Tuesday, December 30, 2014
HRMP 827/12 TSR Kerala Human Rights Commission
The Petition filed by Kerala Catholic Federation before Kerala State Human Rights Commission on 15th February, 2012 and the Commission heard the case on 19th September, 2012.
Adv. K.F. Pappachen and one priest appeared for Arch bishop Andrews Thazhath and State President and Gen. Secretary for Kerala Catholic federation appeared before the Commission.
Article from Kerala Catholic Federation: Varthapathrika Oct, 2012
Sunday, December 28, 2014
പറപ്പൂര് പുതിയ പള്ളി പുനര്നിര്മാണത്തിന് തൃശ്ശൂര് രൂപതാ സഹായ മെത്രാന് റാഫേല് തട്ടില് തറക്കല്ലിടുന്നു. മെത്രാനും, റോമില് നിന്ന് ആശിര്വദിച്ചു കൊണ്ടുവന്ന ശിലക്കും പറപ്പൂര് കവലയില് സ്വീകരണം നല്കി. 21/12/14 ഞായറാഴ്ച രാവിലെ കുര്ബ്ബാനക്ക് ശേഷം തൃശ്ശൂര് സഹായ മെത്രാന് റാഫേല് തട്ടില്ലിന്റെ നേതൃത്വത്തില് പള്ളി പുനര്നിര്മ്മാണം എന്ന പേരില് പുതിയ പള്ളിക്ക് ശിലാസ്ഥാപനം നടത്തി.
പള്ളി പുനര്നീര്മാണത്തിനുള്ള പറപ്പൂര് പള്ളിവികാരിയുടെ അപേക്ഷ പ്രാഥമിക പരിശോധന നടത്തി അപാകതകള് കണ്ടെത്തിയാതിനാല് ജില്ലാ ടൗണ് പ്ലാനര് തിരിച്ചയച്ച സാഹചര്യത്തിലാണ് ബിഷപ്പ് റാഫേല് തട്ടില് പുതിയ പള്ളിപണിയുടെ ശിലാസ്ഥാപനം നിര്വഹിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നത്.
‘Buon Natale’, conducted by with support of the public and govt machineries is not a Christmas procession. It's a tactics of Arch Bishop Andrew Thazhath to show the strength. By this tactics he threaten the Govt and his superior Pope.
‘Buon Natale’ enters Guinness World Records
Courtesy: The HinduSPECIAL CORRESPONDENT THRISSUR, December 28, 2014
: ‘Buon Natale’, a Christmas procession taken out here on Saturday by the Thrissur Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church, entered the Guinness World Records for having the largest number of people dressed up as Santa Claus (Father Christmas).
With 18,112 people donning the red-and-white costumes, the procession was declared at 4.35 p.m. “the largest gathering of Santa Claus” by authorities of the Guinness World Records.
Pontifical Lateran University Major Rector Archbishop Enrico dal Covolo witnessed the procession.
Elaborate arrangements were made for counting the participants.
M.P. Vincent, MLA, Thrissur Mayor Rajan Pallan, District Collector M.S. Jaya, Thrissur Archbishop Mar Andrews Thazhath, Auxiliary Bishop Raphael Thattil, KPCC general secretary Padmaja Venugopal, and Cochin Devaswom Board president M.P. Bhaskaran Nair were present.
Christian bodies seek removal of ArchbishopSPECIAL CORRESPONDENT THRISSUR, December 28, 2014
The Joint Christian Council and the Kerala Catholic Federation have demanded the removal of Thrissur Archbishop Mar Andrews Thazhath from office for the alleged extravagance for ‘Buon Natale’, a procession, and other charges levelled against him.
In a memorandum sent to Pope Francis, council general secretary Anto Kokkat and federation representative Antony Chittattukkara said that the procession for which crores of rupees had been spent was against Christian ideals of austerity and monasticism.
Alleging that the Archdiocese ignored the laws and customs of the land, the signatories argued that the event was mounted for political mileage.
The event caused traffic jams and difficulties for members of other communities, they said.
The signatories cited an order of the Kerala High Court against causing traffic blocks.
They alleged that the Archbishop compelled believers to mount the procession. The signatories termed the procession a show of ‘religious fanaticism,’ which would ‘isolate Christians in democratic India.’
