F.X. Clooney, SJ: Poisoned wine in a new Tetra pak – George Augustine

George Augustine“Clooney’s high-sounding “dynamics of dialogue” has many takers among Hindus for reasons known only to themselves. The Jesuit’s old poisoned wine, once sold by the founders with a sword in hand, is now marketed in soft Tetra Pak and is contaminating otherwise positive development of Hindu thought in India as well as abroad.” – George Augustine

Fr. X. Clooney SJ

Francis Xavier Clooney, Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology and Director of the Centre for the Study of World Religions at the Harvard Divinity School, typifies the 21st century face of the Jesuits. From his official profile, we come to know: “His primary areas of scholarship are theological commentarial writings in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India, and the developing field of comparative theology, a discipline distinguished by attentiveness to the dynamics of theological learning deepened through the study of traditions other than one’s own. He has also written on the Jesuit missionary tradition, particularly in India, and the dynamics of dialogue in the contemporary world.”[1]

Though F/X Clooney* is based in the US, I am told he is a popular figure among many Hindus in Chennai, especially Vaishnavites who follow the Bhakti tradition. He visits Chennai regularly and gives lectures on Hinduism and its similarities with Catholicism. His credentials attest to his field of expertise in his online profile: “Professor Clooney is the author of numerous articles and books, including most recently Beyond Compare: St. Francis and Sri Vedanta Desika on Loving Surrender to God (Georgetown University Press, 2008), The Truth, the Way, the Life: Christian Commentary on the Three Holy Mantras of the Srivaisnava Hindus (Peeters Publishing, 2008), and Comparative Theology: Deep Learning across Religious Borders (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).”[2]

Clooney’s current preoccupation has to do with the comparison of religious traditions and finding similarities. It is apparently a harmless and even a peaceably beneficial religious activity for humankind, far removed from those times when Jesuits were armed to the teeth and doing in alien lands what George W. Bush was doing much later in Iraq, with only a technical difference in war machinery and tactics.

gnatius Loyola & Francis Xavier in ParisRev. Clooney is a member of the Society of Jesus (S.J.), a religious order of males that follows the predominantly misogynistic teachings of the Catholic Church. It was founded in the 16th century by a band of seven militant zealots headed by Ignatius of Loyola to propagate and sustain the Roman Catholic faith at a time when a substantial number of converted Germanic people were already rebelling against the faith. The institution they founded was instrumental in causing untold miseries all over the earth for over four centuries. The notorious seven included Francis Xavier, whose horrifying carcass is displayed even today in Goa, an ingenious but arrogant and grotesque demonstration by the Catholic Church of how to make money by recycling corpses, which also evinces their inherent obsession with rotten flesh.

The functioning of the Society of Jesus, like all Catholic institutions, is shrouded in secrecy and we know about them only from what they care to tell us or by their deeds, which have been eloquent and more than enough to charge them with culpability for murder and grave offences committed over centuries. They are masters of deception and manipulators of the top order, because they are still around, scot-free, carrying on the same old work they did, but they have put on a new garb and have stowed away their swords. They know how to cover their tracks well, and when cornered, know well how to wriggle out of a difficult situation.

The Society of Jesus was originally an Al Qaeda-like militant organisation and its members were popularly known as “God’s Marines” and “The Company” among insiders when they first appeared in history. They were answerable only to the popes and carried out papal missions (assignments) without questioning in utmost secrecy. The only Jesuit characteristic we can pronounce with any clarity is their loyalty to the cause of the Catholic Church and the pope. Ignatius of Loyola is known to have written: “… I will believe that the white that I see is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it.”[3]

Their dogged adherence to the church doctrines is reflected in one of their current websites and pronouncements, though they seem to have shed their bluntness. “For over 450 years Jesuit priests and brothers have lived an amazing story of serving the Church in new and unexpected ways. We are still men on the move, ready to change place, occupation, method – whatever will advance our mission in the Church. We are expected to do anything or go anywhere to teach Jesus Christ and preach his Good News”[4].

Francis XavierThe terrorist adventures of the Jesuits in accordance with these pronouncements have been recorded worldwide. In India, terror tactics were initiated by Francis Xavier on the Malabar Coast and proved successful only with Hindu fisher folk. The Eastern Christians who had been forced to submit to the Catholic faith rebelled and ousted the Jesuits. So, the pope sent mild-mannered Carmelites, who eventually managed to coax the rebels back into the Catholic Church. The Vatican employs their multi-faceted religious orders like varied weaponry and the Jesuits form their most offensive frontline weapons in areas they want to conquer.

