Tuesday 29 March 2011

The spiritual sacrifice

This morning's first reading was from the prayer of Azariah: Lord we have become fewer than any nation. At this time we have neither prophet nor prince nor altar nor sacrifice. Yet with a humble and contrite spirit we come before thee...

I remembered Marina Schiff, our Jewish guide in the Holy Land, all those many years ago.... I remember asking her whether they wanted to get the Temple back. For what, she said. Are we going to begin animal sacrifices again? Some of the Orthodox Jews want that, and are even studying how to make those sacrifices. But today the true sacrifice is a spiritual sacrifice. I remember being stunned. She was practically quoting Hebrews. I did not remember at that time this text from Daniel.... 

Monday 28 March 2011

Highlights of the Wheel of Time

In vol. 1, The Eye of the World, the centre is precisely the Eye of the World (an Upanisadic expression), which is an eye-shaped lake full of liquid saidin, the male half of the One Power, which Rand al-Thor then 'drains' in his fight with Ba-alzamon. But there is also the Green Man, reminiscent of Tolkien's Tree Men, who dies in the course of events.... Wonderfully evocative imagery, though: the power of green in the midst of the Blight.

In vol. 2, The Great Hunt of the Horn, the centrepiece is the Horn of Valere, and the central even is the battle between Rand al-Thor, the Dragon Reborn, and Ba-alzamon, in the skies above Falme, in sight of all. The Horn is blown, and a hundred glorious warriors of the past ages, including Artur Hawkwing, come to the aid of Rand and his side.

The conflict is the classic one between Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, but both Good and Evil here are far more physical than what they actually are.... And, somehow, the Dark One occupies far more space than the 'Creator' who is mentioned now and then.

Interestingly, however, even the so-called 'good ones' like the Aes Sedai are themselves all too human, and too easily capable themselves of being corrupted. And the Dragon Reborn, who seems to me to be essentially a Christ-figure, or at least modelled on Christ (see the Prophecies of the Dragon), is himself continually subject to temptation from the Father of Lies. That part is all too real.


Sunday 27 March 2011

Surprising thoughts on eternal life, from Ratzinger

Wonderful article on the Christian faith in eternal life, by Joseph Ratzinger. Given to me years ago by Fr Joaquim D'Souza. "La mia felicita' e' stare vicino a Dio: della fede cristiana nella vita eterna." Il Dio vicino: L'eucaristia cuore della vita cristiana. tr. Giuseppe Raguzzoni. (Milano: Edizioni San Paolo, 2003).

Ratzinger begins by noting that many Christians, even practising ones, have abandoned faith in eternal life, or at least consider it something that is not very sure.

What is the origin of such a situation? It has to do with our image of God: today only with difficulty are we able to imagine that God is someone who acts in history.

The paralysis of hope in eternity is therefore simply the other side of a paralysis of faith in the living God. Faith in eternal life is simply the application to our existence of our faith in God. It can become alive again if we find a new relationship with God, if we learn once again to understand God as someone who acts in the world and in ourselves.

But what is eternal life, Ratzinger asks. And here I found one of those things that make Ratzinger a great theologian: he brings to light the unexpected turn, and one that, once taken, rings so true:
Eternal life is not an infinite sequence of instants in which we have to try to overcome boredom and the fear of something that has no end. Eternal life is rather that new quality of existence, in which everything converges in the here and now of love, in the new quality of being that is liberated from the fragmentation of existence... Eternal life is not simply that which comes after and about which we now cannot form any idea. Because it is a question of a quality of existence, it can be already present in the midst of our earthly life and its ephemeral temporality, as the new, the other, the more, even if only in a fragmentary and incomplete form. But the boundary between eternal and temporal life is not in fact simply chronological.... Precisely because eternity is not simply time without end, but another plane of existence, precisely because of this such a purely chronological distinction cannot be true. Eternal life is present at the centre of time, there, where we manage to stand face to face with God; in the contemplation of the living God it can become the solid foundation of our soul. Like a great love, it cannot be taken away from any circumstance or situation, but is an indestructible centre, from which arise the courage and the joy of going ahead, even when things around are painful or difficult. 
And here Ratzinger turns to Psalm 73 (72), 23-26, 28, a psalm that I love:
And yet I am always with you / you take me by the hand. / You guide me with your counsels, and take me into your glory. / What else do I have in the heavens? Apart from you I want nothing on earth. / My body and my heart faint for joy. / God is my possession forever. / ... / To be near God is my happiness.

