Kurien Kunnumpuram

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Kunnumpuram, 2010

Kurien Kunnumpuram (born July 8, 1931) is a Catholic theologian from India, who pleads for an Indian Christian theology. Currently he is the editor of AUC: Asian Journal for Religious Studies. He has contributed substantially towards the formation of an Indian Church, written numerous books and taught for more than fifty years.

Sourced Quotes[edit]

On God[edit]

  • God did not create the world in order to get anything for himself. In fact, there is no need of God’s that we can supply, no luxury of His that we can provide. Actually, God created the world in order to bestow his blessings on his creatures and to give them a share in his own goodness.
    • Kunnumpuram, Kurien, 2011 “Theological Exploration,” Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies 14/2 (July-Dec 2011).
  • If the world had a finite reality as its goal, then it has only a limited possibility of growth. But when the world has the Infinite God as its goal, it has endless possibilities of growth and development.
    • Kunnumpuram, Kurien, 2011 “Theological Exploration,” Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies 14/2 (July-Dec 2011).
  • Transcendence is the way God is immanent. God is present in every created reality, without being identified with it. This is the meaning of God’s transcendence.
    • Kunnumpuram, Kurien, 2011 “Theological Exploration,” Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies 14/2 (July-Dec 2011).
  • It is our Christian task to make ourselves increasingly more free. As one of the beautiful hymns has it: “It is a long road to freedom”. There is a great danger that we will give in to external force or internal compulsion, thus jeopardizing our freedom.
    • Kunnumpuram, Kurien, 2011 “Theological Exploration,” Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies 14/2 (July-Dec 2011).
  • Freedom is for love and service. Our ability to give ourselves away in love and service is the true measure of our freedom. After having declared: “For you were called to freedom”, Paul adds: “Through love become slaves to one another”.
    • Kunnumpuram, Kurien, 2011 “Theological Exploration,” Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies 14/2 (July-Dec 2011).
  • Normally we think that it was Jesus’ mission to reveal the mystery of God to us. This he certainly did. But he also revealed to us the mystery of the human person. As the Council declares: “The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of the human being take on light” (GS 22). First of all, Jesus pointed out the God-dimension of human person.
    • Kunnumpuram, Kurien, 2011 “Theological Exploration,” Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies 14/2 (July-Dec 2011).

On the Church[edit]

  • The Church of God becomes concrete and visible only in a community of people who have experienced the presence of God and responded to his saving activity.
    • Kunnumpuram, Kurien, 2011 “Theological Exploration,” Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies 14/2 (July-Dec 2011).
  • I wish to adopt a holistic approach to the mission of the Church. To my mind the mission of the Church is to collaborate with God in God’s work for the wholeness of the human person, the human community and the cosmos according to the pattern revealed in Jesus Christ (Kunnumpuram 2011).
  • In recent times, we are becoming increasingly more aware of the cosmic dimension of salvation. The destiny of humankind and that of the cosmos are inextricably intertwined. In the past, Christians often thought of their relationship to the world in terms of domination, possession, use and enjoyment. There was little awe and wonder before the mystery of the universe. This arrogant and irreverent attitude to creation is largely responsible for the serious ecological crisis was are facing today.
    • Kunnumpuram, Kurien, 2011 “Theological Exploration,” Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies 14/2 (July-Dec 2011).
  • Now if the Church’s mission is to collaborate with God in his work for the wholeness of the human person, the human community and the cosmos, then this demands that it care for the earth, that it be concerned about life and that it be committed to people. The Church’s task is to work along with God for the creation of a new human society which is consciously rooted in God, which is characterized by freedom, equality, love, justice and peace and which lives in harmony and communion with nature.
    • Kunnumpuram, Kurien, 2011 “Theological Exploration,” Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies 14/2 (July-Dec 2011).
  • The one mission of the Church receives its specification from the actual context in which it is exercised in the concrete situations in which it is fulfilled.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (2007) The Indian Church of the Future. Mumbai: St Pauls, p.26.
  • Uniformity is the death of life. Wherever there is life, there is diversity.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (2009) Towards the Fullness of Life: Reflections on the Daily Living of the Faith. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • Mission of the Church is to collaborate with God in his work for the wholeness of the human person, the human community and the cosmos according to the pattern revealed in Jesus Christ.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (2009) Towards the Fullness of Life: Reflections on the Daily Living of the Faith. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • All this calls for an attitudinal change in the Church. An inward looking Church gives undue importance to rite and rubrics, orthodoxy and discipline. But God-ward looking Church is concerned with the great human problem of living together in freedom and equality, love, justice and peace as well as in tune with the rhythm of nature. For the world, not the Church, is the primary object of God’s love.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (2009) Towards the Fullness of Life: Reflections on the Daily Living of the Faith. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • Christian hope asks us to regard every stage in the growth of a person and every phase in the development of the Church as merely provisional. It has to be transcended. We are still on our way to the final Kingdom.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (2007) The Indian Church of the Future. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • It [Vatican II] does not look upon the ‘religious’ as one dimension among other dimensions of human existence. The religious dimension intersects with other dimensions. That is why the Council could speak of ‘the supremely human character’ of the Church’s religious mission.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (2005) Towards a New Humanity: Reflections on the Church's Mission in India Today. Mumbai: St Pauls.

