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Sangh raises Jesuit hackles

New Delhi, Dec.31: Jesuits today took strong exception to RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan’s remarks that they were the Pope’s soldiers given an oath to decimate all those who do not follow the Roman Catholic religion.

Challenging Sudarshan to prove the allegation, the Jesuit Conference of India said the remarks were “unfortunate”.

The All India Christian Council criticised Sudarshan, saying he had dragged the office of the President of India into the controversy.

The four-day Jesuit conference, Summit of Joy, beginning January 21, is expected to bring together Jesuit alumni from various parts of the world.

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is scheduled to inaugurate the conference.

Sudarshan had described Kalam’s decision as “unfortunate” while levelling allegations against Jesuits at a function in Nagpur recently.

“The Jesuits in India, a religious brotherhood in religious, educational and social works, never ever heard of the so called Jesuit oath referred to by the chief and some other members of the RSS, as reported in the press,” the Jesuit body said in a statement here.

Challenging the RSS to prove the charges, Jesuit Conference of India president Lisbert D’Souza said: “Let me emphatically, once more, as Jesuit Provincial of India and president of JCI, say that I have never taken such a Papal oath, nor have been asked to do so.”

There are Jesuit schools and colleges all over the country, D’ Souza said, adding: “Anyone who wishes to do so can easily approach some of the Jesuits running them and verify by himself whether they have taken such an oath, that is, anyway, in total contradiction to what our Christian faith stands for.”

The All India Christian Council said Sudarshan’s “rhetoric has reached its peak in the tirade against the Jesuits.

His provocative statements are Goebbelsian, presenting falsehood as truth and undiluted animosity towards minorities as patriotism. He has brought in the office of the President into the controversy. A former Union law minister Arun Jaitly, studied at St. Xavier’s, a Jesuit school in Delhi.”

“It is for the alumni of Christian schools to give the lie to the breeders of calumny like Sudarshan,” the council added.

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