An unpublished letter of von Balthasar on the love of God and Hegel's dialectic

In Hegel, Absolute Knowing takes the place of Love
An unpublished letter of von Balthasar on the Love of God and the Dialectic of Hegel

Dear Director,

I was happy to read, in the last issue of 30Giorni, the article "For spiritual reading." Reading the phrase that, citing Hegel, speaks of "those who claim that grace emerges from sin almost in the manner of a product of dialectic," I remembered an episode of some 20 years ago, in 1987. For my thesis [tesi di laurea] in philosophy I was thinking of working on the theme of the relationship between dialectic and the theology of the cross in Luther (later, however, I took another theme). Thus, with some boldness, I wrote a letter to Hans Urs von Balthasar, who obviously I did not know, asking his suggestions about my line of research. My starting point was the hypothesis of a French scholar, H. Schmitz, pupil of Maritain, who held that there was a line of continuity - in the dialectical sense - between Luther, the Protestant German mystic Boehme, and Hegel. I also made mention of the book of von Balthasar, Il cristiano e l'angoscia, then just published in Italy, which spoke also of these themes. I ended by asking whether he could suggest some texts on the matter, either his own or from other authors.
Von Balthasar responded within a week with a card that I still preserve. I am sending you a copy, because it seems to me to be very much in line with the phrase cited above. Thank you for your work. Cordially,
Eugenio Andreatta, Padua

[The text of von Balthasar's card:]

4 May 1987, CH-4051, Basel, Arnold Boecklinstrasse 42

Dear Sir,

As Catholic, I have little to do with dialectic (either that of Boehme, or that of Luther and Hegel); excatly as it was for my master, E. Przywara (Analogia Entis I). The cross (and anguish) has nothing to do with dialectic, because the cross is the manifest expiatory love of God. On Luther [you will find] my position clearly expressed in Theologik II (1985), in which I certainly admit the existence of the question Iustus-Peccator, but with the intention of resolving it in a completely different way. In Hegel the place of Love is taken by Absolute Knowing, which changes everything.

Best wishes. Yours,

HvBalthasar

[The German original, which I can barely decipher:]

Sehr geehrter Herr,

als Katholik kaum ich mit der Dialetik (weder von Boehme, noch von Luther und Hegel) etwas anfangen, so ware's wie mein Lehrer E. Przywara (Analogia Entis I). Das Kreuz (und die Angst) hat mit Dialektik nichts zu tun, es ist Gottes eins??lige suhnende Liebe. Uber Luther eine strenge Abrechnung in meiner "Theologik II" (1985), wobei ich die Frage Justus-Peccator gewiss anerkenne, sie aber ganz anders ?? ??. Hegel, an die Stelle der Liebe tritt das Absolute Wissen, was alles verandert.

Beste Grusse. Ihr

HvBalthasar

[All the above, my translation from the Italian 30Giorni 24/10 (October 2006) 7. 

Friday 25 March 2011

Don Bosco updated with help from Carl Rogers: Kenneth Pereira’s effort

Kenneth Pereira has just completed a Master's in Spirituality at the Indian Institute of Spirituality, Bangalore, with a dissertation in which he works out the outlines of a spirituality for educators taking inspiration from Don Bosco and Carl Rogers. The effect is an updating of Don Bosco's nineteenth-century system with some of the insights of twentieth-century psychology – something that the Rector Major, Fr Pascual Chavez, has been calling for (see his 'Bari' lecture, now available in English translation in Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy and Education).

Kenny finds that both Don Bosco and Carl Rogers are basically person-centred. However, in his view, Rogers is the true optimist, with a firm conviction about the basic goodness of human nature along the lines of Rousseau, while Don Bosco is more conscious of the brokenness and fallenness of human nature, leading to an almost obsessive stress on the physical presence of the educator with a view to prevent sin. There is probably a kernel of truth in this description, but I found myself wanting a firmer appropriation of Catholic anthropology, especially in contrast to classical Protestant anthropology: both Catholics and Protestants believe in original sin, but my impression is that, where Protestantism believed that original sin totally corrupted human nature, so that justification is only imputed to human beings by God, Catholics believe that human nature damaged but not totally corrupted by the Fall, and that grace is both healing and elevating, and not just imputed. These are weighty issues, and when you add the historical dimension, you realize the complexity of the matter. I am sure people like Peter Stella have entered into these issues. It would just be fascinating to have a study in English on the matter.

