Rorate Caeli

A different kind of 'reform of the reform'

India: the country that has more Catholic seminarians than any other country (mostly belonging to the Roman Rite); the country that has the most bishops, priests, religious and missionaries in all of Asia, and yet does not have a single 'canonically-regular' every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass among its more than 120 Roman Rite dioceses and archdioceses. (The SSPX does have a small presence, though.) It is a country that cannot be ignored in any predictions of future trends in the Catholic Church, given its rapidly increasing ecclesiastical influence not just in Asia but in the universal Church -- but, liturgically, where is it headed?

A good idea as to this direction can be seen from the following interview with Oswald Cardinal Gracias published on June 15, 2012 by Zenit (India: Mary is an important key to heal division.) Reading it, one cannot help but notice the difference of his attitude towards the Roman liturgical tradition compared to the Cardinal of neighboring Sri Lanka, a country equally Asian and which also belongs to the Indian cultural sphere. 


Q: You are the tenth Cardinal in India, which means that there is a greater weight now being given to the Church in Asia, to the Church in the south. Is this how you would see this at this time?

Cardinal Gracias: Certainly, certainly. I see it -and I have said it at that time also- as an important Church in Asia and India in particular, because India is growing quickly. India is becoming important. Our Indian church, theologians, bishops and priests are making a contribution to the universal Church. They have much to contribute to the universal Church in thought and activities, the method in which the Church is progressing. We’ve received a lot; we’ve give a lot also. And I think India has a lot to give and I think it is [a] recognition of India’s role in the universal Church.

Q: Although the Church has been there for two millennia, the Catholic Church -or Christianity- is still seen as a foreign body. Do you see this and why?

Cardinal Gracias: Often people have said [it] and I think in the minds of many [Hindus] the Church is … or has a foreign element in it. Possibly one reason is because we always had foreign leaders and bishops -now there is not a single bishop who is not Indian- until Cardinal Gracias, who was Archbishop of Bombay in the 50’s. He was the first Indian Archbishop of Bombay... Then the fact that we haven’t fully enculturated our liturgical services, our prayer services. We have remained a little bit too -I am in the Congregation of Sacraments- Roman in that sense, and not sufficiently Indian. Now we are making efforts and the Congregation in Rome is helping [with] this and to see this importance of enculturation. And the more we become enculturated, I think, the more people will see that we [are] truly Indian. Because Christianity in India is from the first Apostle in 52 or so. St. Thomas [is] supposed to have come to India.

37 comments:

Fr Jackson said...

Having worked in India for a year I must say that my impression was that there was a fairly limited awareness of the meaning of the traditional Mass vs. the new Mass.

Christopher said...

His Eminence's reference to 'enculturation' and to St Thomas in virtually the same breath is really quite mysterious. He doesn't mention the immense cultural insensitivity with which the St Thomas Christians have been treated by the Latin Church over the last 500 years or so. Nor does he seem to recognise the strong implication of his line of thought... which is that Syriac is an appropriately inculturated liturgical language in India.

P.K.T.P. said...

As you point out, moderators, there is a small S.S.P.X presence, in six to eight dioceses, including Bombay and Madras and Goa, Palayam Kottai & others in Tamil Nadu.

Despite all the blather about 'Ranjith', several years after his return to Ceylon, there is not one T.L.M. anywhere in that country either, including in Ranjith's own Archdiocese of Colombo. Yes, we hear of Ranjith's seminary overtures to the S.S.P.X. All talk and no action.

Msgr. Pozzo is too busy wreckovating the 1962 Missal but infecting it with NewMass Prefaces actually to do his job and implement "Summorum Pontificum". There has been very little growth since 2008 and almost none since U.E. of 2011.

P.K.T.P.

Acreator said...

Inculturation means that you will not understand anything from the Holy Mass, even if you go just 10 hrs from home in some countries. Inculturation in Germany has lead to a very Lutheran way of serving the Holy Mass, in the Philippines that you sing the Creed to the tune of "Jingelbell", in Italy that the music is represented by sentimental songs for children, in Africa that the Holy Mass is mixed up with animistic rituals and dances...

I wonder if cardinal Ranjith would agree that we need more of inculturation.

Rab said...

So many Indian priests I have met seem unable to recognise the uniqueness of Christ. Inculturalisation has meant Hinduisation in many instances.
The great Indian virtue, reinforced by Concilliar theology is "toleration".