The memorandum drew attention to a letter written by the Archbishop to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on August 3 to promote the All-Kerala Catholic Congress. The signatories alleged that the Archbishop had indulged in unconstitutional deeds mixing religion and politics.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Thursday, December 25, 2014
cartoon courtesy: http://www.veravo.com/
മതപരിവര്ത്തനം: ഉത്തരവാദിത്വം സഭക്ക്
കത്തോലിക്കാസഭ 20 വര്ഷമായി വാഗ്ദാനം ചെയ്തീട്ടുള്ള വിദ്യാഭ്യാസം, തൊഴില് എന്നീ മേഘലകളില് 30% സംവരണം ദളിത് ക്രൈസ്തവര്ക്ക് ഇതുവരെ നല്കിയിട്ടില്ല. സഭ ദളിത് ക്രൈസ്തവര്ക്ക് അടിച്ചുതെളി, കുഴിവെട്ട് തുടങ്ങിയ പണികളും, അടിമ പണിപോലുള്ള ജോലികളുമാണ് നല്കിവരുന്നത്. വിവേചനപരമായാണ് ദളിത് ക്രിസ്ത്യാനികളോട് പെരുമാറുന്നത്. പട്ടിക ജാതി/വര്ഗ്ഗ സമുദായത്തിലുള്ള ഹിന്ദുക്കള്ക്ക് ലഭിക്കുന്ന ആനുകൂല്യങ്ങള് (സംവരണം), ദളിത് ക്രിസ്ത്യാനി എന്ന കാരണം കൊണ്ടു ലഭിക്കുന്നില്ല. ന്യൂനപക്ഷങ്ങള്ക്ക് ലഭിക്കേണ്ട സര്ക്കാര് ആനുകൂല്യങ്ങള് സഭയാണ് കൈവശപ്പെടുത്തുന്നത്. എന്നാല് സമുദായത്തിലെ അര്ഹാരായവര്ക്ക് അവ നല്കാനുള്ള മനസ്സ് സഭയുടെ ഭാഗത്തുനിന്നും കാണുന്നുമില്ല.
കൂദാശപരമായ ആവശ്യങ്ങള്ക്ക് സമീപിക്കുന്നരെ നിര്ബന്ധ പണപിരിവിനു (പിടിച്ചുപറി) വിധേയനാക്കുന്നു. ഈ സാഹചര്യത്തില് ആരെങ്കിലും കത്തോലിക്കാസഭ വിട്ട് മതപരിവര്ത്തനം നടത്തിയാല് അതിന്റെ പൂര്ണ ഉത്തരവാദിത്വം സഭക്ക് മാത്ര മാണ്.
സഭാ സമൂഹത്തെ അടിമകളായി കാണുന്ന സഭയുടെ നിലപാടില് മാറ്റം വരണം. ബിഷപ്പുമാര് ശുശ്രൂ ഷകരും, ഇടവക ജനം തെരഞ്ഞെടുക്കുന്ന സമിതി സഭാ സമ്പത്തിന്റെ ഭരണവും നടത്തണം. ഭ്ര ത്യന് യജമാനനായിരിക്കുന്ന അവസ്ഥ മാറണം.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
View it on your mobile and web browser
|SUGGESTIONS INVITED ON THE PROPOSED PARKING POLICY FOR THE CITY OF MUMBAI|
|Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai proposes to adopt and implement a new parking policy. The new parking policy elaborates on-street parking (residential parking, parking near schools, and parking for tourist places) and off-street parking. Suggestions are invited from citizens for improvement of the proposed policy. Post your ideas here|
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014
മതപരിവര്ത്തനം: ഉത്തരവാദിത്വം സഭക്ക്
കത്തോലിക്കാസഭ 20 വര്ഷമായി വാഗ്ദാനം ചെയ്തീട്ടുള്ള വിദ്യാഭ്യാസം, തൊഴില് എന്നീ മേഘലകളില് 30% സംവരണം ദളിത് ക്രൈസ്തവര്ക്ക് ഇതുവരെ നല്കിയിട്ടില്ലെന്ന് ദളിത് ക്രിസ്ത്യന് ഫെഡറേഷന് ജനറല് സക്രട്ടറി ജോസഫ് പനമൂടന് പറഞ്ഞു.
