If you want to defeat some one whom you think is your enemy, join the enemy, become one with him follow his customs.
All this to win him over.
Christians wanted to convert non Christians.
The term used for this shameless act of converting others is Evangelism, as if there are no Angels anywhere.
The Jesuits came against a brick wall in Hinduism with its sound philosophy and way of Life.
The had no clue to convert Hindus .
The tactics that worked elsewhere did not help them.
The sought the help of the Holy See.
The received instructions to become one with the Hindus b adopting their customs including Upaveeda.
These are called Malabar Rites.
Read the History from The Catholic Encyclopedia.
A conventional term for certain customs or practices of the natives of South India, which the Jesuitmissionaries allowed their neophytes to retain after conversion, but which were afterwards prohibited by theHoly See. The missions concerned are not those of the coast of southwestern India, to which the nameMalabar properly belongs, but those of inner South India, especially those of the former “kingdoms” of Madura,Mysore and the Karnatic.
The question of Malabar Rites originated in the method followed by the Jesuits, since the beginning of the seventeenth century, in evangelizing those countries. The prominent feature of that method was a condescending accommodation to the manners and customs of the people the conversion of whom was to be obtained. But, when bitter enemies asserted, as some still assert, that the Jesuit missionaries, in Madura,Mysore and the Karnatic, either accepted for themselves or permitted to their neophytes such practices as theyknew to be idolatrous or superstitious, this accusation must be styled not only unjust, but absurd. In fact it is tantamount to affirming that these men, whose intelligence at least was never questioned, were so stupid as to jeopardize their own salvation in order to save others, and to endure infinite hardships in order to establish among the Hindus a corrupt and sham Christianity.
The popes, while disapproving of some usages hitherto considered inoffensive or tolerable by the missionaries, never charged them having adulterated knowingly the purity of religion. On one of them, who had observed the “Malabar Rites” for seventeen years previous to his martyrdom, the Church has conferred the honour ofbeatification. The process for the beatification of Father John de Britto was going on at Rome during the hottest period of the controversy upon the famous “Rites”; and the adversaries of the Jesuits assertedbeatification to be impossible, because it would amount to approving the “superstitions and idolatries” maintained by the missioners of Madura. Yet the cause progressed, and Benedict XIV, on 2 July, 1741, declared “that the rites in question had not been used, as among the Gentiles, with religious significance, but merely as civil observances, and that therefore they were no obstacle to bringing forward the process”. (Brief of Beatification of John de Britto, 18 May, 1852.) There is no reason to view the “Malabar Rites”, as practised generally in the said missions, in any other light. Hence the good faith of the missionaries in tolerating the native customs should not be contested; on the other hand, they, no doubt, erred in carrying this tolerationtoo far. But the bare enumeration of the Decrees by which the question was decided shows how perplexing it was and how difficult the solution.
Robert de Nobili.
The founder of the missions of the interior of South India, Roberto de Nobili, was born at Rome, in 1577, of a noble family from Montepulciano, which numbered among many distinguised relatives the celebrated Cardinal Roberto Bellarmine. When nineteen years of age, he entered the Society of Jesus; and, after a few years, the young religious, aiming at the purest ideal of self-sacrifice, requested his superiors to send him to the missions of India. He embarked at Lisbon, 1604, and in 1606 was serving his apostolic apprenticeship in SouthIndia. Christianity was then flourishing on the coasts of this country. It is well known that St. Francis Xavierbaptized many thousands there, and from the apex of the Indian triangle the faith spread along both sides, especially on the west, the Malabar coast. But the interior of the vast peninsula remained almost untouched. The Apostle of the Indies himself recognized the insuperable opposition of the “Brahmins and other noble castes inhabiting the interior” to the preaching of the Gospel (Monumenta Xaveriana, I, 54). Yet his discipleswere not sparing of endeavours. A Portuguese Jesuit, Gonsalvo Fernandes, had resided in the city of Madurafully fourteen years, having obtained leave of the king to stay there to watch over the spiritual needs of a fewChristians from the coast; and, though a zealous and pious missionary, he had not succeeded, within that longspace of time, in making one convert. This painful state of things Nobili witnessed in 1606, when together with his superior, the Provincial of Malabar, he paid a visit to Fernandes. At once his keen eye perceived the causeand the remedy.
At Rome the explanations of Nobili, of the Archbishop of Cranganore, and of the chief Inquisitor of Goa brought about a similar effect. In 1614 and 1615 Cardinal Bellarmine and the General of the Society wrote again to the missionary, declaring themselves fully satisfied. At last, after the usual mature examination by the Holy See, on 31 January, 1623, Gregory XV, by his Apostolic Letter, “Romanae Sedis Antistes”, decided the question provisionally in favour of Father de Nobili. Accordingly, the codhumbi, the cord, the sandal, and the baths were permitted to the Indian Christians, “until the Holy See provide otherwise”; only certain conditions are prescribed, in order that all superstitious admixture and all occasion of scandal may be averted. As to the separation of the castes, the pope confines himself to “earnestly entreating and beseeching (etiam atque etiam obtestamur et obsecramus) the nobles not to despise the lower people, especially in the churches, by hearing the Divine word and receiving the sacraments apart from them”. Indeed, a strict order to this effect would have been tantamount to sentencing the new-born Christanity of Madura to death. The popeunderstood, no doubt, that the customs connected with the distinction of castes, being so deeply rooted in theideas and habits of all Hindus, did not admit an abrupt suppression, even among the Christians. They were to be dealt with by the Church, as had been slavery, serfdom, and the like institutions of past times. The Churchnever attacked directly those inveterate customs; but she inculcated meekness, humility, charity, love of theSaviour who suffered and gave His life for all, and by this method slavery, serfdom, and other social abuses were slowly eradicated.
Besides the Brahmin saniassy, there was another grade of Hindu ascetics, called pandaram, enjoying less consideration than the Brahmins, but who were allowed to deal publicly with all castes, and even holdintercourse with the pariahs. They were not excluded from relations with the higher castes. On the advice ofNobili, the superiors of the mission with the Archbishop of Cranganore resolved that henceforward there should be two classes of missionaries, the Brahmin and the pandaram.