John Fisher said...

Yes Inculturation is the Syrio Malabar Rite. So I find it misleading for a Latin Rite Cardinal to claim St Thomas.
Enculturation means Hinduification. Yes the Hindus killed St Thomas.It has always been that way in India. Indian Latin Rite clergy are generally syncretists with a layer of Modernism. That is because they uncritically accept the white man's modern mixed up with the superstition of Hinduism.
As for Vocations it is economically based. They go where the money is! The place for Indian clergy is India!

JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

Inculturation, can be good, for example I believe in Korea or Japan the congregations at SSPX masses sit i a particular position which denotes respect in that country, rather than on benches etc... So in some cases its perfectly reasonable.

On the other hand its often abused to mean liturgical dances, awful music, weird kinds of bells (which are associated with false religions) and so on. It often leads to syncretism and I believe thats the case in certain parts of Africa, Asia and South America. Weren't there some particularly dodgy masses John Paul II attended?

P.K.T.P. said...

Give up the unity had by adopting a dead language and you get endless disunity in inculaturation: Hindu-looking Masses in India, Masses looking like tea ceremonies in Japan, pagan dances from the Americas. The vestments of the ancient Mass are not Western modern clothing but ancient Western clothing and, even then, stylised. I think that one can add Eastern or African art to the Mass in subtle and telling ways but that's not what they mean by inculturation: they mean detraditionalisation. It's just another way to break the link to the past.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

I do know of several. St Peter's Church in Bandra, Mumbai has had for a couple of years now the Traditional Latin Mass every Sunday. There are others. Perhaps that are not publicised but they do exist.

God bless

Fr Anthony Mary, F.SS.R.

JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

Thats good news Fr Anthony Mary, thanks for sharing it!

Evagrius said...

"Inculturation", strictly speaking, is merely that process by which the Church has always adapted to the local culture and customs.

As for the 1962 Missal not being adopted in one of the fastest-growing parts of the Church - indeed, being scarcely known, might this perhaps indicate that the supposed causal link between the reform of the Roman liturgy and the decline of the 70s and onward is not all it's cracked up to be? "Cum hoc ergo propter hoc", and all that...

JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

Evagrius, I don't see how your conclusion follows your premise, not even a little bit. Could you please explain your point?

Knight of Malta said...

GOA has some of the prettiest churches and Cathedrals in the world. Established by Portugal, I guess you could call it 'colonial'; but India is very proud of it.

Might be nice to see a TLM established there!

TheAsianTraddy said...

Sadly, this is the direction where the Asian churches are heading to in terms of liturgy. Inculturation becomes the excuse for all kinds of weird novelties. Granted, Masses celebrated in these countries (even with these new innovations) are still much more reverent than your typical American parish's liturgy. Nonetheless, I find it hard to justify some of these practices and find it rather distracting, e.g. circular altar, removal of kneelers, abandonment of genuflection. Inculturation is good if done wisely and moderately: the Church has been doing it since the earliest time. But some of the things going on right now is "over and beyond."

Edward said...

Very interesting comment about Cardinal Ranjith's lack of spreading the Latin Mass in the Archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka, another reason the SSPX should be wary of what Rome says, they better watch instead what Rome does not what it says.

Not Surprised said...

Many seem surprised that he's a typical Vatican II ignoramus. Why this surprise?

J. R. P. said...

I was just in Bangalore earlier this year. I had sent mail to various people in the Diocese, and there was no EF mass to be had, so I gritted my teeth and bore the English NO at the Cathedral. In retrospect, I wonder if I should have tried a native language one, or another parish.

It was about the same level of deformation as the Missa de Hippissima I see in the usual NO parish here, which I felt is a shame for the many people there who think this is the way things ought to be.

Usual electric guitar/piano/more than usually insipid songs with (as I flipped through the book) the usual level of impoverished or mutton-headed theology. Things really could be simple for non-native-English speakers without eviscerating the faith or offending aesthetics.

The best I can say about the couple of weeks there was the the homilies weren't memorable.

I wasn't sure what to make of the Crucifix being lit up like a Christmas tree with while and other neon lights, except it reminded me of the more modern shrines to shiva. I have to admit, I couldn't come to a conclusion as to whether this was a valid expression of inculturation or not - it looked a bit garish.

