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.