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John Paul II’s Pilgrimage to India


by John Kenneth Weiskittel

This article originally appeared in Catholic Restoration and Sacerdotium magazines in the early 1990s. It has been scanned and automatically converted into text. Therefore, the original formatting has been lost, the illustrations and pictures have been deleted, and words that originally appear in italics are reproduced in regular print. Footnotes will be found at the end of the document. This essay is being reproduced with the express permission of the author and publisher.

In the years since the Second Vatican Council, a common practice among the more traditionally-minded members of the Conciliar Church is to show their support for some aspect of Catholic life (e.g., the Latin Mass, fulfillment of the “conversion of Russia” request of Our Lady at Fatima) or their disapproval of some “abuse” sanctioned in their diocese (e.g., “altar girls,” impure sex education classes in the local parochial school) by submitting petitions to Rome. Despite the fact that such pleas regularly receive a deaf ear from the Vatican, “true believers,” convinced that orthodoxy has a friend in John Paul II, continue to collect the signatures they hope will effect a change for the better.

Such an exercise in futility took place in June 1984, when a group of laymen in India protested the manner in which “the Church is being Hinduised.”[1] They went on to note that a similar entreaty (signed by over 7000 Conciliar “Catholics”) was presented in 1976 “to His Eminence Cardinal Picachy, Chairman of the Bishops’ Conference of India at the CBCI Office in New Delhi….But the voice of the laity was totally ignored; NOT EVEN AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WAS GIVEN.”[2] Surely, they must have concluded, we can have recourse to John Paul II to see that the Vatican’s directive on inculturation be properly implemented.

Inculturation is an expression coined after Vatican II to express an aspect of its innovative theology, (one will look in vain for any such entry in the pre-Conciliar Catholic Encyclopedia or in the comprehensive secular reference work, The Oxford English Dictionary.) Unlike the authentic Catholic practices of Christianizing a secondary aspect of a pagan religion or permitting indigenous religious art, music, vestments, etc., inculturation, while superficially resembling this, involves grafting customs, prayers or beliefs of the non-Christians into the liturgy in such a manner as to place the faith of Catholics in grave danger. As illustration of the difference, taken from pre-Conciliar times, in the former instance, Jesuit missionaries, Father Roberto de Nobili in India and Father Matteo Ricci in China and Japan adopted native dress and manners to help in evangelization (although there were misapplications of the methods used, which were condemned by Rome, the essential policy was approved); in the latter, slaves and their descendants have worshiped the pagan deities of their West African ancestors under the guise of Our Lord, the Virgin Mary and other saints in such primitive, syncretic spiritist sects as Macumba (Brazil), Santeria (Cuba), and Voodoo (Haiti and Louisiana). While many adherents of these sects have led double lives as Catholics, the Church always forbade any association with such groups.

The recent protest stemmed from a proposal by the CBCI in 1969 to so modify the liturgy as a means (ostensibly) to draw the Indian people to it. The twelve points of this proposal were given the Vatican’s blessing with unheard-of speed: the sanctioning letter, signed by Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, G.M., Secretary of the Consilium for the implementation of the Constitution of the Liturgy (and architect of the Novus Ordo Missae, strongly suspected of being a Mason), was returned within ten days of the date upon which the proposal had been submitted.[3] Given the nature of the points in question, it is all the more amazing that they ever received approbation. Among the more striking examples of syctetism accepted by Rome was use at several points of the “Indian Mass” of the Sanskrit mantra om (or aum), to Hindus the most sacred word, signifying the three major deities of the Trimurti or false trinity (a=Brahma the creator, u=Vishnu the preserver, m=Siva—or shiva–the destroyer); genuflection replaced with a Hindu gesture made to lesser gods; as the Bible is incensed, the celebrant sings, “Brahma is truth, knowledge infinite”; readers are “blessed” by the presiding minister, but with the Hindu malamudra and not with the Catholic sign of the cross; Christ is reduced to the status of avatar, one of but many “manifestations” of the Hindu “god” Braham (not to be confused with Brahma, who is but an aspect of this greater impersonal force), others including Vishnu, Krishna, etc.[4] (Some of the followers of the late Hindu political reformer, Mohandas Gandhi, venerate him as an avatar.)

And so this “Indian Mass” was brought to the attention of John Paul II, who was implored to “immediately stop the use of…all pantheistic rituals” in what in most instances had been constructed as Catholic churches.[5] Victor Kulanday, a conservative Conciliar journalist in India, whose name appears at the head of a list of prominent Indian laymen on the petition, expresses in the preface to the first edition of his book, The Paganization of the Church in India:

My sincere prayer that the sound of the trumpet is clear and will enthuse conccrned Catholics to battle and its echo will travel down the corridors of the Vatican to alert the See of Peter to notice the darkness enveloping the Church in India which the Holy Father will soon be visiting.[6]

This hopeful note was penned in October 1985, sixteen months after John Paul II had received the petition (it was hand-delivered by a four-men delegation that had received encouragement by such figures as Father Frederick Schell, Michael Davies, and the late Hamish Fraser) and four months before he made his journey there.

An Answer Not Bargained For

On Sunday, 26 January 1986, John Paul II addressed the people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square about his forthcoming trip. “I go to India as a pilgrim of peace,” he said, “and as a Shepherd who has the duty to confirm his brothers in the faith, in ecclesial unity, and in their witness to Christ….” Such objectives would appear to be precisely the sort on which the petitioners counted. Conciliar appearances, however, are often deceiving.

