Catholic and Protestant Bishops: We forgive Hindu guru’s false allegations regarding Mother Teresa
Swami Paripoornananda Saraswathi had attacked Calcutta's Saint during a television show. The professor who has debated with him now receives death threats. "The offenses against Mother Teresa have hurt not only Catholics, but people of all religions who regard her as a Saint."
Hyderabad (AsiaNews) - " Following Our Lord Jesus Christ, we forgive Paripoornananda Swamiji for his anti-Christian comments, false allegations and derogatory remarks", write the bishops of the Telugu Catholic Bishops' Council (TCBC) and the Federation of Telegu Churches (FTC) that gather the Protestant denominations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in southern India. In a statement signed by Msgr. Thumma Bala, Archbishop of Hyderabad, and president of both bodies, the prelates condemn the words of hatred pronounced by Swami Paripoornananda Saraswathi, head of the Sree Peetham temple in Kakinada. Then they dismantle all the falsehoods pronounced against Mother Teresa.
" The intention - reads in the document - is not to attack anyone, rather to stall the attempts of the Swamiji and others to bring about rift and divisions between religions through their hate campaign, and to promote peace and communal harmony by issuing necessary clarifications to allay fears being created by them."
The story dates back to September 22, when the guru intervened in a TV debate on TV9 Telugu Channel, where the book of Prof. Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd. The bishops complain that Paripoornananda, for no reason, began attacking Christians through the figure of the saint of Calcutta. Swami said that Mother trafficked 50,000 nuns into other countries illegally. " Before throwing out challenges and making allegations, - the Christian leaders argue - the Swamiji should have checked the facts and figures which he claimed to possess. In fact, at the time of Mother’s death in 1997, her Missionaries of Charity (MC) Sisters’ congregation had 3842 nuns residing in 594 convents serving in 120 countries. At present, there are 5161 MC Sisters in 758 houses working in 139 Counters. These nuns hail from traditional Catholic families and are not converted Christians, except for a few."
"“Being a Swamiji, he ought to know," the statement continues, that nuns and monks in all religions voluntarily renounce the worldly pleasures and comforts to take up service to the society especially to the suffering humanity. In order to fulfil their vocation, they willingly embrace hardships, make sacrifices and are ready to go to any country to render their services."
Regarding the high civilian acknowledgments given by India to Mother Teresa, who according to the Swami "did not deserve them", Msgr. Bala states that "her work is recognized all over the world." For this reason, "the derogatory remarks and accusations on Mother Teresa by the Swamiji have hurt the sentiments not only of the Roman Catholic Church and Christian Community, but also people of all regions who revere her as Saint and universal Mother".
The leaders of the two bodies "wish to remind him and the religious leaders of all Faiths, that it is their primary duty to foster peace and communal harmony in our pluralistic country, and to safeguard secularism and religious freedom guaranteed by our Constitution." Finally they ask for protection for Prof. Shepherd, who dared "to ask questions about injustice and discrimination in society [Indian] and for this has received death threats."