On Spirituality[edit]

  • The term spirituality is misleading. It gives the impression that we are concerned only with the soul and its activities like prayer and contemplation. The realm of the spirit is thought of as distinct from the material realm, the realm of work, of science and economics. Underlying this dichotomy is the Greek understanding of the human person as a composite of soul and body or as a soul temporarily housed in the body. The classical example of this is Plato’s image of the human person as the charioteer in the chariot.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2006) Life in Abundance: Indian Christian Reflections on Spirituality. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • The biblical understanding of the human person is holistic. It makes no distinction between body and soul. The human person is not a soul living in a body, but an animated body, so perfectly integrated that the person in his totality can express himself/herself and be apprehended in any part. “It is the body rooted in the cosmos and related to other human beings, which gives the person his or her identity.”
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2006) Life in Abundance: Indian Christian Reflections on Spirituality. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • There is a lot of piety among us, but not enough spirituality. Piety consists in the performance of external devotional practices and is measured by one’s fidelity to these practices. Whether or not the faithful performance of these exercises of piety improves the quality of one’s Christian life is a question that is seldom asked. One is at times surprised that priests, sisters and lay people who are obviously pious are manifestly unfair in their dealings with other people. Some of them show so little of the compassion of Christ and are quite unwilling to forgive others.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2006) Life in Abundance: Indian Christian Reflections on Spirituality. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • Spirituality is a way of life. It is our total inward quest for growth, meaning and authenticity. And it is manifested in the quality of one’s life. In the last analysis, to be spiritual is to be touched and transformed by the Spirit of God. In a person who has been touched and transformed by God’s Spirit the fruits of the Spirit will be seen: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). Besides, “where the Spirit of Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17).
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2006) Life in Abundance: Indian Christian Reflections on Spirituality. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • To follow Christ is also to identify ourselves with the poor and powerless as he did. The Incarnation is the symbol of this identification. Through his incarnation he inserted himself into the human family and became one with us. As Soares-Prabhu observes, “Jesus ‘declasses’ himself and adopts the life of an itinerant preacher without a home or means of subsistence.”
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2006) Life in Abundance: Indian Christian Reflections on Spirituality. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • In the religious traditions of humankind there are at least four ways in which people have encountered the divine. First of all, there is the experience of God in nature, as the power behind natural phenomena. Such an experience usually leads to belief in nature gods. This is clearly seen in Hinduism. Secondly, there is the experience of God in the depths of one’s being. God-ward movement often takes an inward direction. This leads to the cultivation of interiority. The Upanishads bear witness to this kind of an experience of God. It is also found among the Christian mystics. Thirdly, there is the experience of God mediated through the rites and doctrines of religions. This is probably the most valued form of God-experience in popular Catholicism, in which the frequent reception of the sacraments is highly esteemed. Such an approach to the experience of God is found also among the followers of other religions. Finally, there is the experience of God in inter-human relationships and socio-political involvements. This form of God-experience is, I believe, typical of the biblical tradition.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2006) Life in Abundance: Indian Christian Reflections on Spirituality. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • The foundational God-experience of Israel was the Exodus – the experience of God in the liberation of slaves. Israel also experienced God as the one who was active on its behalf in the decisive moments of its history. And the early Christians experienced God in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, who was done to death as a political criminal. For us Christians, the human person is the privileged locus of God-experience – we encounter God first of all in Jesus of Nazareth, and then in every man, woman and child.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2006) Life in Abundance: Indian Christian Reflections on Spirituality. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • Any genuine experience of God will send us out to serve those whom God loves. And working with people will make us aware of how much we are in need of God, of God’s help and guidance. This will gradually usher in a rhythm of prayer and work – prayer leading to work and work leading to prayer. So the integration of prayer and work takes place existentially.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2006) Life in Abundance: Indian Christian Reflections on Spirituality. Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • Christian spirituality is a spirituality of hope. St. Paul believes that Christians are those who have hope (1Thess 4:13). Now to hope is to look forward to the new, to what is not yet there, and strive to bring it about. Hence hope is forward-looking and forward moving. That is why a spirituality of hope is a spirituality of change. According to Karl Rahner it is a sin against hope to refuse to change. Those who refuse to change regard the past or the present as the final state of humankind. We are not yet in the new heavens and the new earth. We are on our way to them. And so our spirituality is a spirituality of hope and change.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2006) Life in Abundance: Indian Christian Reflections on Spirituality. Mumbai: St Pauls.