This was not the first time a claimant to the Chair of Peter had traveled to the cradle of Hinduism. When Paul VI attended the 1964 International Eucharistic Congress in Bombay, he used similar language to explain his intent: “The Pope is witness, a shepherd, an apostle on the move…”[7] Disembarking from his Air India flight, John Paul received a tumultuous reception and crowds that lined the thirteen miles of his motorcade shouted, “Bura Guru!” – “Most holy man.” Not all welcomed him, some agreeing with the message seen on billboards: “Be alert! The Pope comes at the head of thirty thousand missionaries.”[8] Hindu fears that another Saint Thomas or Francis Xavier was invading their homeland to begin a revival of mass conversions to Christ came to nought: Paul met an aged Hindu “holy man” on equal terms, cited the Upanishad, a book sacred to Hindus, during a homily, and defended the “right” of non-Christians to manifest their faith “externally in a worthy form of worship.”[9]

Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, John Paul II opted for the parity-with-idolators approach. He spoke of the need for “interreligious dialogue,” prayed and planted a memorial tree at the monument to Gandhi, whom he typified as a “hero of humanity” (this “extraordinary man,” as John Paul also called him, although he studied law in London and there became well acquainted with the life and teachings of Christ, explicitly rejected Him as Lord and Savior) and told an ecumenical gathering of 1000 leaders of various faiths – including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsees and Buddhists – that they all “proclaim the truth about man.”[10] At that same meeting, he appealed to them to use “the humanism that unites us” for “the building up of an earthly city that will already prefigure the eternal one….” What impression such a statement would make on a Muslim who conceives of heaven as a garden of sensual delights, or on the others, all of whom envision it as a release from the cycle of rebirth and from the “illusion” of self, one can only guess. Much clearer, however, is the impact it should have on the Catholic, who recalls Saint Augustine’s teaching: “Two loves formed two cities: the love of self, reaching even to contempt of God, an earthly city; and the love of God, reaching to contempt of self, a heavenly one.” These cities, writes Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Humanum Genus, correspond, respectively, to “the kingdom of Satan” populated by “those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law,” and “the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ,” whose members “must of necessity serve God and His only-begotten Son with their whole mind and with an entire will.”

If Victor Kulanday and his friends were anticipating some indication that John Paul had considered the problem of “paganization” about which they petitioned him and that he would bring the matter up when he spoke to the Indian bishops, then they were soon to have their answer. That answer, though, turned out to be one quite unlike any they could have imagined.

John Paul’s “answer” consists of several parts. First, there are his repeated references, all approving, to statements made by prominent Hindus such as Gandhi, the poet Rabindranath Tagore, and Swami Vivekananda, a figure who greatly aided the popularization of Hinduism in the West (about whom more later). He quotes the same passage that Paul VI had taken from the Upanishad: “Truth alone triumphs,” but compounds the confusion by citing it directly after a passage from Saint Paul – “Paul of Tarsus” in his speech — in which the Apostle declares that Catholics must work only for the truth (2 Cor. 13:8). This address is given on 3 February at St. Xavier’s College in Calcutta before representatives of other religions, and John Paul II confirms them in their error by telling them, “Your contribution in the cause of truth is paramount.” No effort is being made there to use whatever truths may be gleaned from the pagan teachings to bring them out of their darkness, rather the term “truth” is nebulously thrown about without distinction to encompass the differing and contradictory beliefs of Christians, idol worshippers and other unbelievers.

On 1 February, John Paul had ended his first day in India by “concelebrating” the “new mass” with that nation’s 124 Conciliar bishops. While L’Osservatore Romano does not indicate whether this service was an “Indian Mass” or not, it reports that two days later he flew to Ranchi “where he presided over Mass celebrated in English and Hindi.” And the discourse he later delivered to the Bishops of India contains a passage that left little doubt about how he viewed the “Hinduizing” complained of in the petition. “The bishops have a particular responsibility to liturgical inculturation, which aims at bringing ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ’ even more effectively into the Church’s life of worship,” he instructed them

…it is important that doctrinal verification and pastoral preparation of the faithful should always precede the implementation of liturgical norms. This implementation must show due respect for the different religious sensitivities of people within the ecclesial community, while the preference of individuals and groups must be subordinated to the requirements of ecclesial unity in worship….

This may have sounded encouraging to the petitioners. After all, while the “pope” refers to “liturgical inculturation,” he makes it clear that the bishops have a duty to “doctrinal verification” and to “show due respect for different religious sensitivities….” Granted, the mention of “pastoral preparation of the faithful” could be construed by suspicious minds to mean indoctrination into the new “Hindu-Catholic” belief system, while those whose “preference.. ..must be subordinated” are precisely the ones who would refuse to embrace this system, but it is difficult, say the conservative Conciliarists, to believe that a “champion of orthodoxy” like John Paul would ever side with the paganizers. And yet Victor Kulanday was forced to write:

At Easter 1988 with a sad and heavy heart as leader of the Delegation I have to state that the Holy SEE [sic] did NOT initiate ANY action even to verify the facts much less send a Commission to probe into the truth of the paganization peril.

He went on to further lament how “(i)t is a great pity that the shepherds are themselves destroying their flock.”[12] As accurate as this assessment surely is, the tragedy of the situation is that Kulanday, much as in the manner of his above-named advisors, stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that it is the very same “Holy See” sanctioning such sacrileges. Despite the fact that John Paul II’s activities while in India were surely known by Victor Kulanday and his associates (activities that, it will shortly be shown, make him the worst sort of “paganizer”), the book is totally silent about them, once again exhibiting the usual double standard used by conservative Conciliarists when discussing their beloved leader. It must be said that to know of his complicity with the other destroyers of the flock, and yet to ignore this and to even withhold such information from others (leaving somehow the impression that John Paul II may be weak, but he remains uncontaminated by the heterodox virus) is reprehensible. Anyone truly committed to the restoration of the Catholic faith must perforce be prepared to combat false shepherds at all levels.

