Pagan Idols Set Up in English Martyrs Church

Alan Williams

BRENTWOOD, ( – A  in is facing backlash for displaying Hindu, Buddhist and idols in front the altar for a service marking ’ pan-religious day of prayer.

On morning, the diocese of Brentwood tweeted a of the idols of Shiva and Buddha, alongside an icon of the Good Shepherd and an African carving  an “interfaith prayer service” to be held at the Church of Martyrs, Hornchurch, at 7 p.m.

Fr. Britto Belevendran, of English Martyrs, Hornchurch

has appealed for a Day of Prayer and Fasting and Works of for believers of religions on 14 , to implore to humanity overcome the ,” the diocesan website announced.

“In to this appeal, Fr. Britto Belevendran, of the , be leading an interfaith prayer service at 7 p.m. on Thursday 14 May (live ).”

“He says: ‘I invite the parishes and of faiths to come together to pray for the of the globe and our fragile humanity from the present pandemic,” it continued. “Please join in in whatever ways can.'”

Within minutes, hundreds of outraged bombarded the diocese’s accusing Fr. Belevendran of idolatry, syncretism, sacrilege and the heresy of indifferentism.

Catholic commenters hit out at the : “ on you.” “Willfully breaking the commandment.” “Repent!!! You will suffer hellfire for this!” “This is sacrilege, and I will be contacting your .”

Not a single comment was or in of the interfaith service. 

Within less than an hour of Church Militant contacting the for comment, the tweet with the photograph of the idols was deleted. 

“It is ironic that this happened in a church named in honour of the English martyrs whose feast day was only celebrated a week ago,” Catholic told Church Militant.  

“These priests, religious, laymen and gave their lives so that could be preserved. While it may have been motivated by , this of blasphemy nonetheless spits upon their selfless sacrifice,” she lamented. 

The U.. for CitizenGO told Church Militant she is  a campaign attempting to persuade the to reopen churches: “But you have to wonder that if idol worship is what they are going to be used for, perhaps it’s better they remain closed.”

Farrow added:

You have to wonder what on the parish priest was of allowing a 10-armed pagan idol to sit atop an altar. Worse still, that whoever was running the diocesan Twitter account appeared to agree and endorse this act of sacrilege. The needs to be alert to the spiritual dangers of this, all of those involved need a course on remedial Catholicism and some reparation needs to be made. 

An Indian convert to Catholicism told Church Militant she was heartbroken by the idolatry: “My ancestors worshipped these idols and grateful to the Catholic missionaries who came and preached the Gospel to my ancestors, from worshipping such grotesque images of and stone.”

It is ironic that this happened in a church named in honour of the English martyrs whose feast day was only celebrated a week ago.

“Father Belevendran says he is from ,” she . “Doesn’t he know how the caste system of Hinduism oppressed us for 3,000 years and only liberated us? Doesn’t he know the idol he placed on the altar is that of Shiva — the Hindu god of destruction?”

“Is the Bishop of Brentwood so that he believes Catholicism is only for and not for brown-skinned Indians like me and so I need to back to Hinduism?” she asked. “The of Shiva as Nataraja on the altar conveys the Indian conception of the never-ending cycle of , which is completely contrary to the biblical linear of .”

Bishop of Brentwood

Church Militant a second time to Fr. Belevendran asking why with the picture of idols was suddenly pulled from the diocesan Twitter feed, asking him why he chose to reject the uniqueness of Jesus, the Son of God, and “install a statue of Shiva (Nataraja) the god of destruction on a table before the altar.” As of press time, Church Militant received no response. 

Brentwood diocese under . is continuing to promote Pope Francis’ pan-religious day of prayer. Another tweet Catholics to join in Holy “in response to Pope Francis’ call for interfaith Day of Prayer.”

Meanwhile, following Church Militant’s  on Catholics condemning the pontiff’s day of prayer as “blasphemy” and “sacrilege,” the pontiff has responded asserting that he is not promoting “religious relativism” but fraternity.   

“Perhaps will be someone who will say: ‘This is religious relativism and it cannot be done.’ But how can we not pray to the Father of all?” Francis asked in the on Thursday.

“Everyone prays as he knows, how he can, as he has received from his own . We are not praying against each other, this religious tradition against this, no,” the pontiff added. “We are all as human beings, as , praying to God, according to our culture, according to our own tradition, according to our beliefs, but and praying to God. This is the thing.”

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