OPEN LETTER TO POPE FRANCIS

When recently, on a visit to southern India, I saw so many new churches , I got the idea to write an open letter to Pope Francis. He is getting a lot of praise for his ‘bold’ statements in the west. However, so far he only talks about ‘respectful coexistence of religions’. He needs to walk his talk and stop conversion. Here is my letter:

Respected Holy Father,

Great hope for a positive change in the Catholic Church is pinned on your Pontificate and recent statements indicate that this hope may not be misplaced. The future, your Holiness said in November 2013, is in the respectful coexistence of diversity and in the fundamental right to religious freedom in all its dimensions, and not in muting the different voices of religion.

This statement makes eminent sense and would need to be implemented by all who presently do not subscribe to a respectful coexistence of diversity in regard to religions. However, I sense (wrongly maybe) that it is a plea for other religions to respect Christianity, rather than a commitment by the Church to respect other religions. To be precise, since Christians are occasionally persecuted in Islamic countries, it seems to be an appeal to ‘live and let live’ between the two biggest religions on earth.

Your Holiness is aware that both, Christianity and Islam, claim to be the only true religion and their God, respectively Allah alone is true. Both religions further hold that all people on earth have to accept this claim and join their particular religion to be saved and reach heaven or paradise. Both give a serious warning to those who don’t join: they will land up eternally in hell. These claims of exclusiveness are made without any evidence whatsoever, apart from the fact that the claims contradict each other, as both cannot be true. They require blind belief, and as blind, unreasonable belief is not natural for human beings, for many centuries it was enforced with state power and indoctrinated right from childhood with the fear of hell as the boogeyman.

May I ask Your Holiness to ponder how the respectful coexistence of diversity and the fundamental right to religious freedom is possible as long as these claims of exclusiveness are in place? Were these claims originally made to gain political power or were they made in the interest of the spiritual welfare of humanity? And may I also ask whether Your Holiness personally believes in these claims?

I trust that privately, Your Holiness does not believe in them, as media reported your statement that good atheists also will be redeemed. In other words, they won’t go automatically to hell. However, the Vatican took pains to clarify that Your Holiness did not mean it. Even my mother, 95 and a staunch Catholic all her life, expressed dismay that a perfectly sensible statement by the Pope was watered down.

Your Holiness may feel compelled for worldly reasons to stick to the claim of exclusiveness as dropping it would entail wrapping up all conversion attempts and in the process lose power, wealth and influence. Further there may be fear that other Christian denominations will not go along and will gain an advantage over the Catholic Church. Still another worry may be that Islam will not drop the claim of exclusiveness and will push aggressively for conversion.

However, the Catholic Church was the first institution to put up this baseless claim, which has brought unspeakable disaster upon humankind. From this claim the Church derived not only the ‘right’, but the ‘duty’ to storm across the globe and impose forcefully her ‘belief system’ – in Europe, in the Americas and in Africa and now in Asia. It was no doubt an ingenious ploy to claim that God wants everyone to become Christian. . Mark Twain famously said, “Religion was born when the first con-man met the first fool”. I would change it, “Dogmatic religion was born when ….”.

Some centuries later, Islam followed suit, claiming that Allah wants everyone to accept Islam, and we all know the violent conflicts resulting from those unsubstantiated claims. Since the Catholic Church started this disastrous trend, she needs to reverse it. The welfare of humanity as a whole has to be the concern and not the welfare of a religious institution. Hopefully Your Holiness has the courage to make a real, clear change for the better and will not fall for hairsplitting theological arguments, like ‘redemption is possible but not salvation’, etc.

Most Christians especially in Europe don’t believe anymore in unreasonable claims. The sad thing is that together with the dogmas, many reject belief in God altogether. They have not learnt to listen to their conscience and to enquire into truth, as the Church has played the role of the conscience- and truth-keeper for too long. The consequences for our societies are there for everyone to see.

However, many Christians do start pondering and believe in a ‘great power’, but not in the Christian God. For example, when I asked some fifty Christians in Germany whether they believe that Hindus who heard about Jesus Christ, but do not convert, will go to hell, nobody said yes. Even a priest said no. And not a single German I met was in favour of missionary activity in India. Yet Pope John Paul II declared in India the intention of the Church to plant the cross in Asia in the new millennium and considered India as a field for a rich harvest, which goes completely against ‘respectful coexistence’.

I live in India since 33 years and can assert with full confidence that India has no need of Christian missionaries, and yet huge sums of money are being pumped in to lure converts with material benefits and to build churches. I am aware that Your Holiness is responsible only for Catholics and not for the myriad of other Christian denominations that prey on poor Hindus, but if the Catholic Church made a start of truly respecting Hindus, it would have a big impact.

