VOICE in the Wilderness crying of Evangelization of Karnataka.The above Sangha HAS BEEN TRYING TO DRAW THE ATTENTION OF THOSE CONCERNED already since the time when Cardinal Lourdusamy was Archbishop of Bangalore regarding the pitiable condition of the Church in Karnataka. Our Voice has fallen on deaf ears. But we do not stop shouting with the top of our voices like St. John the Baptist.
After 2000 Years Kerala has 30% Christians, Goa - Mangalore has 15% of Konkani Christians, Tamilnadu has 13% Christians, and Andhra Pradesh has 6% Christians. But in Karnataka how many are there? Some years back the Karnataka Regional Conference of Bishops stated that there were 2.5% including Protestants. But if we are to exclude Protestants and the Catholics Baptized outside the state of Karnataka (Tamilians, Maleyalis, Telugus) what will be present percentage of real local Kannadigas Evangelized? We are afraid that the Religious Authorities will not like to face this question. Nor has any statistics been taken in this regard so far.
As per the census of 2001 there are Karnataka 3.48 CORERS of Kannadigas. The Konakani's are just 7.68 Lakhs. the Tamils 18.92 Lakhs, the Telugus 36.98 Lakhs, the Maleyalis just 7.01 Lakhs. of these the number of Christians (both Catholic and Protestants) are not known to us. Yet these non - Kannada Christians are getting better care and concern compared to their counter part of Kannada Christians. Is this not an obstacle to Evangelization?
The Bible tells us that it is the WILL OF THE FATHER that ALL MEN be saved. Christ wanted that EVERY CREATURE to be evangelized. We Kannada people had to Waite till 1648 AD for the Italian Jesuits to come to Karnataka to be Baptized - though, strange to state, that Thomist Christians were our next - door neighbours. We here recall to mind the declaration of Pope Leo the Great, "Your own Children. O India Will be the administrators of Salvation to You." We feel that if he was alive today, he would perhaps say, " Your own sons and daughters, O Karnataka will be the administrators of Salvation to you."
The actual fact is out of 15 diocese in Karnataka including the recently made Dioceses BHADRAVATHI, PUTTUR and MANDYA only one is a Kannada Bishop and that too in one of the Suffragans where influential Catholics are Konkanis. This situation prevails not only with regard to Dioceses but also with regard to Parishes, Religious Congregations and convents and Christian communities, where we Kannadigas are made to feel a MINORITY in our own State of Karnataka. We are caught up in a vicious circle. No Christians because no Bishops; No Bishops because so few Kannada Christians in Karnataka. Who is to deliver us out of this Vicious Circle, if not you Religious Heads?
You are all aware of the present attacks on Churches of Karnataka going to the extent of breaking open the Tabernacles and desecrating the Sacred Hosts. Yet the authorities seem to be complacent with the Police - excuse that they were cases of mere thefts. Even if these were mere thefts should not our huge building complexes of Religious institutions call for introspection? Kindly permit us to quote here what one of the Chief Minister of Karnataka, (Late Mr. Ramakrishna Hegde) said of Bangalore. "These Christians in Bangalore are not even 5%; yet they possess more than 25% of the property in and around Bangalore". Is this and similar situations in the state conducive for Evangelization?
What shall we say about the unhealthy competition of RITES in this infant state? Particularly in the Commercial Towns like Bangalore, Mysore, Mandya and Bhadravathi ? Though the Urban Laity looks like for personal spiritual care more than anything else, the heads of the Ritual Churches are trying to establishing their own Ritual Kingdoms and Promoting their own language and culture here in Karnataka thus becoming obstacles to Evangelization. We are not against the Rites; but precedence should be to evangelize the flock of Karnataka respecting their own language and culture.
We are placing these points of sincere concern before you during this Holy season of Lent, hoping that you will consider them seriously and take appropriate steps to remedy the drawbacks, so that the Risen Christ may be proclaimed effectively in Karnataka, by Christians of ALL RITES.
Seeking your paternal Blessings.
( J.R. Pereira ) ( Raphael Raj ) ( A. Arogya Swamy) ( L. Rajappa )
President Gen. Secretary Asst. Secretary Treasurer