On Peace[edit]

  • The poor are becoming increasingly aware of the injustice of the system that condemns them to a life of indigence and misery. And they are opposing the system courageously, sometimes even violently. This leads to a situation of conflict.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2007) World Peace: An Impossible Dream? , Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • The Church has consistently taught that justice and charity are the foundations of peace. It may be right to think of “charity as the soul and justice as the substance of international peace”.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2007) World Peace: An Impossible Dream? , Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • Peace is the gift of God who through the death and resurrection of Christ, reconciled humans with himself and with one another. However, peace is also a human achievement since it is to be ushered in through the practice of love and justice.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2007) World Peace: An Impossible Dream? , Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • Pope John Paul II is a tireless champion of peace who has dealt with the theme of peace often and at some length. Like his predecessors, John Paul II sees a close connection between justice and peace. John Paul II believes that justice is rooted in love and “finds its most significant expression in mercy”. Hence, justice, “if separated from merciful love, becomes cold and cutting.”
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2007) World Peace: An Impossible Dream? , Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • That is why individuals and peoples need a “healing of memories”. This does not mean that they have to forget past events. Rather, they have to learn to look at them in a new way. Instead of remaining prisoners of the past, they have to recover their freedom to forgive. As the pope says: “The deadly cycle of revenge must be replaced by the new-found liberty of forgiveness.”
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2007) World Peace: An Impossible Dream? , Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • To work for peace and reconciliation is central to the mission of the Church. For the Church exists in order to carry on the saving work of Jesus under the guidance of the Spirit. And his saving work is interpreted in the New Testament as reconciliation and peace-making. According to Paul, God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to himself.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2007) World Peace: An Impossible Dream? , Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • The Church in India needs to take more seriously the option for the poor and take concrete steps to alleviate poverty and misery in India.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2007) World Peace: An Impossible Dream? , Mumbai: St Pauls.
  • The Church in India has to join hands with all subaltern groups – the Dalits, the tribal people and women – in their struggle for liberation and justice. For centuries, the Dalits have been victims of oppression. In recent years violence against them has grown. The tribal people, too, are subjected to various forms of injustice.
    • Kunnumpuram, K. (ed) (2007) World Peace: An Impossible Dream? , Mumbai: St Pauls.

External links[edit]

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