Augustine of Hippo. Can he be called a “debuauch”?

 

 

Augustine of Hippo.

Can he be called a “debuauch”?

 

Varghese Pamplanil

 

Note: All of us  have to lean  to “call a spade a spade” That is what our distinguished frankly speaking friend Pamplani is doing, what Voltaire has done and what this know-nothing try to do, unconcerned about whether it would please some big GUYS or who think themselves BIG!

 

In any case our columnist has done a priceless, matchless service to the readers of CCV in revealing the true  face of Augustine briefly and brightly: the  great sinner who reduced all sins to SEX because that was his weakness and also of the Catholic church, especially these days.

What is sin?

As for me there is nothing called SIN! That is what I happen to hear also heard at the “Hyde park  Corner” in London some 50 years ago where one soapbox orator was shouting: “What is sin? It is the creation of Canon Law!” I don’t go into it now in detail.

 

And all know that the greatest contribution of the Catholic Church to humanity, to the world at large is the sense of GUILT which drives the guilt-ridden ignorant, credulous idiots go crawling to the  confessional (long ago I too used to go, not any longer) where the wolves in sheep’s clothing find their prey aplenty to feed on as the whole visual and printed media are celebrating the sexual exploits of the five Syromalankara priests – all married.

 

Episcopal Fraternity

The whole Episcopal fraternity is well aware of it. That is why in the  two synods of the family, many times they described themselves as ‘Holy, catholic, apostolic sinners’. Take away sin and sinners? What will it do  —  the Church – to fend for itself? It will make the Church a PAUPER PAR EXCELLENCE! Wittingly though, our very devout grand parents used to ask and answer: “What is purgatory? It is the stomach of the Catholic Priest!”

 

Purgatory?

Through Mass intentions in their thousands, rated variously from Rs. hundred to thousands depending on their solemnity, and other offerings church accumulates money. They collect it for their service  to wipe out sins faithful are trained to commit or resist. Take the case of one who  asks you: “What is the best way to resist a temptation?” And answers: “Easy! Succumb to it instantly and go to confession!” That is the way how sometimes sin is traded and quick money is made to quench hungry stomach of the priest. And the reward? You escape the fires of purgatory.

 

Confessions

The five priests caught in misusing the confessional is the unforgettable  lesson and wake up call for all Christians, especially the women folks who are addicted to all kinds of church rituals including frequent confession.

 

With all the sins Augustine committed, he became a great saint, didn’t he?. So just forget about sin and confessional. What is called sin is the usual mistakes or blunders frail human beings make. He/she will continue to make till his/her death. That is why it is said: To err is human.

Don’t use, be useful to people!

 In Popular parlance what is sin? It consists in USING people and virtue consists in BEING USEFUL to people. It is as simple as that. By sin we don’t offend God. A God who can be offended is no God. But due to our weakness we constantly offend our neighbour in thought, word and deed when we refuse to help the needy. Recall the list Jesus gives: “I was hungry, thirsty, lonely, in prison etc and you didn’t even took at me.” Try to avoid doing that.

 

Before God

Before God, if there is a God we are like little children, kids, learning to crawl or walk. Every a child tries to get up and falls,then we don’t say, it has committed a sin. We all continue to such children until we die. In any case when you die, you are definitely not going to a Hell. Why because if there is a God of your description: “Goodness and love par excellence”,“Saccidananda = Sath+Chit+  Ananda”,  there can’t be a Hell. Use your light of reason and go ahead, peacefully and joyfully, is our advise. james kottoor, editor ccv.

 

Please read below our factually speaking Pamplanil

 

Chhotebhai seems  to be mighty upset and displeased. He feels that the author of the book “Beyond Gods and Scriptures” has used the term “debauch”  while referring to Augustine of Hippo (354- 430 C. E.). The author has  denied the imputation saying that it was Voltaire who called Augustine so. If I recall correctly, Voltaire calledAugus-tine a “debauchee”. 

 

It seems to be appropriate  to make the records as authentic as possible. I may be entering the sacred grove without the penitence expected of. Let me keep my fingers crossed while dealing with a prominent Christian icon. Naturally my observations may disturb the sensitivities of  the the Church and the feelings of true Christians . After all the Church is much  beholden to Augustine form providing it with a fail safe most effective tool  make  the “goats” behave and fall in line:THE ORIGINAL SIN, THE MOTHER OF ALL SINS.

 

Who is this AUGUSTINE?

 

To make the story short : into  a world, where Christianity had became  a free faith and a  Roman  Emperor sponsored  religion, Augustine came to interpret the defiance of the mythical  Adam and Eve differently from his Jewish and Christian predecessors. Augustine construed the yarn  of “eating the forbidden fruit by the mythical, first humans, Adam and Eve, against the express prohibition of their God” as the  first sexual act between them spawning “ORIGINAL SIN”.

 

What was the thought for centuries prior to Augustine, as a tale of human freedom”, became in his hands, the sordid  story of human “bondage” and depravity. Augustine postulated that spontaneous sexual desire is the proof of and penalty for universal original sin, an idea that would have baffled most of his Christian predecessors who had already equivocally  rejected the claims  of some radical ones, that the sin of Adam and Eve was sexual –that the forbidden “Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge” converged to mean the “Carnal Knowledge” of Adam of Eve. Clement of Alexandria (180 C.E.) thought that  the real story of Adam and Eve is “moral freedom and responsibility to choose good or evil”.

 

In order to understand Augustine’s anti-natural,  even preposterous views, one has to delve into his personality and examine who he really was. Augustine was born in CE 354in Carthage  into a non-patrician family. His father Patricius Aurelius, a philanderer  was habitually unfaithful to his wife. This parent failed to root out the brambles of  lust from his son; on the contrary the womaniser father expressed immense pleasure in his son’s sexual appetite. Augustine’s Christian mother Monica, a devout Christian, endured her husband’s infidelities, but most earnestly implored her son not to commit fornication.

 

Augustine indulged in sexual pleasures and plunged into a life of the city, dinner parties, many friends theoretical performances and the like. An ambitious person, he  sought secular career with singular intent.

 

After several sexual relationships, he lived with a lower caste woman concubine (he never disclosed her name in his “Confessions”) who indulged him by allowing full play of his unbridled sexual passions and cravings. Many commentators are prone to think that Augustine practiced some sort of birth control measures to prevent his lover from getting pregnant, but failed. The concubine bore him a son, Adeodatus (born in CE372) when Augustine was of only 18 years of age.

 

Augustine abandoned his long standing concubine, when a socially advantageous  marriage proposal  to a rich heiress was arranged by his mother. Augustine who was then 30 years of  age had to wait for two years for the intended bride to attain  marriageable age of 12.During the interim period of  waiting for the marriage, he satisfied his sexual cravings  by keeping another woman as his paramour.

 

The marriage proposal fizzled out. Meanwhile Augustine’s son, whom the father Augustine loved, died. A disillusioned Augustine turned to religion for solace.

 

(It seems that when there is no other go,  rakes and social dregs take refuge in religion as the  last resort. Charismatic circuses are filled with drug pedlars, illicit, liquor brewers and similar types of criminals. These  lampion elements are deployed by those running these rackets to  interpret the Bible and bear witness to the Word; Br.Francis Sunil Rosario who does not seem to be comfortable with any one other than the uppity, know-all cassock-wearer daring to enter the hallowed ground appropriated by the Catholic Church,  may please take  note of the ground situation. About the right of a non-cassock wearer to deal with the so called Christian theology, I may express my views later)

 

Constantine legitimised Pauline Christianity in CE 313 and  introduced his version  of the religion in the Council of Nicene in 323. The  cold blooded butcher from Spain, Emperor Theodosius imposed  the Edict ‘Cunctos Populos (Edict of Thessalonica) issued on  27 February 380 ruthlessly. This facilitatedthe rapid growth and spread of  Christianity, the  sole State Religion of the Empire.  The followers of other beliefs were wiped out by putting them to  death or banishing them from the Empire and Christianity  flourished.

 

Temperamentally, an ambitious careerist,  Augustine became a Christian in CE 387, at the age of 32 and joined the expanding Church of Ambrose. Barely  4 years after his baptism to Christianity he became a bishop (391 CE). He did what any  over ambitious careerist would do. Augustine, the opportunist, was notorious for changing his stand to further his ambitions.

 

The death of his son whom he loved dearly and the set back to his socially and financially advantageous marriage proposal would have made Augustine a proponent of “anti life” philosophy and to fulminate against human sexuality. But the “celibate (?) ” Augustine, by his own admission was insatiable for sex. Augustine,  who never married and whose experience of sexual pleasures was illicit and guilt provoking, assumes that frustrated sexual desire is  universal, infinite and all consuming. With what  appropriate name other than “debouch’  Augustinecan be called, Chhotabhai? If there is  any other demeaning name for him in your mind, it may please be shared.

 

Augustine spent the last twelve years of his life battling for his interpretation of the Genesis against a young Christian bishop, Julian of Eelanum who attacked and criticised Augustine’s  dogma of Original Sin not only as an abrupt departure from orthodox Christian thought but also as a Manichaen heresy, the very heresy Augustine had once admired and later attacked.

 

Julian was restrained in sexual matters; he was married to a bishop’s daughter. He viewed sexual desire as innocent, divinely blessed and once satisfied,  entirely finite. For  Julian death was a natural process. But  for Augustine, death is the result of Adam’s sin. The irony: Julian was branded a heretic, Augustine declared  a saint.

 

Why did Catholic Christianity adopted Augustine’s paradoxical and  preposterous views? Some historians suggest that such beliefs validate the authority of the Church; for if human condition is decease, Catholic Christianity, acting as the good physician offers the spiritual medication and the discipline that alone can cure it. Augustine’s  views  did serve the Christian State and imperially supported the Church. Augustine’s theory  offered an analysis of human nature that impacted the psychological, moral and even   political thinking of Christians ever since . Even today Christians, Catholics and Protestants alike regard the story of Adam and  Eve synonymous with universal original sin.

 

The Catholic Church gleefully latched itself to another bizarre idea of Augustine that the sacraments administered even by the most degenerate clerics  ( Robin and Franco types)  are valid and  beneficial to the human soul. It is no wonder that Augustine is elevated to the status of “ Doctor of the Church”  as model, pristine pure blameless,  repented  Saint. It offers great opportunity to all womanisers and child abusers to claim impeccable moral behaviour. At the most they have to undergo sham confession to another incorrigible character. PRAISE THE LORD, OR IS IT THE DOG ?

 

Helmut Koestler, Professor  of New Testament, Harvard University asks: “ How it happen that the Christian tradition came to find sexual desire sinful and to claim that infants, from the moment of their  conception are tainted with original sin; that Adam’s sin corrupted the whole nature,  which until then had known neither death nor labour nor suffering? How did it happen that the Christian Church which proclaims the infinite value and moral freedom of each individual, came to insist that human kind, made in God’s image chose not to sin? This great paradox is at the core of the heart of the Christian tradition. AMMEN  AMMEN  AMMEN.

P.S. About the authorship the New Testament/Gospels I may join the issue later.

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Suspend Jalandhar Bishop – Dr. james kottoor

 

Progressive  Nuns group want what?

Pope to suspend Jalandhar Bishop

for alleged sex with Nun in Kerala

  1. james kottoor (Kochi)

This is all about a  petition demanding  suspension and removal of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of  Jalandhar by a “178 member group of  Indian Christian Women Movement consisting nearly 70 nuns 15 priests and the laity” reported in Matters India and published in CCV and commented upon. The petition is reportedly  submitted  to the Vatican Nuncio based in Delhi as the Pope’s ambassador.  (See. CCV  13/07/2018)

 

It is true that all secular papers in Kerala are making a feast of it as a spectacular news item as it deals with high profile persons in the church, namely a Bishop, a nun and various aspects of their  ‘illicit’ sexual  exploits. In fact the Times of India July 14 and 15 gives eight news headlines   and long write ups starting from front page to inner pages  dealing with  bishop, sister and related persons.