ഇന്ന് സെക്ര ട്ടേറിയറ്റിനു മുന്നില് നടന്ന ധര്ണ്ണ കേരള ദളിത് ഫെഡറേഷന് (KDF) പ്ര സിഡണ്ട് പി. രാമഭദ്രന് ഉദ്ഘാടനാം ചെയ്തു. ദളിത് ക്രിസ്ത്യന് ഫെഡറേഷന് പിന്തുണ പ്രഖ്യാപിച്ചു.
സഭ ദളിത് ക്രൈസ്തവര്ക്ക് അടിച്ചുതെളി, കുഴിവെട്ട് തുടങ്ങിയ പണികളും, അടിമ പണിപോലുള്ള ജോലികളുമാണ് നല്കിവരുന്നതെന്നും, വിവേചനപരമായാണ് ദളിത് ക്രിസ്ത്യാനികളോട് പെരുമാറുന്നതെന്നും, ആരെങ്കിലും കത്തോലിക്കാസഭ വിട്ട് മതപരിവര്ത്തനം നടത്തിയാല് അതിന്റെ പൂര്ണ ഉത്തരവാദിത്വം സഭക്ക് മാത്രമാണെന്നും അധ്യക്ഷത വഹിച്ച ദളിത് ക്രിസ്ത്യന് ഫെഡറേഷന് ഓഫ് ഇന്ത്യ പ്ര സിഡണ്ട് അഡ്വ. സി.ജെ. ജോസ് പറഞ്ഞു.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Roman Catholic Church's wealth impossible to calculate
PAOLO COCCO/AFP/Getty Images Kristopher Morrison | March 8, 2013 10:06 PM ETMore from Kristopher Morrison
|A painting by artist Michel Angelo Pacetti shows a parade of French troops on St. Peter' Square at the Vatican displayed during an exhibition of papal portraits from the Renaissance to Pope John Paul II in Rome in 2004. The Roman Catholic Church's real estate and art have not been properly evaluated, since the church would never sell them.|
It is impossible to calculate the wealth of the Roman Catholic Church. In truth, the church itself likely could not answer that question, even if it wished to.
Its investments and spending are kept secret. Its real estate and art have not been properly evaluated, since the church would never sell them.
There is no doubt, however, that between the church’s priceless art, land, gold and investments across the globe, it is one of the wealthiest institutions on Earth.
Since 313 A.D., when Catholicism became the official religion of the Roman Empire, its power has been in near-constant growth.
The church was able to acquire land, most notably the Papal States surrounding Rome, convert pagan temples and claim relics for itself. Over 300 years, it became one of Europe’s largest landowners.
For the next thousand years, tithes and tributes flowed in from all over Europe. Non-Christians and even fellow Christians were killed and their property confiscated. For example, the Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople in the early 13th century brought it gold, money and jewels.
But by the beginning of the 20th century, the church had faced several hundred years of turbulence. Protestantism had claimed many of its members. The French Revolution at the end of the 18th century outlawed the church and though Napoleon allowed it to return, his relationship with various popes was stormy.
Despite this, the church retained great influence in Europe and the Jesuit order focused on missionary work, spreading Catholicism to other countries.
In the 1870s, the Papal States were annexed by the new kingdom of Italy and the pope’s territorial influence dwindled to the Vatican.
In 1929, the Church received compensation for its lost land in an agreement with the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. Under the Lateran Accords, it was paid about $92-million and, in return, recognized his government.
Investing that money helped fill the Holy See’s coffers, ensuring its financial security.
According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, the nest egg has grown to at least $655-million.
The Vatican’s portfolio includes property in London, including the building housing Bulgari Jewelers, and apartment buildings in Paris and Switzerland.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
But in Kerala the Church is a big forgery/cheat?
|Courtesy: fb Father Rocky|
"The Church is a mother, not an entrepreneur." ~Pope Francis
Friday, December 19, 2014
भारत में हिन्दू बंदोबस्ती अधिनियम , देवसवोम बोर्ड अधिनियम , वक्फ बोर्ड अधिनियम लागू हैं। चर्च को भी एक ऐसे ही अधिनियम की जरूरत है।
The Hindu Endovement Act, Devaswom Board Rules, Waqf Board and the Sikh Gurudwara Act have been formulated. The Church needs a similar Act.
