A Christian President, Not a Bad Idea!

A Christian President, Not a Bad Idea!

By Father Anand Muttungal

There has been a crowd of discussions regarding the new president of India to be elected. These discussions have to be seen with serious thoughts since they carry a lot of weight in the present political milieu where regional parties take the shots. It was not so surprising to read the recent proposal of demanding a Christian to be named to the top most job of this Country. I think that the open demand is a fall out of a political miscalculation of the most educated community in the Country and worse than that is the declaration of support to such ideas by some Church heads. These demands are to be seen from two points of views; first of all it is a fact that the most of the Christian members elected to Assemblies and Parliament are neither united as Christian members nor are close to religious heads. Secondly the Christian electorate in general do not pay much attention to the choice of the religious heads in voting. The reason is very clear and loud that the religious heads have not played much serious role in developing Christian socio-political leadership in the Country. 

The Vatican Council II opened a revolution when it said that  ‘the primary and immediate task of the laity is not to establish and develop the ecclesial community – this is the specific role of the pastors – but to put to use every Christian and evangelical possibility in the affairs of the world.’ (Evanaelii untiandi, 70). It may not be wrong to say that the Catholic Church which holds the largest following in the country needs to answer the weak socio-political leadership of the laity in the Country. It might be better to remember that the Indian political system does not begin from the post of the Prime Minister or President but from the Panchayats. So the religious heads who are interested to promote political leadership of Christians must help to train the young generation in grass-root political leadership.

It might be a question that comes up very often, why should the priests and nuns take initiatives to train the Christians to become political leaders? The answer to this question is being answered by Pope John Paul II when he said in his second millennium message that ‘the third millennium will be of the lay people and the clergy has to make room for it.’ We are going through a time of transition of empowering the laity. It may not be an exaggeration to say that first millennium kings ruled Church, the second millennium clergy and third millennium is for the laity. Keeping this in mind very often I ask, is there any sense in objecting the priests and nuns entering the electoral politics when the religious heads support priests, nuns and even some bishops taking up Government appointments in commissions, committees and councils? Regardless of denominations Church heads in general must make it a policy of promoting the laity into these appointments rather than taking up themselves.

The Church youth organizations will have to initiate steps to give socio-political leadership training along with its usual trainings for youths in Bible, organizing prayer meetings, picnics, cultural programmes etc. It is a reality that Christian community do not have any winning presence except a few constituencies in the Country. Therefore we should not train them as Christian political leaders but train them to become leaders of the society not just Christian leader of the Community.

Our little thought demand for a Christian President might even influence negatively the promotion of Christian leaders in the political circle. Leadership of the community is divided into three heads such as religious, social and political. The religious leadership and social leadership have been monopolized by the clergy and nuns. It has neglected the political leadership. It is the right time that Church heads plan for a clear policy on promoting the motivated Christian and Christian friendly youths into the political leadership. Vatican council II has clearly said that evangelization and development of the ecclesial community is the only and fundamental duty entrusted to the priests, nuns and bishops but the laity are entrusted the world to be developed to be come the better for inhabitants. If we plan well today, may be after a quarter of a century; Christians will come up themselves to the post of the Prime Minister and President of this Country. 

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Church/School Premises Used to Put up Defamatory Posters

Dear friends,

We have posted here below a news item which appeared in the blog http://mumbailaity.wordpress.com about Gordon Jacobs, president of AOCC. This work is of some eunuchs who have no guts to reveal their names and face things democratically. In this process I would congratulate Gordon Jacobs and tell him that his community has accepted him as their leader. It is only leaders who get brick-bats and abusive language. Gordon must welcome this, especially when you try to expose mischief, mismanagement and misappropriations.  You will make a few enemies who are corrupt and mischief makers. But since these nuts are in important positions and very vociferous, the world believes that it is the majority opinion. In fact since common man is full of selfishness and doesn’t’ want to be unfriendly with others and get benefits from everybody including his enemies, he keeps a hypocritical front and shows that he is a very noble man and also a very popular man. In fact heart of hearts he loves himself and hates all others. That is the reason why they cannot speak openly and cannot hold any clear-cut opinion on any subject. In other words they do not have courage of their convictions.

Gordon Jacobs a reformer who wants to see Christian Community bloom in to an honest straight-forward and powerful community has the courage to speak out.  I congratulate Gordon Jacobs on his performance. Please continue the good work you are doing and punch all the hypocrites who are pampering our FROCK WEARING MEN, straight on the face, and a kick on their arse. Let the reader know that there are a few reformers in the Christian Community all over the country, who do not hesitate to ‘call a spade – a spade’ and follow the example of Jesus Christ. They follow Christianity and not Churchianity.  I am hereby warning all hypocrites who are under the control of SATAN, have destroyed the philosophy of Jesus Christ and we will liberate this Community from the clutches of the satanic clergy and make them naked in front of the world. The dedicated and inspired lay men under the careful guidance of super power that is Jesus Christ will show to the world who are real Christians. A laymen’s convention is planned in Mangalore on 14th of October 2012, where inspired laymen from Mangalore, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Kolkata will assemble and lead the laymen to liberation from the crooked clutches of cassock wearing frauds.