Maybe Your Holiness is under the impression that Hinduism is a depraved religion and Hindus would do well to accept the Christian God instead of their multiple gods. Such an impression would be completely wrong. There is no other religion that is –unjustly – denigrated as badly as Hinduism. Sorry to say that Christian (including Catholic) missionaries are in the forefront of this vilification campaign. Few people in the west know how profound India’s ancient tradition is. A solid philosophical basis for our existence and helpful tenets for a fulfilling, meaningful life had been known in India long before ‘religions’, as we know them today, came into being. The only addition Christianity brought in anew, are unverifiable dogmas that cannot possibly have a bearing on the absolute Truth. Can an event in history impact the absolute Truth? Will Truth make a distinction between people who are baptized and those who are not? “There is no salvation outside the Church” is, and I may be excused for using strong language, ridiculous.

The Indian rishis had discovered ages ago that an all-pervading Presence is at the core of this universe, indescribable, but best described as absolute consciousness. Further, the Hindu law of karma preceded the Christian dictum “as you sow so you reap’. A Council stopped Christians from believing in rebirth which would explain many riddles that trouble them, for example why there is great injustice already at birth? The advantage of having a perfect person as a friend and guide on the spiritual path was known in India, but till some 2000 years ago nobody claimed that ‘only’ Krishna or ‘only’ Ram or ‘only’ Buddha can lead to salvation and that whoever does not believe it, goes to hell. “Truth is One, the wise call it by many names”, the Indian rishis declared and listed different names of gods. That was at a time, when Christianity was nowhere in sight. Surely they would have included ‘God’ as another name and Jesus as an avatar, not expecting to be backstabbed by followers of “God” declaring: “Truth is one and must be called only by one name and is fully revealed only in one book.”

The multiple gods in Hinduism are personified powers that help to access the formless, nameless Presence that is in all of us. Christians in India are told that Hindu gods are devils. At the same time, Christianity tries to revive (possibly inspired by Hinduism) belief in angels, as devotion for the Invisible is easier by focusing on images.

Hinduism is not a belief system. It is a knowledge system. It is a genuine enquiry into what is true about us and the world. Hindus are not required to believe anything that does not make sense and can never be verified. There is complete freedom. Yes, most believe in rebirth, which makes sense. Most believe in an all pervading Brahman (many other names are in use) that is also in humans. Most believe that this divine essence can be experienced in oneself, if the person purifies herself by certain disciplines coupled with devotion. This belief is verifiable. It is not blind. There were many Rishis who realized their oneness with Brahman. In Christianity, too, there were mystics who experienced oneness with the Divine like Meister Eckhart did. Sadly, he was excommunicated by the Church. Why is the Church resisting scientific insight that there is some mystery essence in everything? And why is it difficult to accept that in the long, long history of humanity, there were several, not only one, outstanding personalities who showed the way to the truth?

Holy Father, I request you in all sincerity to be such an outstanding personality who guides his followers on a path of expansion, and does not straight-jacket them into an unbelievable belief system, which among others demands converting Hindus to Christianity. Your Holiness is venerated as the representative of the Highest Power in this universe by over a billion of Catholics. Many of your predecessors were not worthy of this veneration. Utmost truthfulness and integrity are required. Calculations about worldly power must not come in the way. The Catholic Church surely would benefit, not lose out, if it honors Truth and gives up its claim that there is no salvation outside the Church. Truth cannot be cheated; neither can it be contained in a book. Truth is what we basically are. Hindus, whose religion is universal and all-encompassing, respect diverse traditions. They are one of the most cultured, gentle and peace-loving people on earth who live and let live, unless greatly provoked.

Holy Father, if you are serious about respecting other religions, the claim of exclusiveness must be scrapped and Hindus who have given to the world a deep philosophy and a great culture, must be respected. Many of us look forward to hearing truly good news from the Catholic Church under your stewardship. The main issue that plagues the Church is not whether women should be priests or whether divorcees can take Holy Communion .The main issue is the unfounded claim of exclusiveness regarding ‘salvation’. It divides humanity into us who are right and saved, versus them who are wrong and damned. Kindly drop this harmful claim and make your Pontificate truly memorable and beneficial for all humanity.

Yours Sincerely

Maria Wirth

Posted as registered letter to Pope Francis on 10th  December 2013 from Puducherry, India

 

 

 

 

49 comments

  1. A Commendable Job done by you mam. Am highly impressed by this bold attempt of yours.!! I could never think of writing such an open letter to Pope Francis directly, in an attempt to enlighten him, that India is the place which gave birth to many religions, India is the place that teach spirituality. This humble attempt made by you mean so much to Indians, the people those who are generally ignorant about the issues regarding religions and spirituality, those who believe whatsoever one preaches them.