 

But the report in Matters India reproduced in CCV and commented upon doesn’t give names of leaders among the priests, sisters or  laity, nor the text of their petition. All these are basic elements needed to to establish  credibility of the report.

 

A similar instance happened long ago when CCV published  a report from Delhi about “Leading Christian intellectuals” and their demands with out giving names of those intellectuals, place of their meeting etc., which made the report suspect  and we had to nearly apologize for it.

 

So who could have been these leading lights among the 178-member group of progressive Catholic religious priests, nuns and laity? The case about the  Bishop  is in the initial stages of investigation only and before any one is proved  guilty  by the court, how can any progressive priest or nun decide the punishment and demand that Pope or his ambassador in Delhi impose it on the Jalandar bishop? Is it not premature, irrational and interfering in the due process of law to take its due course?

Letters received by CCV editor

Something leading to such a pass had already come to the notice of the editor of CCV days ahead of this publication and he was investigating about it. In fact two persons had approached him through emails on  July 11th for his ‘endorsement  and support’ for the suspension of Jelandar bishop and he  had to refuse it flatly. To get better clarity of the background of this unnamed source, please see the letters below:

Kochurani Abraham
11 Jul 2018
to zach, jmattappally, me, James

Friends,

In the context of the alleged rape of a nun by a catholic bishop and the silence of the church hierarchy, different  Christian groups and individual Christians concerned about  the integrity of the Church are taking the initiative to address this issue before the Catholic Church leadership in India.

 

Find attached two letters that request Church leadership to remove the accused bishop from his post until he is proved innocent. If you wish to endorse them, kindly send me your name, organization/Institute and the place by this evening.  If you do not wish to put your affiliation, please give your name  as Mr/Ms/Dr/Prof/ Adv …and the place.

 

If you would like to invite your friends, please feel free to do so and get their endorsements at the earliest best, Kochurani

Dr. Kochurani Abraham,Vice-President Indian Theological Association,Coordinator Indian Christian Women’s Movement (Kerala)

See attachment below for Endorsement

To The Most Reverend Giambattista Diquattro.

 Apostolic Nuncio to India Apoltolic Nunciature,

 50-C Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021

 nuntius@apoltolicnunciatureindia.com

 

Your Excellency,

Sub: The Alleged Abuse of a Religious Sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese.

We, the undersigned are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church and write in the context of the growing scandal and the adverse publicity the Church is receiving with regard to the handling of the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a Religious sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar diocese.

 

We are particularly concerned about the mud-slinging going on between the Bishop and his priests on the one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other that has turned the Church into an object of ridicule for people of the entire country, thus causing a lot of harm to the Church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.

 

In view of the above and now that the case has gone to the courts, we would urge you to please advise Pope Francis to relieve the bishop concerned of his pastoral responsibilities, so that the Church is seen to actually practice the ‘zero tolerance’ it professes to observe in abuse cases.

 

With the accused bishop continuing to remain in his position as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, it will erode the faith of the people in the credibility of the Church to implement its policy of zero tolerance and act justly in abuse matters.

 

We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the Church and give the leadership courage to do what is right in the cause of justice to women in the Church. Yours sincerely,

(No Name or signature of the petitioner. Immediately the editor replied. jk)

 

James Kottoor <jameskottoor@gmail.com>
11 Jul 2018,
to Kochurani, bcc: me

Many thanks Kochurani, for writing for the first time.

While appreciating your concern for the good name of the Church I wish to ask you: who are we — you and I — to pass judgment on Jalandar bishop and why have you  not taken any similar action in the case of more serious scandals like that of Alancherry and Kadappa bishops?

 

As I see it is totally wrong to pass judgment on a case still under investigation and premature to recommend punitive action on a case still to be proved.

 

Today I am leaving for Kochi from Chicago and look forward to possible meeting with you and discussing a lot of things.  God bless you if there is a god.  James (The writer left Chicago on July 11 and reached kochi on 13th only)

 

2: Sex Abuse Letters For Your Endorsements

x
Virginia Saldanha
11 Jul 2018
to me

Dear James,

 

Kindly read the attached letters and Let me know if you would like to endorse ASAP.

 

Please do not publish till we have handed the letters to the authorities.  Will let you know when you can publish.

 

The letters are addressed to the NUNCIO and Cardinal Oswald Gracias asking for the removal of the Bishop of Jalandhar since there is an accusation brought against him.  Today there is another report of abuse case brought against the Syro Malankara Church which is under CBCI.

 

The Pope has removed Cardinals and Bishops who had accusations brought against them even if they were not found guilty.  It is to demonstrate the will of the Church to be open, transparent and having zero tolerance in these matters.

Warm regards, Virginia, 2 Attachments

 

 

1.

  1. The Most Reverend Giambattista Diquattro Apostolic Nuncio to India Apoltolic Nunciature, 50-C Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021, nuntius@apoltolicnunciatureindia.com
  2. Your Excellency, Sub: The Alleged Abuse of a Religious Sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese.
  3. We, the undersigned are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church and write in the context of the growing scandal and the adverse publicity the Church is receiving with regard to the handling of the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a Religious sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar diocese.
  4. We are particularly concerned about the mud-slinging going on between the Bishop and his priests on the one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other that has turned the Church into an object of ridicule for people of the entire country, thus causing a lot of harm to the Church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.

 

8.             

9.            In view of the above and now that the case has gone to the courts, we would urge you to please advise Pope Francis to relieve the bishop concerned of his pastoral responsibilities, so that the Church is seen to actually practice the ‘zero tolerance’ it professes to observe in abuse cases. With the accused bishop continuing to remain in his position as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, it will erode the faith of the people in the credibility of the Church to implement its policy of zero tolerance and act justly in abuse matters. We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the Church and give the leadership courage to do what is right in the cause of justice to women in the Church. Yours sincerely,(No one has undersigned this either. Jk)

10.          

2.

To, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Pope Francis’ Advisory Committee Member, President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), Archbishops’ House, Mumbai.

 

Dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias,

Sub: The Alleged Abuse of a Religious Sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese.

 

We, the undersigned are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church and write in the context of the growing scandal and the adverse publicity the Church is receiving with regard to the handling of the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a Religious sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar diocese .

 

We are particularly concerned about the mud-slinging going on between the Bishop and his priests on the one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other that has turned the Church into an object of ridicule for people of the entire country, thus causing a lot of harm to the Church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.

 

In view of the above and now that the case has gone to the courts, we urge you to please advise Pope Francis to relieve the bishop concerned of his pastoral responsibilities, so that the Church is seen to actually practice the ‘zero tolerance’ it professes to observe in abuse cases. With the accused bishop continuing to remain in his position as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, it will continue to erode the faith of the people in the credibility of the Church to implement its policy of zero tolerance and act justly in abuse matters.

 

We also request you to advise the Bishops of India to publicise and create adequate awareness about the CBCI Guidelines to deal with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, 2017, and institute the structures and procedures described therein without further delay. To preach justice the Church must be seen to practice justice (Synod of Bishops, 1971). Sadly the representations made by the Religious sister to the Bishops have brought no response, raising issues about the credibility of the CBCI policy. We would like to draw your attention to our letter addressed to the earlier President of the CBCI on 22nd March, 2017 and request you to kindly take action on the points made therein and reiterated below.

 

To this end kindly ensure that: 1. Every diocese respects and complies with the State laws with regard to addressing abuse cases of minors and sexual harassment of women in the Church. 2. The policy to prevent and deal with Sexual Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable Adults, as well as the Policy to prevent and deal with the Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace are disseminated to all the faithful and stake holders in Church and Church institutions so that they can be effectively implemented. 3. The required structures are set up within every diocese of the Church in India to address cases of sexual abuse and to prevent repeat bungling and criminal activity, not to speak of untold damage to the reputation of the Church and the faith of its people. The contact details of persons responsible to receive complaints should also be publicised prominently.

 

4. Greater attention is paid to the choice of candidates for the priesthood as well as to their formation in the seminary. This must include conscientization with regard to patriarchal attitudes that promote condescension and even aggression towards those considered “inferior”, and clericalism that is perceived to place the ordained outside civil law and permits lack of accountability and transparency. At its root, sexual abuse is ultimately not about sexuality or celibacy, but about the gross misuse of the disproportionate power assigned to clergy.

 

5. Catholic Church leadership in India does not take a silent or indifferent stand when a case is reported because it apparently protects the perpetrator. When a man who represents God to people, is a sexual offender, faith in the God he represents is shaken to the core. To the physical, mental and psychological trauma of the victim is added spiritual trauma. Not just the victim, but the entire family, the faith community and all those involved in the fight for justice are affected, and all need spiritual healing. We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the Church and give the CBCI the courage to do what is right in the cause of justice for women in the Church. Pope Francis has shown the way by holding accused Bishops accountable even at risk to the reputation of the Church. We look to our bishops to follow his example. Yours sincerely (No one has undersigned this either. Immediately the editor replied as below, Jk)

 

Hello Virginia,

I am sending you the same reply to the same letter I receivied

from Kochurani (Then I(jk) sent same letter I sent to Kochurani  and  added the following:

 

I am simply shocked to see you all get shocked and want to hang the bishop who allegedly raped a nun, Worse things happened before also,   starting with the murder of Abaya 26 years ago and many other cases later. Suddenly all of you “saintly clowns” start judging and condemning and want my support to execute someone who is to be still proved guilty. I wonder with which part of the body you all think. Pardon me for being brutal in my response. You don’t have my support at all, until the bishop is proved guilty.

Sorry I am packing up my laptop to go to Kochi. james

 

Note: To promote transparency about the back ground to the petition already published in CCV, all the information I received and know of is published herewith for  the benefit of the laity and the general public   since in none of the letters  names of any of the progressive group for the sake of transparency and credibility, is given or printed. So we can’t also vounch for the leader/s who wrote it. jk, editor ccv.

t

Editor back in Kochi

 

The CCV editor wrote those two letters before he left Chicago for Kochi, on july 11th and on reaching Kochi on July 13th and  checking the laptop he found the petition of the women’s  group in ‘Matters India’ reproduced in CCV and commented upon.

In the published version also no names of the petitioners were given, so it is impossible for the  editor to say if Sr.Kochurani and Virginia were the leaders of the women’s group of  178. In any case it is improper to publish reports about  serious crimes and suggest punishments with out naming the responsible news source and therefore unethical news in journalistic parlance.

How CCV Works

For the  information of the general public the CCV is published by a team of three  and the standing rule is no item in the CCV, especially sensitive items of this type, is to be published without the approval of the Chief editor, which is either ignored or taken lightly by some in the group, for which the editor apologizes.The present half cooked news would not have been published had it come to the notice of the chief editor.

But then such things are happening daily as if it is the order of the day where Pope’s  orders are ignored by bishops, bishop’s orders by priests and sisters etc. It was about this Pope John XXIII expressed his helplessness saying: “I am only the Pope!”

In any case CCV does not think it right and proper for any group, however progressive, enlightened and concerned they think they are in the Church to demand punitive action from Pope  especially when the case is only in the initial state of investigation to prove who is guilty and what punishment he/she deserves.

First of all Jesus’ teachings tell us: judge not and you shall not be judged, that is, not to be judgemental but be merciful and forgiving. Then what about alleged crimes in the process of investigation? Won’t it be height of arrogance and lack of transparancy to throw stones hiding in darkness(not revealing names of leaders in the petition)? Besides there are worse scandals involving bishops, priests, religious and laity to be settled more ugrently

Kadappa Episode

We outselves had written a lot about Kadappa bishop and the conspiracy of silence on the part of other bishops. Now in the face of new verifiable facts emerging, it looks we were supporting him as Francis supported Bishop Barros of Chille. The full story can be published only when the investigation is completed and clear proofs are brought out and responses to our letters sent to knowledgeable sources.

