A question about Kerala

The great Sandro Magister of Chiesa has a piece today which prompts a question.

Here is the very first part:

The Kerala Exception. A Trip to India’s Most Christian and Peaceful State

There are ten times more Catholics there than elsewhere, but they live in peace with the Hindus and Muslims. Education is generalized, with equality between men and women. The only threat to this miracle comes from a Marxist government

 

Hmmm… lemme think here for a moment.

Elsewhere in the subcontinent, where Catholics and other Christians are an even tinier minority – and therefore less impact on the region – there is terrible religiously motivated violence.

Hmmm…

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9 Responses to A question about Kerala

  1. TomG says:

    The Indian state of Goa is 25% Catholic. My daughter (a foreign service officer in Kuwait) has a Goa nanny for our granddaughter. The woman is a fervent Catholic and tells us wonderful stories about her upbringing (she’s 44). The state is 65% Hindu and only 6% Muslim. They enjoy apparently excellent interfaith relations; there seems to be no strife at all there. Interestingly enough, our nanny and all her family have Portuguese names, though they are ethnic Indians.

  2. Gabriella says:

    I suppose the peaceful relationship between the different religions in Kerala is due primarily to the population all having the same culture. The muslims here speak a different language from the rest of the muslims in India and have not yet been influenced by their integralism – e.g.: a woman wearing a sari shows her stomach and this is accepted with no problem at all.

  3. Tom, Goa was once a Portuguese colony, hence the names.

  4. FrCharles says:

    We Capuchins have, I think, three whole provinces of friars in Kerala. I have met some who have come to stay with us in the New York province, and have been very impressed. Our friars in India have so many vocations that they are exporting priests and brothers for mission all over the world.

  5. Athelstan says:

    …Hmmm…more Catholics and Christians = less probability of religiously motivated violence?

    Unfortunately – as Magister’s article notes – only the Pentacostals seem to be engaged in serious evangelization (not that I am implying approval of all of their methods).

    The large number of Christians in Kerala may make them a less vulnerable target than in other parts of India. But the higher level of literacy and the unique cultural fabric of Kerala are probably also at work.

    Speaking of the Portuguese…a mixed blessing for Christianity in India once they arrived in the 15th century. Colonies like Goa ended up being vibrant churches; but forced latinization and ecclesiastical structures ended up creating schisms among the indigenous St. Thomas Christians (founded, at least in tradition, by the Apostle St. Thomas) they found there.

    But that’s all long past. Now, apparently, they have to deal with the Marxists.

  6. TomG says:

    Uh, Sean, I know that. I meant to make the point that, as thankful as the Church should be for what the Portuguese brought to Goa, it seems there was kinda “inculturation” over-kill going on there. I mean, Christian names are one thing, but surnames?? (NB: our nanny’s name is Luiza Fernandes). I probably could have stated it better, though.

  7. sjoseph says:

    I am from Kerala, and have been residing in the US for over 10 years. The largest Catholic retreat center in the world is in Kerala and it is a center of evangelization. 5000-10000 people attend weekly live in retreats there every week. I myself started taking the faith seriously after attending retreats there and realizing that our God is not a distant God, but is near us.. visit http://www.drcm.org/ and read testimonies from even non-catholics.

  8. sjoseph says:

    I am from Kerala, and have been residing in the US for over 10 years. To answer Athelstan, the largest Catholic retreat center in the world is in Kerala and it is a center of evangelization. 5000-10000 people attend weekly live in retreats there every week. I myself started taking the faith seriously after attending retreats there. The website is http://www.drcm.org/ and read testimonies from even non-catholics.

  9. Athelstan says:

    Hello sjoseph.

    I’m delighted to hear that. Sounds like weak spot in Fiore’s reportage.

    If I were you, I might drop a line to Chiesa or Oasis – or both.

    P.S. No one has raised this yet, but on reading my post again, I feel a little clarification is wanting. The Portuguese, and Archbishop Menezes, have caught a lot of heat for many of their actions in trying to integrate the Syro-Malabar community into the Church in the 16th-17th centuries. All of the relevant Wikipedia articles, for example, are uniformly hostile to Church leadership of the time. While the Church has long since abandoned the misguided effort to fully Latinize the liturgy and structure of the Syro-Malabar, some of the other charges (widespread book-burning, etc.) laid at Menezes’ and the Tridentine Church’s feet are closer to calumny. I didn’t mean to suggest I endorsed such attacks.

    In any case, the Syro-Malabar are clearly one of the healthiest churches within the Church today, and a welcome and fruitful part of the Mystical Body. May they triumph over the obstacles they face today in 21st century India.