ഹിന്ദുക്കള്ക്കും, മുസ്ലീമുകള്ക്കും, സിക്കുകാര്ക്കും അവരുടെ മതത്തിന്റെ സമൂഹസമ്പത്ത് ഭരിക്കാന് നിയമമുള്ളതുപോലെ ക്രൈ സ്തവര്ക്കും ഒരു നിയമം വേണം
Representation by KCF on 25/10/2014
to Central Government to enact a ‘Church Act’
The administration of the community wealth of all religion in India, except Christians, is regulated by Acts passed either by Parliament or by the State Legislatures, Hindus have Hindu Endowment Act and various Devaswom Acts like Tirupathi-Thirumala Devasthanam Act, Guruvayur Devaswom Act, Travancore - Cochin Hindu Religious Act, Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act 1951 etc. The largest religious minority community in India, Muslim community, has ‘Wakf Act’ to administer their religious properties. One of the smallest religion in India, the Sikh religion is having the Sikh Gurudwara Act for the administration of their properties. That being the state of affairs with respect to the administration of common properties of all other religions, why so far such a law has not been enacted by the Indian Parliament for the administration of religious properties of Christian religions is the big question disturbing the minds of citizens of India who have opted the Christian faith.
Article 26 of the Constitution lays down that every religious sect has the right to establish and maintain religious institutions and to acquire and own properties. But the same Article stipulates that the administration of religious properties must be in accordance with Law. What is meant by law in our Constitution is law enacted by either the Indian Parliament or the State Legislatures. Of course, those laws which were allowed to continue when the Constitution was passed could also be law.
India is a secular democratic republic, and as such, no religion should be given preferential treatment over other religions. Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits any Governmental discrimination of any citizen or group of citizens on the ground of religion. It is a fact that even after sixty eight years of existence of our Constitution the Christian community in India is still not having a law enacted for the administration of the properties and institutions of the community. This can only be construed as a discrimination of the Christian community before law.
All churches and church institutions are public trusts which belong to the people who have raised funds for their construction, maintenance and upkeep. Priests are also paid from the funds contributed by the devotees. What is disturbing is that, the absence of a law enacted by the State has resulted in appropriation of ownership of community assets of the Church to themselves by Bishops.
The argument usually put forward by those vested interests who oppose the introduction of a Christian Church properties and Institutions Act is that they have evolved their own rules and regulations to govern their properties such as the Canon Law of the Catholic Christians. This argument is baseless since the mere fact that some Christian denominations have their own internal regulations is not sufficient reasons to say that they are governed by the law as envisaged in article 26 of the Constitutions. It may be seen that these internal regulations do not subject the administration of billions of Rupees worth of Church properties to statutory judicial review.
As far as the Catholic Christians are concerned the so-called Canon Law enacted by the Head of the foreign State of Vatican cannot be applicable to the common properties and assest of the citizens of Catholic community in India. Canon Law created a situation in which there is unequal division between two sects of believers professing their faith in the same Jesus Christ viz. the vastmajority of ordinary faithful and the microscopic minority of the clergy.
The Canon Law grants absolute rights to the Pope and his nominee Bishops not only in spiritual but in temporal matters also. The faithful are forced to be subservient to the authority of the Bishops in temporal matters. It infringes upon the right of liberty and dignity of the citizens of the Christian community of India as guaranteed by the Constitution. Thus the Christian believers are being treated unfairly and their right to manage their collective wealth is now being enjoyed by Bishops and his nominated group of priests, against the wishes of the vast majority of believers.
The present system of the Church governance that vests absolute ownership and authority of the Church properties and institutions with the Bishops is without parallel in any system of governance. They are neither accountable to the state of Government nor to the people who have contributed these properties and assets. According to Canon Law it is not mandatory for Bishops to be transparent and accountable to the ordinary believers. This unbridled right to domination of Bishops harms the right to equality and liberty of citizens of the Christian community who are being harassed by the Bishops and money is being extorted even for performing holy sacraments.