As an elderly person who has underwent and three year degree course in professional Journalism I have to say this to prevent some of the unethical practices we indulge in, although I cannot enforce the correct thing only on myself.

Crime and punishment

A crime is a crime who ever commits — cardinal, bishop, priest, religious or laity. When an elderly sister in W.Bengal was raped the Catholic Church made hell of a noise and it was reported that even Mar Baselios went all the way to see and comfort her although he refused to write even a letter to the Kadappa bishop even after requests from many quarters. Equality among the followers of Jesus has to be maintained at all cost, and one treatment for a lay person, another for a sister, priest, bishop, cardinal etc.

 

There are many versions about the  rape of a Sister by Jalandar bishop, At one time it was 13 times then it became 14 times, at short or long intervals from 2014.. So was it real rape or consensual sex. Was the sister totally innocent? Then there are allegations that the sister was having affairs with the husband of her cousin and destroying peace in that family. Then, is it not proper to go first defending the most exploited  children and teen age groups among the  Dalits and poorest of poor sections in the country who are raped and treated like dirt by the upper caste and highly placed in  religion and politics than waste time on high profile cases?

 

What would Jesus do?

What would Jesus do in the present situation in India, especially about  the sex-related adventures of the hierarchical class. He said something which should be unnerving to them all: “The drunkards and prostitutes will go to heaven before you”(High priests and Pharisees of his time.) That means their successors today are worse than the public sinners. So no progressive group  may have to waste precious time for them whether sister, priest or bishop.

 

What may be needed in India may be a Chile-like cleansing so that      the eyes of the whole  Indian episcopate may open and offer to resisgn(in Chile all 34 offered). But there must be open dialogue between Boishops and laity on all issues which is impossible as long as the Indian bishops resort to conspiracy of silence.

So let  all high profile cases be reported to civil  courts for speedy trial since no church court will  ever do justice to their beloved ones. And let progressive women’s group busy themselves with the protection of  the lowly placed for whom there is no law to take care or influential persons to speak for  or protest against.

Contact at: jameskottoor@gmail.com, Mob.9446219203

***************************************

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progressive  Nuns group want what?

Pope to suspend Jalandhar Bishop

for alleged sex with Nun in Kerala

  1. james kottoor (Kochi)

This is all about a  petition demanding  suspension and removal of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of  Jalandhar by a “178 member group of  Indian Christian Women Movement consisting nearly 70 nuns 15 priests and the laity” reported in Matters India and published in CCV and commented upon. The petition is reportedly  submitted  to the Vatican Nuncio based in Delhi as the Pope’s ambassador.  (See. CCV  13/07/2018)

 

It is true that all secular papers in Kerala are making a feast of it as a spectacular news item as it deals with high profile persons in the church, namely a Bishop, a nun and various aspects of their  ‘illicit’ sexual  exploits. In fact the Times of India July 14 and 15 gives eight news headlines   and long write ups starting from front page to inner pages  dealing with  bishop, sister and related persons.

 

But the report in Matters India reproduced in CCV and commented upon doesn’t give names of leaders among the priests, sisters or  laity, nor the text of their petition. All these are basic elements needed to to establish  credibility of the report.

 

A similar instance happened long ago when CCV published  a report from Delhi about “Leading Christian intellectuals” and their demands with out giving names of those intellectuals, place of their meeting etc., which made the report suspect  and we had to nearly apologize for it.

 

So who could have been these leading lights among the 178-member group of progressive Catholic religious priests, nuns and laity? The case about the  Bishop  is in the initial stages of investigation only and before any one is proved  guilty  by the court, how can any progressive priest or nun decide the punishment and demand that Pope or his ambassador in Delhi impose it on the Jalandar bishop? Is it not premature, irrational and interfering in the due process of law to take its due course?

Letters received by CCV editor

Something leading to such a pass had already come to the notice of the editor of CCV days ahead of this publication and he was investigating about it. In fact two persons had approached him through emails on  July 11th for his ‘endorsement  and support’ for the suspension of Jelandar bishop and he  had to refuse it flatly. To get better clarity of the background of this unnamed source, please see the letters below:

Kochurani Abraham
11 Jul 2018
to zach, jmattappally, me, James

Friends,

In the context of the alleged rape of a nun by a catholic bishop and the silence of the church hierarchy, different  Christian groups and individual Christians concerned about  the integrity of the Church are taking the initiative to address this issue before the Catholic Church leadership in India.

 

Find attached two letters that request Church leadership to remove the accused bishop from his post until he is proved innocent. If you wish to endorse them, kindly send me your name, organization/Institute and the place by this evening.  If you do not wish to put your affiliation, please give your name  as Mr/Ms/Dr/Prof/ Adv …and the place.

 

If you would like to invite your friends, please feel free to do so and get their endorsements at the earliest best, Kochurani

Dr. Kochurani Abraham,Vice-President Indian Theological Association,Coordinator Indian Christian Women’s Movement (Kerala)

See attachment below for Endorsement

To The Most Reverend Giambattista Diquattro.

 Apostolic Nuncio to India Apoltolic Nunciature,

 50-C Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021

 nuntius@apoltolicnunciatureindia.com

 

Your Excellency,

Sub: The Alleged Abuse of a Religious Sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese.

We, the undersigned are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church and write in the context of the growing scandal and the adverse publicity the Church is receiving with regard to the handling of the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a Religious sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar diocese.

 

We are particularly concerned about the mud-slinging going on between the Bishop and his priests on the one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other that has turned the Church into an object of ridicule for people of the entire country, thus causing a lot of harm to the Church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.

 

In view of the above and now that the case has gone to the courts, we would urge you to please advise Pope Francis to relieve the bishop concerned of his pastoral responsibilities, so that the Church is seen to actually practice the ‘zero tolerance’ it professes to observe in abuse cases.

 

With the accused bishop continuing to remain in his position as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, it will erode the faith of the people in the credibility of the Church to implement its policy of zero tolerance and act justly in abuse matters.

 

We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the Church and give the leadership courage to do what is right in the cause of justice to women in the Church. Yours sincerely,

(No Name or signature of the petitioner. Immediately the editor replied. jk)

 

James Kottoor <jameskottoor@gmail.com>
11 Jul 2018,
to Kochurani, bcc: me

Many thanks Kochurani, for writing for the first time.

While appreciating your concern for the good name of the Church I wish to ask you: who are we — you and I — to pass judgment on Jalandar bishop and why have you  not taken any similar action in the case of more serious scandals like that of Alancherry and Kadappa bishops?

 

As I see it is totally wrong to pass judgment on a case still under investigation and premature to recommend punitive action on a case still to be proved.

 

Today I am leaving for Kochi from Chicago and look forward to possible meeting with you and discussing a lot of things.  God bless you if there is a god.  James (The writer left Chicago on July 11 and reached kochi on 13th only)

 

2: Sex Abuse Letters For Your Endorsements

x
Virginia Saldanha
11 Jul 2018
to me

Dear James,

 

Kindly read the attached letters and Let me know if you would like to endorse ASAP.

 

Please do not publish till we have handed the letters to the authorities.  Will let you know when you can publish.

 

The letters are addressed to the NUNCIO and Cardinal Oswald Gracias asking for the removal of the Bishop of Jalandhar since there is an accusation brought against him.  Today there is another report of abuse case brought against the Syro Malankara Church which is under CBCI.

 

The Pope has removed Cardinals and Bishops who had accusations brought against them even if they were not found guilty.  It is to demonstrate the will of the Church to be open, transparent and having zero tolerance in these matters.

Warm regards, Virginia, 2 Attachments

 

 

1.

  1. The Most Reverend Giambattista Diquattro Apostolic Nuncio to India Apoltolic Nunciature, 50-C Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021, nuntius@apoltolicnunciatureindia.com
  2. Your Excellency, Sub: The Alleged Abuse of a Religious Sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese.
  3. We, the undersigned are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church and write in the context of the growing scandal and the adverse publicity the Church is receiving with regard to the handling of the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a Religious sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar diocese.
  4. We are particularly concerned about the mud-slinging going on between the Bishop and his priests on the one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other that has turned the Church into an object of ridicule for people of the entire country, thus causing a lot of harm to the Church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.

 

8.             

9.            In view of the above and now that the case has gone to the courts, we would urge you to please advise Pope Francis to relieve the bishop concerned of his pastoral responsibilities, so that the Church is seen to actually practice the ‘zero tolerance’ it professes to observe in abuse cases. With the accused bishop continuing to remain in his position as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, it will erode the faith of the people in the credibility of the Church to implement its policy of zero tolerance and act justly in abuse matters. We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the Church and give the leadership courage to do what is right in the cause of justice to women in the Church. Yours sincerely,(No one has undersigned this either. Jk)

10.          

2.

To, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Pope Francis’ Advisory Committee Member, President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), Archbishops’ House, Mumbai.

 

Dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias,

Sub: The Alleged Abuse of a Religious Sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese.

 

We, the undersigned are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church and write in the context of the growing scandal and the adverse publicity the Church is receiving with regard to the handling of the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a Religious sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar diocese .

 

We are particularly concerned about the mud-slinging going on between the Bishop and his priests on the one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other that has turned the Church into an object of ridicule for people of the entire country, thus causing a lot of harm to the Church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.

 

In view of the above and now that the case has gone to the courts, we urge you to please advise Pope Francis to relieve the bishop concerned of his pastoral responsibilities, so that the Church is seen to actually practice the ‘zero tolerance’ it professes to observe in abuse cases. With the accused bishop continuing to remain in his position as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, it will continue to erode the faith of the people in the credibility of the Church to implement its policy of zero tolerance and act justly in abuse matters.

 

We also request you to advise the Bishops of India to publicise and create adequate awareness about the CBCI Guidelines to deal with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, 2017, and institute the structures and procedures described therein without further delay. To preach justice the Church must be seen to practice justice (Synod of Bishops, 1971). Sadly the representations made by the Religious sister to the Bishops have brought no response, raising issues about the credibility of the CBCI policy. We would like to draw your attention to our letter addressed to the earlier President of the CBCI on 22nd March, 2017 and request you to kindly take action on the points made therein and reiterated below.

 

To this end kindly ensure that: 1. Every diocese respects and complies with the State laws with regard to addressing abuse cases of minors and sexual harassment of women in the Church. 2. The policy to prevent and deal with Sexual Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable Adults, as well as the Policy to prevent and deal with the Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace are disseminated to all the faithful and stake holders in Church and Church institutions so that they can be effectively implemented. 3. The required structures are set up within every diocese of the Church in India to address cases of sexual abuse and to prevent repeat bungling and criminal activity, not to speak of untold damage to the reputation of the Church and the faith of its people. The contact details of persons responsible to receive complaints should also be publicised prominently.

 

4. Greater attention is paid to the choice of candidates for the priesthood as well as to their formation in the seminary. This must include conscientization with regard to patriarchal attitudes that promote condescension and even aggression towards those considered “inferior”, and clericalism that is perceived to place the ordained outside civil law and permits lack of accountability and transparency. At its root, sexual abuse is ultimately not about sexuality or celibacy, but about the gross misuse of the disproportionate power assigned to clergy.

 

5. Catholic Church leadership in India does not take a silent or indifferent stand when a case is reported because it apparently protects the perpetrator. When a man who represents God to people, is a sexual offender, faith in the God he represents is shaken to the core. To the physical, mental and psychological trauma of the victim is added spiritual trauma. Not just the victim, but the entire family, the faith community and all those involved in the fight for justice are affected, and all need spiritual healing. We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the Church and give the CBCI the courage to do what is right in the cause of justice for women in the Church. Pope Francis has shown the way by holding accused Bishops accountable even at risk to the reputation of the Church. We look to our bishops to follow his example. Yours sincerely (No one has undersigned this either. Immediately the editor replied as below, Jk)

 

Hello Virginia,

I am sending you the same reply to the same letter I receivied

from Kochurani (Then I(jk) sent same letter I sent to Kochurani  and  added the following:

 

I am simply shocked to see you all get shocked and want to hang the bishop who allegedly raped a nun, Worse things happened before also,   starting with the murder of Abaya 26 years ago and many other cases later. Suddenly all of you “saintly clowns” start judging and condemning and want my support to execute someone who is to be still proved guilty. I wonder with which part of the body you all think. Pardon me for being brutal in my response. You don’t have my support at all, until the bishop is proved guilty.