Having said that, I would very much go along with Fr Chavez in desiring an updating of the preventive system, not least with the help of the insights of contemporary psychology. Some of this updating involves peeling away the accretions of the years – the denaturing of the system in the direction of greater and greater paternalism and even benevolent authoritarianism, thanks also perhaps to the climate generated by the two World Wars in Europe.

Chavez, in fact, is quite sharp and provocative in the Bari lecture. The theological and spiritual underpinning of the PS needs to be updated: from the largely 'individual' tenor of Don Bosco's times, to the enormous expansion of vision of the post-conciliar period. The context of education is different: where Don Bosco and his Salesians worked within an institutional setup over which they had almost total control, today the agents and stakeholders in the educative process are many, and we can hardly pretend to be in total control. Again, despite the radically new movements emerging in Don Bosco's time, he could at least pretend to a relatively homogenous culture, something that we cannot take for granted any more at all, neither in the church nor in the 'world.'

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Being Christian in India: models

Peter Seewald's question and Benedict XVI's response have set me thinking: what are the models of being Christian in India? That would be a good project, something to explore.

Offhand, we could list the great figures associated with different models. De Nobili, Brahmabandhab Upadhyay, Pierre Johanns, De Smet, and the model of dialogue with the Hindu great tradition. Thomas Stephens and others associated with the Hindu bhakti tradition, taking over the language and forms of this tradition. The current social work trend. The older ashram trend, with Abhishiktananda, Bede Griffiths, and co. The slightly different ashram trend that I associate with Swami Shilananda: completely orthodox, yet radically inculturated into the Hindu milieu. The psychospiritual tendency associated primarily with the name of Tony De Mello, and continued by Sadhana, Atma Darshan, and the many other centres to holistic well-being, often theologically non-centred. The great dominant subaltern trend, associated with the Contextual Theology of Felix Wilfred. The charismatic trend. The right-of-centre and integralist tendencies ('yoga is bad, it comes from the devil') that seem to be growing, vide the attraction exercised by the Heralds of the Gospel. Feminist thinking; ecospirituality and green thinking. 

A cold religious project?

In his interview with Pope Benedict XVI, Peter Seewald cites the German philosopher Rudiger Safranski, who says that Christianity has become a "cold religious project," a "mix of social ethics, institutional power thinking, psychotherapy, techniques of meditation, museum curation, cultural project management, and social work."

Seewald goes on: "Critics observe that a widespread desire to be like everyone else has robbed ordinary Catholics of their awareness that faith grows from roots entirely different from those of the pleasure-oriented societies of the West. In the meantime, however, so many theologians and priests have themselves gone so far off the rails that it's only with a great difficulty that we can still discern a Catholic profile anywhere." And he asks the pope: "What went wrong?"

Safranski's description evoked echoes in me. I found myself asking: has the Salesian Province of Bombay perhaps become a "cold religious project" that is a mix of social awareness, social work, psychotherapy, meditation techniques, and communication technology? Have we forgotten the heart of our existence as Salesian religious in the church and in the world? Do our hearts beat with Jesus - or do they beat to some other music?

In his answer, the pope speaks of the forces of disintegration that are always present in the human soul. But he also speaks of an additional factor: "the urge to win public acceptance" - or else the urge "to discover some island where there is virgin soil and we still have a chance to shape things independently." The development then takes two directions. Either one engages in political moralism (he cites liberation theology as an example here; how justly I don't know) "as a way of giving Christianity what you might call a relevance for the present." Or there is a transformation in the direction of psychotherapy and wellness, "in other words, of forms where religion is identified with my possession of some sort of holistic well-being."

He concludes: "All of these attempts come from having set aside the real root, faith." What is left are self-made projects, which may have a limited vitality, but "do not establish any communion with God worthy of the name and are also incapable of binding men together in any enduring fashion."

[Benedict XVI, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times. A Conversation with Peter Seewald. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010) 139-40.]

Do we here in INB run the danger of becoming a cold religious project? I would not run down the great and creative efforts of the past many years. I think we genuinely need to appreciate them. But the point is well taken: how is our heart? where is our heart? what moves us?

In general, the church in India is still struggling to find a credible model of being church in India. 