Hinduism and Conciliarism: A Digression

When traditional Catholics wish to demonstrate why Vatican II is wanting of the character of the twenty legitimate ecumenical councils that preceded it, they often point to those documents relating to the Church (Lumen Gentium), the Church in the modern world (Gaudium et Spes), ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio) or religious freedom (Dignitatis Humanae). Just as disturbing in its own way, though, is the Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate). Mention is made there of Hinduism, Buddhism, the Moslems and the Jews. At 1117 words Nostra Aetate is the shortest of all official Council documents, but its significance should, nonetheless, be acknowledged, for it is the underpinning of John Paul’s dealings with these and other non-Christian religions. Its implicit repudiation of Catholic doctrine regarding such false religions is so novel that, in retrospect, it is mind-boggling that a majority of Council fathers could have been found to approve it. (The final vote on 20 November 1964: 1651 placet, 99 non placet and 242 placet juxta modum.) In contradistinction to the passages of Saint Augustine and Pope Leo XIII on the two conflicting societies (i.e., the Cities of God and of Man) referred to above, Nostra Aerate teaches that “all peoples comprise a single community,” and “(o)ne also is their final goal: God.”[13] These religions “often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men,” it adds, in opposition to the clear sense of scripture: “And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” and “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (St. John 1:5, 10).” The conciliatory tone used by the declaration obfuscates distinctions that are absolutely vital to any consideration of the subject:

…in Hinduism men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an unspent fruitfulness of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek release from the anguish of our condition through ascetical practices or deep meditation or a loving, trusting flight toward God.[15]

From this brief passage come many potential questions: Precisely what divine mystery do men contemplate and express in Hinduism? The mysteries of existence mentioned earlier in Nostra Aetate – such as the meaning of life, goodness and sin, happiness and sorrow, and the riddle of what lies beyond the grave – are as much the interest of the philosopher as the theologian, and therefore can only be considered as “divine” mysteries in a limited sense. They are, simply, the sort of questions that all men (even atheists) ponder, and are questions that have been given various, often contradictory, answers by men through the ages. Merely to say that a religious body has considered these mysteries, therefore, hardly legitimizes its doctrines; what legitimizes them is how the questions are answered. When the Divine Mysteries revealed by God Himself are viewed, of course, the Hindu as with all unbelievers, is in abysmal ignorance. The use of “divine mystery,” then, can be seen in two senses: The first gives the reader no knowledge of the Hindu world view except to say it considers those things which all men consider, while the second only reminds that the council frequently engaged in confused semantics, as it is something that the Hindu, far from contemplating and expressing, neither apprehends nor professes.

There is a far more serious problem to be found in the closing part of the passage, where it is stated that Hindus seek “release from the anguish of our condition through… a loving, trusting flight toward God.” An enormity! And to think that it was approved at what had begun as a Roman Catholic ecumenical council is proof of the degree of success the Modernists had over the course of the previous forty years in the subversion of seminaries. No other explanation (save, perhaps, LSD in the Council’s water supply) is, humanly speaking, sufficient to explain how such a manifest inversion of Church dogma, such a manifest heresy, could have been approved by the bishops. In teaching that a Hindu, by the practice of his religion, is able to make “a loving trusting flight toward God,” Vatican II promulgates a complex of interrelated errors: (1) worship of the Hindu deity [is] worship of God; (2) said worship, therefore, is not to be construed as a violation of God’s command against serving false gods; (3) since a “flight towards God” is not prefaced by “supposed” or by some other qualifying word, the clear intent is to present this as an alternate, if imperfect, way to salvation; and (4) the overall effect is such as to render belief in Jesus Christ and membership in His Church to some secondary or peripheral importance or worse.

The dogma of a true Church, into which all must enter to find salvation, is abandoned. In its place is the notion of universal salvation. Nowhere is the contrast between Catholic and Conciliar teachings more evident than in a comparison of the Good Friday Litanical prayers. Used from the earliest days of the Church, the traditional Roman Rite codified by Pope Saint Pius V includes the following:

Pro Conversione Infidelium

Oremus et pro paganis: ut Deus omnipotens auferat iniquitatem a cordibus eorum; ut relictic idolis suis, convertantur ad Deum vivum et verum, et unicum Filium ejus Jesum Christum Deum et Dominum nostrum. Oremus. VFlectamus Genua. R Levare. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui non mortem peccatorum, sed vitam semper inquiris: suscipe propirius orationem nostram, et libera eos ab idolorum cultura: et aggrega Ecclesiae tuae sanctae, ad laudem, et gloriam nominis tui. Per Dominum. R Amen.

For the Conversion of Pagans

“Let us pray also for the pagans, that almighty God may remove iniquity from their hearts, that, putting aside their idols, they may be converted to the true and living God, and His only Son, Jesus Christ our God and Lord. Let us pray. V Let us kneel. R Arise. Almighty and everlasting God, Who always seekest not the death, but the life of sinners, mercifully hear our prayer, and deliver them from the worship of idols, and join them to Thy holy Church for the praise and glory of Thy name. Through our Lord, etc. R Amen.” (translation from Saint Joseph Daily Missal, New York: Catholic Book Pub. Co., 1956.)