(I did mention to the guy on guitar after Mass, who seemed nice enough, that he isn't supposed to play while the priest is saying the words of consecration &c, and he didn't do it the next week. So, hopefully, that got a little better after I left.)

Carl said...

Inculturation (and enculturation) have become synonymous with rapid and aggressive adaptations that end in irenic syncretism. This is unfortunate. The sort of careful, organic, conservative adaptations that were accomplished by St. Augustine of Canterbury under authority of St. Gregory the Great were of immense value in the conversion of England. Likewise, the sorts of adaptations (likewise strategic, organic and conservative) accomplished under and following Alcuin led to a beautiful enrichment of the Roman liturgy in the Middle Ages.

Like everyone else, I share the concern that Cardinal Gracias' comments have import only too radical and inorganic. But I wanted to register my belief that history suggests inculturation needn't be the dirty word it's become, a synonym of the systematic emptying of liturgical meaning in the NAME of cultural adaptation. It is very sad and even diabolical that this is what has come of the notion of liturgical adaptation to culture.

porys said...

@ - Fr Anthony Mary, F.SS.R. - Could you give some more information about TLM in St Peter's Church in Bandra, Mumbai (diocesan - as I understand) - exact time on Sunday, address - or e-mail when I can check it? It is important to update wikkimissa.

P.K.T.P. said...

My last post got erased because I failed to send it properly. I wanted to thank Fr. Anthony Mary for reporting on the every-Su. T.L.M. in Bandra, Bombay (a City having no other name in proper English, just as Madras also has no other name). This Mass was not on WikiMissa even a fortnight ago. I check there periodically, and it is the only listed T.L.M. in all of India approved by the local bishops. Thank you for this great news. I don't have direct contacts in India or Ceylon but know others who have them.

I have good news from Peru as well. I have been complaining a lot on-line about about the situation in Lima. Well, it seems that our diocesan-approved every-Su. T.L.M. has been re-restored there. This is very good news. The S.S.P.X has a chapel there but cannot manage to offer Mass at its chapel on the every-Su. basis.

Maybe the P.C.E.D. will now wake up and take some action against bishops who obstruct our Mass.

P.K.T.P.

P.K.T.P. said...

J. R. P. and Fr. Anthony Mary:

If either or both of you have good contacts in India, I wonder if you could edit the WikiMissa site for that country. This is the best site on-line for keeping track of Masses internationally.

St. Peter Church in Bombay is mentioned now but there is no street address or contact information posted for it.

P.K.T.P.

P.K.T.P. said...

Dear Fr. Anthony Mary:

I take the view that we are all equal in just one way, the most important way, spiritually. Therefore, an Indian faithful is just as important as an American faithful or French faithful. We do have fairly good reporting from most of Africa but India seems to be cut off. Is there any way you could get someone who is 'in the know' to report on diocesan T.L.M.s in India? This is not just for travellers, as if only outsiders count; it is also for Indian faithful, an increasing number of whom will have Internet access.

P.K.T.P.

Erik said...

Distinctions need to be made before jumping to false generalizations. The Church has never condemned the adoption of some local customs if they are not contrary to the faith. The Syro-Malabar Catholics of Kerala, for example, whose liturgical practice is Eastern Rite (manly Syrian) and is traced to St. Thomas the Apostle has their faithful remove their shoes prior to entering the Church. This is perfectly acceptable inculturation and is very ancient to their Rite. But those of you who remain ignorant regarding the Eastern Rites cannot appreciate that this practice is not Hindu. Before declaring heresy where there is none, take the time to research the venerable Eastern Rites of Holy Mother Church. I would agree with you though that Syncretism is a tendency of the Latin Rite priest -- but I don't think the Eastern Rites have suffered as much. False ecumenism is the source of that Syncretism.

Glebb said...

Dear PKTP:

Might I suggest that in observance of the virtue of prudence you at least allow one intervening post before your subsequent posts?

Second, may I suggest you get your own blog? This comment section is really becoming the PKTP show. I'd appreciate the occasional insight but these days I'm just using the scroll wheel to find the non-PKTP comments and I'm guessing I'm not the only one.

In charity,
Glebb

Peterman said...

"Therefore, an Indian faithful is just as important as an American faithful or French faithful"

I agree with that statement PKTP but the Church is not equal in every country and I'm sorry if that disappoints or bothers some people. The Church in France is pre-destined for defense of the faith and down the road she'll fulfill that duty again. France is not my native land of course but I acknowledge that France is the Eldest Daughter of the Church and (sorry Italy but you were just a collection of states up until recently) I consider France first in the Church.