Congratulations Gordon Jacobs and AOCC. Get cracking everywhere. Concentrate more on exposing the ill deeds of the priests instead of protecting them. They don’t deserve to be protected. They have to be buried alive.

P.B. D’Sa.

Church/School Premises Used to Put up Defamatory Posters

Herebelow are some of the posters put up in the premises of St.Marys High School and Junior College,Kalina.So also announcements were  made about Gordon Jacobs during all masses held in Our Lady of Egypt Church  Kalina on 27/05/12 .

You be best judge and decide to what level some priests can stoop.
Mumbailaity salutes you,Gordon Jacobs and may your tribe increase.

IS THE OLEP FAMILY AFRAID OF GORDON JACOBS ?- BY DOMINIC RODRIGUES

IS THE OLEP FAMILY AFRAID OF GORDON JACOBS ?- BY DOMINIC RODRIGUES

On 27th May 2012 various banners were put up in the School/Church premises of Our Lady of Egypt Church Kalina and St.Marys School and Junior College premises .While the biggest banner had the word,I the identity of the person who wrote the same was not disclosed.

Is the OLEP family afraid of Gordon Jacobs?

While a person claims that Gordon Jacobs is the ” No.1 enemy of the church”the same person is afraid to disclose his name.

Fr.Adrian Ferreira should have had the guts to disclose the name of the person who put up the defamatory banner .

For the information of the laity

Whose authority do you need to speak the truth?????????.

A banner read“ASSOCIATION FOR CONCERNED CATHOLICS IS A BOGUS BODY UNDER PARA 29 OF THE LAICI, CHURCH AUTHORITY CANNOT BE QUESTIONED” .No ones name was disclosed as to who had written it.Was he a nameless person  from Kalina who is afraid  of Gordon Jacobs ?

Under paragraph 29 of the Christifidelis Laici it is the right of Catholics to form groups and no permission is needed from any one to form a group and it is a right which flows from ones baptism .Fr.Adrian if you are challenging the said position then   are you willing to say so in writing so that the same may be taken up with Vatican authorities? Certain Politicians make statements and then deny the same, we hope some one owns up for the banners .

Who is the AOCC?

The AOCC is a group of genuinely concerned Catholics, as the name suggests, who fight against mismanagement of Church funds and property, abuse of power and most of all abuse of Catholic faith and doctrine.  AOCC, has been a sigh of relief for those who have been wronged by corruption in the Mumbai Church and a thorn in the side for those corrupting the Church in Mumbai. In addition to these,   AOCC has also  ensured that  important news articles from various other Catholic blogs and secular media are carried by news agencies which increase awareness among the laity of Mumbai. The AOCC has also assisted various laity who  have been ill-treated by Church Authorities.All in all, the AOCC has stood up and fought for the truth. So the question is whose permission or authority do they need to stand for the truth.

The Association of Concerned Catholics had also met Fr. Adrian Ferreira,2 other priests and 3 finance  committee members recently with regard to the plot of land in Vakola owned by Our Lady of Egypt Church admeasuring about 700 yards and sold by Fr.John Rumao in 1995 for Rs.3,51000/-(Three Lakhs Fifty One Thousand only) while part payment was made in 1995 the balance was paid only in 2005 on the basis of a power of attorney of Fr.John Rumao ,knowing fully well that he was no longer the trustee in 2005 and hence the said power of attorney was invalid.In order to undervalue the plot when sanction was being taken from the Charity Commissioner the number of tenants was increased from 5 to 17.So also the areas of the rooms of the 5 tenanats which was 140 sq. feet each was increased to 340 sq.feet each.Till today no complaint has been lodged with  the concerned  authorities.Has’nt the Church been cheated by showing the Charity Commissioner that the plot was fully encroached when in fact it wasnt? Today eviction cases have been filed against all the 4 catholic tenants?Who is responsible for this fate of all the 4 tenants who are to be evicted?

AOCC was behind the first FIR  lodged to be lodged against the demolition of the cross in Khar when others could not do the same.

AOCC were behind the FIR’s  lodged against the persons who made posters which offended the catholics.

AOCC were behind the FIR’s recorded against the person who insulted and hurt the catholic religion,clergy etc.

AOCC was the group who along with the CSF and Maharashtra Christrian Youth Forum who lobbied with Ministers which included Varsha Gaikwad/MLA’s and   also  in Mantralaya on the day the order was signed and ensured that the Good Friday Service was allowed on the August Kranti Maidan this year .

