Archdiocesan Statement on FIRs against Sanal Edamaruku
Mumbai, November 2, 2012: Media reports of support for rationalist Sanal Edamaruku, who was charged with blasphemy for his comments about water drops falling from a crucifix in Mumbai earlier this year, is growing online for the lies that he has been putting out. The CSF, MCYF, CPF, etc suspect this to be an attempt to malign the Catholic Church, Hierarchy, Clergy and Laity, which the media would not in detail cover. If you recall, we had filed FIRs against him. Sanal Edamaruku appears to be one who does not know the truth or the Catholic beliefs with respect to the Crucifix, Statues, Holy Water, Church Heirarchy, Mother Theresa, etc.
The Archdiocese of Bombay has issued a clarification with vindicates the stand taken by community activists, as below:
It has been brought to the notice of His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, that a FIR filed against Mr. Sanal Edamaruku by a group of Catholics because of certain derogative statements made against the Catholic Church
We wish to state the following:
1. The Cardinal was out of the country when the issue of the Irla cross surfaced and he has been in no way connected with the filing of the FIR.
2. The Cardinal was informed that some derogative were made against the Catholic Church and have been attributed to Mr. Sanal Edamarukun. They are reproduced here below:
– The Christian clergy under the pretext of religion, regularly manufacture miracles, on the basis of which they collect money.
– The clergy uses monies thus collected to build newer and bigger churches. This is one such tamasha of many that are existing.
– There is a distinct possibility that the Christians made a hole in the head of the Jesus statue, with an outlet at the feet for the water.
– We are told that Christians are not idol worshippers, but incidents and crucifixes like this expose at least the Catholics as idol worshippers.
– Christians are leaving established churches, and to halt the exodus or to prevent churches from becoming empty, priests resort to such gimmicks.
3. It is Clarified that the Catholic Church has at no time claimed that what happened in Irla was a miracle. In such cases the Church is always cautious. Any extraordinary event is carefully studied, the advise of experts sought and established norms are strictly observed before pronouncing a judgment on any such event.
4. The FIR is filed by a group of individuals who have felt offended by the above-mentioned statements and have done so of their own accord, in no way claiming to represent the mind of the Catholic Church of Bombay or of the Archbishop of Bombay.
In keeping with the Christian spirit of peace and reconciliation. Cardinal Gracias appeals to Mr. Sanal Edamarukun to issue an apology for having hurt the sentiments of the people by these statements and he appeals to those who filed the FIR to accept this apology and to withdraw the FIR.
- Press office, Archdiocese of Bombay
The CSF & Christian Activist Stand on Sanal Vindicated
Hence here is The case of the ’Dripping Crucifix’ with the Mumbai Police calling Sanal Edamaruku, a self-proclaimed “rationalist” evading the authorities to record his statement on complaints filed against him for hurting religious sentiments. This he did live on TV twice, videos of which are available with The CSF, which along with others is being blamed for curbing his freedom of expression. What is not known is, what exactly Sanal Edamaruku said, that caused the community to react so strongly.
The CSF is all freedom of expression, but not for the right to ridicule, abuse, mock or poke fun at any faith or the clergy and followers of any religion. Sanal Edamaruku says he “faces persecution from the Catholic church” as per his blog, though apart from issuing a clarification, the Catholic Church has ignored him. Rather, it was NGOs and individuals, many of whom were non-Christians, which took up cudgels, in public interest.
The issue relates water observed to be dripping from a Crucifix in Irla of suburban Mumbai, for no logically explainable reason. This fact was captured on television, by cameras and witnessed by police and thousands, who flocked to the spot. The CSF called it an unexplainable phenomenon and challenged anyone to replicate the extraordinary happening. Or provide some rationale or explanation for it. Even the media, present in large numbers could not provide answers and publicly said so.
The capillary action theory proposed by Sanal Edamaruku cannot according to The CSF be replicated to raise water from the ground, through a concrete base, on to a wooden cross, across a nail and drip the water from a Crucifix, standing almost 7 feet above the ground. There is also no source of water anywhere nearby or connected to the Crucifix on that bright sunny day.
On 5th March, 2012, when the extra-ordinary happened, a TV channel telecast the occurrence. The media mentioned the non-Christian lady, who first noticed it, residents and witnesses, like the parish priest, Fr. Vincent Palett, Judith Monteiro, Gordon Jacobs, etc. The TV channel had Sanal Edamaruku speaking live from Delhi, who based his observations purely on hearsay, not having seen the dripping Crucifix himself. During the course of the program, he made several objectionable and religiously offensive statements, which many, like the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF), etc. besides The CSF took offense too.
The activists and residents gave Sanal Edamaruku, ample opportunity to apologize, as he had hurt the religious sentiments of Christians, by his public statements in the mass media. He not only vehemently refused to accede to their requests, but on the contrary added insult to injury by making even more hurting remarks, there and also on a subsequent television program. His very obvious and stridently anti-Christian bias compelled me, as general secretary of The CSF, to file the first FIR on 11th March, 2012 at the MIDC Police Station, as we were convinced of his malicious intention to insult the faith, the clergy and hierarchy.
Some points raised in my FIR complaint with the police
It clearly exposes his blatant anti-Catholic and also anti-religion stance. He is a self-confessed atheist, who pokes fun and is generous in his derogatory remarks on various religions, which comes through clearly in the video recordings. We leave it to you to decide, whether a person making such statements should be allowed to go scot free, without even an enquiry. How would believers of other faiths, like Islam or Buddhism have reacted to the remarks presented below?
1. Christian clergy under the pretext of religion, regularly manufacture miracles, on the basis of which they collect money.