Bonaventure said...

Priests in India dont know why they are priests..its a profession where you could earn a lot of money, faith is question, its easier to implement Vatican II in India to its best calibre, priests dont bother about the faithful.

The SSPX are doing their best, but spreading tradition in India is difficult since none are bothered about what happens in Rome, nor in their parishes.
The people blindly beleive what ever the parish priests say, the priest here condemn the traditional mass and make a mockery out of it, since the number of faithful asking for the traditional mass are few, they are treated badly.

Anonymous said...

The complete address of St Peter's Church, Bandra, Bombay, is
St. Peter's Church
Hill Road, Bandra (West)
Mumbai 400 050.
Tel.: +91 22 2642 3098; 2645 9474

Timing and other details of TLM: 1100 am on the First Sunday of every month at the chapel in the loft of the Church.

If you would like to obtain an official verification, you could send an email to errolsj@hotmail.com, the email address listed on the parish website (http://www.stpetersbandra.com/index.html).

Gratias said...

In defense of P.K.T.P., it was from his repeated posts that I, and many others, learned the importance of having even-Sunday TLM. Where it is regularly offered a whole community grows around it, with altar servers, a Gregorian Schola, and organists. In our humble Diocesan Traditional mass in the outskirts of Los Angeles - where we are reluctantly ostracized despite having written stacks of letters to Cardinal Mahony and Abp. Gomez asking for a more central location in this city of 5,000,000 baptized Catholics - not only a magnificent choir has developed, but at least two Priests have learned the Mass of the Ages and recently we had a vocation for the FSSP!

Our job as faithful is to take the drive to the Latin Mass no matter how long it takes. It is here in the USA that the Latin Mass is flourishing thanks to the local Una Voce chapters. We must continue to lead.

It is very sad that India has pursued a stupid enculturation policy rather than the traditional Catholic Liturgy. That said, Indians do have greater worries. Yesterday we has here in Rorate the following communication:

"Thank you, Helena,Dear Brothers and Sisters, we have received an urgent message asking the favor to send it to as many people as possible. Thank you! We received this message from the Provincial Superior of the Franciscan Fathers OFM (Order Friars Minor) of India: "Pray for the Church in India. Some Buddhist extremists in India have burnt 20 churches during last night. This afternoon they plan to destroy another 200 churches in the province of Olisabang. They want to kill 200 missionaries in 24 hours. All Christians are trying to hide themselves in the villages. Please pray for all of them and send this e-mail to all the people you know. Please ask God to have mercy with our brothers and sisters of India. When you receive this message, please send it urgently to other people. Pray to our Omnipotent and Victorious Lord for them. Thank you! Gonzalo Duarte G. SS.CC. Bishop of Valparaiso e-mail sent by Fr. Fermo Diocese of Concordia Pordenone"

P.K.T.P. said...

Dear Glebb:

Sorry that your scroll finger is sore. I'll say a prayer for you. Maybe you'd like to make some substantial contributions, or you might prefer just to whine.

Anon.

Are you saying that the T.L.M. at Bombay is only said one Sunday per month? On Wikipedia, it says that it is said every Sunday

P.K.T.P.

P.K.T.P. said...

Peterman:

I agree that France comes first. She is more important to our movement than is any other country, including the U.S.A. However, my point stands, and I am sometimes rather saddened by the way in which Asian countries, in particular, or African countries, are ignored. We must also consider that 46% of all faithful live in Latin America and yet there are not many T.L.M.s there. Only one for all of Lima; only one for all of Peru? Nothing at all for Venezuela? Nothing for Bolivia or Uruguay every Sunday? That needs to change.

P.K.T.P.

Neil Whitmont said...

Glebb asks: "This comment section is really becoming the PKTP show. I'd appreciate the occasional insight but these days I'm just using the scroll wheel to find the non-PKTP comments and I'm guessing I'm not the only one."

Precisely. Let PKTP remember what Clement Attlee once told a tiresomely loquacious left-wing parliamentarian: "A period of silence from you would be welcome." How can Rorate Caeli's admonitions about "this [being] our living room, in a deeply Catholic house," when one commentator, again and again and again, becomes as verbally incontinent as Holden Caulfield and as immovable as was The Man Who Came To Dinner?