    Spirituality is genetic to Indians.!!

    Moreover mam, if one actually makes a sincere attempt at searching for the truth oneself, one can surely see for oneself which religion talks about spirituality. Ram Krishna Paramhans, converted to Christianity, could not be satisfied, converted to Islam, could get no spirituality, and at last came back to the science he earlier left, Hinduism. Found every thing, convinced himself, and then became a guru, and his student became.. Swami Vivekanada.!!

    Moreover, there is already a controversy about the lost years of Jesus Christ were spent in India educating himself. There is a theory that connects Him to Kashmir, and also, to Puri in Odisha where they say, that Jesus was once at conflict with the local God-Men (Brahmans/Pundits) for preaching the spirituality to lower caste people.!! People here in India called him Isamasi. I dont feel, that many in the west knows Him with this name.!!


    .. However, I sense (wrongly maybe) that it is a plea for other religions to respect Christianity, rather than a commitment by the Church to respect other religions…

    …Your Holiness is aware that both, Christianity and Islam, claim to be the only true religion and their God, respectively Allah alone is true. Both religions further hold that all people on earth have to accept this claim and join their particular religion to be saved and reach heaven or paradise. Both give a serious warning to those who don’t join: they will land up eternally in hell. These claims of exclusiveness are made without any evidence whatsoever, apart from the fact that the claims contradict each other, as both cannot be true….

    I personally feel, that these religions fit more perfectly in the mould of some management organisation’s rather than a knowledge sphere preaching spirituality. These religions teach subjects like Organisational Behaviour, Management, Networking, but not spirituality.

    Anyways, coming back your letter mam, I must say, that I would be looking forward to Pope Francis ‘ reply, whether favourable or unfavourable, enlightened or still caught in the web of Maya.!!

    ||OM||

    1. Sir please learn abt Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He was one of the rarest personalities who Could practice all the different pathways of sanatana dharma:sakta, vaishnava, advaita etc. While it took 40 years for his guru to experience brahmam ,sri ramakrishna could do it in 3 days. But he wanted diversity. He was a person who proved that all religions lead to Lord. Not that your intentions are bad , it could be a misconception. Read the Gospel of sri ramakrishna paramahamsa.

      1. Akhilpattamatta,

        I may be wrong when I say that Shri Ramakrishna converted to other religions..!! Actually, I intended to convey that he mastered the teachings of Islam, Christianity and other religions and only then he became critic to them. Buddhism and Jainism too. Only later, when he properly convinced himself about which science really discusses true GOD, when he proved to himself that Spirituality has some meaning, only then he started preaching all these things.!! I meant that he understood Islam Christianity and even then, he did what he did. I am an ardent follower of Ramakrishan Ashram.

  2. Reblogged this on Varun Goyal and commented:
    Crusade by Ms. Maria Wirth, enlightened soul, to make this world a better place to live.!!

  3. My namesake always gives voice to my own thoughts. How I wished Pope read this letter and gave a response. Although unfortunately I am afraid his last Exhortation goes in the same line of evangelisation which Church cannot help but do, because it is in the very core of the religion. There is a simple change of strategy: converting instead of through the harsh imposition, by “sharing the joy of Jesús”. But in any case, the Church continues exhorting their flock to convert others, the wrong ones. Hope is the last to die, dear Maria, and I also dream of a change. But meanwhile I´d rather encourage hindus to learn more about our own religion and why it is not worthy to leave a mature highly developed philosophy for a childish religion.

  4. what a write up. I do not know what to say. Maybe I should say she Maria is too good. People like her should be head of religious organisations. Totally fair, unbiased who can see from all sides. Open minded.

  5. Dear Maria,

    Each letter by you is an eye opener. I really appreciate your beliefs and interpretations. As you have written rightly about multi Gods in Hindustan , there are they say 33crore Gods. But when this figure was arrived at perhaps more than a millennium before , the total population in the known world was estimated to be around that . So the wise sages of India considered each man to be a God. Not that we – the Hindus believed there are 33 crore divine Gods.

    Thanks and regards?

    Sent from my iPad

  6. Dear Maria ,

    The clarity and the conviction with which you have written the articles in your blog, reflect a great sense of enlightenment within you. Your articles have certainly instilled a great sense of pride and strengthened my identity as a Hindu.

    Thank you so much.

    Prashanth

  7. Rajeshwer sharma · December 15, 2013 – 3:49 am · Reply

    What an eye opener? God bless. I don’t think Pope will reply to this. Lets see the contents in case he decides to reply.

  8. Matha Maria , The every word of yours are every thoughts of sensible Hindus , we must be take this conversion issue in the top level itself , that who propagates from Rome or wealthier fundamentalist. You did the great great job , I think every sensible Hindu must be thankful to you, May the God give you much more energy and courage to sustain this eternal truth of Sanathana Dharma.