Mind and heart

A lovely story that has been lying in my files for a long time:
Reuven, the Master of the Universe blessed me with a brilliant son. And he cursed me with all the problems of raising him. Ah, what it is to have a brilliant son! Not a smart son, Reuven, but a brilliant son, Daniel, a boy with a mind like a jewel. Ah, what a curse it is, what an anguish it is to have a Daniel whose mind is like a pearl, like a sun. Reuven, when my Daniel was four years old, I saw him reading a story, he swallowed it as one swallows food or water. There was no soul in my four-year old Daniel, there was only his mind. He was a mind in a body without a soul. It was a story in a Yiddish book about a poor Jew and his struggle to get to Eretz Yisrael before he died. Ah, how that man suffered! And my Daniel enjoyed the story, he enjoyed the last terrible page, because when he finished it he realized for the first time what a memory he had. He looked at me proudly and told me back the story from memory, and I cried inside my heart. I went away and cried to the Master of the Universe, "What have you done to me? A mind like this I need for a son? A heart I need for a son, a soul I need for a son, compassion I want from my son, righteousness, mercy, strength to suffer and carry pain, that I want from my son, not a mind without a soul!" (Chaim Potok, The Chosen [New York: Fawcet Crest, 1967] 264, cited by William J. Bausch, Storytelling: Imagination and Faith [Mystic, Conn.: Twentythird Publications, 1984] 49)
A good story for mothers who dote on their children nd force them to keep performing in school.... A good story for all educators, who have to learn to balance the mind with the heart...

Compassion

The human being is made for compassion. The famous little story comes to mind: the holy man saw a scorpion drowning in the water, so he put in a leaf and scooped the scorpion out of the water. As soon as the scorpion was on the land, it stung the holy man. People laughed at him. He said: It is the nature of the scorpion to sting; it is the nature of the human being to be compassionate.

I remembered the young brother who would simply laugh during movies. Laughing during movies is fine, but this young man would laugh when everyone else was crying or moved to tears. He would laugh to see people suffering. There was something radically wrong with him. He had begun losing his humanity.

To be human is to be compassionate. I was struck by the images of survivors of the tsunami tragedy in Japan. There was a small group of women wandering around with backpacks. They were being interviewed by some TV channel. Then I realized the enormity of the tragedy: what they had on their backs was all they had in the world. They had simply lost everything: their families, their houses, their money, their possessions, their past lives. Everything. They had nothing: exactly nothing. They were alive: that is all. They had to begin life again, somehow. Of course the Japanese government will help. And yet: they had lost everything.

I had a small experience of loss a few days ago when I was returning by train from Goa. The train had reached Panvel, it was 0400 in the morning, and that is when the coffee vendors come around. Sleepily I got up and asked for a coffee and paid the man. I remember having the coffee in one hand and the change in the other. I finished my coffee and then looked for my purse to put back the change. It was not there. I lifted all the bedsheets and pillow: nothing. I experienced a small moment of panic: I had lost my tickets: the current one, and the one from Mumbai to Nashik as well. What was I to do? My mind was searching all the possibilities. Then I remembered the Downs syndrome boy who had come down from his upper berth and had been sitting next to me. He had climbed back. I asked his father. His father asked him, and he pulled out my purse from his back pocket.... Tyaala  aadat aahe, the father said, apologetically. No problem, I said, he is not to blame. I am just happy I have the purse back.

Small experience of loss. But it helps us understand the loss suffered by the survivors in Japan.

To be human is to be compassionate. "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." And Luke: "Be compassionate as your heavenly Father is compassionate." 

Sunday 20 March 2011

The semal / kate savar is still bursting into flower here and there along the Nashik plateau... Wonderful to see the trees with their red flowers against the green backdrop of fields of wheat and vegetables as the train rolled up to Nashik this morning....

Elsewhere it is the turn of the dhak to be standing bright vermilion against the backdrop of other trees, especially along the ghats. The ones in the gullies, with streamlets still flowing at the bottom, were particularly beautiful. 

Monday 14 March 2011

Familiar phrases from the Upanisads

Satyam eva jayate. (Mundaka Up. 3, 6)

Tan-maya (Mundaka Up. 2, 2, 4)

Eye of the world (Katha Up. 5, 11) [See the title of the first volume of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series]

Sunday 13 March 2011

'Christian existence' according to Benedict XVI

Seewald says that in all 3 encyclicals - Deus caritas est, Spe salvi, and Caritas in veritate - the Pope speaks of 'Christian existence.' The pope comments:
there does need to be a new realization that being human is something great, a great challenge, to which the banality of just drifting along doesn't do justice. Any more than the attitude that comfort is the best way to live, that feeling healthy is the sum and substance of happiness. There needs to be a new sense that being human is subject to a higher set of standards, indeed, that it is precisely these demands that make a greater happiness possible in the first place. There needs to be a sense that being human is like a mountain-climbing expedition that includes some arduous slopes. But it is by them that we rech the summit and are able to experience for the first time how beautiful it is to be. Emphasizing this is of particular concern to me. [Benedict XVI, Light of the World 104.] 