A partisan book (Jesuits in India) on sale on the web[5] summarises the previous Jesuit activity in India thus: “The Society of Jesus enjoyed many successes in India, but these were often tempered by momentary trials and setbacks. In 1744 Pope Benedict XIV (1675–1758) issued a papal bull suppressing the rites used by Indian converts …. Jesuit missionaries struggled with social issues, often involving caste. At first their evangelisation targeted the lower-caste Hindus, who were known as ‘rice Christians’ because their mass conversions were seen as tainted by desire for material comforts (such as food), but subsequent efforts, which focused on social change through education, attracted high-caste converts. By 1858 they had founded colleges in Goa, Mumbai (Bombay), Calcutta, and Cranganore. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Jesuit missions in India are engaged in educational and social programmes, having established over twenty colleges, more than one hundred high schools, and several technical, labour relations, and management institutes in India.”

The Jesuits today form the largest single religious order with a membership of 19,216 (as of January 1, 2007)[6] with the largest number in India[7]. The concentration of Jesuits in India tells us that the Vatican’s mission is the strongest here. Moreover, American Jesuits like Clooney are deputed to work in India, which emphasises the importance of Hinduism in Vatican’s 21st century agenda. This fact is not exactly a new story. Observers in Europe have opined that the only challenge to the Abrahamic religions taking over the world’s sense and sensibility irrevocably is Hindus and Hinduism.

Rajiv MalhotraEnter Clooney and comparative theology

People who take F/X Clooney for a gentleman scholar should examine the facts behind his façade. No doubt, he is a “scholar” of “theology”. To know what exactly and actually Clooney is up to, first, one needs to know what he is: a Jesuit whose whole activity revolves around three dictums: “What have I done for Christ?”, “What am I doing for Christ?” and “What will I do for Christ?”[8]. To doubt that he doesn’t abide by these dictums is to question his integrity, in case you think he has one.

Then why is Clooney preoccupied with the so-called “comparative theology”? To me, as an ex-Christian, it looks like an attempt to fool people by creating an illusion. Clooney portrays Hinduism and Christianity as one and the same. For this purpose, he writes books and articles on Mariamman and Mary, and Holy Ghost and the Shakthi principle.

Using simple analogy, which method of comparison can fool only slack idiots, Clooney establishes an illusory parity between Iswara-bhakti and the blind trust that the suicidal Jesus is the perfection of goodness. At a later stage, which I predict with much confidence, Clooney would take out his “Christ’ from his pocket and overwhelm the Hindu with the supposed “uniqueness” of Christ, which he would say is the “only way” to salvation, which he will address at that time as “moksha”, regardless of the qualitative difference.

Sri Vedanta DesikaIs Clooney talking sense when he is comparing St. Francis with Sri Vedanta Desika or Mariamman with Mary? To me, it is complete trash and I’ll tell you why. First, as religious systems, Hinduism and Christianity or any Abrahamic religion are at opposing poles. There is a basic difference. So, any comparison of religions must start from that point. Hinduism presupposes that the human being is innocent and good by nature. Abrahamic religions believe human is naturally (genetically) evil. For this reason, the ritual of conversion (circumcision or baptism) is a must, without which one is still evil. In other words, without a real but symbolic act of perversion of nature, their religion is not complete. Non-Abrahamic religions have roots in nature and reason and Abrahamic religions are extra-phenomenal and imaginary. They can be compared, but it would be like comparing animate life with inanimate objects. The objects of comparison are not in the same class.

What Clooney does is juxtapose the acts of worship (superficial feature) and point out the sameness. He compares devotion to faith with bhakti, which share superficial features, because devotion is an expression of emotion. But what is important is the object of worship or faith, as recent studies show[9]. The fundamental strength of the Hindu religious system is its philosophies and not its pantheon of gods. The significance of gods has always been secondary Jehovah: Spiteful and malevolent.in Hinduism to the principle of dharma. Unlike the blind Christian, it is through penetrative reason that a Hindu enters the realm of bhakti. Adi Sankara’s “Saundaryalahari” is a prime example of bhakti, but that is not his primary work.

Christianity can never aspire for true philosophy because its starting point is an extra-natural god who cannot be accommodated in any true philosophy. So the Christians have invented a discipline called theology[10] as part of the comprehensive charade. It is the study of their biblical god and they shamelessly pose it as philosophy. This is the mole that they have made into a big hill called “Professor of Divinity”. Clooney is like the special effects expert Rollie Taylor in the 1986 film “F/X – Murder by Illusion”. He creates the illusion of reality to fool people. Whereas Taylor used the effects against gangsters, Clooney is employing it against Hindus who have come under his charm.