  9. In one of her many letters to the Vatican she wrote, “In my soul, I can’t tell you how dark it is, how painful, how terrible it is, I feel like refusing god.” Mother Theresa
    The truth is the pope isn’t better off.

  10. Great sensible argument. Conversions mainly happen by exploiting the poverty and a lack of proper support to the poor people by the government ,who live in the fringes of india.Some North Eastern states of india has already undergone complete conversion due to the activities by evangelical churches. Their ancestral cultures are torn apart. It requires an unprecedented collective effort to convey people of the fallacy that is going on.Why destroy so many rich cultures in the name of saving souls.we can help poor without destroying the fabric of their rich heritage.

    1. The indian govt is hand in glove with the missionaries. All they have to do is pass a law that conversion through incentives is illegal. But that is the agenda of the uneducated lying to parliament italian bitch.

  11. Reply from an Informed catholic:
    Dear Maria,
    Firstly, It is not an open letter if it is actually addressed to a particular person.So the Title itself is self contradictory.
    If you would really like to communicate to the Pope I would recommend contacting the Papal Nuncio to India Archbishop Salvatore Pennaccio.
    I have given the contact details here:

    Apostolic Nunciature, 50-C Niti Marg,Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021
    Tel. 011- 42492300, Fax. 011 – 26874286

    Email: nuntius@apostolicnunciatureindia.com

    Website: http://www.apostolicnunciature.com

    Secondly, you seem to be completely ignorant of the fact that the Pope Paul made an open declaration of the relationship between Hindus and Catholics as early as 1932.I will publish the reformed 1965 Vatican 2 council declaration here for your kind perusal:

    “Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing “ways,” comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions.”
    -DECLARATION ON
    THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS
    NOSTRA AETATE
    PROCLAIMED BY HIS HOLINESS
    POPE PAUL VI

    I will even provide a link for the full document, and the real views of Catholic Christians on other religions:
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-
    ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html

    This should explain why Europeans you met in Germany had those views.

    I recommend you google for Nostra Aetate and to choose the first link if this link should not work for any reason.

    Thirdy, you seem completely oblivious to the fact that catholic missionaries are the only source of education, food and healthcare in vast parts of India.With over 50% of our country below the poverty line these missionaries provide healthcare completely free of cost, when our own doctors are clamoring to go abroad.

    It is amusing how a few urban upper-caste elites make blanket declarations like”Hindu India does not need Christian Charity”, and think they can condemn so many people to poverty, when we have no means of replacing the work that these charities do.who is going to do that?Our corrupt govenrment?

    Catholic run Convent schools have mainly Hindu and Muslim children, who retain their faith even after 12 years of schooling in those institutions.I recommend you visit any Salesian school and see this for yourself.

    If we were really hell bent on conversion, why would the Pope openly declare that

    “She(the catholic church) regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. “?

    and why is it that only 1.22% of the country is catholic even after 300 years of British rule(UK is actually angilcan protestant, not even related to the Pope)

    Lastly,Christians have lived in India, and have co-existed with Hindus for over 1500 years.Even Ishwar Sharan, an anti-christian ‘historian’ admits that there is evidence that christian Nasranis were there in Kerala in the 2nd century itself.I will give the link here:

    http://ishwarsharan.wordpress.com/

    “The Christian community in South India was founded by a merchant called Knai Thoma or Thomas of Cana in 345 AD—a name which readily explains the Thomas legend. He led four hundred refugees who fled persecution in Persia and were given asylum by the Hindu authorities.”

    In light of all this, it should become clear that it is not our intention to spread falsehood, but is peaceful co-existence.We are Indians as well, and while some ‘christians’ may have forced this conversion in the early stages, the Syrio-Malabar and Syrio-Melankara rites are declared as unique and special from the Latin rite of the Portuguese.

    We were there before the portuguese and are different from them.

    I humbly request you to dig and see the facts for yourself and see things more holistically before mocking the Pope this way.

    If you have any doubts about the catholic faith, and the views we have on certain things or have complaints about anything, including the actions of missionaries, I recomend you to contact the address I have given or to complain to relevant authorities rather than spreading misinformation about a major world religion.

    I am willing to discuss certain aspects of the faith too, I am an engineering student , and hence can only reply when free.

    Thank you!…:)
    Joseph Hubert
    a concerned catholic

    1. Mr Hubert:

      First of all, apologies for my long response, but I think it is necessary.