Sorry I am packing up my laptop to go to Kochi. james

 

Note: To promote transparency about the back ground to the petition already published in CCV, all the information I received and know of is published herewith for  the benefit of the laity and the general public   since in none of the letters  names of any of the progressive group for the sake of transparency and credibility, is given or printed. So we can’t also vounch for the leader/s who wrote it. jk, editor ccv.

t

Editor back in Kochi

 

The CCV editor wrote those two letters before he left Chicago for Kochi, on july 11th and on reaching Kochi on July 13th and  checking the laptop he found the petition of the women’s  group in ‘Matters India’ reproduced in CCV and commented upon.

In the published version also no names of the petitioners were given, so it is impossible for the  editor to say if Sr.Kochurani and Virginia were the leaders of the women’s group of  178. In any case it is improper to publish reports about  serious crimes and suggest punishments with out naming the responsible news source and therefore unethical news in journalistic parlance.

How CCV Works

For the  information of the general public the CCV is published by a team of three  and the standing rule is no item in the CCV, especially sensitive items of this type, is to be published without the approval of the Chief editor, which is either ignored or taken lightly by some in the group, for which the editor apologizes.The present half cooked news would not have been published had it come to the notice of the chief editor.

But then such things are happening daily as if it is the order of the day where Pope’s  orders are ignored by bishops, bishop’s orders by priests and sisters etc. It was about this Pope John XXIII expressed his helplessness saying: “I am only the Pope!”

In any case CCV does not think it right and proper for any group, however progressive, enlightened and concerned they think they are in the Church to demand punitive action from Pope  especially when the case is only in the initial state of investigation to prove who is guilty and what punishment he/she deserves.

First of all Jesus’ teachings tell us: judge not and you shall not be judged, that is, not to be judgemental but be merciful and forgiving. Then what about alleged crimes in the process of investigation? Won’t it be height of arrogance and lack of transparancy to throw stones hiding in darkness(not revealing names of leaders in the petition)? Besides there are worse scandals involving bishops, priests, religious and laity to be settled more ugrently

Kadappa Episode

We outselves had written a lot about Kadappa bishop and the conspiracy of silence on the part of other bishops. Now in the face of new verifiable facts emerging, it looks we were supporting him as Francis supported Bishop Barros of Chille. The full story can be published only when the investigation is completed and clear proofs are brought out and responses to our letters sent to knowledgeable sources.

As an elderly person who has underwent and three year degree course in professional Journalism I have to say this to prevent some of the unethical practices we indulge in, although I cannot enforce the correct thing only on myself.

Crime and punishment

A crime is a crime who ever commits — cardinal, bishop, priest, religious or laity. When an elderly sister in W.Bengal was raped the Catholic Church made hell of a noise and it was reported that even Mar Baselios went all the way to see and comfort her although he refused to write even a letter to the Kadappa bishop even after requests from many quarters. Equality among the followers of Jesus has to be maintained at all cost, and one treatment for a lay person, another for a sister, priest, bishop, cardinal etc.

 

There are many versions about the  rape of a Sister by Jalandar bishop, At one time it was 13 times then it became 14 times, at short or long intervals from 2014.. So was it real rape or consensual sex. Was the sister totally innocent? Then there are allegations that the sister was having affairs with the husband of her cousin and destroying peace in that family. Then, is it not proper to go first defending the most exploited  children and teen age groups among the  Dalits and poorest of poor sections in the country who are raped and treated like dirt by the upper caste and highly placed in  religion and politics than waste time on high profile cases?

 

What would Jesus do?

What would Jesus do in the present situation in India, especially about  the sex-related adventures of the hierarchical class. He said something which should be unnerving to them all: “The drunkards and prostitutes will go to heaven before you”(High priests and Pharisees of his time.) That means their successors today are worse than the public sinners. So no progressive group  may have to waste precious time for them whether sister, priest or bishop.

 

What may be needed in India may be a Chile-like cleansing so that      the eyes of the whole  Indian episcopate may open and offer to resisgn(in Chile all 34 offered). But there must be open dialogue between Boishops and laity on all issues which is impossible as long as the Indian bishops resort to conspiracy of silence.

So let  all high profile cases be reported to civil  courts for speedy trial since no church court will  ever do justice to their beloved ones. And let progressive women’s group busy themselves with the protection of  the lowly placed for whom there is no law to take care or influential persons to speak for  or protest against.

Contact at: jameskottoor@gmail.com, Mob.9446219203

***************************************

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kochurani Abraham
11 Jul 2018
to zach, jmattappally, me, James

Friends,

In the context of the alleged rape of a nun by a catholic bishop and the silence of the church hierarchy, different  Christian groups and individual Christians concerned about  the integrity of the Church are taking the initiative to address this issue before the Catholic Church leadership in India.

 

Find attached two letters that request Church leadership to remove the accused bishop from his post until he is proved innocent. If you wish to endorse them, kindly send me your name, organization/Institute and the place by this evening.  If you do not wish to put your affiliation, please give your name  as Mr/Ms/Dr/Prof/ Adv …and the place.

 

If you would like to invite your friends, please feel free to do so and get their endorsements at the earliest best, Kochurani

Dr. Kochurani Abraham,Vice-President Indian Theological Association,Coordinator Indian Christian Women’s Movement (Kerala)

See attachment below for Endorsement

To The Most Reverend Giambattista Diquattro.

 Apostolic Nuncio to India Apoltolic Nunciature,

 50-C Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021

 nuntius@apoltolicnunciatureindia.com

 

Your Excellency,

Sub: The Alleged Abuse of a Religious Sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese.

We, the undersigned are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church and write in the context of the growing scandal and the adverse publicity the Church is receiving with regard to the handling of the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a Religious sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar diocese.

 

We are particularly concerned about the mud-slinging going on between the Bishop and his priests on the one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other that has turned the Church into an object of ridicule for people of the entire country, thus causing a lot of harm to the Church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.

 

In view of the above and now that the case has gone to the courts, we would urge you to please advise Pope Francis to relieve the bishop concerned of his pastoral responsibilities, so that the Church is seen to actually practice the ‘zero tolerance’ it professes to observe in abuse cases.

 

With the accused bishop continuing to remain in his position as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, it will erode the faith of the people in the credibility of the Church to implement its policy of zero tolerance and act justly in abuse matters.

 

We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the Church and give the leadership courage to do what is right in the cause of justice to women in the Church. Yours sincerely,

(No Name or signature of the petitioner. Immediately the editor replied. jk)

 

James Kottoor <jameskottoor@gmail.com>
11 Jul 2018,
to Kochurani, bcc: me

Many thanks Kochurani, for writing for the first time.

While appreciating your concern for the good name of the Church I wish to ask you: who are we — you and I — to pass judgment on Jalandar bishop and why have you  not taken any similar action in the case of more serious scandals like that of Alancherry and Kadappa bishops?

 

As I see it is totally wrong to pass judgment on a case still under investigation and premature to recommend punitive action on a case still to be proved.

 

Today I am leaving for Kochi from Chicago and look forward to possible meeting with you and discussing a lot of things.  God bless you if there is a god.  James (The writer left Chicago on July 11 and reached kochi on 13th only)

 

2: Sex Abuse Letters For Your Endorsements

x
Virginia Saldanha
11 Jul 2018
to me

Dear James,

 

Kindly read the attached letters and Let me know if you would like to endorse ASAP.

 

Please do not publish till we have handed the letters to the authorities.  Will let you know when you can publish.

 

The letters are addressed to the NUNCIO and Cardinal Oswald Gracias asking for the removal of the Bishop of Jalandhar since there is an accusation brought against him.  Today there is another report of abuse case brought against the Syro Malankara Church which is under CBCI.

 

The Pope has removed Cardinals and Bishops who had accusations brought against them even if they were not found guilty.  It is to demonstrate the will of the Church to be open, transparent and having zero tolerance in these matters.

Warm regards, Virginia, 2 Attachments

 

 

1.

  1. The Most Reverend Giambattista Diquattro Apostolic Nuncio to India Apoltolic Nunciature, 50-C Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021, nuntius@apoltolicnunciatureindia.com
  2. Your Excellency, Sub: The Alleged Abuse of a Religious Sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese.
  3. We, the undersigned are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church and write in the context of the growing scandal and the adverse publicity the Church is receiving with regard to the handling of the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a Religious sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar diocese.
  4. We are particularly concerned about the mud-slinging going on between the Bishop and his priests on the one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other that has turned the Church into an object of ridicule for people of the entire country, thus causing a lot of harm to the Church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.

 

8.             

9.            In view of the above and now that the case has gone to the courts, we would urge you to please advise Pope Francis to relieve the bishop concerned of his pastoral responsibilities, so that the Church is seen to actually practice the ‘zero tolerance’ it professes to observe in abuse cases. With the accused bishop continuing to remain in his position as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, it will erode the faith of the people in the credibility of the Church to implement its policy of zero tolerance and act justly in abuse matters. We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the Church and give the leadership courage to do what is right in the cause of justice to women in the Church. Yours sincerely,(No one has undersigned this either. Jk)

10.          

2.

To, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Pope Francis’ Advisory Committee Member, President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), Archbishops’ House, Mumbai.

 

Dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias,

Sub: The Alleged Abuse of a Religious Sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese.

 

We, the undersigned are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church and write in the context of the growing scandal and the adverse publicity the Church is receiving with regard to the handling of the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a Religious sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar diocese .

 

We are particularly concerned about the mud-slinging going on between the Bishop and his priests on the one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other that has turned the Church into an object of ridicule for people of the entire country, thus causing a lot of harm to the Church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.

 

In view of the above and now that the case has gone to the courts, we urge you to please advise Pope Francis to relieve the bishop concerned of his pastoral responsibilities, so that the Church is seen to actually practice the ‘zero tolerance’ it professes to observe in abuse cases. With the accused bishop continuing to remain in his position as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, it will continue to erode the faith of the people in the credibility of the Church to implement its policy of zero tolerance and act justly in abuse matters.

 

We also request you to advise the Bishops of India to publicise and create adequate awareness about the CBCI Guidelines to deal with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, 2017, and institute the structures and procedures described therein without further delay. To preach justice the Church must be seen to practice justice (Synod of Bishops, 1971). Sadly the representations made by the Religious sister to the Bishops have brought no response, raising issues about the credibility of the CBCI policy. We would like to draw your attention to our letter addressed to the earlier President of the CBCI on 22nd March, 2017 and request you to kindly take action on the points made therein and reiterated below.

 

To this end kindly ensure that: 1. Every diocese respects and complies with the State laws with regard to addressing abuse cases of minors and sexual harassment of women in the Church. 2. The policy to prevent and deal with Sexual Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable Adults, as well as the Policy to prevent and deal with the Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace are disseminated to all the faithful and stake holders in Church and Church institutions so that they can be effectively implemented. 3. The required structures are set up within every diocese of the Church in India to address cases of sexual abuse and to prevent repeat bungling and criminal activity, not to speak of untold damage to the reputation of the Church and the faith of its people. The contact details of persons responsible to receive complaints should also be publicised prominently.