Fr.Adrian just by making a phone call from the refrectory nothing happens for your information an ex.IAS   AND ex IPS   officer also did the same and nothing happened.AOCC members went to the  cabinet  ministers house on  the Sunday before the  Good Friday  and followed  it by personally accompanying the said minister to the concerned Secretary who drafted the letter  and it was this lady cabinet minister who lobbied with the Chief Minister and got the permission in the week that followed.Readers may ask the Parish Priest of St. Stephens Church Cumballah Hill.When the job is done everyone likes to take false credit.

AOCC does not operate from Church owned premises nor does it take church aid in any form and hence is fearless.

“Yes persons” who are being exposed will hate AOCC.

The Laitytude is not owned by AOCC.

In fact AOCC is the only group who is willing to take a correct stand no matter who the offender is,most other groups will only take stands depending on who the offender is.

IT IS A PITY THAT NO OTHER  CATHOLIC GROUP IS WILLING TO TAKE UP THE CASE OF THE  CATHOLIC TENANTS FROM VAKOLA WHO ARE ON A PLOT OF LAND OWNED BY THE OUR LADY OF EGYPT CHURCH KALINA AND WHOSE CONVEYANCE DEED WAS SIGNED BASED ON A POWER OF ATTORNEY OF A PRIEST WHO WAS NO LONGER THE SOLE TRUSTEE ON THE DATE IT WAS SIGNED AND WHO ARE TO BE EVICTED.

Let’s look at history for answers.
(1)Jesus Chirst our Lord and master stood up to authority in his time when their teachings and practices were against the authentic interpretation of scripture. He was crucified for the same. And the result we all know was the redemption of all mankind.
(2) In the Acts of the Apostles 4: 1- 21, we read of how Peter and John were warned by the authorities to not speak in the name of Jesus (the elders and scribes must have quoted para 29 of LAICI). But did Peter and John heed that warning? Of course not. Today they are glorified in the Church as saints.
(3) St Athanasius the Great is called the ‘Pillar of the Church’ by St. Gregory of Nazianzus. St Athanasius was exiled 5 times for contradicting the teachings of Arius, which preached that Jesus was NOT God. All the Bishops of his time believed the heretic Arius and hence St Athanasius said “The way to hell is paved with the skull of Bishops”. Inspite of being exiled, did St Athanasius stop there. NO!!!!! He persisted and that’s the reason why today the TRUTH that Jesus is God ( John 1 :1c) is preserved.
(4) St John Chrysostom was also exiled for his stand against corruption by Authorities. But was he wrong as per Para 29 of LAICI. NO!!!!!!!!! He is declared a Saint and a doctor of the universal Church. The Greeks venerate him, along with St Gregory of Nazianzen and St Basil, as one of the three great ecumenical doctors.
These are few of our Christian figures who stood against the corruption of their time. And while their accomplishments can never be overshadowed by secular personalities, below we mention a few for those weak in faith:-
(1) Mahatma Gandhi stood up to the authority of his time, the British. And what did his action result to???? The freedom of our Country.
(2) Nelson Mandela was even imprisoned for his stand against authority of his time. His initiative ended racial discrimination in South Africa.
The point in all these examples is not to promote rebellion against authority. But that we all recognise corruption and stand up against it. That is all that the AOCC is doing.
What corruption????? Take time to read the ‘LAITYTUDE’ and read for yourself, how under the guise of a cassock, you have been taken for a ride.
This article ends with a quote by St Athanasius “Justice does not consist merely in not doing anything evil; for not to do good is also evil.”

Mumbai needs more Gordon Jacobs-By Dominic Rodrigues

Mumbai needs more Gordon Jacobs-By Dominic Rodrigues

Gordon Jacobs is one of the few persons in Mumbai who has taken time off his busy schedule and devotes a substantial part of his day to help the poor and the needy.Gordon who has held a very senior position in a foreign airline has seen the world  a number of times on business and vacation and with his experience of more than 35 years in the industry would have surely got job/business offers even now.

Gordon and his group has written various  letters to the concerned authorities whenever the laity has had problems and has tried to settle the problems  .

Gordon and his group  take up issues which no other group operating from church premises  is willing to take up.

In the process of doing his work a number of persons who have enjoyed power without accountability and transparency are bound to get affected.

Whenever a priest who is an administrator does any wrong his act may benefit certain individuals and it will be those individuals who will come to the administrators aid.

Say for example in a certain persons area/parish plays were held,and since the credibility of the director was known no one was willing to buy tickets.It was then that the administrator started “acting” and forced the students  of the school of which he was in charge of  to buy tickets of Rs.500/-.Those students who did not buy were made to stand outside the class.More the number of children in a family greater will be the damage.

Was this the job of the administrator/manager/principal of the school?

