SHRINE OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER IN GOA, INDIA
Dear Friend of Culture Wars,
I’m in Goa now waiting for a Visa to travel to Iran. Going to Iran from India was not part of my original plan when I started off on this journey at the end of December 2014. My original plan was to travel around India with my good friend and pastor Fr. Cyril Fernandes.
And that is what we did for three intense weeks; we traveled from one end of India to another, visiting Catholic schools, including those he founded in the diocese of Jamshedpur, convents, seminaries, hospitals, leper colonies, mausoleums like the Taj Mahal, as well as tombs of famous men like Gandhi and saints like Mother Teresa and Francis Xavier.
India now is like America in the 1950s. There was no vocations crisis in India because there was no sexual revolution. As a result, the number of priests and nuns continued to grow, and the religious orders were able to continue their work unhindered. The results are impressive. Those priests and nuns now run the elite schools in India, where students actually learn something, as opposed to the public schools, where half of the students can’t pass the nation’s standardized tests. As I said, it’s America in the 1950s all over again, with better school uniforms.
Two weeks before Obama arrived in Delhi for the Republic Day celebrations, I found myself standing in front of a 10th grade English class in one of those huge Catholic schools. When the English teacher asked the students if they had any questions for the old white guy who was visiting from America, a Hindu by the name of Samil stood up and asked me if I could prove the existence of God. I said, “Sure”, and proceeded to say: “Nothing comes from nothing; there is something; therefore, there was never nothing. This something could not bring itself into existence, because to do that it would have to exist before it existed. Therefore, something else had to bring it into existence. That something could not be caused by anything else and is therefore what Aristotle called the uncaused cause and the unmoved mover. Aquinas ends his proofs for the existence of God by saying that this is the being all men call God.”
There was a moment of stunned silence (or incomprehension) and then Samil asked me if time travel were possible and I said, “Of course, I’ve come from the future. The sexual revolution that America experienced in the ’60s is happening in India now.” That was the message I preached from one end of India to another, to bishops, seminarians, and teachers. One Hindu woman, who taught at one of the schools Fr. Cyril founded, came up to me after my talk and said that all of the teachers want to talk more about the idea that sexual liberation was a form of control and what they could do to prevent the sexualization of the children they taught, but, alas, we had to move on to the next venue. “Next time,” I said, wondering if I would ever see her again.
A few days later we did a bus tour of Mumbai with a group of tourists from Annar Pradesh. First stop was the temple to the god Ganeesh. Ganeesh is a chubby fellow with four arms and the head of an elephant. Fr. Cyril assures me that his temple in Mumbai is famous, and if the crowd is any indication, what he said must be true. To get in you have to take your shoes off and get in line with the worshippers. I was the only white guy in attendance. Before we got to the big attraction we had to pass by two big silver mice. The Hindus approach them with garlands which they put around the mouse’s neck, then the men place what looked like a saddle blanket or doily over the mouse’s back and then bend down and whisper their prayers, which is to say their requests, into the mouse’s ear. The mouse is then supposed to scamper off and tell God what he just heard. So, instead of, “From your mouth to God’s ear,” it’s “From your mouth to the mouse’s ear to God’s ear.” The wives and children then do the same.
The main show was a bit disappointing after that. The idol of Ganeesh was pure gold against a background of pure silver but disappointingly small, especially when compared to the three story monkey god Hanuman which I saw in Delhi. The Hindu priest was bare-chested and wearing a saffron skirt. After taking the pilgrims’ offerings, he gave half of them back. Quid pro quo.
After visiting Ganeesh’s temple, we went directly to the Nehru Science Center, something like the museum of science and industry in Chicago or the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. As we stood in line to get in I contemplated a mural just inside the front door entitled “Cosmic Evolution,” which attempted to portray the history of the cosmos from the big bang to the present. The passive voice abounded. “Atoms formed,” we were told. The extensive use of the passive voice in the mural was a dead giveaway to the fact that “cosmic evolution” was another word for an attack on causality. To say that “Atoms formed” was the scientific equivalent to saying “Shit happens.”
The Nehru science center’s cosmology had uncanny similarities to the traditional Hindu cosmology symbolized by the image of the earth resting on the back of an elephant and an elephant standing on a turtle. From that point on, it’s turtles all the way down for both Nehru and Ganeesh. Cosmic evolution has a beginning of course; it is known as the Big Bang, but a beginning in time is no substitute for causality, as Aquinas showed when he wrote “De Aeternitate Mundi contra mumurantes” to help philosophy out of the dead end it found itself after Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes in the west, violated the principle of non-contradiction by saying that both Aristotle’s and the Koran’s cosmologies were right even when they contradicted each other.
The juxtaposition of Hindu Temple and Nehru Science center on the Mumbai bus tour was instructive. India has gone from worshiping elephants, monkeys and cobras to worshiping science, with no metaphysical experience in between. It reminds me of what George Bernard Shaw said of America: “a country that went from barbarism to decadence without finding civilization along the way.” India seems destined to become a country of cobra worshiping computer programmers.
What I said about Indian culture going from whispering into the ears of silver rats to Cosmic Evolution at the Nehru Science Center is true of other areas as well. In just about every area of culture, there is a huge gap between a metaphysically incoherent past and a totally programmed future. Samil needs metaphysics, and he is not going to find it at the Nehru Science Center.