 

4. Greater attention is paid to the choice of candidates for the priesthood as well as to their formation in the seminary. This must include conscientization with regard to patriarchal attitudes that promote condescension and even aggression towards those considered “inferior”, and clericalism that is perceived to place the ordained outside civil law and permits lack of accountability and transparency. At its root, sexual abuse is ultimately not about sexuality or celibacy, but about the gross misuse of the disproportionate power assigned to clergy.

 

5. Catholic Church leadership in India does not take a silent or indifferent stand when a case is reported because it apparently protects the perpetrator. When a man who represents God to people, is a sexual offender, faith in the God he represents is shaken to the core. To the physical, mental and psychological trauma of the victim is added spiritual trauma. Not just the victim, but the entire family, the faith community and all those involved in the fight for justice are affected, and all need spiritual healing. We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the Church and give the CBCI the courage to do what is right in the cause of justice for women in the Church. Pope Francis has shown the way by holding accused Bishops accountable even at risk to the reputation of the Church. We look to our bishops to follow his example. Yours sincerely (No one has undersigned this either. Immediately the editor replied as below, Jk)

 

Hello Virginia,

I am sending you the same reply to the same letter I receivied

from Kochurani (Then I(jk) sent same letter I sent to Kochurani  and  added the following:

 

I am simply shocked to see you all get shocked and want to hang the bishop who allegedly raped a nun, Worse things happened before also,   starting with the murder of Abaya 26 years ago and many other cases later. Suddenly all of you “saintly clowns” start judging and condemning and want my support to execute someone who is to be still proved guilty. I wonder with which part of the body you all think. Pardon me for being brutal in my response. You don’t have my support at all, until the bishop is proved guilty.

Sorry I am packing up my laptop to go to Kochi. james

 

Note: To promote transparency about the back ground to the petition already published in CCV, all the information I received and know of is published herewith for  the benefit of the laity and the general public   since in none of the letters  names of any of the progressive group for the sake of transparency and credibility, is given or printed. So we can’t also vounch for the leader/s who wrote it. jk, editor ccv.

t

Editor back in Kochi

 

The CCV editor wrote those two letters before he left Chicago for Kochi, on july 11th and on reaching Kochi on July 13th and  checking the laptop he found the petition of the women’s  group in ‘Matters India’ reproduced in CCV and commented upon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Church in India | Leave a comment

Seal of Confession Broken by Catholic Priests

The confessional has been used by 4/5 priests as a hunting ground to prey on a woman . The womans confession has been used to blackmail her and the priests took sexual favours from her in order to keep silent.

What a shame that persons who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ have resorted to this type of behaviour.

Who will have faith in confessions if the seal of the confessional is broken?

What is even more shameful is the cover up by the hierarchy.

Not a single Church owned newspaper will publish these news.

Shame , Shame and more Shame on the protectors of criminals.

Read the articles attached below

Mumbailaity

  1. 5 Kerala Priests sexually exploit a married woman– …

    chennaionline.com/…keralapriestssexuallyexploitwoman-suspended

    A church in Kerala suspended five priests over allegations that they blackmailed and sexually exploited a married woman. The woman’s husband, from Thiruvalla in Kottayam district, complained to the Malankara Orthodox Church. He alleged his wife’s confession to one of the priests, supposed to be kept a secret under church laws, was …

  2. 4 Kerala Priests Charged With Rape in Church Sexual

    1 day ago · Thiruvananthapuram: Four of the five priests who allegedly sexually exploited a woman after threatening to make her confession public have been charged with rape and outraging the modesty of a woman.

  3. Kerala: Four priests booked for sexual abuse | The …

    indianexpress.com › India

    1 day ago · Kerala: Four priests booked for sexual abuse; Kerala: Four priests booked for sexual abuse … who went on to become a priest. He also sexually exploited her after threatening to disclose the earlier affairs, … counselling due to the trauma, she has said. Malankara Church priests’ trustee Fr M O John said the allegation that priests

  4. 5 Kerala priests suspended after ‘secret confessions’ used to sexually

    5 Kerala Christian priests suspended after ‘secret confessions’ used to sexually exploit, blackmail woman – Shocking

  5. Crime branch to probe sexual assault charges against Kerala priests

    https://http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/crime-branch-to-probe…

    Crime branch to probe sexual assault charges against Kerala priests … Upon being confronted, the woman broke down and confessed that she was being blackmailed and sexually exploited by the priests. Although the issue was initially confined to the diocesan level, an audio clip released by the husband surfaced on the social media …

  6. Priests exploit confession to rape believer, church probes

    http://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/priestsexploit-confession-to…

    Rocked by a scandal related to the alleged blackmailing and sexual abuse of a woman by five priests, who have been placed under suspension from officiating priestly duties, Kerala’s

  7. 5 Kerala priests suspended after ‘secret confessions’ used to sexually

    5 Kerala priests suspended after ‘secret confessions’ used to sexually exploit, blackmail woman: Tuesday, 26 June 2018 (3 days ago) A Malankara Orthodox Church in Kerala has suspended five priests after a man complained that his wife was sexually abused by them, news agency ANI reported Tuesday morning.

  8. 5 Kerala priests caught for sexually exploiting woman

    gulfnews.com › News › Asia › India

    Kottayam: Five Kerala priests of the Kottayam-headquartered Malankara Orthodox Church have been suspended over allegations of sexually exploiting a woman from the same church, an official said.

  9. After Sexual Abuse Allegations Against 5 Kerala Priests

    http://www.india.com/news/india/after-sexualkeralapriests-kottayam-nun…

    Kottayam (Kerala), June 30: Days after five Kerala priests were accused of sexually assaulting and blackmailing a woman, a nun on Saturday filed a complaint alleging that she was sexually abused by a bishop.

  10. Sex for silence: 5 Kerala priests accused of sexually exploiting woman

    https://http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/sex-for-silence-5-kerala

    29-06-2018 · The Crime Branch will now investigate allegations of sexual assault against at least five priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Kerala, news agency ANI has reported.

Posted in Silenced Voice | Leave a comment

A CHILE EXPERIMENT IN INDIA- DR. JAMES KOTTOOR

 

A Chile experiment in India?

To Cleanse  Indian Church

of sexual  & financial Rot?

  1. james kottoor

Given below is a  report from ‘Horses Mouth’ (from Inside the Vatican) and therefore most reliable. This is CCV comment on it. The report  is about the concluding part of the clerical sex abuse going on  for too long in Chile. The Pope had invited all Chile’s bishops – 34 (31 worfking and 3 retired), now in Rome. The meeting will last for three days starting on Sunday May13–15.

 

What could be the outcome of that meet? Action, action and action after months of talk? Or Forgive 70 times 7? Voluntary resignation by the key bishop accused or suspension by Pope? Bishop Barros, the eye in the storm had offered resignation more than once.

 

“We all know very well that the removal or dismissal of a bishop depends on the Pope, it would be illogical for us to make any comment on a faculty pertinent solely to the Holy Father”, said one bishop, which could well be the general attitude of the whole crowd. In any case Francis Pappa is leading the whole process started three months ago, remotely from 2011, to its logical conclusion.

 

 The fact is that the Pope is not targeting just the episcopate of Chile but the whole People of God (faithful) who make up 90% of the Church in Chile who want to see justice being meted out through deeds, not words alone.

 

In India?

     What could be its application for Episcopates in other countries across the world, especially for India where both sexual and financial abuses  were and are going on for long? To the credit of USA it must be said, it was the first country to report sexual abuse cases to civil authorities  and action has been taken –many still going – against dioceses and clergy men.

 

In india such cases are seldom discussed in public either in the secular or religious press. But the one that has hit international headlines is the Ernakulam land-sale scandal with Cardinal Alencherry in the eye of the storm. It is still going on for the last four months in the civil court, with new allegation of church property sold or transferred to the cardinal’s kith and kin(see report  in today’s Maters India).

 

Similarly there are sexual abuse cases as old as  “Sr.Abhaya” case in Kottayam and similar ones pending. In the context of such happenings, what the lay people who make us 90 % of the faithful as in Chile, would wish to see is that Pope Francis take a similar initiative to get the whole Indian Episcopate, divided under three Rites, Latin, Syromalabar and Syromalankara, to come together with the Pope guiding, to do some soul searching to take practical steps to wipe out both sexual and financial corruption.

 

Least transparent & most silent

While the Chile episcopate is made up of some 34 bishops, the Indian Episcopate has a strength of over 100 bishops and is one of the largest bishops’ conferences in the world. As far as transparency is concerned, it is perhaps one of the least transparent and most silent in dealing with clerical sexual abuse cases, while the faithful are becoming more and more vocal in discussing such issues.

 

One can only hope and pray that such corrective steps  would be taken, by Bishops’ conferences aroune the world, and specially in India, in the nearest future for the  good of the whole faithful who are left confused like sheep without enlightened shepherds to guide and lead. What is important is: “Delenda est Carthago” (Carthage must be destroyed), sexual and financial corruption in the Church in India and in all countries, must be wiped out. On this issue there can’t be two opinions. james kottoor, editor ccv.

 

Please read below the two reports

from the Vatican Insider

 

Abuse in Chile, what to expect

 After the Pope-bishops’ meeting?

Iacopo Scaramuzzi & Andrea Tornelli, in Vatican Insider(La Stampa),May 14, 2018

 

What will change after Francis’ talks with the Chilean pastors? The immediate

 renunciation of some bishop and a soon renewal within the hierarchies?

The two bishops Luis Fernando Ramos Perez and Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz during the conference in Rome on the meeting of the Chilean episcopate with the Pope

 

VATICAN CITY: The 34 Chilean bishops that the Pope has sum-

moned to the Vatican to face the pedophilia scandal will have the first of a series of meetings with Francis tomorrow afternoon. They are eager to “listen” to the Argentine Pontiff with an attitude of “pain and shame” for the crimes committed against minors and adults. In a press conference organized by the Chilean Bishops’ Conference on the eve of the event, two bishops assured that they did not know whether the Pope would have some bishops resign or about other measures he intended to take, but they were preparing for a period of “synodal” discernment with the Bishop of Rome that might last more than “two or three days”.

 

“The Pope invited all the bishops. We came from Chile in 34, 31 operative and 3 retired”, Monsignor Fernando Ramos Pérez, one of the seven auxiliary bishops of Santiago, explained in the meeting with the press at the premises of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication. “Our attitude is above all of pain and shamepain because there are victims who have suffered from the abuses and shame because these abuses have occurred in an ecclesial environment where they should never happen.

 

“Secondly, we want to listen to the Holy Father, and to Msgr. Scicluna’s own conclusions, we want to listen to what the Holy Father intends to tell us with the utmost availability. And, thirdly, we are preparing ourselves for the meeting with an attitude of openness to discernment together with the Holy Father, personal and communal discernment, to achieve, as the Pope said, a broad synodal process, a process of discernment and listening that gives us profound hope. We hope that this meeting will enable us to address these serious issues with the utmost willingness and spirit of change and renewal”.

 

At the moment, Monsignor Ramos added “we have received from the Holy See indications that there will be “several” group meetings with the Pope in the next days, the first meeting will be held on Sunday, Tuesday 15, in the early hours of the afternoon, in the hall of the Paul VI classroom,” the bishop said. “There is currently no Eucharist planned in Casa Santa Marta and we don’t know whether there will be one-to-one meetings”. A process of synodal discernment, he said, “takes a certain time, and I don’t think two or three days will do it”. We don’t have any further detail regarding “the organisation of these days”.

 

The two bishops explained that they were not aware if some bishops had arrived in Rome with a pre-signed letter of resignation nor if the Pope would have some heads roll: “We do not know, we have not met the Pope yet “, said Msgr. Ramos, “many scenarios are possible, of course we want to listen to the Pope and cooperate to repair the abuses”. It is not excluded, as far as the fate of individual bishops is concerned, that the Pope will want to hold personal meetings. As for the apostolic nuncio to Chile, Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, “he returned to Chile after having been to Italy for personal reasons”, but “he did not give the Chilean bishops any indications about their journey to Rome nor about the meeting with the Pope”. 