The Catholic teaching on the evil inherent in idol worship and the necessity of pagans to renounce their iniquitous ways and accept the true God through incorporation in His Church are admirably set forth here. The reformed liturgy of Paul VI/Bugnini diverges significantly from this in both letter and spirit:

For Those Who do not Believe in Christ

Let us pray for those who do not believe in Christ, that the light of the Holy Spirit may show them the way to salvation. ***Almighty and eternal God, enable those who do not acknowledge Christ to find the truth as they walk before you in sincerity of heart. Help us to grow in love for one another, to grasp more fully the mystery of your godhead, and to become more perfect witnesses of your love in the sight of men. We ask this through Christ our Lord. R Amen. (translation from The Sacramentary, New York: Catholic Book Pub. Co., 1985)

A difference that fairly jumps off the page at the reader involves the heart of pagans: in the Catholic Mass no words are minced about the sinful nature of men giving creatures the homage due to God, and so He is implored to mercifully give them the grace needed to “remove iniquity from their heart”; while the Conciliar worship service makes not the slightest indication that the unbelievers are in any way sinful by consequence of their acts, rather the opposite is strongly suggested in the phrase, “as they walk before you in sincerity of heart.” Gone as well in the latter is any reference to “putting aside their idols,” being “converted to the true and living God” or imploring God to “join them to Thy holy Church.” Instead, it merely speaks of them being shown “the way of salvation,” an expression that could reasonably be inferred to mean they are able to receive the light of the Holy Ghost independent of whether they receive Christ as Savior.

This interpretation is wholly in keeping with Nostra Aetate’s contention that an idol-worshipping Hindu may nevertheless be actually involved in a “flight toward God.” The rest of the prayer reflects Conciliar drivel about Catholics and non-Catholics being engaged in a common search for truth, as though the Church has no supernaturally unique position, and even jointly identifies believers and unbelievers and “witnesses” of God’s love. (If such is the case, what need is there for missionary activity, for martyrs shedding their blood for Christ, for the Church itself, or, ultimately, for Our Lord’s passion and death?)

This change in the Solemn Orations was calculated to correspond with the theology of [the] nascent Conciliar religion. Although unsuitable for Catholic liturgy, this Modernistic lex orandi expresses perfectly the new church’s lex credendi. Father Anthony Cekada has substantiated this in his study, The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass, writing:

The ancient prayers were changed, said Archbishop Bugnini in his memoirs, because they ‘sounded rather bad’ in the ecumenical climate of Vatican II, and because ‘no one should find a motive for spiritual discomfort in the prayer of the Church’-no one, perhaps, but those who still believe in praying that the world be converted to the truth of the Catholic faith.[16]

The warning signs, it should he recalled, had already appeared during the misbegotten reign of Pope John XXIII. Just as he had set the tone for the apostasy to come with his earlier modifications of the Good Friday liturgy, so too he removed from Pope Pius XI’s Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus the sentence reading, “Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God” (also expunged from this prayer was a passage for the conversion of the Jews).

India’s “Noble Spiritual Vision of Man”

Since assuming the Holy See in 1978, John Paul II has been tireless in the furtherance of the Second Vatican council’s revolutionary decrees. During his 1980 visit to Kenya, he spoke with leaders of a Hindu group in Nairobi, citing Nostra Aetate and telling them that it manifested the fraternal attitude of the whole Catholic Church [sic] to non-Christian religions. In this she showed her task of fostering unity and love among individuals and nations and her commitment to advance fellowship among all human beings. Special reference in the document was made to Hinduism and to the religious values embraced by its followers.[17]

Can anyone doubt that the man who uttered such error has parted from the Catholic faith he purports to lead? For such must be the case when the claim is made that the Church’s attitude toward non-Catholic religions – is fraternal. Sufficient is the spiritual tenebrosity of the Conciliar Church that this and like statements, far from being questioned are warmly received. The authentic teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, however, has always held with Saint Paul that the faithful “(b)ear not the yoke with unbelievers…(g)o out from among them, and be ye separate… and touch not the unclean thing” (2 Cor. 6:14, 17). After all, how “fraternal” can the Church be with unbelieving and idolatrous sects whose members, writes Saint John, “shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death’ (Apoc. 21:8)? At the meeting with about a thousand leaders of various religions mentioned above, which took place on 2 February in Delhi Indira Gandhi Stadium, the Conciliar “pilgrim” declared:

India has so much to offer the world in the task of understanding man and the truth of his existence. And what she offers specifically is a seeking the face of God. Did not Mahatma Gandhi put it this way: “What I want to achieve – what I have been striving and pining to achieve…is self-realization to see God face-to-face. I live and move and have my being in pursuit of this goal.”

As always, John Paul couches his remarks in the anthropocentric language favored by Conciliar leaders (elsewhere in the speech he says “man is the way the Catholic Church must take in order to be faithful to herself,” reversing the subject/object order found in traditional Catholic formulations – Christocentric formulations). Most fascinating here is the Gandhi quote, as it points out the continual blurring of distinctions between Christian and non-Christian theology. The context is the notion set forth by the “pope” that men – presumably all men, since the all-inclusive “man” is used – have as their goal “seeking the face of God.” (The error promulgated in Nostra Aetate is restated here.) Gandhi’s “profession of faith” comes from his autobiography, and his goal, held up for praise by John Paul, is stated succinctly: “self-realization – to see God face to face.” For those unfamiliar with Hinduism, such a statement can easily be taken to suggest that there are actually two goals being referred to here, that somehow Gandhi’s awkward phrasing gives the mistaken impression he is equating “self-realization” with “to see God….” In actuality, however, it is precisely those who argue thus that are mistaken, because Gandhi is equating the two.

