Date of Award

Fall 1994

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Thorn, William

Second Advisor

Scotton, James

Third Advisor

Soley, Lawrence


For many centuries India has been seen by historians and philosophers as the land of mysticism and spirituality. India is the birth place of three major religions of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The great cultural and spiritual heritage of India is known to all who have a modest knowledge of history and world religions. Christianity was introduced in this land by St. Thomas the Apostle in the fIrst century A. D. From the time of his martyrdom through the present, many foreign and native missionaries have relentlessly preached Christ's message of salvation in India. Today, in a democratic society where the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and freedom of expression, the contemporary Indian Church continues the same mission as St. Thomas, in communicating the good news to the people of India. In spite of centuries of Christian communication, Christianity remains a minority religion in India. There are several explanations for this situation. Some Catholic theologians (Lobo, 1981; Amalorpavadoss, 1981) contend that the Church's lack of cultural adaptation as a method of evangelization, is one of the main reasons for the failure. They claim that Christian theology and ideals were not explained in the context of the native culture. Christianity remained totally foreign to the natives. Although attempts were made by individual missionaries like Robert De Nobili. S. J., Joseph Beschi. S. J., John De Britto. S. 1. and others in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, by and large an alien culture was imposed in the name of Christianity. Therefore, this study evaluates Catholic communication in India and examines the role of Indian cultural artifacts in the Catholic communication. The following questions are addressed in this study: Do Indian cultural artifacts play a role in Catholic communication? Did the missionaries in the past give importance to Indian cultural artifacts?