According to tradition and belief Christianity came to the shores of India (State of Kerala) in the first century itself through one of the twelve disciples of Christ, St. Thomas. Those who accepted Christianity from early centuraies were known as St. Thomas Christians. Their life was church-centered and the churches were built and maintained by the people out of their own contribution. Each Church was constructed as trust and its administration was carried on by a Parish Assembly called ‘Yogam’. There were parish assemblies for individual churches, Regional Assemblies for a group of local churches and General Assembly for whole churches. The adult laymen of the parish constituted the parish assembly. This assembly administered church properties and saw to the means for the sustenance of the priests and maintenance of the churches. The senior most priest of the church presided over the assembly. The trustee of the church for its day to day administration were elected by the parish assembly. The Bishops and the priests exercised no powers in the temporal administration of the community. This system of church administration continued till the arrival of the Portuguese in 16th centuary to establish their political hegemony on the Indian soil. They wanted to use the Christians in India as their stooges to perpetrate their colonial aspirations. With this view they tried to seize control of the Christian Churches in India by destroying the democratic administrative systems prevalent in Indian Churches and imposing the highly centralized, dictatorial and hierarchical administration of the Roman Church. Indian Christian stood up as one man against the Portuguese domination and asked them to quit India by taking an oath (Koonan Cross Oath) in the year 1653. Thus it may be seen that historically and traditionally Indian Christians had a dichotomy in religious affairs; the spiritual aspects of the church practices were looked after by the clergy and the temporal wealth was administrated by the congregation of the laity of ordinary believers. The Founding Fathers of our Constitution were thoughtful and magnanimous to include article 29 and 30 of our Constitution to protect and preserve the cultural identity and language of the minority communities, It is automatically derived that the minority right is to be enjoyed by the community collectively. Unfortunately in the case of Christian minority the overwhelming majority called laity or ordinary believers who form 99.9% of the community have no role in the decision making process to select the cultural heritage and values to be preserved by running educational institutions and cultural establishments. In fact the minority right guaranteed under the Constitution has been usurped by the Bishops on the strength of the rules and regulations made by them in their own vested interest. As ownership of all Catholic Church properties in India are vested on the Pope, Bishops and clergy as per the so-called Canon Law made by the Pope in Vatican, the Catholic eduational institutions being church properties also belong to them. Thus only the Bishops and clergy are enjoying the minority right usurping it to themselves at the expence of the ordinary belivers of the Church.
Under the circumstances described above the urgent and imperative need of the hour is to enact a Christian Church Properties and Institutions Act under the Constitution of India to protect the right of the citizen in Christian Communities in administration of their common religious and cultural assets and properties based on principles of accountability, transparency and democratic values. The Kerala Law Reforms Commission headed by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer had proposed ‘Kerala Christian Church Properties and Institutions Trust Bill 2009’ which is not yet made law by passing in the Kerala Legislature Assembly. This draft bill may be taken as basis to start with. On behalf of The Kerala Catholic Federation R 617/08, we, Antony Chittattukara (State President) and V.K. Joy (General Secretary), request your good self to take necessary initiative to frame such an Act.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
KCF asks state & central govts to act against 3 prelates
Posted On : 27 Nov, 2013 Source : PTI Place : Thrissur
Kerala Catholic Federation today urged the state and central government to take action against three prelates of the Syro-Malabar Church for reportedly urging public to 'rebel' against implementation of recommendations of Kasturirangan for protection of the Western Ghats.
KCF's general secretary V K Joy said in a statement here today demanded stern action against Bishop of Thamarrassery Diocese, Mar Remigiose Inchananiyil for calling on the gullible public for rebellion against the
The bishop had reportedly stated on Nov 21 at Kozhikode that the discontent brewing among people in hilly regions over the report would give birth to another Naxalite movement
Joy said the main objective of the opposition to the Kasturirangan recommendations by the Church was to protect its 'vested and selfish interests.'
The bishop of Idukki, Mar Anikuzhikkattil and Archbishop of Thrissur, Mar Andrew Thazhath, also the KCBC President should dissuade from making inflammatory statements out of place on the report, he said.
Their statements calling upon the faithful to reject the report would be not only 'threats' to the state and Central Governments but also be tantamount to 'sowing the seeds of poison ' of communalism among the Church and the faithful, the statement said.