2. The clergy uses monies thus collected to build newer and bigger churches. This is one such tamasha of many that are existing.
3. There is a distinct possibility that the Christians made a hole in the head of the Jesus statue, with an outlet at the feet for the water.
4. We are told that Christians are not idol worshipers, but incidents and crucifixes like this, expose at least the Catholics as idol worshipers.
5. Christians are leaving established churches & to halt the exodus or to prevent churches from becoming empty, priests resort to such gimmicks.
6. If Christ was killed on the Cross, then it is not a thing to be worshipped. Does anyone worship the gun with which Gandhi was shot? Then why should Christians worship the Cross?
7. Mother Mary is always shown crying. Priests even spread rumours that her tears of blood can be seen and then collect money, which is misused.
8. The Pope is anti-science and believes in exorcising evil spirits or black magic. You may watch such tricks, but don’t give these Christians money.
9. In a human, there is blood and other body fluids like tears, urine, saliva, etc. Here we don’t have blood coming out? So what is this water that is dripping?
10. The clergy is promoting bogus miracles, taking advantage and cheating the gullible, with the Church having an exploitative structure for these tricks.
11. The Church has been the cause of maximum damage in the world, with its many superstitions, blind beliefs, etc. which the priests promote as it becomes necessary.
12. Even the ’miracle’ that decided Mother Teresa’s case for sainthood was a fake one. Almost every Church is full of such cheap tricks performed to get money in God’s name.
Bishop Agnelo Gracias: The Official Church Reaction
Bishop Agnelo Gracias clarifying the Church’s stand said that as a general observation, “The official Church is slow to attribute supernatural causes to ‘extra-ordinary’ phenomena we observe in life. As far as possible, the Church tries to see if such phenomena can be explained by natural causes. Further, the Church does not pay too much attention to these extraordinary phenomena, even though she accepts the possibility that God may intervene in human life in an extraordinary way – what we often term a ‘miraculous’ way. On the ‘dripping Crucifix’, Bishop Agnelo categorically stated that “one can doubt if this water dripping has a supernatural cause. The Church has NOT made any pronouncement on it. There is a lengthy scientific process that has to be undergone before any official pronouncement is made. It is quite possible that the dripping water may have a natural explanation. However, what is surely objectionable are some statements made by the Delhi interlocutor, Mr. Sanal Edamaruku and I would like to point out a couple of these erroneous assertions:
* Contrary to the interlocutor’s claim, the Church does not advocate the worship of images. There is a difference between honouring a thing and making it divine, something to be worshipped. We respect and honour the Scriptures of any religion not because the books are in themselves divine, but because they have a special significance for the adherents of that religion. We honour a cross because it is for us a reminder of the love of Jesus who died for us
* A second gratuitous assertion is that the dripping Cross has been created by priests who are out to make money! This Cross is not on Church property and the one who is alleged to have noticed the dripping water was not even a Catholic. No money has been collected by any priest. And surely, priests do not build churches with such money, as is claimed by the interlocutor.
* A third unwarranted statement is that the Pope or the Church is against Science. The interlocutor would only have to go to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on the internet, to see the list of eminent Catholic scientists and how the Church has supported scientific research, since the emergence of the European universities in the Middle Ages. There is a Pontifical Academy of Sciences, founded in 1603, which seeks to pay honour to pure science, wherever it is found, to assure its freedom and to promote its research.
Bishop Agnelo concludes, “I realize that the interlocutor has made these and other unwarranted statements out of ignorance – he is unaware of facts. The least he could do would be to apologize to the Catholic community for hurting it, even though it might be inadvertently”.
Exposing Sanal Edamaruku’s ’Real’ Intentions?
Here is a man, whose credentials are reportedly in grave doubt, even if one goes by just what he says about himself or his organization on the internet. He supposedly specializes in making a living out of challenging public figures, (the more revered or famous, the better for him) and gives the impression of feeding off the publicity. Sometimes even writing (25) books, articles or being interviewed on television and benefitting from it.
He is one of the founding members of what is called “Rationalist International”, for which one has to pay Rs. 10,000 (US$ 500) to be a supporter, Rs. 1,00,000 (US$ 5000) to be a benefactor and Rs. 2,00,000 (US$ 10,000) to be a patron – http://rationalistinternational.net/
After the Dripping Crucifix case, when complaints were filed against him (a second one by Agnelo Fernandes of the MCYF), a Defence Committee for him was immediately formed and an appeal to support him was made -http://www.rationalistinternational.net/defence_fund/ One has options by PayPal, Money Transfer or in case of problems, the donor can contact him firstname.lastname@example.org A person can Pay Now in Indian rupees, Dollars, Euros or Pound Sterlings….
The Editor’s Take and Real Issues Side-tracked
At no point in time, did any one, other than Sanal Edamaruku, for obvious reasons, claim it to be a ’miracle’, even though not just for the witnesses, but also the media, police and municipal staff, could not offer a plausible explanation of the phenomenon, leading The CSF to call it The Case of Mumbai’s Mysterious Dripping Crucifix
The Constitution of India guarantees the freedom of faith – to preach, practice and propagate one’s religion. And it does not give any citizen the right to insult the faith of another. Sanal Edamaruku refers to the Holy Father disrespectfully as Mr. Pope, which is also not acceptable, as per international protocol. He talks of Christianity having many blind beliefs and superstitions, which according to him; we need to do away with.
Finally, we have not been taking him on, simply because we believe in – Praying for the Persecutors, Forgiving those who hurt us… But there must be rule of law. And the law, in the interest of social order and communal harmony does not allow such persons unlimited freedom to abuse or ridicule. The CSF will therefore let the law take its course.
- Joseph Dias,
General Secretary, The CSF
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