Skip to comments.Pagan Idols Set Up in English Martyrs Church
Posted on 05/14/2020 8:53:19 AM PDT by ebb tide
BRENTWOOD, England (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic church in England is getting backlash for displaying Hindu, Buddhist and African idols in front of the altar for a service marking Pope Francis' pan-religious day of prayer.
On Thursday morning, the diocese of Brentwood tweeted a picture of the idols of Shiva and Buddha, alongside an icon of Jesus the Good Shepherd and an African carving advertising an "interfaith prayer service" to be held at the Church of the English Martyrs, Hornchurch, at 7 p.m.
Fr. Britto Belevendran, pastor of English Martyrs, Hornchurch
"Pope Francis has appealed for a Day of Prayer and Fasting and Works of Charity for believers of all religions on 14 May, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic," the diocesan website announced.
"In response to this appeal, Fr. Britto Belevendran, chair of the Interfaith Committee, will be leading an interfaith prayer service at 7 p.m. on Thursday 14 May (live streaming)."
"He says: 'I invite the parishes and friends of other faiths to come together to pray for the healing of the globe and our fragile humanity from the present pandemic," it continued. "Please join in in whatever ways you can.'"
Within minutes, hundreds of outraged Catholics bombarded the diocese's Twitter thread accusing Fr. Belevendran of idolatry, syncretism, sacrilege and the heresy of indifferentism.
Catholic commenters hit out at the parish priest: "Shame on you." "Willfully breaking the first commandment." "Repent!!! You will suffer hellfire for this!" "This is sacrilege, and I will be contacting your diocesan chancellor."
Not a single comment was positive or in favor of the interfaith service.
Within less than an hour of Church Militant contacting the priest for comment, the tweet with the photograph of the idols was deleted.
"It is ironic that this happened in a church named in honour of the English martyrs whose feast day was only celebrated a week ago," Catholic journalist Caroline Farrow told Church Militant.
"These priests, religious, laymen and women gave their lives so that Catholicism could be preserved. While it may have been motivated by good intentions, this act of blasphemy nonetheless spits upon their selfless sacrifice," she lamented.
The U.K. campaign director for CitizenGO told Church Militant she is running a campaign attempting to persuade the government to reopen churches: "But you have to wonder that if idol worship is what they are going to be used for, perhaps it's better they remain closed."
You have to wonder what on earth the parish priest was thinking of allowing a 10-armed pagan idol to sit atop an altar. Worse still, that whoever was running the diocesan Twitter account appeared to agree and endorse this act of sacrilege. The bishop needs to be alert to the spiritual dangers of this, all of those involved need a course on remedial Catholicism and some serious reparation needs to be made.
An Indian convert to Catholicism told Church Militant she was heartbroken by the idolatry: "My ancestors worshipped these idols and I am grateful to the Catholic missionaries who came and preached the Gospel to my ancestors, delivering us from worshipping such grotesque images of wood and stone."
It is ironic that this happened in a church named in honour of the English martyrs whose feast day was only celebrated a week ago.Tweet
"Father Belevendran says he is from India," she said. "Doesn't he know how the caste system of Hinduism oppressed us for 3,000 years and only Christianity liberated us? Doesn't he know the idol he placed on the altar is that of Shiva the Hindu god of destruction?"
"Is the Bishop of Brentwood so racist that he believes Catholicism is only for white English people and not for brown-skinned Indians like me and so I need to go back to Hinduism?" she asked. "The image of Shiva as Nataraja on the altar conveys the Indian conception of the never-ending cycle of time, which is completely contrary to the biblical linear concept of time."
Bishop of Brentwood Alan Williams
Church Militant wrote a second time to Fr. Belevendran asking why the post with the picture of idols was suddenly pulled from the diocesan Twitter feed, asking him why he chose to reject the uniqueness of Jesus, the Son of God, and "install a statue of Shiva (Nataraja) the god of destruction on a table before the altar." As of press time, Church Militant received no response.
Brentwood diocese under Bp. Alan Williams is continuing to promote Pope Francis' pan-religious day of prayer. Another tweet invites Catholics to join in Holy Mass "in response to Pope Francis' call for interfaith Day of Prayer."
Meanwhile, following Church Militant's report on Catholics condemning the pontiff's day of prayer as "blasphemy" and "sacrilege," the pontiff has responded asserting that he is not promoting "religious relativism" but human fraternity.
"Perhaps there will be someone who will say: 'This is religious relativism and it cannot be done.' But how can we not pray to the Father of all?" Francis asked in the Santa Marta chapel on Thursday.
"Everyone prays as he knows, how he can, as he has received from his own culture. We are not praying against each other, this religious tradition against this, no," the pontiff added. "We are all united as human beings, as brothers, praying to God, according to our culture, according to our own tradition, according to our beliefs, but brothers and praying to God. This is the important thing."
The Pope probably thinks he's smart to hedge his bets. You know, in case that Yahweh guy turns out to be a fairy tale. Maybe Ganesh the elephant god will turn to be real and save us all, if we pray to him.
I pray every day that our good God will — in the way He knows best —— curb the destructive policies of this lamentable pontificate, and silence all lying mouths.
” the idols of Shiva and Buddha, alongside an icon of Jesus the Good Shepherd and an African carving”
Where is the idol of Kali the goddess of death with her sacrifices of severed human heads?!?
Ah, the old Elvis approach. He used to wear a crucifix and a star of David necklace, and when people asked why he said “I don’t want to die and find out I missed out on heaven on a technicality.”
If this baffled pastor wants to portray all of us brothers and sisters worldwide praying to the one God, why doesn’t he use pictures and artifacts of African, South American, South Asia, East Asian, etc. CHRISTIANS praying to Jesus Christ Our Lord?
Yep. Assisi 1986 too. I’d post a pic if I knew how.
I personally would never have done such a thing to a Koran and would have counseled JP2 against doing it, but whatever painful ambiguity involved should have been washed away by his super-clear and unambiguous teaching encyclicals Redemptor hominis "The Redeemer of Man" (on Jesus' unique and irreplaceable role as the Savior of the World) and Redemptoris missio "Mission of the Redeemer" (on the permanent urgency of the Church's missionary mandate to carry out the Great Commission to bring the whole world to Christ.)
Incidentally, I might not be so quick to give a "benefit of the doubt" to Pope Francis making a similar gesture. I hope I am not being unfair, but it would be because Pope Francis seems both unwilling and unable to make crystal-clear doctrinal statements on anything --- his intent, even according to his own explanation, seems to be to create new ambiguities, which is a hugely severe problem: "God is not the Author of confusion".
Come Lord Jesus.
No symbol for Islam in the display?
Pope John Paul II however did invoke:
"May Saint John Baptist protect Islam and all the people of Jordan, and all who partecipated in this celebration, a memorable celebration", on March 21, 2000. It's on the Vatican website. VISIT TO WADI AL-KHARRAR
And I consider JP II's 1986 Assisi Apostasy to be a precedent, a compliment, and no different from today's apostasy by Bergoglio.
I try to see errors without imputing the worst interpretation--- if the situation allows.
Unfortunately, I'm unable to share your optimism.
P.S. Why invoke St. John the Baptist, who was beheaded, protect muslims, who are still beheading Christians?
“Islam” is a cult not a person(s).
To this faith in God, which draws Muslims close to the believers of the other monotheistic religions, is added the consideration that the Islamic tradition preserves great respect for the memory of Jesus, esteemed as a great prophet, and for Mary, his Virgin Mother.
Could not the Vicar of Christ declare Jesus Christ to be God, not just a "prophet"?
Talk about Peronists: tell people what they want to hear.
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