Benedict XVI on love

Very interesting to learn that Ratzinger's very first 'publication' was a translation, into German, of a text of Thomas Aquinas "On Love" - from the Disputed Question on Charity. The Pope said his professor Alfred Lapple told him that Martin Grabmann, the great medievalist, had said that this text had not yet been translated. Sixty years later, his first encyclical as pope was again on Charity. The Pope says:
Two themes have always accompanied me in my life, then: on the one hand, the theme of Christ, as the living, present God, the God who loves us and heals us through suffering, and, on the other hand, the theme of love, which for its part occupies a central place in Johannine theology - because i knew that love is the key to Christianity, that love is the angle from which it has to be approached. Which is why I also wrote the first encyclical from the point of view of this key. [Benedict XVI, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times: A Conversation with Peter Seewald (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010) 102.] 

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Novels and the moral

Charlotte Tansey:  "Norman Mailer has volunteered in his late years that novels are the handbooks of the moral in our culture." ("Strategies" 9) That rings very true for me. Not, of course, Lustbader and Robert Jordan. I am thinking of the type of novels that get written up in a magazine like Commonweal. We must get that magazine for the Divyadaan library. I wish we could have a Catholic magazine like that here in India: something that would put its finger on the Catholic pulse of the country - which is not the same as saying that it would be an exclusively 'Catholic' thing reporting exclusively Catholic stories in addition to facts. 

Writing novels

This made me laugh just now:
Mircea Eliade... wrote in the introduction to his big novel, The Forbidden Forest, that he was compelled to write novels to refresh himself for his scholarly work. [Charlotte Tansey, "Strategies," Informed Dialogue: Facets of Group Reading-Discussions, ed. Patrick Dias and Charlotte Tansey (Montreal: Thomas More Institute Papers, 2004) 10.]
Why did I laugh? Because I identified with Eliade: the stress of scholarly work. Because I felt good that someone like Eliade had the same experience.... But I also realized that I had read the statement slightly wrong: I had read "from his scholarly work," where it says "for his scholarly work." 

Red Silk Cotton Tree

The Nashik Times of Monday, 7 March 2011, p.1, carried a lovely photo of the Red Silk Cotton flower. I was surprised to know the local name: Kate Savar. The botanical name given was Bombax Ceiba. The names I was familiar with was Semal (North India) or Simdo (Gujarat). Some streets of New Delhi are lined with these. Wonderful sight. I spotted a number in Zosvaddo last month, one even across our 'vanv' or stream at the bottom of our property. There was a lovely cluster in Bastora - somewhere near the MSFS house. 

Friday 4 March 2011

Basic sin

Scandals and scams are tumbling out at the rate of one per week nowadays.

I ask myself: is corruption really something so new, and is it something that affects only the current government? Or is there perhaps something more than meets the eye here? Perhaps a well-orchestrated campaign?

But this evening's news seems to have evened out the scores. Some court has upheld as valid the CBI's decision to close the Bofors case once and for all, after 25 years. The Prime Minister has accepted responsibility for the Thomas appointment affair (and people are discussing now whether accpeting responsibility is the same as acknowledging guilt). The Supreme Court has pulled up the NDA government for closing files in the Babri Masjid case. And, surprisingly, Sushma Swaraj has called ceasefire, saying that the PM's apology is enough. Is there also more here than meets the eye?

Whatever: I am convinced that all our governments so far have been corrupt. New is either that the media have become more sensitive to corruption 'all of sudden', or else that someone has mounted a campaign...

My point is the old Lonergan one, that basic sin is truly the more dangerous one. Sin: breaking of the law. Basic sin: changing the law, so that what sin is now no longer seen as sin. So perhaps all are corrupt. The question then is: who is out to change the law? 

Thursday 3 March 2011

Don Rua and Don Bosco - a sharp difference

I was surprised to read about a sharp difference between Don Bosco and Don Rua, on a very sensitiv topic: the Salesian Brother.