 

As for Juan Barros, the bishop of Osorno harshly criticized by the victims of the paedophile priest Fernando Karadima, the bishop of San Bernardo, Monsignor Juan Ignacio Gonzalez, who in the past had defended him, explained that he has actually been close to him in the recent past: “He is a brother, wounded, alone, and abandoned, I stood by him as an act of mercy. It is not up to me to judge him. I have not been in contact with him for two or three weeks,” said the prelate, who then did not further comment the presence of Jesuit German Arana who allegedly came to Rome with Barros.

 

Monsignor Gonzalez did not make any predictions over Cardinal Francisco Errazuriz, whom the victims of Father Karadima have harshly accused of covering up for his crimes: “When you meet the victims, you understand their reaction very well, even the harsh words”, he said. “We all know very well that the removal or dismissal of a bishop depends on the Pope, it would be illogical for us to make any comment on a faculty pertinent solely to the Holy Father”. In general, “it may be that the holy father has more information than we do, many send information to the Holy See,” said Gonzalez, who reiterated “we want to listen to the Pope”.

 

Commenting on the Pope’s request for forgiveness, and his subsequent meeting with the victims, Monsignor Ramos quoted the Gospel, “We must ask forgiveness 70 times 7. I believe that this is our great moral imperative. The important thing is that the request for forgiveness is really mending. For the auxiliary bishop, “it is not important whether we are humiliated or not,” he said in response to a question, “what matters is to activate whatever necessary, as Church, at the service of all and especially of the victims. We must cooperate in reparation.

 

We believe that it is a very important moment for the Church, which is made not only of bishops, priests, religious men and women but for its 90% by the people of God of whom we pastors are at the service. This is a complex moment, but it is also a moment that offers us the opportunity of great renewal”. For Ramos, “learning that there has been abuse in one of our communities is shocking. An abuse is unacceptable, intolerable, unjustifiable from every point of view, yet in the past we had neither the ability nor the knowledge to know what a victim experiences, it takes many years for them to decide to talk about it, there is an asymmetrical relationship and abuse of power: these are all things that we have discovered, we are in the process of discovering, and we want to move forward”.

 

Monsignor Gonzalez, for his part, claimed that the Chilean Bishops’ Conference has had since 2011 a commission for the prevention of abuse, of which he is a member, that has already developed various measures, but stressed that “we must make progress in some areas”. The bishop explained that some guidelines are inspired by Benedict XVI’s letter to the Irish Catholics, “but now we have come to listen to Peter”, namely Pope Francis, who “is an example to us” for having admitted errors, apologized and met with the victims. The “central point”, for Monsignor Gonzalez, are “the victims”: “We must walk on the path towards reparation for the victims, something we have already attempted, perhaps we have not been able to do it in the best way, but we must do it again: we will commit ourselves with humility, hope, following the teaching of Jesus”. For the prelate, however, “experience teaches us that the victims are always right. I don’t know the case of Karadima, my committee has been working since 2011, but you always have to give credit to the victims”. 

 

The two bishops have not said who is, in their opinion, to have misinformed the Pope on the situation of abuses in the Chilean Church. “We don’t even know what information he had received,” Ramos said. As for the letter revealed by the Associated Press in which some years ago the Pope dismissed the hypothesis of having the bishops who had been students of Karadima resign, “we never felt betrayed by the Holy Father”, Monsignor Ramos replied, “but we do not know how the facts evolved, what happened before, what actually happened, what information he received, and therefore we cannot say much”.

 

Finally, with regard to the hypothesis of financial compensation for the victims, “as Church – Monsignor Ramos said – we want to help heal a very deep and very painful wound and we are willing to look for the form that really helps heal the pain”. In some cases in the past, Gonzalez said, the victims have already “received economic compensation”.

 

The following is another report from Vatican insidser by Andrea Tornelli

 

 

 

Pope Franacis  had written this down in the letter sent on 8 April to the bishops of Chile, when he humbly requested their “collaboration and assistance in discerning the short, mid and long-term measures that must be adopted to re-establish ecclesial communion in Chile, with the goal of repairing as much as possible the scandal and re-establishing justice.”

 

And after the prolonged meetings in Santa Marta with the three victims of Father Fernando Karadima, and the press conference during which Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andrés Murillo called for “exemplary actions” so that the words of forgiveness would not “be in vain”, it is foreseeable that some decisions will arrive very soon.

 

The Holy See announced that at the end of the three days of talks with more than thirty Chilean bishops, from 15 to 17 May, there will be no statements by the Pontiff. But this does not exclude statements by the bishops themselves, just as obviously it does not exclude that Aannounced.

 

So, what to expect? The growing expectation, and the deterioration of the situation in Chile for all the clergymen close to the serial pedophile Karadima, suggest that a first papal decision may concern the four bishops belonging to Karadima’s brood, formed in his priestly union, of about fifty priests, many of whom today are in positions of responsibility. The bishops are Juan Barros Madrid, Bishop of Osorno, Horacio Valenzuela, Bishop of Talca, and Tomislav Koljatic, Bishop of Linares.

 

To these three must be added the auxiliary of Santiago Andrés Arteaga, who is seriously ill. All belonged to the priestly brotherhood of Karadima. All four allegedly presented their renunciation to the Pope before coming to Rome. As we know, Barros had already resigned twice before: yet his renunciations had always been rejected by Pope Bergoglio.

 

It is plausible that this time the willingness to step aside will be readily accepted. But the four closest to Karadima are not the only ones. There are several other bishops who have already passed the canonical age and have extended their service. Among these is the Cardinal Archbishop of Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello. Within a few months he could also be replaced, along with others over the age of seventy-five. Certainly, also the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, who has decided to retire, will be replaced shortly.  

 

A separate discourse is that concerning Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, Emeritus of Santiago, member of the C9, the council that helps the Pope in the reform of the Curia, accused by the victims of having covered up Karima’s crimes. He could soon leave the C9 due to his age as he is already 84 years old. After saying at first that he would not have come to Rome “for personal reasons” and that he had left a report of 14 folders on the Karadima case in the hands of the Pope, Errazuriz changed his mind and embarked on a flight to Rome.

 

 He, too, will be present along with the other bishops. With next June meeting, and the presentation of the draft for the new apostolic constitution concerning the reform of the Roman Curia, part of the C9 work will conclude . Francis could take thus the opportunity to renew it, replacing some of its members, including Errazuriz. 

 

We should also expect that the prayers and the penitential attitude of the Chilean Church will continue, and that the same Episcopal Conference, in order to avoid similar situations, will give more precise and effective guidelines on how to act in the face of complaints and reports, finally meeting the victims and showing them the closeness that Francis personally witnessed by receiving clerical sex abuse survivors in Santa Marta and having a long discussion with them.

However, the problem of misinformation remains in the background. Who did wrong? Who failed to adequately inform the Pontiff and led him to make mistakes that today Francis acknowledges and for which he has asked forgiveness? There are Chilean bishops, even of recent nomination, who have publicly declared that they want to know who is responsible.

 

In the certainly not bland nor indulgent communiqué released by the Holy See to announce the meetings with the Pope, explicit reference is made to the need to “discern together, in the presence of God, the responsibility of all, and of each one, for these devastating wounds” caused by sexual and power abuse occurred in the country, and “study changes to study suitable and long-lasting changes that can “prevent the repetition of these always reprehensible acts.”

 

Published May16/18, in CCV, Iindia;

Reactions:

 

 

Isaac Gomes ·

Executive Secretary at A.F.Ferguson & Co.

Dr Kottoor’s observation that the Indian episcopate is among the least transparent and most silent in dealing with sexual abuse cases, is because the Indian Church Hierarchy constantly drums from the pulpit the precept, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” without actually practising it!

  • See no Evil means the Bishops want their flock to be blind – not to see the wrong-doings (financial mismanagement / defalcation and sexual abuse) of the Church Hierarchy. (2) Hear no Evil means the Laity should not pay heed to its slip ups in its craze for money and power and (3) Speak no Evil means to be mute and meek and not discuss these (like taking Cardinal Alencherry to court for his Ernakulam land deal scam).

    Dr Kottoor’s observation that the Catholic lay people in India are becoming “more and more vocal in discussing such issues” is partially correct. Though the Laity constitutes ninety-nine percent of the Catholic Church (as was mentioned on 28th February 2018 by Bishop Stephen Lepcha -Chairman and Fr. Philip Kattakayam National Secretary for Laity Commission, at the Regional Laity Commission Convention at Sanjibani Pastoral Centre, Krishnanagar, West Bengal), it still prefers to be in a state of bliss code-named “Sleeping Giant” and is not alive to the murky goings-on in the Church. This is either due to its blind faith in the clergy or its inertia to make the church accountable in temporal matters. The Laity forgets that the Indian Church or for that matter the Universal Church, survives on the charity/donations of the Laity meant to be used for the welfare of the needy. Also many Lay Leaders are hand in gloves with the Church Hierarchy. They allow themselves to be used like rubber stamps to grab catering (liquor included), real estate, foreign exchange and other contracts from the Church. This is why they are on all important church committees and hold on to their posts through rotational basis. The Church finds it more convenient to deal with known devils than those who call a spade a spade. Here let me clarify, all priests and bishops are not tainted. A few good men and women do exist but they are outnumbered and silenced under the pain of ignominous transfers for going against their vows of obedience. Blind OBEDIENCE is the key word. But rules are meant to be bent or circumvented by the smart or the priviledged ones!

  • That the Church in India is seeped in corruption is evident from the fact that out of the 174 dioceses (of which 132 are Latin Church, 31 are Syro-Malabar, and 11 are Syro-Malankara), most DO NOT HAVE Parish Finance Committees (PFCs). In spite of repeated reminders and write-ups in various journals, the local bishops including the CBCI, are sleeping on the implementation in each parish. The parish priests show scant respect for the deadlines set, if any, by the respective bishops, for implementation of PFCs. NO OFFICIAL STATISTICS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE CBCI WEBSITE on how many parishes have PFCs. The Archdiocese of Calcutta is a classic example of this failure/inertia.
  • Also to show the world that everything is hunky-dory, hardly any Diocese or parish has a CRISIS MANAGEMENT CELL to take care of: (1) Smoldering Crises (which build up without being attended to and may erupt like a volcano any time), (2) Aftermath of crisis and (3) Recovery after a crisis.
  • The irony is the Indian Church hierarchy knows that the Vatican is 5920 kilometres away from New Delhi. It knows very well that it is very difficult for the Pope to keep a tab on it in the absence of systemic checks and balances as in done by corporates through monthly/quarterly MIS to Head Office. The Papal Nuncio at New Delhi is just a figurehead. He,like most bishops, does not even acknowledge communications from members of the Laity.

    The Church’s stand is: Spread only the “Good News.” So many good deeds worth reporting are being done by the Church. So why look for bad news, even if it is the Truth like financial impropriety, land scam or sexual abuse? Why publicise a truth which rattles up our community and does not help build it? Why should the Laity tax its brains? It should just Pay, Pray and Obey! Isaac Gomes, Kolkattsa

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George Nedumparambil ·

Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Thevara

An excellent presentation!

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George Nedumparambil ·

Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Thevara

What can the Pope do to prevent sexual abuses among priests? Precious little other than probably issuing a papal letter. The root cause is high testorone levels of some among the clergy. The priests can’t be blamed for it as they are simply victims of nature, a body function. So, it seems the priests have come to some kind of an informal understanding among themselves which essentially amounts to looking the other way when sexual escapade of one priest get noticed by the other. This ‘you scratch my back and I will yours ensures that rarely do abuses enter public domain. Therefore, the Pope may consider making celibacy optional.Also when victim is minor report to law enforcement officers.