Now this act of the administrator is bound to help the director of the play.

After the play accounts should be given/put up on websites  and people should have access to them and if it is not given then people are bound to ask questions.Here once again the administrator helps  the director by insulting those who asked questions.

Part one of the play ends.

Now say for example the administrator now comes in trouble it is bound to happen that the director and all his actors are bound to support him.It is a classic case of ” You scratch my back ,I scratch yours”

Part two of the play ends.

The reason why I have narrated this example is because yes men are always created in all areas.

The common property which is the property of all is stolen by a few individuals who are allowed to thrive with the blessings of the sole trustee/administrator.

Mumbai definitely needs more Gordon Jacobs.

Issues of corruption should not be swept under the carpet.What started as a trickle has now become a permanent river.This has to be stopped before it becomes a sea.

All administrators are not corrupt but those who are should be weeded out.

Abuse scandals have cost a bomb for Vatican

Part of News from Issues & Concerns

There were two press reports datelined Rome & Vatican City. One said “Church receives order from God, says Pope”. The other “Abuse scandals have cost a bomb for Vatican”. While the former report is purely a matter of faith, since most faithfuls belonging to any religious denomination express similar sentiments. But what about this expensive damage control exercise which did cost the city state over 2 billion $ in settlement of clerical abuse scandals! And this is over and above the discreet settlements by some of the dioceses. Is there a role for the God in these sorry episodes?

Why Demolish old Churches?

Why Demolish the old Churches ?

William Pais
Two weeks ago, I was in the precincts of Shri Krishna Temple at Udupi and was enjoying afternoon breeze in the enclosure surrounding Shri Anantha Padmanabha Temple located just nearby. 

This was not my first visit to the place nor do I wish it to be the last. An air of serenity swayed over me as I sat and relaxed for almost an hour. I have tried to seek answers to the questions that haunt my mind as to why place such as a temple above should offer a sense of tranquility whenever anyone visit it.

Reasoning in my own way, I observe things around, the architecture of the place, the atmosphere of devotion within, the number of pilgrims who come pleading for countless wishes, the ageless stone sculptures, the ever burning oil lamps on which devotees pour oil making a wish: all these give life to the lifeless things around. As I get up, a sense of emancipation pervades me. And I must say this experience is not limited only to a temple but to a church or a mosque where people gather with positive thoughts forgetting their mundane worries.

Pondering over these thoughts, a classical rendition of the song sung by a female devotee, praising different gods of Hindu pantheon further enhances the feeling of devotion. As the lady ended her rendition, I almost got the answer to eternal question- why place that gathers so many people is holy and tranquil. The song had a climax with the thought that Bhakta or the devotee is as important as the deity. A devotee adds an important dimension to the omnipresent power called God.

A holy place is sanctified by number of devotees who believe in its power and this happens over the ages as countless number of people leave their mark even by a mere visit. I leave the precincts with positive energy and thoughts. A thing of antiquity like a worshipping place is a mark of identity, symbol of devotion, testimony to the creative human spirit, a historical record, witness to the human heritage; for it has survived or is going to survive many human generations and has seen so many born, live and die and has timeless character assigned to it.

But the issue I wanted to highlight with above background is a matter of defending human and spiritual heritage and how crucial it is to protect it in the fast changing modern world. As I hold on to the thoughts above, I am battered with the news coming one after the other- of demolishing old church buildings in and around Mangalore.
Seeing from the current perspective, all the demolitions may seem necessary, at times pragmatic and almost unavoidable.

Justifications come in various forms and leading of them is an old structure is not able to hold the congregation. My simple question would be- as how can you destroy a place that you always believed as God’s presence to which people flocked with a sense of devotion. Our grandfathers, great grandfathers and beyond have prayed and pleaded for their well -being and just because a church is not able to hold the congregation you raze the structure to the ground?

A case in point is the just removed Kulur Church in Mangalore. Perched beautifully on a small hillock, I felt, it provided a strong sense of identity to the city of Mangalore. Further, bad news came from Udyavar Church built by the servant of God Msgr. R F C Mascharenus, or the St John’s Church at Kokkada near Uppinangady scheduled to be razed to the ground. Although the news that Udyavar Church demolition has been temporarily put on hold makes me relieved, it does not allay my fear about others.

I visited the Kokkada Church where they were preparing to break the altar and in a helpless state I argued my case only to be questioned ‘If you can stop it’ by group of people there who of course were some of the parishioners. The situation, to me, looked nothing short of a church attack with a broken crucifix.

Defenseless, as a last firing salvo, I asked them ‘Why don’t you demolish the entrance to the church too, which is fairly recently built and there was no answer. It was simply because persons or person who donated it may still be alive and will certainly raise an objection.