[Photo of Gandhi. Caption: “Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), the Hindu social reformer and Nationalist leader, was called a ‘hero of humanity’ by John Paul II, who prayed at his memorial monument. The same Gandhi said that acceptance of Christ as the only begotten Son of God ‘is more than I can believe’ and that ‘God is conscience. He is even the atheism of the Atheist…'”]

As mentioned above, Gandhi’s view of the Christian mysteries was negative. “God is conscience. He is even the atheism of the atheist…” and “I do not regard God as a person,” he once wrote.[18] In an address to Christian missionaries in 1925, Gandhi candidly admitted: “It is more than I could believe that Jesus was the only incarnate Son of God and that only he who believed in him would have everlasting life” and “My reason was not ready to believe that literally Jesus by his death and by his blood redeemed the sins of the world!”19 His outlook was that favored by many Hindu intellectuals; monistic pantheism, by which is meant the denial of philosophical distinctions such as body and soul, subject and object, matter and spirit, and, ultimately, Creator and creation.

How does this relate to the cited assertion? It does so in the sense that the “self” and “God” of his statement are in no way separated as they would be to Catholic and other Westerners – in fact, the terms could be reversed in the statement and make as much sense to someone with that worldview. Confirmation of this comes from an examination of the expression “self-realization,” which in the Hindu mind has a very different meaning than mere awareness or fulfillment. Gandhi had as his guru Paramahansa Yogananda, a fellow Indian who became even more famous as a propagandist for Hinduism (and its “kinship” with Christianity) in the United States through books and lecture tours. Yogananda championed New Age concepts like “cosmic consciousness” decades before the current craze. He was a guest at the White House long before the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was discovered by the Beatles and found fame and fortune in America. In 1920 he founded the Self-Realization Fellowship in America, an international society that had begun in India three years earlier as Yogoda Satsanga. Gandhi was initiated in Kriya Yoga by him in 1925. Yogananda defines self-realization as…

…the knowing – in body, mind, and soul – that we are one with the omnipresence of God; that we do not have to pray that it come to us, that we are not merely near it at all times, but that God’s omnipresence is our omnipresence; that we are just as much a part of Him how as we will ever be. All we have to do is improve our knowing.[20]

So this is the “noble spiritual vision of man” that John Paul says India has to offer the world? A vision where man is seen as requiring “knowledge” instead of repentance; where prayer isn’t needed; where he shares God’s nature; where man is no longer seen in the image of God, but as part of Him.

And yet this is only part of India’s “spiritual vision,” that of the elite, which, in this case, has been sugar-coated for consumption by Westerners. In truth, the Hindu has no creed (Gandhi has said an atheist can be a Hindu). Father Charles F. Aiken, S.T.D., a professor of apologetics at the Catholic University of America in the early part of the century, wrote:

…In Hinduism, as distinguished from the heretical sects of India, it is of minor importance what sort of worship is adopted, provided one recognizes the supremacy of the Brahmin (i.e., Hindu priests – JKW) and the sacredness of Brahmin customs and traditions. In the pantheistic all-God Brahma, the whole world of deities, spirits, and other objects of worship are contained, so that Hinduism adapts itself to every form of religion, from the lofty monotheism of the cultivated Brahmin to the degraded nature-worship of the ignorant, half savage peasant. Hinduism, to quote Monier Williams, ‘has something to offer which is suited to all minds. Its very strength lies in its infinite adaptability to the infinite diversity of human characters and human tendencies. It has its highly spiritual and abstract side suited to the metaphysical philosopher – its practical and concrete side suited to the man of affairs and the man of the world – its esthetic and ceremonial side suited to the man of poetic feeling and imagination – its quiescent and contemplative side suited to the man of peace and lover of seclusion.

Nay, it holds out the right hand of brotherhood to nature-worshippers, demon-worshippers, animal-worshippers, tree-worshippers, fetish-worshippers. It does not scruple to permit the most grotesque forms of idolatry, and the most degrading varieties of superstition. And it is to this latter fact that yet another remarkable peculiarity of Hinduism is mainly due – namely, that in no other system in the world is the chasm more vast which separates the religion of the higher, cultured, and thoughtful classes from that of the lower, uncultured, and unthinking masses. …We have nothing to learn from India that makes for higher culture. On the other hand, India has much of value to learn from Christian civilization.[21]

Whatever the gossamer beliefs of learned Hindus, the fact remains that when the popular religion is considered, one is confronted with the foulest effluence of idolatry the world has ever known. No other pagans in history begin to approach in sheer numbers the 330 million gods in the Hindu pantheon. The Abbé Jean-Antonine DuBois, a French missionary who spent thirty-one years in India from the start of the French Revolution, in his celebrated book, Hindu Manners, Customs & Ceremonies, notes in “the temples of idols…which one meets at every step in India,” the statues that – unlike the idealized human deities of ancient Greece and Rome – have appearances of “frightful ugliness” and “(t)he attitudes in which they are represented are either ridiculous, grotesque or obscene. In short, everything is done to make them objects of disgust to any one not familiar with the sight of these strange monsters.”[22]