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John Vigilius ·

Fujaira, Al Fujayrah, United Arab Emirates

This is the most appropriate thing to do for Pope Francis and would do a lot of good to the Church in India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cardinal Alancherry land deal loss … Dr. James Kottoor

What’s on Your mind? Asks face book

 

Cover story on cardinal

Alancherry land deal loss

 

                            http://almayasabdam.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/James-Kottor.jpgdr. james kottoor

 

                     What follows is what I happened to write on Face Book on December 30th night after seeing the night TV edition of the “cover story” on Saturdays. 

 

                     What is on your mind? Asks face book. It is 10 pm Saturday and I just finished seeing the Cover story on TV at 9.30 pm. It was all about Cardinal Alancherry and all the uproar  by around 300 Ernakulam priests who met on Dec. 21 against land deal which allegedly caused crores of loss and their plan to write to Pope before 31st to remove the cardinal from the post, according to reports in Times of India, but not in  any Malayalam dailies.

 

                   The commentator  said in substance.  Jesus promised to build his church on Peter the rock his representative, but the church in Kerala builds it on a firmer ROCK, money-power, than on Jesus. This alone is the cause of the great downfall from the height of moral principles they preach. Those up in arms promised to send a   letter to Pope  before Dec.31st to remove the Cardinal. Much more  details are in Times of India, for the last three days.

        “News 10 TV is all about this land deal and Pope,” rings up some one  from Chennai. So it seems the whole of concerned Christians are watching it and learning about it even when the Church authorities reportedly forbad priests not to discuss it in public, to keep the scandal as secrete as possible. Alas, when are they going to learn that the forbidden fruit is the most sought after thing, even from the Garden of Eden?

 

           Chasing Money power and empire building through religious colonization? Is it not what my friend Alancherry did when he went in a procession sporting a garland of Rupee Notes, which the CCV published long ago. Is it not what CCV has been writing regularly to persuade, Church men not to worship the golden calf of Money Power?

           There is no transparency or dialogue even between the three bishops in Ernakulam.  That is what Times of India report says, quoting Bishop Edayanthrath that even he did not know about the secrete Land deal. Oh Tempora oh mores! In what times are we living? Corruption of the best turns out to  be the worst! Or are we to day: “Father forgive him for he knew not what he was doing.” I am of the view that he did it out of crass ignorance! Culpable or not, you judge, I can’t!

       These are some of the many facts that forced me to write that the Cardinal should imitate Pope Benedict and go. Now that there is an uproar for it, it may wiser that he resigns on his own rather than forced to do it.   

          Of course I am unable to believe that he is that money crazy or power crazy. Bad advice from trusted friends must have forced him to do the wrong, thinking it was right. I feel terribly sorry for him, for what is happening in Ernakulam in the Syromalabar Church. Unfortunately he happens to be also   the Supreme head of the Syromalabar Church!

          Is he going to present his  Church as a Big Zero before the whole world? God forbid, let not that happen, I pray, although I am not aligned to any Church for that matter, fear of betraying JESUS! It is my belief that none of the   organized churches can bear witness to Jesus, since they all end up like Pharisee praying in the temple. Hence my commitment to be the last in the line of the CATLE CLASS of Jesus.

          Jesus had promised, that didn’t come to bring peace but war, the sword that cuts to hurt and divide. It looks the second part of his promise is being fulfilled, from Pope Francis in Rome to Cardinal Alancherry in Ernakulam. Your role and mine is not to stand and watch as mute spectators but join the side of TRUTH which  alone can lead us to light and peace through the New Year!  Delanda est Carthago! (Carthage must be destroyed) Truth is mighty and is sure to win.

            Let TRUTH grow into a mighty Mango tree and produce delicious mangoes called by various names. Only we have to make sure that we cultivate TRUTH that sweeten hearts, not embitters minds!

                 Times of India(TOI) Headlines

           TOI of Dec.27, 28, and 29 reports on the Ernakulam Church’s land mismanagement. TOI 27 headlines reads: “ Church land row: Cardinal abstains from Xmas mass. Dec.28: “Priests seek cardinal’s removal for land deal, to write to Pope,” and “Council of priests restricts functioning of Vicar General.”

             TOI 29: “Land deal a moral crisis for Church”, and “Bishop sees a moral root to Crisis.” Quoting Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath’s letter to priests,  TOI writes: The land deal “has landed the  Archdiocese not just in financial crisis, but in a serious ethical crisis as well… the auxiliary bishops were unaware of the purchase of land in Kothamangalam and Idukki…. the debt has now increased to RS. 84 crore.”

 

                  On Dec.21st there was an extraordinary meeting of Ernakulam priests and according to TOI report  over 300 priests attended. This is the first time that Christmas celebrations in the Cathedral was conducted by the parish priest and not  the cardinal, who for the purpose of news was reported sick. What happened in Ernakulam is a howling example of what happens when top Church officials adamantly say  NO to both Transparency and Dialogue in the Church which they call “FAMILY” for display or advertising purpose only.

                           ********************************

 

 

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Wish you A Happy or Sorry Christmas? dr. james kottoor

 

Christmas is YOU!
Read this beauty of Pope Francis
“Christmas is usually a noisy party: we could use a bit of silence, to hear the voice of love.
“Christmas is you: when you decide to be born again each day and let God into your soul.
The Christmas Pine is you, when you resist vigorous winds and difficulties of life.
The Christmas decorations are you, when your virtues are colors that adorn your life.
The Christmas bell is you, when you call, gather and seek to unite.
You are also a Christmas Light, when you illuminate with your life, the path of others with kindness, patience, joy and generosity.
The Christmas angels are you when you sing to the world a message of Peace, Justice and Love.
The Christmas star is you, when you lead some one to meet the Lord.
You are also the wise men, when you give the best you have, no matter who.
Christmas music is you, when you conquer the harmony within you.
The Christmas gift is you, when you are truly, friend and brother of every human being.
The Christmas Card is you, when kindness is written in your hands.
The Christmas greeting is you, when you forgive and reestablish peace, even when you suffer.
The Christmas dinner is you, when you give bread and hope to the poor man who is by your side.
You are, yes, Christmas night, when humble and conscious, you receive in the silence of the night the savior of the world without noise or great celebrations; you are a smile of trust and tenderness, in the inner peace of perennial Christmas, that establishes the kingdom within you.
A very merry Christmas for all those who look like Christmas. Pope Francis.

Wish you A Happy or Sorry Christmas?
dr. james kottoor
When the world’s affordable, comfortable class, they are very few, rejoice and revel in a sea of affluence and merry go round of a throw away culture, the vast majority of the poor of Yahweh, the Lazar ruses of this world are asked and advised to stay spiritually detached from the necessities they don’t and can’t posses!

What are they? Who lack a roof over their head, food and clothing, a job to meet daily needs, lack of humane helpful company to replace the jungle surroundings of animals like cows, goats and donkeys as in a Christmas crib.
Then comes the exhortation not to succumb to sadness and despair about the hopeless yearning for the necessities of daily living they lack, but to stay spiritually detached to rejoice like the noisy crowd, over what they posses and consume, but denied to the rest.

Is this not the harsh reality of Jesus’ birth in a cattle shed, apparently to give his heavenly (or earthly?) gifts of peace, joy, love and blessings for the dawn of abundance, instead of a paradoxical Cattle Class growing by leaps and bounds ahead of the comfortable class in numbers?
Optimism and pessimism are both taboo rationally. What about realism we all are forced to grapple with daily? Who will come to our aid to get us out of this grinding pain and misery, confusion and dilemma?
We are just ‘Know nothings’ waiting for enlightenment wondering where to turn! Come Lord, come, if you are still a live Lord above, below, around or within us, we pray! We too want to join the chorus singing heard around: Happy Christmas, happy New Year!
Only disappoint us not with stories of your triumph over a cross! We are already hung up on a cross of life, crowned with thorns surrounded by a Trump in US, May in England, Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and Modi in India! Bless them all, also us LORD!

What’s Christmas?
It’s Self-emptying, Highest
Becoming the Lowest!
(the cattle class!)

dr. james kottoor
“His (Jesus’) state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave and became as men are, he was humbler yet, even accepting death, death on a cross.” (Phil. 2,7)

Llisten more from Apostle Paul: “If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade you all,…then be united in your convictions and love, with a common purpose and common mind….There must be no competition among you, no conceit, but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interest first but everybody thinks of the other people’s interest instead.” (Phi.2, 1-5)
This is what ought to constitute the essence of anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus or calls himself/herself a ‘Christian’. This name was first used in Antioch many years after Jesus’ death, but never during Jesus’ life. With the advent of thousands of churches in the middle ages the original group was called ‘Catholic’ and the rest Christian. Thus the name ‘Catholic ’which aught to mean universal actually became ‘Ghetto’. Why?

Ghetto Catholics?
The original Christian community usurped that name, to distinguish itself after many groups rebelled and broke away especially with the historic Lutheran Schism. In effect what JESUS meant for all, his followers made it particular, each organizer assuming a particular name. Result? Today there are thousands of organized Churches, starting with names of the organizers. Hence also the hue and cry that ‘Organized Religions’ meant for organizers should end.

Slavish service: Hall mark
To come back to the main theme we started with; ‘What is Christmas and what it means to be a follower of Jesus, the simple answer is; All those who follow the life and teachings of Jesus in word and deed should do the self-emptying to become the least, a ‘slave’ to serve humbly those most in need.

If all have to have that humble mentality of a ‘Slave’ to serve those most in need, where is place for inequality; where is room for master and servant; where is place for a higher and lower of class distinctions of a Hindu caste system; where is any room for a hierarchical class system that starts with the laity on the ground and goes up step by step – religious, clerics/priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and the Pope at the top of the ladder – all of which brooks no breaking?

Outstanding Exceptions
Of course our present Pope who places himself one step below the laity to deserve the title: “Servant of servants” is a towering exception, frowned upon and fought against by many power hungry top personalities in the hierarchy, who want to shine like peacocks in appearance and dominate others like a tiger or lion in the jungles.

The patron saints of these crooked canvassers were already among the 12 apostles of Jesus: James and John who tried in vain to sit on the right and left as Prime Ministers in his kingdom. They used their mother to plead with Jesus to grant them that coveted honor. This type of canvassing is being done even today under the reign of Francis which he stoutly opposes and therefore has become a Bate Noire, an arch enemy of many aspiring bishops and cardinals.
Saint rebuking Pope
There were also Popes with such craze for pomp and power. Listen to what St. Bernard said to such a pope Eugenius III (pope from 1145-1153) who was his subordinate before: “When the pope, clad in silk, covered with gold and jewels, rides out on his white horse, escorted by soldiers and servants, he looks more like Constantine’s successor than St Peter’s”. That was witnessing par excellence to the spirit of Jesus, which we are discussing here.

It was precisely to correct this wrong lifestyle and outlook that Pope John XXIII called the Vatican II: “to sweep clean the dust of the empire accumulated on the throne of Peter, ever since the time of Constantine” and what Francis does one better by saying: “I am a sinner!”. Much before him St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo described himself: “For you I am a Bishop, but with you I am a Christian” to emphasis his equality with all followers of Jesus who emptied himself to serve as “Emmanuel”, God with us. Only the really exalted can come down and be really one “with us” in every respect.

Come down to Cattle Class!
So the message of Christmas is what Jesus told Zacheus: “Come down from the tree top if I have to sup with you.” He repeats the same call to every one in the hierarchical ladder trying to climb higher and higher by hook or crook, and to the laity in the secular domain, presenting themselves as ‘intellectuals’ or canvassing for Chevalier-type of positions. Living examples are those who are just bishops but calling and presenting themselves as Archbishops, pretending themselves, on one pretext or other, to be much more than what they really are.