Why should I not think these will become the prelude to the demolition of other churches? As time and again, we have proved a scant regard to the church heritage. What if church like Milagres or the Rosario Cathedral are removed and a mere thought sends shivers down my body and I am sure it will to many others.

Can the sensible expect to see the Mangalore landscape without these imposing structures? All these paint a grim scenario even if Diocese of Mangalore proclaims proudly from the crumbling facades that it is 125 years old. Not able to keep these pressing concerns to myself, I wrote a letter to the Bishop of Mangalore urging him to evolve a policy at the diocesan level to preserve the old church structures and quick came the reply appreciating my concerns about the church history and heritage and a promise to look into the matter. That leaves me with no option but to be positive and waiting as the learned authorities gather thoughts in this regard.

The justification for razing church buildings is peculiar to the Mangalore Diocese as each parish is competing to build a new church. Look at the 125 year jubilee celebration of the diocese or the 100 year celebration of the Milagrese parish, both these celebrations have undermined the antiquity of church in Mangalore and scholarly historians will vouch for these facts.

The Milagres parish which is more than 330 years old and to celebrate 100 years of the church building, to me looks entirely misplaced. Does it mean you have to celebrate the building or the congregation? As the craze for building new church buildings and demolishing old gathers steam, it looks like campaign ‘Younger the looks better it is for the church’. But the bitter truth remains, church history gets erased each time you take off piece of history and it would not be any different from the number of new born sects that mushroom by the passing day.

Compare this scenario with the Diocese of Goa where most of its churches are centuries old and are fit for service although at times the congregation spills out of its doors. Has the number of faithful not increased in Goa in the last 400 odd years that they ever felt the need to raze the church to ground to make way for the new one?

The fact is Goa gets its identity from the church heritage too obvious to understand. An historical edifice stands as the living example of a stage in human history and any efforts to erase it will only prove to be an effort of destroying our sense of identity. A mere look at the monument is enough to convince about the time in which it was built.
I come back to the question raised in this article as to why we need to keep the old church buildings.

An old church is a testimony of the sacrifice of our ancestors. The older the monument, the stronger the sense of identity it provides to everything that inhabits its surroundings. Identity gives us strength in an ever changing world. History and heritage are the prisms of seeing ourselves. An architectural creation is a strong element, providing a link between the past and the times we live and this link is essential for us and our future generations. Identity does not come cheap but carefully earned with cumulative human efforts over the ages. My concern does not stop at the demotion of old churches but extends to all structures that are testimony to the historical, spiritual and human evolution. I feel the same pain when an old temple is demolished as when I see a church being razed to the ground.

I feel proud when I see 450 years old Monte Mariano Church in Farangipet that the Capuchin friars have retained in good condition. Perhaps this is the only structure which explicitly announces the antiquity of church in Mangalore diocese. There are many challenges to protect the heritage structures owned by private individuals but the secular heritage like churches, temples, parks, old streets, government heritage buildings belong to people. More so, buildings like the old church buildings can easily be protected if a policy is evolved with regards to its protection. Proactive attitude by the concerned will definitely do the needful.

As I return from my efforts of conveying the importance of protecting the heritage, I ask for permission to pick up two candle stands from Kokkada church which lie discarded and as memory of the age that has slipped into oblivion. I mull over the thought how many times they may have lit the Blessed Sacrament, the Way of Cross and other devotions and of course I will tell whoever sees them about the sad story hidden within them for no longer they will bear candles and light the presence called God. I smell the wooden candle stands and attempt to listen to the silent whispers and they do have a painful story to narrate. They are living and a smell of incense with which they were sanctified over the years fills me and I feel God has come home.

NCCI blasts illegal sale of church property

NCCI blasts illegal sale of church property

By Philip Mathew
Bangalore:

Protestant and Orthodox Churches in India yesterday said that illegal sale of Church properties was becoming very common in India.

They said that “some Church leaders in connivance with real estate agents indulge in such activities causing huge loses to churches while tarnishing their image”.

Church property must not be sold or leased but preserved for posterity, they asserted at the 27th national assembly of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI).

On the concluding day of the NCCI’s quadrennial assembly in Bangalore, Augustine Jayakumar, Lutheran Church leader and NCCI treasurer-designate, said that corruption has become rampant in many churches.

“The NCCI must withdraw the membership of such Churches whose officials demand a share of educational scholarships or commission from sale of church property,” Jayakumar said.

The NCCI, a fellowship of 30 Churches and more than 50 related organizations, stressed upon the need to be “corruption free” in their work and mission activities.

The Churches demanded good governance, accountability and transparency in the work and mission of the Church.

It has decided to organise campaigns against corruption and trafficking of women and children.

In another resolution, the assembly urged the member Churches and related organizations “to share space with secular ideologies for creating a world of peace and justice.”