Strange monsters indeed. Among popular Hindu gods are: Shiva, the destroyer, often depicted with four arms; Kali, his demonic-looking consort, often shown as a wild-eyed hag with a sword in one hand, a severed human head in the other, a necklace of human skulls and a girdle of human teeth (before their suppression, the Thugees, a semi-religious group, committed ritual murders for her); Hanuman the monkey god; and Ganesa, god of wisdom, who has a human body and an elephant’s head. The latter two are suggestive of the veneration with which Hinduism views animals. Above all, it holds the lowly cow as a worthy object of the highest devotion, so much so that in the Mahabharta, one of its “holy” books, it has been noted, “all who eat, kill, or permit the slaughter of a cow are doomed to rot in hell for as many years as there are hairs on her body,” and the killing of cows was formerly an offense punishable by death.[23] A clear indication of the depths of delusion into which unregenerate humanity can sink is found in the following passage by Sir M. Monier-Williams:

The cow is of all animals the most sacred. Every part of its body is inhabited by some deity or other. Every hair on its body is inviolable. All its excreta are hallowed. Not a particle ought to be thrown away as impure. On the contrary, the water it ejects ought to be preserved as the best of holy waters – a sin-destroying liquid which sanctifies everything it touches, while nothing purifies like cow-dung. Any spot which a cow has condescended to honour with the sacred deposit of her excrement is for ever afterwards consecrated ground, and the filthiest place plastered with it is at once cleansed and freed from pollution, while the ashes produced by burning this hallowed substance are of such a holy nature that they not only make clean all material things, however previously unclean, but have only to be sprinkled over a sinner to convert him into a saint.[24]

This explains the otherwise baffling scene witnessed by a modern-day American visitor to India, who “observed two Indian women fighting over a pile of warm fresh cow manure,” and the equally incredible belief that since the cow is “the mother-goddess of life, its urine is (to be – JKW) drunk to purify the soul.”[25] Cobras, which kill 20,000 Indians each year, are also worshiped, as are “sacred rats”, which are cared for and fed in some village temples at a cost of $4000 a year.[26]

The Mark of Shiva

The extent to which John Paul II has manifested his approval of inculturation is evident at almost every turn of his Indian sojourn. At Madras, he was welcomed to a gathering for false ecumenism with a Hindu choir singing a hymn from the Veda, the most ancient and “sacred” of Hinduism’s scriptures.[27] The words intoned were: “Lord, lead us from the lie to the truth.” But whose Lord is being invoked, and what truth is being sought?

But of all that took place, that which symbolizes best the direction of his “pontificate” and his loss of authority has been summarized in Abbe’ Daniel Le Roux’s study, Peter, Lovest Thou Me? (subtitled John Paul II: Pope of Tradition or Pope of Revolution?) as follows:

A sugar cane, fashioned into the form of a cross, signifying a Hindu offering to a carnal god, was brought into the presence of the Pope. A little later, during the offertory procession, a coconut was carried to the altar, a typical Hindu offering, which they offer to their idols. Finally, a man placed sacred ashes on his forehead. It was not a matter of Tilac but of sacred ashes or Vibhuti. Three days earlier, on February 2, he had received on his forehead the Tilac or Tika, the red powdery paste of the Hindus, the sign of recognition of the adorers of Shiva.[28]

Still photos taken at the gathering in Delhi Indira Gandhi Stadium, show a woman in traditional Indian garb tracing the mark on his forehead, as he stands, eyes closed, holding his twisted-cross crosier.

Shiva, as has been noted, is one of the most important of Hinduism’s false deities. He contains as many contradictions in his personae as the religion he represents: Although the god of destruction, he is also paradoxically identified with a creative aspect and as “King of the Dance” (Shiva means “the friendly one”); he is at once chaste and lustful, a fertility god who is revered under the phallic symbol of the lingam, the bull he is often depicted riding and the obscene, ithyphallic images of him in temple art; he is associated with madness as well as enlightenment; the benefactor of his followers, he also delights in the terrors of the graveyard; at times, he is portrayed as being hermaphroditically joined with Parvati, one of his many consorts; and, as his 1008 names indicate, he is a composite of many lesser deities. The ambiguity of Shiva is reflected by the activities in his devotees, some of which have been known to engage in “enlightenment” through indulgence as opposed to the way of renunciation favored by others. Father Aiken writes:

Siva, too, has his temples, vying in magnificence with those of Vishnu, but in all these the holy place is the linga-shrine, and the temple worship consists in the application of water and Bilva leaves to the stone symbol. The interior walls of these, and of the Vishu temples as well, are covered with shocking representations of sexual passion. And yet, strange to say, these forms of religion, while giving a sanction to the indulgence of the lowest passions, at the same time inspire other devotees to the practice of the severest asceticism. They wander about in lonely silence, naked and filthy, their hair matted from long neglect, their bodies reduced to mere skin and bones by dint of incredible fasts. They will stand motionless for hours under the blazing sun with their emaciated arms uplifted toward heaven. Some go about with face ever turned upwards. Some are known to have kept their fists tightly clenched until their growing nails protruded through the backs of their hands.[29]

One group of Shaivites (Shiva worshippers) practice tantra, a form of yoga based on the enjoyment of that which is forbidden by “orthodox” Hindus, including rites using a corpse and a form of coition in which the male partner deliberately withholds completion of the act for as long as possible to “store” the energy for the acquisition of “spiritual” or occult powers (one can only speculate on whether Gandhi had this in mind when he spoke of “the suppression of procreation,” a call for birth control that John Paul II cited on 9 February in Bombay). Then there is the horrendous side of Shiva worship. Herbert Stroup, in Like a Great River: An Introduction to Hinduism, states: “Siva is associated with destruction and creativity, in his destructive context he is a harsh, flesh-eating deity who delights in bloody sacrifices. These blood sacrifices involve animals, although at times in the past human beings were also subjects…”[30] In Popular Hinduism, L.S.S. O’Malley notes that in the Tiruvasagam, “sacred” poems of south India, “(it is) taught that there is one supreme god (Siva) Who assumed humanity and came to earth in the form of a Guru or spiritual teacher, and threw open the way of salvation to men and women of all classes.”[31]