New Catholic said...

"...as immovable as was The Man Who Came To Dinner?"

Ha!

Matt said...

Acreator said, "Inculturation means that you will not understand anything from the Holy Mass, even if you go just 10 hrs from home in some countries. Inculturation in Germany has lead to a very Lutheran way of serving the Holy Mass, in the Philippines that you sing the Creed to the tune of "Jingelbells," in Italy that the music is represented by sentimental songs for children, in Africa that the Holy Mass is mixed up with animistic rituals and dances..."

Good points. Didn't know about the silliness in Italy and the Phillipines. As far as the "Lutheran way of serving Mass," I suppose the Novus Ordo provides a great step forward in that direction. The African issue, totally. I've seen it during the many travels of JPII, and have been told they make a sort of whooping sound when the Eucharist is Elevated because that's "how they do it in their culture when they want to appreciate something."

As far as the animistic rituals and dances, yes, that is so and it's even highlighted in that "Catholicism" series by Fr Barron. He's definitely a V2 man.

John Fisher said, "Yes Inculturation is the Syrio Malabar Rite. So I find it misleading for a Latin Rite Cardinal to claim St Thomas.

Indian Latin Rite clergy are generally syncretists with a layer of Modernism. That is because they uncritically accept the white man's modern mixed up with the superstition of Hinduism.

As for Vocations it is economically based. They go where the money is! The place for Indian clergy is India!
"


No sticks and rattles at Mass, please. Perhaps claiming Saint Thomas has more to do with a socio-cultural identity thing rather than an actual historical perspective. It follows the gist of this conversation. It is also perhaps the very reason why there are no Tridentine Masses in India. The Tridentine Mass provides no opportunity for any of this nonsense.
To that, the Tridentine Mass is very much Roman in its self-confidence and commitment and it has served the Church very well over the past fifteen-hundred years or so and has given the Church and the Faithful our core spirituality, making us what we are in building up the Western world and giving the beneficence of civilization to others... until recently.


JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said, "Inculturation, can be good, for example I believe in Korea or Japan the congregations at SSPX masses sit i a particular position which denotes respect in that country, rather than on benches etc... So in some cases its perfectly reasonable."

It's Japan. I've seen shots of what you are talking about. Agreed, that sort of inculturated behavior is merely a mannerism of daily life, so on that point, it is perfectly reasonable and in no way detracts from the Mass itself or adds any syncretic elements.

!

A Canberra Observer said...

Like Rab said, it seems to me that the danger is that Indian Christians will become so inculturated they will be Hindus ...

Glebb said...

The Spanish and the Portuguese managed to convert the whole New World without admitting Myan rain dancers to the Mass, and missionaries converted all of northern Europe without giving quarter to pagans. I don't quite see why it's required to do similar things anywhere else. The rout of inculturation is of cultus--it is the faith that should be inculcated into pre-Christian societies, which is what every mission territory is. Then the Church can gain the riches of the people.

I do have to confess some sympathy, however, to the Jesuit experiments in China and in North America at adopting new non-vernacular languages and vestment styles to existing traditional religious sentiment (excepting of course the controversy in China over non-wheat matter for the Blessed Sacrament)

Peterman said...

"The Spanish and the Portuguese managed to convert the whole New World without admitting Myan rain dancers to the Mass, and missionaries converted all of northern Europe without giving quarter to pagans"

So true though the French priests had a nice role in converting native tribes in Canada. The fact is that formerly Catholic areas simply revert to paganism without the proper mass and disciplines of the Church. At Cap-de-la-Madeleine in Quebec they went 115 years without a priest and they reverted to worshiping a pig. Today we can see shades of Aztec blood lust in post Catholic Mexico drug gang violence. The TLM and the disciplines of the Church from years past must be reestablished. In newly converted places such as Africa they must see the true faith not watered down bugninism.

Michael said...

Quite unfortunately, the Latin bishops in India see the Syro-Malabars and especially the extremely traditional Syro-Malankars as a threat. They harass the Eastern priests and tell them to go back to their "native area". Meanwhile, they ignorantly claim "jurisdiction" in a land they forced themselves into, while pigeon-holing the native churches - which have had good relations with the local people. They most vile behavior is not allowing the Easterners to have dioceses outside of Kerala, and even telling them they may only convert the native Hindus to the Latin church!