Bishop Duleep Kamil De Chikkera, former Anglican bishop of Colombo, in his Biblical reflections on the assembly theme, “Gospel in a groaning world,” said that collaborating with willing and like-minded people of other faiths is essential for creating a “safe, just and reconciled world.”

One of the workshops reports urged the NCCI to promote grassroots ecumenism and give representation to the people’s movements.

The assembly resolved to continue NCCI’s advocacy work and expressed its support and solidarity to the struggles of Tibetans and the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Methodist Bishop Taranath Sagar was re-elected NCCI president.

As a part of the NCCI’s five-year (2010-2014) centenary celebrations, the headquarters of the NCCI will be relocated to Delhi from Nagpur.

Clerical sexual misconduct: Are we talking too much or too little?

Clerical sexual misconduct: Are we talking too much or too little?

We need to begin by acknowledging that there is a problem and a problem that needs to be confronted. Denial does not reach us anywhere.

By Fr. George Mutholil, SJ
Bengaluru:

By Fr. George Mutholil, SJ

‘Five priests de-frocked for sex abuse.’ ‘Pedophile priest given nine years in jail.’ ‘Victims of sexual abuse require justice.’ ‘Vatican to set up clergy abuse help centre.’

These are some recent headlines that screamed from Catholic and secular media and revolted many. Some are entertained and many others are ‘lost,’ ‘shamed’ and ‘confused.’

The big question is whether we are talking too much or too little on the issue.

What should the level of discourse be on the issue? Is there a golden mean between suppressing all news on the sexual misconduct by the clergy and trivializing the issue by promoting ‘yellow journalism?’

A reality check is the need of the hour. Much like the man who sweeps the snake under the carpet, there is too much secrecy on the part of the Church, hierarchy, laity and all.

We need to begin by acknowledging that there is a problem and a problem that needs to be confronted. Denial does not reach us anywhere.

Someone has to begin to record cases of sexual misconduct and action taken on all of them. Maybe the respective dioceses and religious congregations should do it.

Willingness and courage to record them could be a good beginning to assess the genuine dangers. Sex and sexual misconduct are sensitive issues that will require the utmost care in recording and clarifying.

One of the easiest ways to destroy a person is to raise an allegation of sexual misconduct.

A priest I knew, a very caring and popular pastor, was devastated by a sexual misconduct allegation. The poor pastor was immediately removed from his post and the case dragged on for almost 10 years. At the end of the tenth year, it was proved that the allegation was false. What a tragedy for a genuine pastor.

The Church must begin on a process of accurate recording of cases of sexual misconduct in order to assess the real situation. Maybe something like the Crime Bureau records, but with a lot more of compassion.

It is anyone’s guess that all around there is a lot of hushed conversation on the issue. Probably, too much of gossip, slandering and little real conversation.

However, there have also been genuine attempts at facing this issue. For instance, the guidelines prepared by various religious congregations and circulated among its members, confidentially of course, or the (Pune-based) Streevani Consultation document (2010) , the recent Conference in the Vatican on “Towards Healing and Renewal” (2012) are all healthy trends of conversation.

The remark by Msgr. Scicluna (2011) that “there is awareness that something needs to be done” is a typically encouraging trend in the Church.

However, what should bother us is the cultural dimension of silence.

“In some cultures, it’s hard for victims to come forward. We are debating how to change attitudes that favor silence over denunciation,” said Fr. Hanz Zollner.

Some of the perpetrators get away scot free because of the reticence of the laity to hurt the sentiments of priests or as the Streevani document said, “The “deification” of priests entitles them to unquestioning obedience…This was compounded by the culture of silence borne of the fear of bringing shame to themselves, their family/congregation and the Christian community in India.”

A good point to begin is the argument by Streevani ‘to advocate zero tolerance toward sexual abuse of women and children in the Church and to campaign for a policy that views this sin in the Church as a violation of human rights and therefore as a crime punishable under Indian law.’

Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle (2012) has some insightful remarks that should guide our discourses and response. He warns us rightly not to look at the issue just as inappropriate sexual behavior.

Sexual misconduct of the clergy has theological, spiritual, anthropological and pastoral dimensions. One needs to look at the personal and relational aspects, the cultural dimensions, the ecclesial aspects, the legal aspects, the role of media, and the pastoral and spiritual aspects. One cannot avoid discussions on mandatory celibacy too in this context.

Sexual misconduct by the Catholic clergy demands of us an open, critical and empathetic approach. Pastoral care of the perpetrator, victims, victims’ families and of the larger community, particularly the fellow clergy is a priority too.

All this can happen only if there are “formation programs for priests and women religious updated to include various topics related to the empowerment of women and prevention of abuse and violence to women and children.”

Our formation programs are awfully inadequate to handle issues of sex and sexuality let alone the larger issues of loneliness, intimacy and healthy relationships.

