Critical Podium Dewanand Hinduism
David Frawley, about The Pope's Apology
Sacrificer David Frawley
Sacrifice code wfor0106
Sacrifice date 25 march 2009
Source text= www.hindunet.org
shish Sharma, Indian Express, the Express Magazine, March 12, 2000
Introduction: Who is Dr. David Frawley?
David Frawley is one of the few Westerners ever recognized in India as
a Vedacharya or teacher of the ancient wisdom. In 1991under the auspices
of the great Indian teacher, Avadhuta Shastri, he was named Vamadeva Shastri,
after the great Vedic Rish Vamadeva. In 1995 he was given the title of
Pandit along with the Brahmachari Vishwanathji award in Mumbai for his
knowledge of the Vedic teaching. Vamadeva has received many awards and
honors for his work from throughout India. He works with many different
aspects of Vedic knowledge on which he has written over twenty books and
many articles over the last twenty years. In India his translations and
interpretations of the ancient Vedic teachings have been given the highest
acclaim in both spiritual and scholarly circles.
Dr. Frawley is a teacher and practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine and of
Vedic astrology (Jyotish) and has done pioneering work on both these subjects.
He was recently (Sept. 2000) regarded as one of the 25 most influential
Yoga teachers in America by the magazine Yoga Journal. He is now working
closely with Deepak Chopra, particularly on his internet projects.
It is very difficult to get authentic knowledge about Vedic teachings
and its related traditions of Yoga, Tantra, Vedanta, Ayurveda and Vedic
Astrology. Yoga is often reduced to mere asana or yogic postures. Tantra
has become little more than sex. Vedanta has often been reduced to a mere
philosophy. Academic presentations of these subjects, not being done by
practitioners, remain caught in semantics and theoretical issues. Indian
presentations, even authentic and given in English, are often hard to
understand and poorly written.
Dr. Frawley (Vamadeva) presents authentic Vedic knowledge in the Western
world and in a lucid presentation recognized by the tradition itself.
He has worked extensively teaching, writing, lecturing, conducting research
and helping establish schools and associations in related Vedic fields.
He has studied and traveled widely gathering knowledge, working with various
teachers and groups in a non-sectarian manner.
The Pope's Apology
By Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David Frawley)
Pope John Paul II recently made an almost too well publicized apology
for the wrongs and injustices, the sins committed by Catholics throughout
the centuries. He mentioned the Crusades, Inquisition and the mistreatment
of the Jews, among other actions that led to hatred, oppression and genocide.
The event was more a great media show than a sincere and humble statement
of the heart. The whole gesture was broadcast with great ceremony, almost
as if it were a piece of propaganda.
The Pope's first concern was the Jews, who have been persecuted by the
Christians during the last two thousand years, with the Nazis being perhaps
the greatest of a long series of episodes of Anti-Semitism in Europe.
There have been many criticisms of the Church for its role in tolerating,
if not supporting the Nazis. The Pope's apology is also meant to counter
criticism against his recent effort to get Pope Pius XII canonized as
a saint. Pope Pius XII was the Pope during World War II who never tried
to stop the Nazis.
Many Jews are critical of the effort to canonize Pope Pius XII and suspect
him of collaborating with the Nazis. The Pope's seeking of forgiveness
from the Jews is a way to redress that as well.
His second concern was the Muslims. The Pope wants recognition in the
Islamic world. Today the great majority of devoted Catholics are in similar
Third World circumstances and Catholic missionaries are competing with
Islamic missionaries, particularly in Africa. The Pope made a very high
profile visit to Israel recently, appeared arm and arm with Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat and made a public plea for a Palestinian State, almost
as if he were more a political than a religious leader.
The place of Hindus and Buddhists in this mistreatment can be inferred
but the silence about these religions is poignant. The Pope failed to
mention these religions by name, as has been his general tendency not
to want to recognize them as valid religions - a courtesy that he does
yield to other Biblical beliefs. The Inquisition came to India, specifically
to Goa. The Catholic Church has been quite active in Asia as well throughout
the centuries and often using the same questionable tactics. The Pope
also failed to specifically mention the pagans of Europe that were the
object of much Christian hatred and violence from the destruction of pagan
temples to the burning of witches in the Middle Ages. Even today pagan
groups in Europe have to deal with strong opposition from the Church.
I don't mean to say that the Pope's gesture has no value or cannot be
a step in the right direction. Hopefully, Protestant Christians and Muslims,
whose history is just as bloody relative to other faiths, can follow suit.
But the Pope's apology is perhaps more notable for what it did not say.
We should not read into it more than what he indicated. Unless it is followed
by more genuine actions, it may only be an effort to avoid real scrutiny.
According to Catholic doctrine, the Church is a heavenly body, the bride
of Christ and can therefore suffer from no real deficiency. Hence, the
Pope is not apologizing for any real mistakes done by the Church because,
by definition in Catholicism, the Church is capable of no real wrong.
He is apologizing for mistakes made by church members, which can include
priests, bishops and even previous Popes, but which only occurred by their
failure to live up to the heavenly status of the Church. So the Pope's
apology is not really for the wrongs of the Catholic Church but only for
the wrongs of individual Catholics. In this regard it is an attempt to
maintain the purity of the Church and to uphold its power. It is the Church
apologizing for the deficiencies of its members, not for its own mistakes.
Secondly, the Pope's statement does not contain a repudiation of any
Catholic doctrines; particularly those that require that Catholics convert
the world to their belief, which notion was responsible for most of the
violence that he criticizes. The Pope's apology is not an acceptance of
other religions or a statement that salvation is possible outside the
Church or apart from Jesus. It is not a declaration of respect for the
religions of the world. It is not a proclamation of religious pluralism.
