This is news, if you ask me: the pastor of Our Saviour Roman Catholic Church in New York City confirms that the Hare Krishnas chanted praise to their god inside his parish for an hour — and he gives more context to Church Militant. Quoting Father Robbins:
1. This was to be an ecumenical prayer vigil in solidarity with Pope Francis’ address to the United Nations (the next day) and his encyclical, Laudato Sí. It turned out to be an interreligious prayer vigil similar to what the Holy Father conducted the next day at the Ground Zero Memorial.
2. The Vigil had been planned at another church in Midtown but at the last minute, Secret Service asked that it be moved for security reasons. Our site manager was approached about moving it to Our Saviour, which was outside of the secured area for the Pope’s trip.
3. My recollection is that I had agreed to the use of our auditorium. However, the vigil did take place in the church.
4. The event was not open to the public.
5. Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, was in attendance. I was not.
6. The Blessed Sacrament had been removed from the church.
7. The basic outline was that each hour would be the responsibility of a different faith tradition. I had been told that most of the time would be spent in silent prayer.
8. I think it would be a mistake to single out the parts without reference to the whole. Inter religious prayer services are nothing out of the ordinary, especially since the pontificate of St. John Paul II.
A Roman Catholic cardinal stood there while Krishna was praised. According to a Krishna consciousness website, the chant means, “Oh energy of the Lord, please engage me in the loving service of Lord Krishna.” This is what a cardinal of the Roman Catholic church stood by watching chanted in a Roman Catholic parish.
I did not know that kind of thing was possible. But I should have known, because Father Robbins is right: this kind of thing started with John Paul II, and continued, in a slightly muted form, under Benedict XVI. And Orthodox prelates participated in those events as well.
If Cardinal Turkson had no problem with it, why should we? I do very much have a problem with it, still, but I guess Catholics who agree with me had better take it up not with Father Robbins, or even Cardinal Dolan, but with Rome.