Monday, March 25, 2013



                                                                         Dhiru Shah


The Wall Street Journal

Dear Sir,                       Re.: “Francis, Man of the World” in Opinion Page of WSJ
                                              Edition dt. 3/21/13 by Daniel Land

Expressing his happiness for the new Pope for adopting the name of ‘Francis’ after Francis of Assisi in the above article, Daniel Land qualifies it in the second sentence: “Still, let no one doubt that the first pope from the Society of Jesus is acutely aware of how Jesus superstar Francis Xavier in the 16th century carried Catholicism to India, Japan and China.” One wishes that the author would have shown the courage of conviction to tell his readers how Christianity was carried by Francis Xavier and his clan of Jesuits to Asia. Let us look briefly at the role played by Francis Xavier in conversion of Hindus to Christianity in Goa, India (a former Portuguese colony).

Francis Xavier landed in Goa in 1542 with a firm resolution to convert Hindus and other infidels to Christianity. But soon he realized that Hindus could not be converted easily. In frustration, he wrote to John III of Portugal requesting for an Inquisition to be installed in Goa. His hatred for Hindus was so much that he wrote to the King: “The Hindus are an unholy race. They are liars and cheats to the very backbone. Their idols are black-as black as black can be- ugly and horrible to look at, smeared with oil and smell in a evil manner.” His another saintly quote: "When I have finished baptizing the people, I order them to destroy the huts in which they keep their idols; and I have them break the statues of their idols into tiny pieces, since they are now Christians. I could never come to an end describing to you the great consolation which fills my soul when I see idols being destroyed by the hands of those who had been idolaters.”

Though the actual Goan inquisition happened eight years after his death, it does not clear his connection with the most violent, cruel and merciless Christian inquisition in the word. Historian Alfredo DeMelo describes the performers of Goan inquisition as “nefarious, fiendish, lustful, corrupt religious orders which pounced on Goa for the purpose of destroying paganism and introducing the true religion of Christ.” Dr. T. R. de Souza wrote in an article “Details of the Goa Inquisition” on 3/18/2004: “So harsh and notorious was the inquisition in Goa, the word of its brutality reached Lisbon but nothing was done to stop this notoriety and escalating barbarity and it continued for two hundred more years. No body knows the exact number of Goans subjected to these diabolic tortures, but perhaps it runs into hundreds of thousands, may be even more.” (

Francis Xavier’s cruel and sinful career in India left ancient cultured communities destroyed and killed thousands of innocent Hindus. We are told that in the Christian doctrine, to attack a man’s faith is a sin against the Holy Spirit. It is the sin Francis is guilty of. But it seems that since he was a Christian missionary and his victims were ‘heathens’ not human beings, the Church canonized him and made him a saint instead of condemning him for his sins.

One wonders why the new Pope would adopt Francis Xavier’s name if he was aware of Xavier’s diabolic and gruesome methods of Christian conversion. Let us hope that the world will not be subjected to the same ‘holy’ path followed by Francis Xavier.


Dhiru Shah

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