The fearfully patriarchal nature of the Church is bound to have its influence on the sexual lives of her priests.

Finally, the call of the hour is to break the silence, help the hurt victim and needy perpetrator. We need to build a culture of transparency on sexual issues in the Church.

It can be quite threatening, challenging and growth-promoting indeed. What is clear is that we need to talk more responsibly and proactively.

Jesuit Father George Mutholil is Director of Indian Social Institute, Bangalore. Involved in Action researches in the area of Social Development and training of activists.

Comments: 

Deification of Priests

The article “Clerical Sexual Misconduct” (Secular Citizen, May 21, 2012) by Rev Fr George Mutholil, S.J., was informative and thought provoking.

The cases of sexual abuses by priests generally do not come to public notice in India as they do in Europe and USA. As mentioned in the article, the Streevani document has correctly pointed out: “The deification of priests entitles them to unquestioning obedience. This was compounded by the culture of silence borne of the fear of bringing shame to themselves, their family, congregation and the Christian community in India.”

The main cause of deification of priests among Catholics is the introduction of doctrine of “In persona Christi Capitis” in the catechism of the Catholics. The Latin phrase means that the priest and bishop act in the person of Christ the head in their leadership of the Church. This is an utterly false belief imbibed in the tender minds of children during their catechism training. No priest in any other religion, such as, Hindu, Jain, Buddhism or Muslim etc considers himself acting in the person of the founder of their religion.

The Catholics should awake and stop raising the priests to the level of God.

– Vincent Bagul, Mumbai

CHRISTIAN LAYMEN’S CONFERENCE AT GOA ON 13TH MAY 2012

CHRISTIAN LAYMEN’S CONFERENCE AT GOA ON 13TH MAY 2012

23rd May 2012

A Christian laymen’s conference held in Goa for which 18 members from Mangalore had attended on 13th May 2012. Unfortunately because of reasons beyond their control no one from either Goa or Mumbai attended the conference though a decision was taken about this conference. In Mangalore during the meeting held on 10th and 11th of December 2011. The participants, who had gone all the way from Mangalore, were highly disappointed. However the meeting was conducted and the following decisions were taken after detailed discussion.

  1. Rs.50 Crores sanctioned by Government of Karnataka for a Christian Development Corporation is being cornered by the priests. It is decided to write to the Government, not to release these funds to the clergy but to make arrangements to distribute the same to the Christian laity, and hand over management of corporation selected lay leaders.
  2. There was very serious discussion on the annual collection being made by the clergy in all the churches. It is noticed that every year the parish priest arbitrarily increases the amount in spite of objections from he laity. It is decided to write to the bishop not to collect more than rs.10 for family as this membership fee is only symbolic.
  3. There were serious complaints against Valerian Pinto parish priest of Kulshekar who is constantly filing false police complaints at the police station with a view to suppress democratic dissent from the laity.
  4. There was a suggestion from some members that laymen should start their own bulletin in every parish to enlighten the parishioners about the dirty game that the priest is playing to control the laymen and misuse their funds. Regular and consistent awareness is a must to educate the laymen.
  5. Almost all members felt that generally the majority laymen are not supportive of the priests. But they do not want to revolt against them for their false and personal and imaginary benefits and fear of heaven and hell.
  6. There was a mention of priest in Vittla, who is an Alcoholic.
  7. It was decided to write to the Pope that priests should be allowed to get married.
  8. It was decided to write to all important political parties and other authorities not to treat the Bishop as Christian community leader but to recognize the leaders of various Christian NGO’s as community leaders.
  9. The Puttur church hall which is on the ground floor and the church is on the first floor was being allotted for Muslim weddings on Sunday which was creating a nuisance to Church goers etc. and Christian Union Puttur have objected the allotment of this hall to Muslims.  This matter has to be pursued very seriously.
  10. The clergy seems to be in real estate in a big way in Mangalore, lot of excavation of land is taking place in Milagres, Jeppu, Maroli, etc. It was decided to pursue the matter and go deep in to the issue.
  11. The relevance of Canon Law in Democratic India under a Democratic Constitution was discussed. It was decided to approach our member lawyers in Mumbai to challenge Canon Law. So that only Indian Constitutional Law is followed by the Church.
  12. There was a discussion about new diocese to be carved out of Mangalore Diocese, known as Udupi Diocese. The same is delayed because there is a dispute about, to whom Attur Church should belong? Because, the festival collection of Attur Church amounts up to Rs.10 Crores. The question asked by member was, whether the clergy are practicing Christian religion or doing business?
  13. There was discussion about Vincent Martis, the parish priest who died recently, who seems to have had a F.D. of Rs.1 Lakh with Bishop as the Nominee. It was also mentioned that he had another F.D. of Rs. 5 Lakhs with his family members as nominees. Members from Sastan will probe in to this.