Madhyamam News Feeds
Posted: 16 Dec 2014 12:22 AM PST
ന്യൂഡല്ഹി: രണ്ട് മാസം കൂടി ഇറ്റലിയില് തുടരാന് അനുവദിക്കണമെന്നാവശ്യപ്പെട്ട് കടല്ക്കൊലക്കേസ് പ്രതിയായ ഇറ്റാലിയന് നാവികന് മാസിമിലാനോ ലാത്തോറെ സമര്പ്പിച്ച ഹരജി സുപ്രീംകോടതി തള്ളി. ഹൃദയശസ്ത്രക്രിയക്കായി ജാമ്യം നീട്ടിനല്കണമെന്നായിരുന്നു ലാത്തോറെയുടെ അപേക്ഷ. ക്രിസ്തുമസിന് നാട്ടില് പൊകണമെന്ന മറ്റൊരു നാവികനായ സാല്വതോറെ ഗിരോണെയുടെ അപേക്ഷയും കോടതി തള്ളി. ചീഫ് ജസ്റ്റിസ് എച്ച്.എല് ദത്തുവിന്െറ ബെഞ്ചാണ് ഹരജികള് തള്ളിയത്. വെടിവെപ്പില് മരിച്ചവര്ക്കും അവകാശങ്ങളുണ്ടെന്ന് അപേക്ഷ തള്ളിക്കൊണ്ട് ചീഫ് ജസ്റ്റിസ് പറഞ്ഞു.
2012ല് കേരളാ തീരത്ത് രണ്ട് മീന്പിടിത്തക്കാരെ വെടിവെച്ച് കൊന്ന കേസ് അവസാനിച്ചിട്ടില്ലെന്ന് കോടതി പറഞ്ഞു. നിയമം എല്ലാവര്ക്കും ബാധകമാണ്. വിചാരണ കൃത്യമായി മുന്നോട്ടുപോകണമെന്നും കോടതി നിരീക്ഷിച്ചു.
കഴിഞ്ഞ സെപ്റ്റംബറിലാണ് മസ്തിഷ്കാഘാതത്തെത്തുടര്ന്ന് ഇറ്റലിയില് പോകാന് ലാത്തോറെയെ സുപ്രീംകോടതി അനുവദിച്ചത്. നാലു മാസം സമയം നല്കിയ കോടതി ജനുവരി 16ന് മടങ്ങിയത്തെണമെന്നാണ് നിര്ദേശം നല്കിയത്.
മുതിര്ന്ന അഭിഭാഷകന് സോളി സൊറാബ്ജിയാണ് നാവികര്ക്ക് വേണ്ടി ഹാജരായത്. ജനുവരി എട്ടിന് ലാത്തോറെക്ക് ഹൃദയശസ്ത്രക്രിയയുണ്ടെന്നും മൂന്ന് മാസം കൂടി നീട്ടി നല്കണമെന്നുമാണ് സൊറാബ്ജി കോടതിയിയെ അറിയിച്ചത്. എന്നാല് സമയം നീട്ടി നല്കാന് കഴിയില്ലെന്ന് സൊറാബ്ജിയോട് ചീഫ് ജസ്റ്റിസ് വ്യക്തമാക്കി. നാവികര്ക്ക് അവകാശങ്ങളുള്ളതുപോലെ ഇരകള്ക്കും അവകാശങ്ങളുണ്ട്. അന്വേഷണം പൂര്ത്തിയായിട്ടില്ല. കേസില് കുറ്റപത്രംവരെ സമര്പ്പിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. ദയവായി അയാളോട് തിരിച്ചുവരാന് ആവശ്യപ്പെടൂ ^കോടതി നിര്ദേശിച്ചു.
Monday, December 15, 2014
KCF asks state& central govts to act
against 3 prelates
Courtesy: http://thefirstmail.in/news/news-details/7780 kfc_asks_state_central_govts_to_act_against_3_prelates Posted On : 27 Nov, 2013 Source : PTI Place : Thrissur
It is learnt that ‘Catholic diplomacy’ might have played a decisive role in the ‘home delivery’ of the two Italian marines the first time and is now engaged in bringing out an amicable end to the contested issue that has affected diplomatic relations between both countries.