And what of the marks received by “His Holiness”? The Tilac is defined as: “A sectarian mark made on the forehead with unguents or mineral or vegetal colouring matter…These visible signs are believed by many to have protective powers.”[32] Also known as Bindi, it is frequently worn by Indian women to signify their married state, but it has a broader significance, as a representation of the third eye, the highest “mystical center” in man. Said to be “situated between and slightly above the normal eyes,” there are “occult powers often associated with it.”[33] As for its origin, Geoffrey Parrinder, in A Dictionary of Non-Christian Religions, writes:

The Hindu god Shiva is often represented with a Third Eye (Tri-lochana) in the middle of his forehead, contained in or surmounted by a crescent moon. With this Third Eye he destroyed the gods at one of the dissolutions of the universe, and burnt to ashes Kama, the god of love, for inspiring amorous thoughts in Parvati, Shiva’s consort, when the god was engaged in austerities.[34]

The vibhuti are: “The ashes with which Siva smeared his body, a practice followed by many of his devotees.”[35] Regarding the Indian customs adopted by Jesuit missionaries in the eighteenth century, mentioned in passing at the start of this study, among those proscribed by the Holy See, writes Father Joseph Brucker, S.J., in The Catholic Encyclopedia, were wearing ashes and emblems after the manner of the heathen Hindus.”[36] Elaborating on this, Father Brucker cites an Instruction from the Congregation of Propaganda to the Vicar Apostolic of Pondicherry, dated 15 February 1792, which indicated those customs which could and couldn’t be used. It reads, in part: “The Decree of Cardinal de Tournon and the Constitution of Gregory XV agree in this way, that both absolutely forbid any sign bearing even the least semblance of superstition, but allow those which are in general use for the sake of adornment, of good manners, and bodily cleanness, without any respect to religion.”[37] While apologists for John Paul may call the nature of the Tilac into question (although its non-religious use by men is rare), the cow-dung ashes with which he was signed allow no other interpretation. They are also, it may be added, an appropriate symbol for his false brand of Catholicism.

John Paul II’s Universal Religion

During his talk at St. Xavier College in Calcutta, John Paul alluded to one of that city’s “renowned figures”- Swami Vivekananda, whom he quoted as having declared that “service of men is service of God.” Many hearing this reference would have taken it to be suggestive of the work of Mother Teresa and her [so-called] Missionaries of Charity, since they are based in Calcutta. But there is another, less obvious aspect, this one so startling that it defies every thing that the Chair of Peter has taught and upheld through the centuries.

Swami Vivekananda is best known for being an important leader in the Vedanta Society, a group that brought the “wisdom of the East” to the United States in the late 1800’s, and for his celebrated appearance at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1892. This opened the door for Yogananda, the Maharishi, the Krishna Consciousness group and other religious invaders over the past century and brought him, reports the Roman catholic, a congratulatory address in Calcutta: “The general effect (of the Swami’s teaching) was a revolution in the religious ideas of a large section of cultivated Americans.”[38] Such interreligious gatherings were later condemned by the Vatican. What Pope Pius XI wrote in Mortalium animos of the false ecumenism of the then-called “pan-Christian movement” is all the more applicable in regards [to] gatherings that attempt to put Christian and non-Christian faiths on a par: “.. under these seductive thoughts and flattering words one of the gravest errors lies hid, one capable of undermining the foundations of the Catholic faith.”

[Illustration of Shiva. Caption: “Shiva, here shown in a benificent aspect as Lord of the Dance, is one of the gods of Hinduism’s false trinity. His ambiguous character is suggested in this portrayal: a drum in one hand signifies his role as Creator; fire in another his role as destroyer; a third, with upturned palm as the Protector; and the fourth, pointing down at a vanquished demon, as the savior.”]

It was Vivekananda who taught that Hinduism is the “mother of religions,” that no religion was in error, merely in possession of a lower truth, add thus the corollary, “We accept all religions as true.”[39] As a result, there must be no proselytizing:

“Do I wish that the Christian would become a Hindu?” he exclaims. “God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become a Christian? God forbid…The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each religion must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve its individuality and grow according to its own law of growth.”[40]

How does this differ with the mentality of the Conciliar Church? Take, for example, the following quote:

If in coming face to face with God we accept Him in our lives, then we are converting. We become a better Hindu, a better Muslim, a better Catholic, a better whatever we are, and then by being better we come closer and closer to Him…What God is in your mind you must accept. But I cannot prevent myself from giving you what I have.[41]

The speaker is Mother Teresa and the thrust of what she’s saying is that belief is unimportant to salvation (i.e., indifferentism), one may say to Shiva (“What God is in your mind you must accept.”) and yet, so long as one carries out acts of corporal mercy, one’s everlasting bliss is assured. Hence, she has “sisters” in her order who are Hindus. John Paul visited her and had only praise for her work. Of course, he also announced while in India that he was convoking a World Peace Day in Assisi for later that year. And surely there was an effort to “assimilate the spirit of the others” at Assisi when Buddhists desecrated the Church of St. Peter with their pagan rites.