Desramaut writes that Rua "felt strongly about priestly dignity." Since the beginnings of the Slesian Society,  number of tradesmen, gardeners and cooks had become full members. Rua was in charge of the formation of the clerics. It was left to Don Bosco and later to Fr Barberis, to look after the formation of the lay members. There was a tendency to look on these Brothers as second class Saleisnas. At the Third General Chaper of 1883, one of the proposals as: "The Brothers must be given a lwoer status: they must be assigned their own distinct category." Don Bosco, visibly upset by this, protested: "No! No! No! The Brothers are the same as the rest." Later, in Septermber 1884, Rua proposed two categories of Brothers. He felt it was not fitting "that a lawyer, a pharmacist or a teacher should rank alongside a common worker." Don Bosco rejected this outright: "I can't accept two categories of Brothers." Still, he made it cler that simple-minded people could nto become members of the congregation. Still pressing his point, Rua asked if they could not set up something like the Franciscan tertiaries. Don Bosco did not change his mind. "The peasant in Don Bosco could not go along with the city bureaucrat in Fr. Rua with his concern for social niceties." (F. Desramaut, Life of Fr. Michael Rua: Don Bosco's First Successor (1837-1910), ed. A. Giraudo [Rome: LAS / Bangalore: KJC Publications, 2010] 111-2)

But Desramaut concludes:
Fr. Rua certainly had his own unique personality, but rather than let it have free rein, he subordinated it, sacrificed it even for Don Bosco and his work, convinced that, in this way, he was himself being conformed to a vocation that came from on high." (112)
At a distance of more than a century, however, we need to say more than what Desramaut is saying here on the issue of the Salesian Brother: from the contemporary sensibility of church and world, it is clear that it is Don Bosco's position that has merit, and not only because it stems from his 'peasant' mentality.... In stressing the intrinsic equality of Brother and Priest in his congregation, Don Bosco laid his finger on the mind and heart of Jesus, the mind and heart of God...

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Whitewash, Red Stone

I find the Goa papers infinitely more interesting than the Mumbai or Nashik ones. Perhaps because things are so concretely rooted in the culture and the soil? Perhaps because of a greater sense of belonging? Yesterday, scanning through some newspapers I had used for packing, I came across Frederick Noronha's review of a lovely new book with a wonderfully evocative title: Whitewash, Red Stone. The book, by Paulo Varela Gomes, is on the Churches of Goa, and proposes that a genuinely new architectural style was evolved in this tiny land. "The Catholics of Goa and other former Portuguese possessions in India created churches and houses that are unique in the world history of architecture."

Contrary to the view that the Portuguese blocked a local clergy from arising, Varela Gomes argues that after 1655 there were 21 parishes in Ilhas manned by secular Goan priests, with Europeans in charge of only 5. The situation was different in Bardez and Salcete, with Europeans in control of nearly all the churches. (The Franciscans in Bardez, the Jesuits in Salcete.)

Noronha finds the chapter titles catchy: The Goanness of Goan Churches and Other Problems; The First Stone Buildings and the Ilhas Type of Churches; The Origin of Goan Church Architecture in the Second Half of the 17th Century; Churches of Salcete, Bardez and Ilhas, 17th and 18th Centuries; Epilogue: Modern Architecture and the Goan Church.

Varela Gomes credits Jose Pereira's Baroque Goa (1995) and Churches of Goa (2002) for first realizing that  distinct Goan church architecture attained maturity in the second half of the 17th century. He also acknowledges his debt to Jose Lourenco, author of The Parish Churches of Goa: A Study of Facade Architecture (with photographs by Panteleao Fernandes): Lourenco's systematic inventory represents a great service to architectural history and Goan heritage."

Frederick Noronha, "Looking beneath red stone," Gomantak Times, Panjim (7 Feb 2011), p. 12 [review of Paulo Varela Gomes, Whitewash, Red Stone: A History of Church Architecture in Goa (Delhi: Yoda Press, Gulmohar Enclave, [2011]) Rs 450. 230 pp.]

A different perspective

There is probably place for a unique or at least different perspective: one that deconstructs hidden caste and class hierarchies, and yet is confident enough to despoil the Egyptians - which means learning from whoever and wherever, including Sankara; one that desires to be deeply of the soil, and yet also completely of Christ and Church.

There is no need to allow oneself to be absorbed - not even into deconstructive analysis. Preserve the difference! Celebrate the difference!

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