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Just before the opening of Only Way to World Peace conference in Chennai, India, the Fatima Center was warned that the conference might be targeted by the same fanatical Hindu groups who were responsible for anti-Christian violence last December and January. Such religious terrorism has risen to a crescendo in recent years, especially in the states of Orissa in the east and Gujarat in the west.
Catholic and Protestant missionaries are accused of proselytizing, and therefore violating the identification between India and Hinduism asserted by intolerant Hindu nationalists. These are the same militant Hindus who were not long ago allowed by the Rector of the Fatima Shrine to desecrate this holy place with their ceremonies and worship of idols, all in the name of "ecumenism".
In fact, the numbers of Christians in India are actually declining. Although only 2.5% of the general population, Christians run one of every five elementary schools in India, one of every four houses for widows and orphans, and one out of three houses for lepers and AIDS patients. The Immaculate Heart of Mary Orphanage established by the Fatima Center at Hyderabad is just one example of how the tiny Christian community aids the hundreds of millions of destitute. And, of course, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is India's pride...except among fanatical Hindus.
The latest explosion of anti-Christian violence that took place in Orissa did not even spare the Sisters and Brothers of Mother Teresa. Last Christmas three of their houses in the district of Khandhamai were attacked by an enraged mob armed with swords, axes, iron rods, and clubs. The Sisters and Brothers had to flee into the woods.
The aggressors vented themselves by devastating Christian houses and chapels. This wave of aggression against Christians began on Christmas Eve and continued during the following days in various locations, with attacks on churches, the burning of houses, and destruction of shops.
After visiting the terror-stricken Christians of the area, Telesphore Cardinal Toppo told AsiaNews the horror he had seen: "An expanse of ashes is what remains in the areas stricken by anti-Christian violence at Christmas in Orissa. It was diabolical; churches desecrated and houses burned. The villages upon which the extremist Hindu violence fell are today a vast cremation ground."
At the end of January, Raphael Cheenath, the Catholic Archbishop of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, the diocese hardest hit, numbered the victims at 6 dead and 5000 homeless. No fewer than 70 churches had been destroyed, he said, along with 6 convents, 3 seminaries and 600 houses belonging to Christians.
In his report, Archbishop Cheenath points the finger at the promoters of aggression against Christians: the ideologues of intolerant Hinduism, ensconced in the group Vishva Hindu Parishad, and the members of the high castes, who are unfavorable toward the social advancement of the Dalits ("untouchables") -- the poorest, the outcast and "impure" -- many of whom are converts to Catholicism.
Fifteen priests from Orissa were scheduled to attend Only Way to World Peace in Chennai in February. Sadly, only two actually made it to the conference. The other thirteen had to stay with their parishioners, who were still hiding in the countryside from the marauding Hindus.
India and the whole world need the period of peace that was promised to us by Our Lady of Fatima. That peace includes not just freedom from war, but freedom from persecution and religious terrorism -- just two of the errors of Russia which have now spread throughout the world, particularly Asia. The false ecumenism of Cardinals Bertone and Kasper, which invites our persecutors into our churches and shrines, will not bring peace. Only Our Lady can help us!
"Orissa Riots: A Trail of Destruction and Agony", by the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Raphael Cheenath, SVD,
Report of Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, from L'Osservatore Romano 2/2/08 (in Italian),
"Mother Teresa's Sisters Are Also Hostage to Fanatic Hinduists" , by Sandro Magister,
"Fatima Peace Conference in India: Most Successful Ever!" - report from the Fatima Center,
Father Cyril Anthony, pastor of St. Cecilia's church, Raddoluwa, Sri Lanka, describes how, with the assistance of the Fatima Center, he set up a program of Fatima Rosary devotions in his parish. His program is a model for the Rosary Crusade in all of South Asia. Click here to see and hear his talk at Only Way to World Peace.
Reuters reported in February that China is in talks with the Holy See to restore normal diplomatic relations. Beijing and the Vatican severed diplomatic ties shortly after the Communists took power in 1949. As reported in Fatima Perspectives No. 99, "Vatican Reportedly Prepares China Sellout", talks and rumors of talks have persisted since at least 2001.
However, in 2007 Pope Benedict XVI issued a Letter to Chinese Catholics in which he called for resolution to the dispute over control of the Church in China. It is estimated that about 5 million Chinese Catholics adhere to the heretical and schismatic "church" set up by the Communists, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA). A similar number are loyal to the underground Church, which rejects government control and answers only to Rome. As reported previously in this e-newsletter, hundreds of Chinese bishops and priests have been imprisoned, tortured and even martyred for their loyalty to the true Church.
Now the Vatican is engaging in what Reuters calls "a secretive and cautious exploration of normalization" with the persecutors of its loyal followers. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, confirmed this without saying where and when talks had taken place, nor at what level or between whom. It is to be noted though, that the Vatican Secretary of State, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, would bear ultimate responsibility for any compromise with the Chinese Communist regime and its puppet church.
In AsiaNews Father Bernardo Cervellera opines that the Chinese statements are just part of a propaganda effort designed to improve China's image prior to this summer's Olympics. "Circulating the rumors that the Pope is ready to go to Beijing for the Olympics or that there has been a diplomatic thaw", he writes, "is an attempt to take shelter under a moral umbrella, away from the downpour of criticism that accuses China of rigidity, of changing nothing, above all in regard to human rights."
Please pray for the souls of the untold millions of Chinese Catholics who continue to suffer under the Communist tyranny, and for the millions keeping the Faith in spite of persecution and incarceration.
For an excellent analysis of the persecution faced by Catholics in China today, see "Catholic Church in China: Persecution and Confusion", by Joseph M.C. Kung, (nephew of Ignatius Pinmei Cardinal Kung, d. 2000),
"Recent Vatican Pronouncement on China: Support or Sellout", by James Bannister,
"China-Vatican Relations, Smoke and Mirrors Over the Olympics", by Bernardo Cervellera.
"Pope Benedict Under Attack - Part II", by Christopher A. Ferrara,
"Meet Russia's Charlie McCarthy", by Christopher A. Ferrara,
"Russia's New Stalin?", by Christopher A. Ferrara,
"Separation of Church and State: Contrary to God's Objective Order for the World", by James W. Bannister,
"Kasper the Termite Opposes Mass Return of Anglicans to the Church", by Christopher A. Ferrara.
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