies the love of God, irrespective of race, sex, colour, class, language and creed. The Good News of Jesus calls upon humanity to establish a society of justice, equality, love, forgiveness and peace.
Dialogue begins and grows when we open ourselves to the Lord, and by committing ourselves to his words and deeds, live the mystery of his death and resurrection which paves the path to truth and charity.
For example, in the dialogue with the Samaritan woman, Jesus unveils the true horizons of relating with God in truth and spirit. He starts with the dialogue of life and moves to the dialogue of action which is followed by the dialogue of sharing the religious experience, and eventually the dialogue leads to the witnessing of truth.

Church teachings

The Church encourages believers to respect each other and one another’s religious tradition, thus cooperating with one another to promote peace and harmony and work for the common good of all.
Pope Francis has urged all people of good will to make every effort to establish peace in society by “inviting all persons who believe in God to unite and work together, so that it may serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters… called to express this human fraternity by safeguarding creation and the entire universe, and supporting all persons, especially the poorest and those most in need…” (Document on Human Fraternity, 4th February 2019, Abu Dhabi).
People of every culture and religion and those who profess no religion must be esteemed with mutual respect which eventually leads to human fraternity
Dialogue is rooted in the very vocation of the Church. Being open to dialogue, calls for being absolutely consistent with one’s own religious tradition. Believers enter into each other’s depth of life through dialogue.

Dialogue with cultures and religions

Every community that lives in India possesses its own cultural identity with its richness, which must be respected at any cost. Attempts to homogenize and impose a mono-cultural pattern pose serious threats to the cultural patrimony of our country. As our Constitution envisions, there not be any meaningful dialogue of culture without acknowledging the primacy of human person.
People of every culture and religion and those who profess no religion must be esteemed with mutual respect which eventually leads to human fraternity. No culture or religion shall dominate over other cultures and religions. Subduing certain cultures by the dominant culture will destroy the brotherhood and harmony existing in the country.
“The enemy of fraternity is an individualism which translates into the desire to affirm oneself and one’s own group above others. Religious behaviour, therefore, needs continually to be purified from the recurrent temptation to judge others as enemies and adversaries.” (Document on Human Fraternity, 4th February 2019, Abu Dhabi).

Liberating dialogue with the poor, the Dalits and tribal people

Dialogue with the poor, the Dalits and Tribal people is an urgent priority in the context of India. The Dalits and Tribal people are continually denied their human rights socially. Every step taken in favour of their liberation by eradicating poverty, exploitation, discrimination, and every other form of sinful structures of society are effective means of dialogue.
However, dialogue with the poor shall not be limited only to the works of mercy. The term ‘the Church of the poor’ reflects the constant self-understanding of Christians that the poor stand in the place of Christ, and therefore charity and justice must be an essential and central dimension of what it means to be a follower of Christ.
In this context, we urge the State authorities to take adequate steps to ensure justice to the Dalit Christians and the Tribal people.

Dialogue of peace

Interreligious dialogue is one of the most pressing needs of our times. There will be no peace among nations without peace among religions. There will be no peace among religions without dialogue among religions. We are alarmed by continuous persecution on a global level endured by innocent people at the hands of fundamentalist and terrorist groups.
False ideologies that instigate contempt for cultures other than the majoritarian dominant culture are capable of perpetrating atrocities
Dialogue in India should aim at collaboration in areas such as peace-building, protection the environment, eradication of poverty and ensuring the human dignity of all, especially of women and children. Besides, it means that we condemn all wars, violence and terrorism that create insurmountable blocks to dialogue. We pledge ourselves to engage in a process of dialogue for a reconciled society.

A fervent appeal

We believe that patriotism is different from narrow and divisive cultural nationalism, which is radically different from Constitutional nationalism. No one has the right to question patriotism of any Indian citizen on subjective grounds. Authentic patriotism unites us amidst divergences. Patriotism is defined as directing the attention of the citizens to the good of the whole human family, united by the different ties which bind together races, people and nations.
“All Christians must be aware of their sense of responsibility and their service of the common good. They must recognize the legitimacy of different opinions with regard to temporal solutions, and respect citizens, who, even as a group, defend their points of view by honest methods” (Church in the Modern World, no. 75).
False nationalistic ideologies that instigate contempt for cultures other than the majoritarian dominant culture are capable of perpetrating atrocities. It is necessary to clarify the essential difference between patriotism and pseudo nationalism. Patriotism builds up the nation while pseudo nationalism destroys the integrity, unity and harmony of the nation. Nationalism, particularly in its most radical and extreme forms, is thus the antithesis of true patriotism.
We appeal to the State authorities to ensure that pseudo nationalism does not continue to give rise to new forms of totalitarianism. Together with the framers of the Constitution, we, the Catholic Bishops of India, affirm that religion shall not be a criterion for determining Indian citizenship. The authorities should come forward with sincere and effective means to erase the sense of fear, anxiety and uncertainty spreading in the nation, especially among the religious minorities.
Needless to say that dissent should not be misconstrued as un-patriotism. Democracy cannot be built on monologue. We call upon the State authorities that it is right time to sit around the common table, a place of conversation and of shared hopes. Against the attempts at creating cultural isolation in our beloved country, dialogue will make the elements that are seemingly a barrier or a wall, a bridge of relationship.
“Identity and dialogue are not enemies. Our own cultural identity is strengthened and enriched as a result of dialogue with those unlike ourselves. Nor is our authentic identity preserved by an impoverished isolation.” (Pope Francis, Querida Amazonia, n.)
---
*Click HERE to read full statement 

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.