Dancing Jesus in the New Community (Catholic) BibleClooney’s special effects are not foolproof, but the Hindu being patronised finds it difficult to see through the illusion. In his profile it is mentioned that his “comparative theology” is “a discipline distinguished by attentiveness to the dynamics of theological learning deepened [sic] through the study of traditions other than one’s own.” (See quote in first Para.) He evidently wants to deepen his “theology” using Hindu thought, like the early Catholics cannibalised pagan festivals such as winter solstice (Christmas) and spring equinox (Easter). Of course, the old pagans were annihilated and they no longer exist. The Jesuits in India meddling in Hindu arts – classical music and dance – are part of the comprehensive programme of cannibalising Hinduism for fattening Christianity. The Jesuits, who were once called “Blackrobes” for their unique black cassocks, have assumed saffron robes in India and renamed themselves with classical Hindu names. Most Hindus don’t notice that it was the Jesuits who stole calculus from Hindu India and reinvented it in Europe[11].

Clooney’s high-sounding “dynamics of dialogue” has many takers among Hindus for reasons known only to themselves. The Jesuit’s old poisoned wine, once sold by the founders with a sword in hand, is now marketed in soft Tetra Pak and is contaminating otherwise positive development of Hindu thought in India as well as abroad.

Hindu & MonkeyFoolish Hindus think Clooney’s endorsement is a plus point in scholarship and play into his hands, just because he carries a ludicrously long academic title. By chumming with Clooney, some might think they can advance their material prospects, but it is a great disservice to Hinduism. It is an adharmic act to make compromises, or go along with asuras. No sura will ever make compromises with an asura. Dialogue with an asura is a dialogue with one’s own executioner. Clooney is a suicidal trap for Hindus!


*F/X is a satire on special effects expert Rollie Taylor in the 1986 Hollywood film “F/X – Murder by Illusion”

1] http://www.hds.harvard.edu/people/faculty/francis-x-clooney-sj

2] See footnote 1

3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_Jesus

4] http://www.jesuit.org/about/

5] http://www.bookrags.com/research/jesuits-in-india-ema-03/

6] See footnote 3

7] http://www.natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives/110102/110102k.htm

8] http://www.jesuit.org/about/

9] See “A Searcher with Faith in Mind” By Michael Gerson, Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/14/AR2009041401879.html

10] See Websters: “the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially : the study of God and of God’s relation to the world.”


11] http://indianrealist.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/how-jesuits-took-calculus-from-india-to-europe/

» The author is a freelancer

8 Responses

  1. Ravi Shankar’s article is already in the Q for posting.


  2. Good article

    Knowledge has many faces: learning, erudition and scholarship. Which of these categories apply to Attipat Krishnaswami Ramanujan, who wrote Three Hundred Ramayanas?


  3. I am familiar with the Shaiva Siddhantans of Hawaii and have also met Shivaya Subramanian Swamy many years ago in Mumbai. They are good people and do good work for Hinduism and Hindus especially the NRIs abroad. They are also panentheists though they sometimes make foolish statements about being “monist monotheists” (which is an oxymoron I think) or something similar. They too were very sectarian in the beginning but changed their tune when Smartas like myself questioned their attitude and position.

    Monotheism has been promoted as a superior theism for two millenia. Other theists including Hindus are completely intimidated with this propaganda. Montheism is not a superior theism; it is an inferior theism. It reduces god to a single digit, the lowest denominator! It excludes and tries to set itself up as the “only” existent entity worthy of worship. This is illogical as a creator god must by definition be all-inclusive of his/her creation, not all-exclusive. But monotheism greatly appeals to the linear thinking brain. Hindus should be proud that they ARE NOT monotheists and not try to say that they are in order to gain acceptance by Christians.

    I am not worried about not having Sri Ranganatha’s darshan and also have accepted the refusal to enter the temple as His will. I have described the incident to make a point, to show that the authorities of the temple lack discrimination and consistency and having sent away a devotee and friend, they have unwittingly allowed a snake into their bed. Now the snake has bitten them and they are crying foul!


  4. Vishista Advaita is as you say is a sure safeguard. But they should not be vulnerable to a monotheism as you have written allowing Clooney and not yourself into SriRangam. You have posted an article on Radical Universalism or why all religions are not the same by Frank Morales which was well written. There is a Nandinatha Sampradaya in Kauaii . The online bks Merging with Siva , Dancing with Siva and Living with Siva are well written according to my friends. I have read Loving Ganesha partly. Found the book interesting. Many who have visited the temple at Kauaii have a positive word. No negative word at all. Since Hinduism allows all to practice in their own way, even if you are not allowed into SriRangam, please do not worry, for as the great Purusha Suktam says Narayana is omniscient and when recited with perfect smriti and shruti He resides in your heart.