      I understand your feelings as a Catholic, and your need to defend what you think it is fair. But with due respects, let me tell you some things from another defender of justice, a staunch Hindu, me, of catholic background (born in a catholic country), whose duty is also to try to defend Dharma, which is simply what Maria has done here so beautifully. This is not a mock of the Pope at all, but honestly, many times I wonder if the Vatican itself is not mocking at the whole humanity by its attitude and what is worse, by its disrespectful deeds!.

      I´m responding the points about which I have something to say. The rest, I don´t know the issue deep enough because I don´t live in India.

      1 FYI : “open letter”
      noun
      a letter, often of protest or criticism, addressed to a specific person, but intended to be brought to public attention.
      SOURCE: dictionary.com

      In any case, she has also sent it by post to the Pope.

      2 “ Real views of Catholic Christians on other religions” you say? Let me tell you the “real views of the Catholic Church”:

      a) Are you not aware of the statements embodied in Dominus Iesus, another declaration from the Vatican itself, of year 2000 ?.
      Let me highlight for you some of the “pearls”:http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html :
      – For this reason, the distinction between theological faith and belief in the other religions, must be firmly held. If faith is the acceptance in grace of revealed truth, which makes it possible to penetrate the mystery in a way that allows us to understand it coherently,21 then belief, in the other religions, is that sum of experience and thought that constitutes the human treasury of wisdom and religious aspiration, which man in his search for truth has conceived and acted upon in his relationship to God and the Absolute.22
      This distinction is not always borne in mind in current theological reflection. Thus, theological faith (the acceptance of the truth revealed by the One and Triune God) is often identified with belief in other religions, which is religious experience still in search of the absolute truth and still lacking assent to God who reveals himself. This is one of the reasons why the differences between Christianity and the other religions tend to be reduced at times to the point of disappearance.

      – Nevertheless, God, who desires to call all peoples to himself in Christ and to communicate to them the fullness of his revelation and love, does not fail to make himself present in many ways, not only to individuals, but also to entire peoples through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main and essential expression even when they contain ˜gaps, insufficiencies and errors”.27 Therefore, the sacred books of other religions, which in actual fact direct and nourish the existence of their followers, receive from the mystery of Christ the elements of goodness and grace which they contain.
      – The Church’s Magisterium, faithful to divine revelation, reasserts that Jesus Christ is the mediator and the universal redeemer. (…)The Second Vatican Council has recalled to the consciousness of the Church’s faith this fundamental truth. In presenting the Father’s salvific plan for all humanity, the Council closely links the mystery of Christ from its very beginnings with that of the Spirit.
      – It must therefore be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith that the universal salvific will of the One and Triune God is offered and accomplished once for all in the mystery of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son of God.
      Bearing in mind this article of faith, theology today, in its reflection on the existence of other religious experiences and on their meaning in God’s salvific plan, (…)those solutions that propose a salvific action of God beyond the unique mediation of Christ would be contrary to Christian and Catholic faith.
      – Indeed, the Church, guided by charity and respect for freedom,98 must be primarily committed to proclaiming to all people the truth definitively revealed by the Lord, and to announcing the necessity of conversion to Jesus Christ and of adherence to the Church through Baptism and the other sacraments, in order to participate fully in communion with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thus, the certainty of the universal salvific will of God does not diminish, but rather increases the duty and urgency of the proclamation of salvation and of conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ.
      – In treating the question of the true religion, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught: We believe that this one true religion continues to exist in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus entrusted the task of spreading it among all people. Thus, he said to the Apostles: ˜Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you’ (Mt 28: 19-20). Especially in those things that concern God and his Church, all persons are required to seek the truth, and when they come to know it, to embrace it and hold fast to it.

      b) Just in case, the “real views on other religions” are not clear yet, the Pope in his last exhortation “EVANGELII GAUDIUM”, as recent as of last 24th of november, states, reitarating:
      – cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. Many of these are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but “by attraction”.
      Doesn´t this sound, even for a deaf person, as simply a clear “change of strategy”?
      You can find it in this link:http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium_en.html#THE_NEW_EVANGELIZATION_FOR_THE_TRANSMISSION_OF_THE_FAITH
      Do you know what? For me a hindu with previous catholic background by birth, this intolerant, supremacist and disrespecful attitude of the Church towards the others´ religions I would say is even scary for me. More scary if you know what this attitude has brought along the history. Another link but with a warning for you: it may cause a crisis of faith in you, so if you are not ready for that, don´t read about the numerous attrocities the Church has done in the name of “the only true religion”, the “mission” and “Jesus”, exactly what Maria wants to make the readers aware through her open letter.
      http://freetruth.50webs.org/A1.htm#monkmob