It took the Germans roughly 1600 years to move from chasing pigs through the forest to producing BMWs. India covered that ground, if we date its beginning with the creation of the Tata steel mill in Jamshedpur, in less than one tenth of the time, which means that there are significant cultural gaps that need to be filled if the Indians don’t want to be swept away by the globalist social engineering that Obama and his Indian collaborators are preparing for them. Fr. Cyril went from carrying bundles of beetle leaves on his head to chatting on a cell phone in roughly 40 years. What did not happen during that time is too long to list in this article, but it included Aquinas solving Ibn Rushd’s cosmology problem, Kant’s synthetic a priori, the labor theory of value, as articulated by John Locke, Adam Smith and Karl Marx, Bishop von Ketteler’s removal of labor from the market and Bismarck going along with it, the development of the free library in America in general and Philadelphia in particular, the collapse of the gold standard, and the invention of the sit-down strike. None of this happened in India. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, but culture is something like chewing food; it’s something that you can’t delegate. The mere thought of it should be disgusting.
As things stand now, it may not happen in India’s Catholic schools either without the help of Culture Wars and what we have learned in it’s pages about cultural warfare over the past 35 years.
While I was in Bangalore I received a letter from a Jewish lady who converted to the Catholic faith because my writing exposed her to the Logos in a way no one had done before.
“Well, Mr. Jones, I am now a l00%, bona fide Catholic! Praise God. Thanks so very much for all of your counseling, coaching, advice, moral support, etc. etc. Who would have thunk it: from secular Jew to Buddhist to Born Again Christian to Catholic. The ceremony and Mass were absolutely beautiful, amazing, really, and I felt so welcomed, taken care of, and special. The Bishop even wrote a personal letter to the pastor. I invited a Jewish friend; she is a wonderful person and she came, although she looked pained throughout it. When I told her a few months ago that I was planning to become a Catholic, she cried, but she said that she envied me, and that we “both see a Light, but I am walking towards it and she cannot.” But who knows. . we’re all connected in some mystical way. I also invited an agnostic (at best) friend and she looked shocked throughout, but then again she came! One never knows. This was very hard and brave on my part because I’ve been so underground about my Christianity. But I decided to do so. I think that it was the right thing to do, and if I don’t do it around Berkeley, who will?”
None of this could have happened without your help. The fact that I was invited to India to talk about the rape crisis was only made possible by your tax-deductible contributions to Culture Wars over the 35 years of our existence. Your financial support gave me the freedom to do research on projects no other institution in this country would allow, much less support. Now that research is being put to use across the world to expose Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews to the Logos in a way no one has done before to spare them from the lesson that American Catholics had to learn the hard way in the expensive school of experience: The lesson that what toxic American culture calls freedom is really bondage; a man has as many masters as he has vices; sexual liberation is a form of political control.
One day after my arrival in Goa, I visited the tomb of St. Francis Xavier, where his mutilated but incorrupt body can still be seen. St. Francis Xavier had the degrees that would have allowed him to become a professor. When he arrived in Goa, the Portuguese authorities there, recognizing his credentials, appointed him head of the seminary. But St. Francis Xavier was not meant for academic life. He was nothing if not reckless in his desire to spread the Gospel. Seeing that the church was firmly established in Goa, Xavier moved on to Japan. Preaching to fisherman in Kagoshima who had returned home with empty nets, Xavier applied the gospel in literal fashion and told them to cast their nets over the other side, and when they did, they brought in a huge catch, just as Christ had predicted in the Gospel.
This is precisely what European Catholicism was doing at this moment in history. After losing millions of Christians to the Protestant Revolt, the Catholic Church set out, quite literally, into the deep, and people like Xavier and the Jesuits cast their nets over the other side and brought in a catch of millions of souls. Duc in Altum became the motto of the Church whenever the Church found itself in trouble, after feeling that it had labored all night and caught nothing.
It’s what I have done for 35 years in America. Now after becoming a pariah whose name American Catholics, like the professors at Notre Dame, never mention without appending a curse to it, I am being asked to set out into the deep and cast my nets over the other side. Like St. Francis Xavier before me, I find myself in Goa, ready to set off again to another land to explain the Logos.
During a long voyage back to India which began in November 1551, Xavier came to realize that the high Japanese culture which he came to admire so much all derived from China. The conclusion he drew from this realization was clear. The Japanese would not convert unless the Chinese converted before them. As a result Xavier made plans to visit China, a formidable undertaking at a time when no foreigner could enter China without government permission. Those who attempted to enter illegally often paid with their lives.
In September 1552, Xavier set sail for the island of Shangchuan, nine miles off the coast of the Chinese mainland. When he arrived in Shangchuan, Xavier could find no one willing to take him to the mainland. Eventually he cut a deal with a Chinese merchant who agreed to take him by night for a fee. The merchant took Xavier’s money and never showed up. Weakened by his travels and suffering from hypothermia, Xavier died on the night of December 2, 1552 at the age of 46.
Standing in front of his tomb, I found myself wondering: How did Francis Xavier feel waiting on the island of Shangchuan for the boat that never arrived. Did he feel that he had labored all night and caught nothing? I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed that prayer, but I can tell you that I can’t cast my nets over the other side without your financial support. India is engaged in a raging church-state debate which they cannot solve on their own. With the help of the Indian Jesuits and the book by David Wemhoff that we’re bringing out, we could make a significant contribution to defusing an issue which now poses a serious threat to India’s Catholic population. Your support will help me meet with the Hindu teacher who wanted to talk with me about preventing the sexualization of India’s children. Your support will help me to explain the real meaning of sexual liberation to Iranian Muslims. Your tax-deductible contribution will, God willing, bring about the conversion of more Jews.
Duc in altum,
E. Michael Jones
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