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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Francis Xavier - bigot

This is an excerpt from "The letter from India, to the society of Jesus at Rome, 1543". The author is Francis Xavier. The indoctrination and bigotry exhibited by this gent reminds one of the Taliban.

These children, I trust heartily, by the grace of God, will be much better than their fathers. They show an ardent love for the Divine law, and an extraordinary zeal for learning our holy religion and imparting it to others. Their hatred for idolatry is marvellous. They get into feuds with the heathen about it, and whenever their own parents practise it, they reproach them and come off to tell me at once. Whenever I hear of any act of idolatrous worship, I go to the place with a large band of these children, who very soon load the devil with a greater amount of insult and abuse than he has lately received of honor and worship from their parents, relations, and acquaintances. The children run at the idols, upset them, dash them down, break them to pieces, spit on them, trample on them, kick them about, and in short heap on them every possible outrage.
And there's more
The heathen inhabitants of the country are commonly ignorant of letters, but by no means ignorant of wickedness.
[...]
And again, whether God was black or white? For as there is so great a variety of color among men, and the Indians being black themselves, consider their own color the best, they believe that their gods are black. On this account the great majority of their idols are as black as black can be, and moreover are generally so rubbed over with oil as to smell detestably, and seem to be as dirty as they are ugly and horrible to look at.

6 Comments:

Anonymous robert said...

There is no bigotry here. Just the opposite. The comparison to the Taleban is absurd. If Xavier was a bigot, he would not have devoted his life to helping whom he calls the heathen. In the 21st century, the word "heathen" has negative undertones, but in the 16th century it was simply a term used to describe non-Christians. You can't judge a 16th century man through 21st century eyes. As was the norm in those days, Xavier sincerely believed that Christianity was the only path to salvation. To us who live in "more enlightened" times, such a belief seems extraordinarily arrogant, even heretical, but 500 years ago, it was accepted among Christians as a simple fact. Thus, Xavier exhausted himself in the last decade of his life by constantly travelling Asia, baptising, preaching, caring for the sick and dying, seeking to "save souls" according to his sincerely held beliefs. He was a man of extraordinary selflessness and courage. To compare him with the Taleban is a mindless, ignorant comment.

2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Robert's comments in its entirety.

In my mind, our education system has failed us and the country. We have grown richer by INR and USD, but got poorer in our understanding of the fundamentals of perception - we have forgotten the "time and respect" elements completely.

It reminds me of a "flop" film that I lately watched - "Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara" (I did not kill Mahatma Gandhi). All of us appear to be losing out as the hero of the film - Anupam Kher and need innovation to bring us back to grass roots!

My opinion, folks!

8:41 PM  
Blogger Quizman said...

I disagree. The "heathens" were doing very fine, thank you very much. We did not need the Europeans to destory religious monuments in Goa, forcibly convert individuals and then destroy native culture.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous robert said...

Yes, the "heathens" were doing fine. My comments were not a defence of European conquest or forced religious conversion. Just a response to a silly comparison between the Taleban and St Francis Xavier who, as far as I know, never stoned anyone to death or buried anyone alive, never banned music, sport toys and picnics, never executed any woman for walking unaccompanied on a street or chopped off a woman's hand for wearing nail polish, etc...

2:06 AM  
Anonymous JoshT said...

Oh Robert! You only have to see thro'. Whoever in power who thinks his is the only "true faith" and others have no right to go his/her own way is a bigot. Francisco Xavier felt exactly the same way.

In a 1545 letter to John III, he requested that an Inquisition to be installed in Goa.
Xavier made it a point not only to convert the people but also destroy the idols and ancient places of worship.

This plus the inquisition he wanted did nothing less than what the Taliban perpetuated in Afghanistan. The Jesuits were terrorists in a priests clothing. They harbored the same hatred in their minds towards non-christians that Taliban has towards non-muslims.

As for the Inquisition which Xavier was instrumental in bringing but did not have the pleasure if witnessing...let the following be ample proof.


Portugese records themselves show that the Inquisition burned at the stake 57 alive and 64 in effigy, 105 of them being men and 16 women. Others sentenced to various cruel punishments totaled 4,046 of whom 3,034 were men. The people who were converted but still continued occasionally and secretly to perform Hindu rituals were treated even more harshly.

We shall let a Christian historian speak about what the Portuguese did in their Indian domain. “At least from 1540 onwards,” writes Dr. T. R. de Souza “and in the island of Goa before that year, all the Hindu idols had been annihilated or had disappeared, all the temples had been destroyed and their sites and building materials were in most cases utilised to erect new Christian churches and chapels. Various viceregal and Church council decrees banished the Hindu priests from the Portuguese territories; the public practice of Hindu rites including marriage rites, was banned; the state took upon itself the task of bringing up the Hindu orphan children; the Hindus were denied certain employments, while the Christians were preferred; it was ensured that the Hindus would not harass those who became -Christians, and on the contrary, the Hindus were obliged to assemble periodically in churches to listen to preaching or to the refutation of their religion.”

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the negative things said about Francis Xavier and the Christians are just nonsense. This land was made purified because of Francis Xavier. God has sent this holy soul. India cannot be claimed as a Hindu nations. All the extremist groups must except this. The Aryans are foreigners who settled in india. If you want the actual indians, then only the Dravidians are the original indians. Let all the north indian people go out of this land. Christians are just 2% of this country and always Hindus cry on us. Your land is made sacred and pure, just like the essence, we christians are a part of this land

1:13 AM  

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