02/08/2012, 00.00
INDIA
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Kerala: the Communist Party paints "its" Last Supper

by Nirmala Carvalho
Obama instead of Jesus, surrounded by Sarkozy, Manmohan Singh (the Indian Prime Minister), Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi as the Apostles. Criticism from the Church and civil society. The spokesman of the Syro-Malabar Church: "An offensive parody of a major symbol of Christianity". In 2011, pictures of Mother Teresa and Jesus which have appeared at the initiative of the Communist-Marxist Party.
Thiruvananthapuram (AsiaNews) – Barack Obama as Jesus Christ, surrounded by Apostles bearing the familiar faces of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and politicians from Congress (from the majority party), such as Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (PCMI) has created "its" Last Supper, carpeting the city of Thiruvanthapuram (Kerala) with posters announcing, "this is the last supper of capitalism… Marxism is the only hope".

The gimmick of the PCMI immediately sparked harsh polemics from the Church and various organizations of civil society, who have organized demonstrations to protest against "a blasphemous and offensive gesture". In the face of the many protests, the PCMI has removed the posters and distanced itself, stating that it was not involved in this initiative.

Fr. Paul Thelakat, spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Synod and director of the magazine Satyadeepam ("Light of Truth"), points out: "The Church has nothing against the fight against capitalism, but it cannot accept such an unpleasant depiction of an image sacred to Christianity. The Last Supper is not the end of anything, but the beginning of the Church, which carries the message of Christ throughout history".

However, according to the priest, "what happened reveals that something is happening inside the party. The posters in themselves are an unnecessary abuse. But already in the past months, the PCMI used symbolic figures of Christianity during its meetings". In November 2011, during one meeting there appeared a picture of Mother Teresa. Again at the end of last year, the image of Jesus occupied a prominent place in an organized exhibition of the paintings of the PCMI in Kerala.

"Today", explains Fr. Thelakatd, "the party knows it cannot show the Indian people their own historic icons, that is, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, because their hands are soiled with the blood of so many innocent people. They must borrow models, and in doing so are returning to their origins. Class struggle and the materialist denial of any religious or spiritual dimension have brought communism to an end. If this 'return to Christ' is the result of their search for a new ideology, then we can only welcome them. India and the world have need of a more humane social system of market capitalism. But if it is just political instrumentalization, then they are to be condemned in strongest way".
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