It may have been a sheer coincidence that Syro-Malabar Church Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry was in Rome on February 25 when the Italian Government went back on its ambassador’s promise to the Indian Government on the return of the marines for trial. He was there to select the new Pope, but his presence there brought some old memories back—ones that the Catholic Church would prefer to forget.
It was Alencherry, head of Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Church—India’s largest and richest Catholic Church—who had made the controversial statement that he would try his best to “pacify the situation’’. “I am and will remain in close contact with the Catholic ministers of Kerala and I hope that they will help to pacify the situation… I guarantee, in the next few days, my constant involvement with the Indian authorities on the matter,” Agenzia Fides, a Vatican News agency, had quoted him on February 18.
Agenzia Fides subsequently withdrew its report without giving any explanation. However, Alencherry’s words generated a storm and the Indian Catholic establishment was initially at sea to suppress the backlash. After denying Alencherry’s statement outright—though he was on record—the Indian Catholic Church did its best to prove that its loyalty to Rome was “merely spiritual’’.
Despite its best efforts, the interplay of faith and loyalty to Rome in this particular case became more apparent when two Italian priests flew down to Kerala on a secret visit to meet the families of the victims in the first week of March. Details of the visit became public, when one of the family members accidentally blurted out the details to regional media. Strangely, the Indian church feigned ignorance about the visit and even went to the extent of saying that it is common for a Catholic priest to pray for the deceased. Later, it denied any deals being brokered and said that the priests were as a “spiritual exercise.”
The Catholic Bishops Council of India (CBCI), the decision-making body of the Indian Catholics, denies that it has any role to play in the case. “The Indian Catholic Church has no way got involved in this case. How can we, since both the killed and the accused are Catholics? It is wrong to suspect our loyalty just because our spiritual head belongs to Rome,’’ said a senior priest with the CBCI.
Yet, the family of the victims signed an agreement with the Italian government and settled the case for compensation following the visit of the curates. They even wrote a separate legal letter addressed to the Italian Consul General saying they do not want the Italian marines, whom they have addressed as “brothers’’ to be prosecuted. The letter also says that they are forgiving the Italian brothers in the name of Jesus Christ.
A report dated April 30 in an Italian website called Italy Defence, and titled ‘Italian marines to be freed soon’, says that “the situation changed for the better, when Catholic priests arrived in Kerala from Rome, to mediate with the slain fishermen’s families (Both the fishermen belonged to Roman Catholic congregations). Mar George Alencherry, the Cardinal of the Catholic Church in Kerala, also agreed to mediate between the two sides. Finally, on April 24, 2012 the Italian government agreed to pay a compensation of €150,000 to each of the two families and the Indian side agreed to drop all the charges against the marines.’’
Strangely, the Catholic community in Kerala is largely silent on the issue except for some lone voices like the Left-leaning Kerala Catholic Federation, which has urged the Union Government to view Italy’s decision not to send back the two Italian marines “seriously’’. V K Joy, federation general secretary, had alleged that Alencherry and Latin Catholic Church Major Archbishop M Susaipakiam had worked in favour of the Italian marines. The organisation has also demanded that the activities of the Major Archbishop and the Cardinal should be investigated.
The repercussions of this case on Kerala’s political terrain are yet to be seen. The Latin Catholic Community is a traditional solid vote base of Congress, and the Left parties led by the CPI(M) are trying their best to fish in the troubled waters.
The Sunday Standard
Kerala Catholic Community
Strangely, the Catholic community in Kerala is largely silent on the issue except for some lone voices like the Left-leaning Kerala Catholic Federation, which has urged the Union Government to view Italy’s decision not to send back the two Italian marines “seriously’’. V. K. Joy, federation general secretary, had alleged that Alencherry and Latin Catholic Church Major Archbishop M. Susaipakiam had worked in favour of the Italian marines. The organisation has also demanded that the activities of the Major Archbishop and the Cardinal should be investigated.
The repercussions of this case on Kerala’s political terrain are yet to be seen. The Latin Catholic Community is a traditional solid vote base of Congress, and the Left parties led by the CPI(M) are trying their best to fish in the troubled waters. - Sunday Standard, 17 March 2013
Faith accompli creates furore over fears on secret deals