It is noteworthy that Vivekananda was speaking literally when he made the “service of men is service of God” remark. In defining the ideal of a universal religion, he declared “…this ideal is that you are divine.” “Thou are That” and “(n)o one is greater’ realize you are Brahman.”[42] More frightening was his defense of why Hinduism was the greatest of the world’s religions:

“There are some who scoff at the existence of Kali,” he said. “Who can say that God does not manifest Himself as Evil as well as Good? But only the Hindu dares to worship him in the evil.” He also said, “I worship the terrible! It is a mistake to hold that with all men pleasure is the motive. Quite as many are born to seek after pain. Let us worship the Terror for Its own sake….How few have dared to worship Death, of Kali! Let us worship Death!”[43]

And this is the thinking of John Paul’s “renowned figure,” the rantings of a devilish madman! Vivekanada’s “all religions are true” was echoed by a Hindu extremist group that “called for a public statement from the pope that all religions are alike.”[44] He complied with his panreligious declaration that Hindus and other pagans “proclaim the truth about man.”

All of the forgoing only substantiates the conclusion that “Pope” Wojtyla has not wavered one iota from the blasphemous nonsense he spouted at Vatican II: “It is not the Church’s place to teach unbelievers. She must seek in common with the world.”[45] Instead of wishing to bring the unbelievers to the light of Christ, John Paul II has shown time and again that he is content with them remaining where they are and even in commingling with them, quoting their “holy men” and establishing the framework for a non-Catholic, one world religious body, where the various sects will each “assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve its individuality and grow according to its own law of growth.” It is indicative of the darkness of these times that he is still venerated as “Holy Father” after his scandalous pilgrimage to India. Exsurge, Domine, non praevaleat homo: judicentur gentes in conspectu tuo. V. In convertendo inimicum meum retrorsum, infirmabuntur, et peribunt in facie tua. (Ps. 9: 20,4)



  1. Cited, Victor J.F. Kulanday, The Paganization of the Church in India, 2nd rev. ed. (Madras: 1988), p. 158.
  2. Ibid., p. 159.
  3. Ibid., pp. 18-19. In an “Official Commentary,” the CBCI employed double talk, defending the points as “the first step toward adaptation” and advising that “the faithful must be shown that we are by no means bringing Hinduism into our Churches, but only adapting the Indian peoples’ own way of expressing reverence and worship.” Cited, p. 23.
  4. J.P.M. van der Ploeg, O.P., cited, ibid., pp. 82-83.
  1. Ibid., p. 173.
  2. Ibid., pp. xiv-xv.
  3. Cited, Alden Hatch, Pope Paul VI, 2nd printing (New York: 1966), pp. 195-196.
  4. Ibid., p. 207.
  5. Ibid., pp. 209, 210 & 214.
  6. These and other quotes from John Paul II’s Indian visit are taken from numerous texts of speeches, homilies and prayers published in the English language edition of L ‘Osservatore Romano for the weeks of 3 February and 10 February 1986.
  7. Op. Cit., p. 157.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Walter Abbot, S.J., general editor, The Documents of Vatican II, New York: 1966), pp. 660-661.
  10. Ibid., p. 662.
  11. Ibid., pp. 661-662.
  12. (Rockford, IL.: 1991), p. 25.
  13. Addresses & Homilies on Ecumenism: 1978-1980 (Washington, D.C.: 1981), p. 101.
  14. Cited, Clive Johnson, editor, Vedanta (New York: 1971), p. 219.
  15. Cited, Kundalay, p. 169. In the same place, the author reports that at “Hindu-Catholic” liturgies the faithful are asked to “listen to the voice of Gandhi whom the Holy Spirit inspired.” John Paul says essentially the same thing, only with more guile.
  16. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man’s Eternal Quest (Los Angeles: 1982), p. 486.
  17. “Hinduism,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, p. 358.
  18. 3rd ed. (Oxford: 1959), pp. 578, 581.
  19. L.S.S. O’Malley, Popular Hinduism (Cambridge, England: 1935), p. 16.
  20. Cited, Ibid., p. 15.
  21. Bob Larson, Larson’s New Book of cults (Wheaton, IL: 1989), p. 68.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Abbe Daniel Le Roux, Peter, Lovest Thou Me? (Gladysdale, Australia: 1989), p. 155.
  24. Ibid. pp. 155-156.
  25. “Brahminism,” The catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. II, pp. 734-735.
  26. (New York: 1972), p. 96.
  27. p. 57
  28. Margaret & James Stutley, Harper’s Dictionary of Hinduism (New York: 1977), p. 302.
  29. Edward Rice, Eastern Definitions (Garden City, N.J.: 1978), p. 381.
  30. (Philadelphia: 1971), p. 281.
  31. Stutley, p. 331.
  32. “Malabar,” Vol. IX, p. 561.
  33. Cited, ibid., pp. 561-562.
  34. Cited, “Modern Theme Parks: Educating People for the New Age,” Vol. XIII, No. 2, 1991, p. 7.
  35. Cited, R.C. Zaehner, Hinduism (Oxford: 1984), p. 167.
  36. Cited, Ibid., pp. 167-168. Emphasis added.
  37. Cited, Desmond Doig, Mother Teresa: Her People & Her Work (New York: 1976), p. 156.
  38. Cited, Johnson, pp. 188, 193.
  39. Cited, Rice, pp. 398-399. A similar Vivekananda quote appears in Larson:  “It is a sin to call a person a sinner.” p. 70.
  40. “Ceremony, Protest, Ecumenism Mark Pope’s Visit to India,” Ecumenical News Service’s 1986 compilation, article 86.2.49.
  41. Cited, Henri Sesquet, The Drama of Vatican II, trans. by Bernard Murchland. (NY: 1967), pg. 444.
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