      3) As far as I know, most of the hindu indians I know who had gone to catholic schools in India, remain hindu almost only namely. They had been uprooted from their own pride as hindus, and imbibed in them a sort of colonial mindset in which they don´t feel comfortable within themselves and their own skin as much as they could.
      Till the Church doesn´t renounce to claim itself to be the “only COMPLETE truth”, till she renounces to that exclusivity claim, we dharmic people will have to keep defending ourselves and Dharma from the Church´s violent attack that the conversions mean. Till the Church, as Mr. Rajiv Malhotra says, doesn´t give “full respect” to other faiths, what he calls “mutual respect”, and not mere “tolerance” to them, we´ll have to keep defending ourselves from a, I would say, dishonest advancement that the Church does with us and other dharmic religions: as he explains clearly, saying that you “tolerate” somebody is a sheer lack of respect in itself. And that is the biggest concession you can get from the Church in any interfaith dialogue. Would you like, as Mr. Malhotra says, that your wife someday tells you “I tolerate you”?. We all people deserve a minimum: and that minimum should be not less than this concept of “mutual respect”. Do you think that this is possible to get when in the core of the catholicism the MORAL DUTY IS TO CONVERT?

      P.S.: Nothing of the written here is intented to be personal against you, as you may realise. But you only as the voice that has raised in the name of catholics. No mean to offend you at all. Simply trying to defend the truth.
      Thank you
      Maria Lozano
      A concerned Hindu

    2. Dear brother Joseph,
      Only i can enlighten with the quote of Sir Desmond Mpilo Tutu , I am sure you are aware of it… but I will remind to you below ,

      ” When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
      Desmond Tutu
      Read more athttp://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/desmond_tutu.html#ymy1vBsHzU5jDWvz.99.

      If you are belong to Indian DNA , please be awakened like Sir Desmond Tutu,

    3. Dear brother Joseph,
      Only i can enlighten you with the quote of Sir Desmond Mpilo Tutu , I am sure you are aware of it… but still I will remind to you below ,

      ” When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
      Desmond Tutu
      Read more athttp://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/desmond_tutu.html#ymy1vBsHzU5jDWvz.99.

      If you are belong to Indian DNA , please be awakened like Sir Desmond Tutu,

      1. Wonderful site!: See this one: “God is not upset that Gandhi was not a Christian, because God is not a Christian! All of God’s children and their different faiths help us to realize the immensity of God”
        Desmond Tutu

  12. Hi Maria,

    The religion is faith and duty in life is ‘Dharma’ of life.

    Both, Christianity and Islam, claim to be the only true religion and their God, respectively Allah alone is true. Both religions further hold that all people on earth have to accept this claim and join their particular religion to be saved and reach heaven or paradise.
    The religions including Hindu are moving round the salvation through one God or many Gods. The main issue is the unfounded claim of exclusiveness regarding ‘salvation’ The Life is eternal and the rebirth or reincarnation is absolute truth to face the deeds of present life ‘as you sow, so you reap’

    The creation has evolved from zero to infinite nature within sky, he is hidden within us. It has evolved into infinity, and its shape is like stammering lips of hymn chanter.
    The lip shaped space enclosed in the body is the seat of vital energy, and connects the individual to the infinite sky beyond time and space above duality. It is the source of super natural powers hidden within the human body.
    It has been searched scientifically to prove its seat in the body, and process of awakening the hidden source to acquire super natural powers. It has been described as hidden serpent power lying at the base of sitting, just like a concentric circular dormant rope. When it is awakened, it ascends towards the brain like a serpent hood moving upward with flickering tongue in the air.
    The space at the base is vital source of life consciousness. It appears with birth and disappears with death.

  13. Dear Mr Joseph Hubert,
    Let us get few facts right. The Catholic adheres to Nicene creed. For a Christian, there is no salvation outside the Church. Are you denying this fact, Sir? Please read Rajiv Malhotra’s book ” Breaking India”. It clearly outlines with SOLID REFERENCES to various methods used by the Christian clergy, Catholics included, in converting the poor and uneducated Hindus to Christianity. Catholics should preach what they DECLARE. Your response to Madam Maria Wirth is nothing but” Christian Taqiyya”. All these heart warming Christian kindness comes always with strings ( read conversion) attached. Period.

  14. I feel the major work has already been done by Mr. Rajiv Malhotra. He has written two books.

    1. Being Different
    2. Breaking India

    Both are the books OF INDIA, BY INDIA, FOR INDIA. They are available on flipkart. These books are a must read for the people concerned with the actual history of the nation and the latest happening regarding the religion Hinduism.

    Must reads.

  15. Dear Maria,
    Thank you for sharing your letter with us. You wrote it very sweetly, wisely and logically.

  16. Any reply from Mr.Pope..!!! ?

    1. there is no need for a verbal reply by the Pope. action is necessary, a declaration that the dogma ‘No salvation outside the Church’ is withdrawn and conversion activities stopped…
      the facts mentioned in the letter need to be known widely and pressure on the Pope to drop those ridiculous claims and to truly respect Hindu Dharma should build up.