The Pope did not say that other religions are as good as Christianity
or that Jesus is the only Son of God and the sole redeemer of humanity.
In fact, his recent statements in Asia, his call to evangelize the region
and convert Asia to Catholicism, proclaim the opposite.
His plea for forgiveness was to God, not to other people and certainly
not to other religions. He was not apologizing to other religions for
the Catholic Church failing to recognize their truth or their holiness
in the eyes of God. He was not reaching out to other religions, so much
as making an appeal to members of other religions in order to draw them
closer to Christ and the Church in order to convert them. He preserved
the exclusivism of Catholic belief in tact.
That this forgiveness coincides with a new church initiative to convert
Asia to Christianity should not be forgotten. It is an attempt to give
the Church a more liberal modern face to aid in its conversion efforts.
It represents only a change of style. In the past conversion often occurred
along with force and intimidation. This policy cannot work in the post-colonial
era, when the Church does not have military support. So the Pope is trying
a new, more friendly style. But the goal is the same - Christianity for
When a person confesses his sins to a Catholic priest he is always given
some sort of penance. It is easy to ask for forgiveness but it should
lead to some sort of action or it may be sincere. It is not enough to
say you are sorry and ask for forgiveness if you have hurt others. You
must stop the hurtful actions and make amends. The Pope should follow
up his words with real efforts to rectify past wrongs, many of which are
still continuing. If someone runs over you with a car, it is not enough
to ask for forgiveness and walk away. The Catholic Church has ruined entire
civilizations in its history, and has cast a pall over others.
Perhaps it should make a memorial to the victims of its Inquisitions.
Above all, it must recognize that the religions that it has trampled over
must be addressed as well. The Pope should arrange meetings not only with
Jews and Muslims, but with Hindus, Buddhists and Pagans, asking their
forgiveness and seeking ways to address the wrongs that the Church has
done to them and being open to real dialogue with them. Let the Pope ask
forgiveness not simply of the people the Church may have harmed, let him
ask forgiveness of their religions and religious leaders. Let him ask
forgiveness of the Shankaracharyas or the Dalai Lama for denigrating their
religions. Let him say that these other religions are as good and holy
as Christianity. This he has not done and will not recommend. In fact,
he has warned his priests and nuns against following yoga and other eastern
practices, which he called selfish.
Many people were forcibly converted to Catholicism. Their native holy
places were replaced by churches. Will the Pope tell such people to return
to their original faith? Will he even tell them that their original faith
was as good as Christianity? Will he work to restore at least a few native
places of worship that the Church has stolen? If not, how can his apology
be taken seriously?
Above all, the Pope should stop the policies that have led to such inequities.
The entire Catholic process of proselytization has a sordid history. To
ask for forgiveness for its excesses, but to continue with these conversion
efforts is insincere.
The real question is whether the Catholic seeking to convert the world
to its faith, based upon its declaration - recently affirmed by the Pope
- that Jesus is the sole savior of humanity, is inherently a cause of
intolerance, social disharmony and violence. When a missionary goes into
a community and tells its members that salvation is only possible through
Jesus and that their existing religion will not save them, that already
is a form of intolerance and violence that must lead to disharmony and
The Pope has made great efforts to portray Catholicism as a force of
social liberalism, allied with leftist causes as in the Liberation Theology,
that is the defender of the poor and a force for social equality. At the
same time he is asking for the canonization of Pope Pius XII who stood
silent before Nazi and Fascist aggression and genocide. Mussolini was
a good Catholic in frequent communication with the Church. Catholic priests
and bishops are well known to have blessed Nazi and Italian Fascist troops.
Catholicism was long a natural ally of fascism. Theocracy, authoritarian
and military rule are as old as Constantine, the first Roman emperor to
become a Christian. Spanish and Portuguese colonial rulers, who indulged
in genocide of populations in America and Asia, acted with the sanction
of the Church on their regimes. The military dictators of Central and
South America in recent times, up to Pinochet were good Catholics and
had Church leaders allied with them.
The Liberation Theology that arose in the Americas in recent years was
a new phenomenon and often opposed by the Church. In fact, Pope John II
has put an end to most of it in the Americas. He only promotes this Liberation
Theology in India because of its conversion value.
The fact is that, historically, the Catholic Church has been allied with
military dictatorships, theocracies, and colonial oppression. Jesuits
functioned as spies to study and undermine countries for conversion purposes.
The older history of popes, anti-popes is there for all to see. The actual
Church is not the bride of Christ or purity but a house with many dark
corners and many skeletons in its closets that have yet to be cleaned
If the Pope is a true social liberal let him work not just for the equality
of people but for the equality of religions as well. Let him not just
say that all human beings are equal; let him also honor other religions
as great. Let him honor not just Biblical religions, but the dharmic traditions
of Asia as valid ways to God or Truth.
The problems that the Pope has asked forgiveness for are inherent in
the very nature and structure of the Church. When you create an exclusive
organization to dispense salvation to the entire world, you endow it with
a kind of absolute authority like that of a dictator that naturally leads
to corruption. The future does not belong to the Catholic Church or to
any institutionalized belief. No group can claim to own or represent God
or dispense salvation by belief in its doctrines. Truth is universal and
eternal and the time of exclusive beliefs, products of the Dark Ages of
humanity, is long past.
It is clear that so far the Pope's apology is only meant to sidestep
greater criticism. It is more of a whitewash than a sincere plea for forgiveness
that a truly spiritual leader would ask for. Without bringing about an
end to proselytization that has caused most of these problems it means
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