As the Lok Sabha poll campaign gathers steam in the Left-ruled Kerala, a top Church official has described the CPI-M as a 'threat' to democracy and warned that India will suffer the same fate as China under Mao Zedong.
'The Marxist party will use all kinds of tactics to strengthen itself in places where it is in power. That they will do throughout India once they get to power at the Centre, will be no different from Mao or Stalin,' says Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil in his book Straight From Heart.
The influential Cardinal, known for his critical views even on the church establishment, says, 'The Marxist fundamentalism is a greater threat than the religious fundamentalism of the BJP. The Navy, the Army and the Air Force will come under their complete control. We can reasonably expect that what happened in China under Mao will happen in India under their rule.'
'Where is the logic of democracy if they are convinced atheists? But if they are atheists against their conscience and belief, then they are not true to themselves. Convinced atheists cannot be democratic. Democracy is based on respect for the individual and on the rule 'of the people, by the people, for the people,' Vithayathil, also the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, says.
The first Communist government of Kerala, Vithayathil says, was dismissed because they took recourse to some Marxist techniques like rule by party cadre when they came to power.
'But even now, it is the party that rules in Kerala and not the government,' the Cardinal says.
Vithayathil, who is also the president of Catholic Bishops Conference of India, says he disagrees with Marxism, mainly on the issue of 'atheism' and their 'use of violence'.
'From my Catholic faith, I sometimes see Marxism as a chastisement allowed by God on the Church for not living what it preaches,' he says in the book.
Catholic Church has often come in conflict with CPI-M-led LDF government on different issues, including proposals of the state Law Reforms Panel on topics like legalisation of mercy killing, small family norm and formation of a body to manage church properties.
Praising the Congress and its allies, the book says, they have 'more respect' for an individual and his fundamental rights.
Putting his views on BJP, the Cardinal in the book says, 'The commendable thing about the party is that they want to preserve the good aspects of Indian culture like modesty of women and promoting certain moral values, for which they would opt for stricter media censorship. For them religion is very important and they support democracy and human rights.
'Besides protecting ancient culture and heritage of India, like Vedas, Upanishads and the great philosophical teachings to the six systems of Indian philosophy, BJP respects, preserves and promotes knowledge of Sanskrit and Ayurveda.'
The party is a 'great defender of our many achievements of the past', the book says.
However the saffron party, Vithayathil says, 'has forgotten that Catholics of the country also regard Indian culture, philosophy, literature and science as their heritage. The Catholic Church will certainly protect them just as it has responsibly protected and preserved Greek and Roman cultures.'