The convener of the meeting Mr. P.B. D’Sa informed the members present that they are planning a laymen’s convention, in Mangalore on 14th of October 2012.

(Convener)

VIANNEY HOME OR ‘MANGALORE SUB-JAIL’ ?

19th May 2012

To

The Catholic Bishop of Mangalore Diocese

Bishop’s House

Kodialbail

Mangalore – 3

SUB: VIANNEY HOME OR MANGALORE SUB-JAIL?

                   Senior Citizen’s Welfare Association and Research Centre, Mumbai has recently prepared a review of living conditions in various homes for the aged in Mangalore and sent us a report a gist of which we are pleased to convey to you through this letter. There are about 15 priests living at Vianney Home. Totally forgotten by their own brother-priests who are active and much younger to them but they seem to have forgotten about them. When an investigation team visited the place on three different occasions; in the month of April-May 2012, it was found that these religious senior citizens live in a pathetic condition forgotten both by the society they served as well as their own fraternity.

                  There were very serious allegations against the so called Guardian Fr.Alexander Lobo, who is a deaf and arrogant man and most unfit man to be a Guardian. He is assisted by an Assistant Guardian by name Rudolph D’Sa. This assistant guardian who is supposed to look after the repairs and maintenance department is hardly available in the place and the maintenance work is totally neglected. Though there are only 15 priests and some attendants there is too much of noise in Vianney Home. No peaceful atmosphere exists, which is essential for sickly and aged persons. The deaf Guardian is reported to abuse the other priests often. He deserves to be sacked before some inmate assaults him or commits suicide.

                  In order to look after the old and sick priests there are three boys, not trained, not disciplined. They are not prompt. They roam about and shout at the poor priests. They could be trained in the cafeteria of the hospital for cooking. The food supplied is of very poor quality. Some chilly powder water and salt without any taste is served as side dish. Cleaning up is not properly done. It should not be difficult for the Catholic Church with black money stored in secret places to look after these old men with trained cooks and helpers trained to handle sick old men. But it is not done. Boys who do not know any cooking are made to cook. Sad part is they abuse and insult these old men.

                  Cordiality among the priests is missing. This is of course not new Priests have never been maintaining cordial relationships amongst themselves.

                  The research Foundation from Bombay also reports that they have visited several homes for the aged and found satisfactory conditions. Vianney Home is the worst that they had visited according to them. Food is of high quality in Bombay.

                  It is also the opinion of the research Team, that better food is served to the inmates in Mangalore sub-jail and the Home for the aged at Bajjodi is the best in town.

                  It is sad to note that some Priests get themselves admitted into the Hospital to avoid the pain, torture and mental agony they suffer at the Vianney Home.

                        It is a pity that power hungry, arrogant, and below average priests who run the administration do not have time for their elders and superiors. It is an irony of fate to know that those priests who did not mismanage or misuse or misappropriate public funds; those are the unfortunate ones who are treated in sub-human condition at a glorified den known as ‘Vianney Home’, Honest priests suffer, while dishonest ones are looked after well.

                  At the same time the rich and powerful priests are allotted a new home for the aged at St. Antony’s Orphanage at Jeppu illegally. The question arises as to how a Priest becomes rich (unless he robs people’s money).

                  The orphanage meant for the destitute, orphans and children found on the streets is now turned in to a Five Star home for the aged priests, who are treated as royal priests. They enjoyed their youth, sacrificed nothing and now enjoy their retirement like chosen men of God.

                  There is one playboy Priest who has a 25 year old son, who is given an Air-Conditioned home at Derlakatte, where Church’s Homeopathic Hospital exists. He cannot live without female company like N.D. Tiwari, though he is past 75. There are lot of nurses and sisters working in the Homeopathic Hospital.

                  We are also told that some priests live on their own in Private Houses. Their backgrounds are shrouded with mystery. There was a Priest, in Milagres as head Master /Correspondent some years back, who looked after a family of 6 children as if he was the head of the family. Where will he stay once he is retired, certainly not in Vianney Home, I am sure.

                  It is specially noticed by the Bombay Foundation that many Homes for the Aged are cropping up in Mangalore, on corporate lines, which are earning high profits in the name of charity as done by Fr.Muller’s Hospital and many other Christian institutions whose secret methods of cheating the people are no more a secret.

                  The other side of the picture is a young magician Priest who has lost one hand and stays in Vianney Home during day time, but goes to his own flat in the night and he has a female attendant to attend on him 24 hours. This is wonderful Priestly life. What magic has to do with Priestly Vocation? It is better you disrobe him and pack him home.

                  Another mystery is that there is a Priest who has an adopted son living with him at Vianney Home as per reliable information gathered by us.

                  Will somebody wake up before the aged Priests revolt or go mad under pressure. 

(P.B. D’Sa)

Chief Trustee