  5. I cannot agree that Sri Vaishnavites are monotheists. True, they focus on the Lord in a particular way that appears exclusive. But this is the Hindu practice of holding one particular name and form as special to the devotee and putting aside other names and forms. But this is not monotheism. It is PANENTHEISM.

    I have great sympathy for Ramanuja’s Vishisht Advaita as I believe that commitment to a particular deity as Ishwara better safeguards the Hindu from the depredations of the monotheists than does the abstractions of Advaita Vedanta.

    But, yes, Srivaishnavas can be very sectarian and among Hindus are often the most ill-liberal. Still, I would not call them monotheists.

    All Hindus fall prey to the missionaries because THEY PROJECT THEIR OWN FANCIFUL SPIRITUAL INTERPRETATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY ONTO CHRISTIANS RATHER THAN LISTENING CAREFULLY TO WHAT CHRISTIANS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THEMSELVES AND THEIR GOD. Most Hindus have never read Christian history or theology or even the Bible, but the have loud opinions about all of these. Hindus have a huge spiritual ego and think they know better about what Christianity and Islam “really is” than do the practitioners of these religions. Hindus deceive themselves. If Hindus would listen to what the other side was saying and stop pretending that they know better, they would understand the real danger Christianity and Islam poses to Hindu culture and civilization.

    The classic Hindu self-deception is to separate Jesus and the Church. Hindus say they love Jesus but don’t like Churchianity. What nonsense. If you love Jesus (who was not a very nice man in fact and who contributed absolutely nothing to the world’s vast body of spiritual knowledge except the THREAT OF ETERNAL HELL-FIRE FOR THOSE WHO DISAGREED WITH HIM) it is inevitable that you will be an easy prey to his missionaries and Church.

    In fact it is only a very few Hindu intellectuals like Sita Ram Goel and Ram Swarup, and today Radha Rajan, Sandhya Jain, Arun Shourie – there are a few others – who have studied the actual Christian documents and analysed what they contain. They listen to what the Christian authorities have to say about themselves. Therefore they can comment on Christianity and what it is about with some authority. Most other Hindus only repeat fairy stories they learned in their convent schools (including the tale that Jesus died in Kashmir that Sadhu Rangarajan promotes: Max Muller asked Notovitch for proofs to his claim for Jesus in Kashmir and never got them). They have only themselves to blame when they discover the missionaries–and Clooney is a missionary too–have duped them.


  6. Vaishanavism of Sri Ramanuja professes in monotheism. Lord Vishnu only. Many Vaishanavites of the Ramanuja order fall prey to monotheistic Abrahamic faiths.


  7. George Augustine has made some good points here about the emptiness of Xian theology etc. Now Clooney’s private life should be investigated and all the little skeletons in his closet exposed.

    But Clooney is not the real problem. The real problem is Hindus like Rajiv Malhotra who suck up to him in order to sell their books. Malhotra is supposed to be a Hindu leader and public intellectual. But he turns out to be another shopkeeper who will kiss any bottom to make a sale. His private life should be investigated too. He excused Sex Swami Nithyananda as a trantic. Perhaps he also has tantric proclivities and deviations.

    The priests of the Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple are another bunch of idiots. They do not know the difference between friend and foe. They gave their spiritual secrets away to Clooney in exchange for flattery and money. Now they are not happy with the book he produced on Sri Vedanta Desika. But they have only themselves to blame for allowing Clooney to exploit them!

    These Srirangam Brahmins would not allow me in the temple some years ago because I am foreign born. But Christian Jesuit Fr. Clooney had the run of the place while I, a believing, practising Hindu who has faith in Sri Ranganatha, has lived most of my life in India!

    Hindus today are so eager to be accepted as equals in the globalised world of today that they have forgotten their own religion and culture. They are willing to suffer any insult or exploitation in order to gain acceptance. It is very sad. Sometimes I wonder if there is any use in discussing Hindu issues at all. It may be better to leave it all and go sit under a tree and watch Hindu society self-destruct as it seems determined to do.


  8. Shrikant Talegiri took on Prof Witzel with his great books. which Koenraad Elst reviewed here.


    George Augustine has taken on Prof Clooney in a single article. There should be a book to expose Prof Clooney. The irony is that Prof Witzel and Prof Clooney are from Harvard.


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