    2. Dear Goyalji, We hindus must look into how effectively we can develop the shield to resist the conversion activities. Respected Pope may or may not consider the request of Hindus.

  17. Dear Ms.Maria
    I am an Indian christian and proud of being a part of Indian christian heritage. Without doubt I can say that the spiritual experiences I have as a follower of christ are true. If you can say that the christians in west have renounced their faith, the same thing had happened during the time of Jesus when many turned away from him on hearing that the preachings are hard to bear. I am not sure whether you know or not that there are many christians in India who are strong in faith ande there are volumes of testimonies and experiences. Do you mean to say that all of us christians are having begging bowls to expect something always from the west. Every religion claims to have an universality not just christianity, if hinduism is geniunely universal and believe in the concept of every one as a born hindu then it must not worry about people who are christians. Do you mean to say that the teachings of christ make one a sub human being or will it make him lose his values. Being a westerner you have embraced hinduism and being an easterner people like me have embraced an eastern belief which is wrongly portrayed as a western religion. If Hinduism believes that all paths lead to salvation it need not worry about christianity which says that there is no salvation outside the christian beliefs, it is for the individuals to decide. There are certain school of thoughts within hinduism that negates each other. Last but one comment, that pope is not the sole authority of christianity.

    1. Joseph,
      Universality does not mean that everyone is a born Hindu. It means that we all are truly made of the same (extraordinary, divine) stuff, as it were, and we don’t need to undergo a ritual to ‘belong’ to those who are saved. The problem I see with Christianity and Islam is that they are a mix of good and bad aspects. Good is the reverence for a creator/ cause of us and the universe, further rules for good living (which, however, conscience also provides and sometimes even better, as those rules often induce guilt in children), and then the bad, which is “we alone are right, God loves only us’, “others go to hell, God has condemned them”. It is not difficult to see that the resulting mind-set is harmful for humankind. If not convinced, just look at history, open minded, or look around in today’s world.

      1. My salute to maria Wirth.

  18. Many right wing thinkers in India always strive to equate patriotism with religion and stamp the minorities as being unpatriotic. There are many Indians who are (non christians) citizens of western countries and are loyal to their country of adoption, whereas here the so called right wingers propagate the fact that one has to be a Hindu to become a loyal citizen. Strange, we as christians live in this country and are loyal here alone ,not to vatican or london. It is also not right to say that christanity makes you to shed your identity as an Indian. Simply refusing to worship or adore Hindu belief systems will not make one less Indian.

  19. A good reason is that during the First World war, personnel from the Indian subcontinent, largely Hindus but others too, fought to defend liberty for humanity. Debated in the UK parliament
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2013-12-18a.1314.3

  20. Well written and I am totally with you on letting people practice the belief they want without others demeaning their faith! I have posted a link to this letter in my blog posthttp://peeekaaabooo.blogspot.com/2014/01/beliefs.html?m=1

  21. Dear Maria,
    I really like your Open Letter to pope Francis, in your heartfull way to speak.
    ….. but what´s worth ?
    The judeo-christian God and Allah are the same entities, the vedic tradition is referring as Asura-gods,…the dark and mighty dark gods….in the modern research-communities known as “Reptilians from SIRIUS / ORION, which are looking upon Humankind as a prey…to slaughter and eat.
    Look at these monotheistic religions, which are better described as “mind-infections”,…look at the fruits of their devotional “enterprises”…look at the international banksters, who are the real “princes of the dark judeo-christian god”.
    These are the selfestablished shepherd`s -dogs…surrounding the flock of sheeps and always greedy in feathering their nest.
    To whom did you wrote your letter ?
    To the people who are starting to awake from their century-long sleep!
    Thank you from my heart…beating in Germany

    Namaste

    Bernhard

  22. I wish this was a petition to the respected Holy Father so that millions of like minded could have signed and stood behind you.

  23. sri venkateswarlu vabilisetty · January 28, 2014 – 8:41 am · Reply

    Jaisriram.If Pope is dare to accept the facts n direct accodingly to their missionaries there will be certainly cordial atmosphere between Hindus n Christians.Otherwise not.

  24. Srinidhi Cauligi · February 11, 2014 – 12:36 am · Reply

    I think that the interpretations made on Christianity and Islam are basically wrong. It would be better to understand this way. Religion is True Religion be it Hinduism, Christianity, Islam or any other Religion. Joining a Religion means to be religious either as a Christian or Muslim or any other, rather than not belonging to one. In which case one will be an Atheist which is the dangerous thing and is likely lead to Hell. Church means and includes any place of Worship like Mosque and Temple. Jesus or Allah is only a name for the eternal being. He has thousands of names. I think this is what all religions mean and it is only the interpretations going wrong catching on to names leaving the essence leading to Fanaticism.

