THE JERUSALEM CODE
A REVIEW by Ladislaus Louis D’Souza
Pp 400 / INR 399 [US$ 10 – Euro 8]
Pp 400 / INR 399 [US$ 10 – Euro 8]
It was Arnold Henry Glasow, the famed American businessman and humourist of the last century, who said, “Happy is the person who knows what to remember of the past, what to enjoy in the present and what to plan for in the future.” THE JERUSALEM CODE comes from an author who belongs to the genre of writers who have a prophetic bent and know what to recall about the past and how to look at it, how analyse the present and, finally, to predict, plan and propose a future of desired reality.
Jerusalem per se marks the final lap of the journey the Lord made in his mission to redeem the likes of those who killed the prophets of yore. A book that defies being fit neatly into any particular slot, THE JERUSALEM CODE is essentially the author’s journey into the Past, an analysis of the Present and a Futuristic vision of the church of tomorrow—a journey on which the reader willy-nilly finds himself accompanying the author. And what can the reader expect to find on that journey but an expression of the anguish of the laity, women in particular, about where the Holy Catholic Church is, where she ought to have been by now and where she ought to be in the near future so to say.
Beating about the bush not being one of his traits, the author fearlessly rakes up delicate issues which most authors would much rather just talk about in private and then shove under the carpet - like papal infallibility, clerical celibacy and priestly ordination of women, family planning and abortion, divorce and remarriage, pre-marital sex, and a lot else. Drawing heavily on Sacred Scripture [numberless references and quotes!] and on the teachings Vatican II, besides an array of other sources, the contents of this book constitute an honest attempt at renewing the Church and reforming society. A man of deep convictions, Chhotebhai is a writer who dares call a spade just that, a spade! And how! This is not to say that the contents, in nature, are intimidating and demand acquiescence on the part of the reader. Rather, the reader, his/her conscience stirred, is challenged to really think hard on matters otherwise not given much thought to and ask questions, seeking answers thereof.
The author brings to bear on the content and tone of the text his wide experience as Convenor of the Indian Catholic Forum, former National President of the All India Catholic Union and former Director of the International Council of Catholic Men…. Salubriously, THE JERUSALEM CODE, coming as it does close on the heels of the Jerusalema dance phenomenon that has seized the world by storm [with varying, amazing presentations!], proves in no uncertain terms that expressing divergent opinions on churchy matters in no way means showing disrespect for Church teachings. Au contraire, the contents inspire the reader to constantly ask, “What is the Spirit saying to the churches?” More importantly, what is the Spirit saying to me as a reader?
Now, lest you wonder as to the reason and significance of the title THE JERUSALEM CODE - the reviewer is not telling! After all, what’s better than a self-discovery! Indeed, the book has quite a few other surprises which the reader would delight in discovering firsthand! Of course, it is another matter altogether that this unputdownable book by Chhotebhai has the backing of his four earlier titles (apart from a plethora of articles) viz, The Trinity & Me (1978), Cracks in the Ceiling (1985), Beyond 2000 – The Other Side (2000) and An Unfinished Symphony (2011). Get ready for the kind of impact this book—probably the author’s magnum opus so to say—is all set to leave in its wake!
Copies are available in Mumbai at : The Secular Citizen, Fort, Mumbai Tel.: +91 9820485389 / 9820473103