  25. We discuss religion as if it were the reason for our existence. There’s no denying that missionaries are active and conversion to Christianity is rampant. The low hanging fruit for them is the rather huge section of our Indian population that will trade its beliefs and faith for the sake of survival; and let’s be honest – that choice is an easy one to make. What that means is that religion comes second to survival, and which is where it belongs. People like you and me have this compelling need to justify the acts of our religion because our basic needs are met – we survive just fine. And speaking for our religion with pseudo-intellectualism is just one of those things we have to do to show our religion is the superior one, if not the more tolerant one.

    While the act of providing for the poor is noble, the intent and philosophy of spreading religion in lieu of it is certainly not. And which is why the letter has rightly been addressed to the Pope, he who represents the religion. A shift in ideology is much needed across religions.

    Disclaimer – I’m not an atheist. I’ m a proud Hindu, and a very tolerant one with respect and regard for EVERY religion.

  26. M.K.Gandhi said “if anyone can prove to me that any religion is better than Hinduism ,I will be the first to convert to it and will try my best to convert all Hindus (indians) to it.”

  27. Joseph, you are the one who is ignorant of what the Pope said.
    It is hypocritical to say “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions” and to what end, when Christ said “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the father but through me.”

  28. Rajan Kumar, it is not “better” we are looking for, but the truth where religion is in harmony with reasoning, science and inconfirmity with natural laws.

    “But there is another prejudice which is cherished by many scholars evidently under the impression of its being a well-recognized scientific doctrine. It is that in the ruder stages of civilization, when the laws of nature are little known and but little understood, when mankind has not enough of the experience of the world, strict methods of correct reasoning are very seldom observed.” Swami Dayanand

  29. Madhu, if your faith can be demeaned, it is weak and therefore has nothing to do with the one true God of the universe. I was born in the West (South America) and never went to India, the cradle of all civilization, but yet I have made the effort required to know that all the religions in the world are false, except one. It means, that you don’t have to be born in India to know the truth, but again if you are from India you have an advantage over anyone else on this planet.

  30. Its natural that the Muslims and Christians missionaries are worried because existence of their religion depends only with their followers. So they are converting people for their existence. but Hinduism is law of nature. . you can’t see any procedures to be a Hindu or to convert to Hinduism.

  31. It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people on
    this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking
    about! Thanks

  32. jayachandran · April 24, 2014 – 6:15 pm · Reply

    beautifully explained …….. especially the words used “They are one of the most cultured, gentle and peace-loving people on earth who live and let live, unless greatly provoked.”….

  33. You know madam..i rarely find people from Christianity n Islam writing something like this.This is d most mature n true matter that i have come across. Iam a Hindu who studied in a convent n was talked to abt conversion by d nun’s at tht time only because they got to know we r having financial issues.They even had asked us if wd knew poorer people n they can preach n convert them.They even askdd me when i would want to join a convent.When you love your religion you will automatically respect other religions.If you dont respect other religions u become a fanatic of ur own religion n tht is not good.The christians in Kerala tamil nadu andhra give them a look n they sure look like Indians n i can say 100% these were all converts .people whose ancestors were converted by Christians who cams in from the west.all said n done they follow Christianity n its their belief now.As long as they don’t try to convert from now on.

  34. Yagneshwara dasa · April 30, 2014 – 8:16 am · Reply

    Dear Maria,

    Please receive the blessings of the Supreme lord Krishna.

    This is the best article and blog that i ever red. Thanks for showing the whole world how rich the INDIAN culture is.Unfortunately the whole world is going in different direction.Hope many people will read your articles and understand the meaning.

    I request all others to spread awareness about this blog as much as possible.

  35. Nail Truth · May 2, 2014 – 5:08 pm · Reply

    I am a converted Christian from India. Not from so called ‘high caste’. Much needed medical help and education came from Christians and not from anybody else. Maria Wirth has done in-depth study of Hindu literature. In all fairness, he should study the Bible also with a real interest to know the truth there. If he does that he would not think Christians are intolerant. Whatever they do, they do out of love. Who would not tell others if what they have got is real and true ? If you got something from a shop which is good and economical, you definitely tell your friend whom you care for. You don’t do that if what you got is no big deal or if you don’t care for your friend.

  36. sri venkateswarlu vabilisetty · June 30, 2014 – 4:06 pm · Reply

    Jaisriram.As they talk about respectable co-existence of religions will happen only when christian missionaries stop dirty,ugly,heinous,cruel convertions.

 

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