Is this not the same message that the “self-emptying of Jesus in a cattle shed, borne there because there was no room for Him in the palaces of the comfortable class, tells us? Shouldn’t all those who consider him as lord, master, teacher, guide and ‘Son of Man’, the ideal human for all humans, think seriously and change their lifestyle to become humbler and more credible? That is precisely why we the CCV group call ourselves the CATTLE CLASS to make a small beginning at least in this direction, for two reasons:

Two aspects of cattle class
First: Jesus self-emptied himself in a Cattle shed. He could not have lowered himself further. He thus became one with the wretched lot of humanity – like the haggard looking migrants who trudge the dusty, dirty roads, shot at and tortured or drowned in sea or the helpless women folk, young and old raped and brutally murdered for no valid reason.

Second: Cattle class has come to become synonymous with the lowest, despised rung in society, the poor, abandoned, untouchables, outcastes and uncared for of which no one wants to be a part. Recall a typical marriage add: “Wanted, a beautiful, well educated, Suriyani girl.” While all are in the rat race for top class, followers of Jesus are called to run for the last place in the CATTLE CLASS, in the company of ‘sacred’ cows, dogs and donkeys. Any takers? At least for a trial?
Some one once said: “There was only one Christian in the whole world. He died on the cross. Literally true! Not even St. Francis, though called the second Christ. Rani Maria suffered like Jesus on the cross. Fr. Damian kissed, embraced and served the lepers. Myriad are the roles the cattle class offers each one of us to serve. What ever they be, what is vital is to have that humility and readiness to serve the least, last and needy.
To serve, not to be Served
It is variously said: “Those who stand and wait also serve”, also, “to serve the Lord is to reign” (Servire Domino regnare est). Therefore those alone who are ready to serve the poor and needy in humble surroundings have any right to celebrate or rejoice at the birth of Jesus. Wish you all that Spirit of ‘self-emptying’ during this Christmas!

*********************
Published Dec.20/2017: in CCV, Kerala; Daily News, New York;

++++++++++
Build “Peace-loving Man”
To make this burning Hell
heaven of peace on earth!
dr, james kottoor

Building “peace-loving man”,(says Fethullah Gulen, read his article below) that is, humans, man/woman, totally committed to non-violence, tolerance and dialogue, is the only sure route to lasting peace on earth.

It is tedious task — laborious and time consuming like building a huge concrete structure like the twin New York towers, brick by brick. Therefore, instantly comes also the conflicting thought – NY trade centre was felled and met the fate of the biblical “Tower of Babel”, a monument built to proclaim the greatness of the builders, to make a name for themselves, not for common good. So the staggering question, the dilemma straining in our face is: “Is it worth striving to build the ‘towering peace-loving Man, as if we have never learn any lesson from history? I leave that question to you for answering.

Implanting a ‘Wish-bone’ in humanity through public opinion is a day dream, a quick-fix like writing on ocean surface, a starting point at best! But in New York, didn’t they rebuild the New York tower? So the message could be: ‘Never give up’, but try until you succeed.

Teen-ager story
You all know the story of the teen-ager who fixed the world map torn to bits and jumbled, in no time thanks to the picture of a man behind the map. He just fixed the man behind and the tattered bits of the whole world fell in due places! That means, fixing up the “peace-loving man”(world) is the unfinished challenge facing humanity today. The question is: How? Easy like fixing up the world map?

There have been and there still are ‘peace-loving’ men around. Two towering historical figures are the Man from Galilee, known also as the carpenter of Nazareth, Son of Man, Jesus the Jew. Some say he was the only good Jew, others, he was the only good Christian who was a Jew who died on the cross! The other is Buddha, a perfect picture of peace. One was born in utter destitution, in a cattle shed the other in lap of luxury! Which means, what matters is not how one begins his life on earth, but how he crowns it.

Peace to Good willed
Now think of the followers of these two spiritual giants of history! “Glory to God in the heavens and peace on earth to men of good will” the angels sang reportedly at the birth of Jesus. Yet from the time of the Prince of Peace to this day Jerusalem remains a zone of war and blood shed, not peace. As for Buddha, just think of the heart rending stories of war and violence targeted by or against the Rohingas in Miyanmar!

Think also of India, called the light of the East, supposedly yearning for “Vasudaiva Kudumbakam” and praying for “Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu!” and the on going fight for dominance between the forces of division and unity on the basis of religion, caste, class and cultural habits like what one eats, drinks, wears and whom one marries, even when all speak of ‘development’ or ‘Acche Din’.
Emergency coming?
What about clash of ideas – use of “Neech or “Congress-Pak collusion to defeat BJP in Gujarat? What about total inaction against culprits of daylight murderers, by Cow vigilantes, of love-jihad man lynched, burned and video graphed to proclaim his valor, of the son of a top leader who amassed crores in one year and the nation’s media silenced as during emergency?

One feeble silver lining amidst the encircling gloom was the warning followed by quick suspension of Mani Sankar Ayar and Rahul’s inauguration speech portraying himself as a ‘very very humble person, not even a shadow, but at best a dummy or dwarf beside towering giants who led the destinies of the nation’ knowing well that it is going to be a race between the hare and the tortoise?

Shadow of Global scenario
What is happening in India is only a faint reflection of the global scenario led by a an incompetent world police, Trump trying to take the world to the dark ages of ‘Might is right’ and India’s Modi trying to win him over by ‘hug-diplomacy’. Globalization, already a fact, should not mean getting uprooted from one’s own moorings and culture. It should instead mean unity in diversity, complementing and enriching the universal with what is precious and particular to each country. It should turn out to be a synthasis, a happy marriage of local and global = Glocal, an enriching of the inseparable duo. Possible if building ‘peace loving man’ can be done. How to go about it?

The work is ours, we the people, you and me. The starting point is where humans are borne, our own homes where bricks of society are fashioned first, then the nursery schools to universities where humans with “good will” to collaborate and compliment, not to collide, conflict, terrorize and eliminate each other in a nuclear holocaust, are polished to perfect finish.

Not a call to evangelize
This is the timely message of “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of good will” already heard sung around the world. This is not a call to make the whole world Christian. The one at whose birth this was sung in heavens, was a Jew. He never became a Christian, but lived as a Jew. died as a Jew, (INRI Jesus the Nazarene King of the Jews) was the inscription on the cross he died. He never established any Church or organized religion. His followers were called Christians first in Antioch years after his death. In Kerala they were called “Margam Kooiyavar” (those followed his path).

He presented himself as the SON OF MAN, as the ideal Man for all peoples, places, creeds and cultures and befriended the poor, untouchable, lonely and those in utmost need. If ever he started a class of people it was the CATTLE CLASS on the road, homeless and address less. The class culture was created by man, the most comfortable class headed by Constantine, not the ‘Ever lasting Man’ (Chesterton), the “Man from Galelee” (Fulton J.Sheen). His God was his Father, (Our Father who art in Heaven} who is the Father of all humanity.

All humans were his brothers and sisters. Nay he explicitly told them to treat him as their close best friend, not master at the last supper. None of the churches follow those instructions of his. They worship him, adore him and pray to him, all forbidden by him. Who is to blame for all these, except the Churches themselves, who want a King and Emperor figure, so that they can sit at the right and left as Prime Ministers, which James and John tried and failed miserably?

So goodbye to all organized fighting religions and more strength to Sri Narayana Guru pleading for ‘One God, one Religion and One Caste, the human caste male or female’. And more power to that God (if thre is a God) the Father of all, and His heavenly peace to all people of Good will, his true followers around the world! Wish you a Happy Christmas without Christ personified as a religious head, but as a leader of a pilgrim humane humanity of Good will! james kottoor, editor, ccv.
**********************
Sample Reactons
One solitary reaction from Indian bishops: above messages were sent separately to all bishops.
Reactions:

Bishop Gratian Mundadan, Dec.24/17

to me

My dear James,
Thank you very much for your Christmas and New Year Greetings. I appreciate that you thought of me at this Holy Season. I sincerely reciprocate your Greetings with my promises of Prayer for you during the Holy Masses at the Christmas Midnight and New Year Day. God bless us all!
James Kottoor <jameskottoor@gmail.com>

to Bishop

It was indeed very gracious of you to say a kind word on what we the cattle class group is trying to do, to give wings to the self-emptying message of Jesus. May He bless you. james, who wants to be the last in the cattle class of Jesus.

Another from one of CCV columnist
Hats off to james!
Behold the Poorest
And Lowliest
and the Lost! Varghese Pamplanil

(Note: Words are easy like the wind, but faithful friends are hard to find! He spoke not a WORD in the cattle shed, but his thundering silence roars to the four corners of the sea of humanity to remind us all that we are ONE and INDIVISIBLE in rain and shine! Let the Pamplani tsunami thunder along unabated! james)
Read Pamplanil
Hats off james for your cry in the wilderness for the poorest and the lowliest and the lost: “Wish you Happy or Sorry Christmas”.

When the midnight hour strikes on the 24 December, while the bells of a thousand churches ring loud in joy on the Birth of the Fisherman Saviour, from the thatched derelict huts of the fisherfolk on the Malabar Coast, loud cries and wailings of despair of the daughters and mothers will rise in a crescendo for their beloved ones lost in the Arabian Sea due to the devilish dance of destruction of Cyclone Ockhi.

But there will be no let up in the merriments in the nearby palaces of the Arch-bishops, the bishops and the well-healed, who have been shedding copious crocodile tears for the lost; the corks of choicest cognacs and rare matured single malt scotch whiskies will pop-up; the best quality cashew nuts, almonds and pistachios and the best of pork, beef and mutton, crabs and lobsters will be there on their dining tables as usual. Merry Xmas to them all.

“Pride can never approach to where thou walkest in the cloths of the humble among the poorest, and the lowliest, and lost, and last.

My heart can never find its way where thou keepest company with the companionless among the poorest, the lowliest, and the lost.”

“This is my prayer to thee, my lord –strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.

Give the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might.

Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles. “ (Gitanjali)

*********************
Become silence breakers to spread His Peace!

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The Real Reason Catholics cant be Freemasons

 

The real reason Catholics can’t be Freemasons

by Ed Condon

taken from Catholic Herald uk

An 1891 cartoon in Puck shows Pope Leo XIII doing battle with Freemasonry

The principles of Freemasonry are fundamentally incompatible with Catholic teaching

The mutual antagonism of the Catholic Church and Freemasonry is well established and longstanding. For most of the past 300 years they have been acknowledged, even in the secular mindset, as implacably opposed. In recent decades the animosity between the two has faded somewhat from the public consciousness as the Church’s direct institutional involvement in civil affairs has become less pronounced and as Freemasonry has waned dramatically in numbers and prominence. But as Freemasonry turns 300 years old, it is worth revisiting what was at the core of the Church’s absolute opposition to the group. Freemasonry can appear to be little more than an esoteric men’s club, but it was and remains a highly influential philosophical movement – one which has made a dramatic, if little-noticed, impact on modern Western society and politics.

The history of Freemasonry itself is long and interesting. Its gradual transformation from the medieval workers’ guilds of stonemasons into a network of secret societies with their own Gnostic philosophy and rituals is a fascinating tale in itself. The era of the latter version of Freemasonry began with the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 in the Goose & Gridiron pub near St Paul’s Cathedral. In the early days, before the Church made any formal pronouncement on the subject, many Catholics were members and the English Catholic and Jacobite diaspora was crucial to spreading Freemasonry to continental Europe. At one point it was so popular among Catholics in some places that Francis I of Austria served as a formal patron.

And yet the Church became the greatest foe of the Masonic lodges. Between Clement XII in 1738 and the promulgation of the first Code of Canon Law in 1917, a total of eight popes wrote explicit condemnations of Freemasonry. All provided the strictest penalty for membership: automatic excommunication reserved to the Holy See. But what did and does the Church mean by Freemasonry? What are its qualities which are so worthy of condemnation?

It is sometimes said that the Church opposed Freemasonry because of the lodges’ supposedly revolutionary or seditious character. There is a widespread assumption that Masonic lodges were essentially political cells for republics and other reformers, and the Church opposed them as part of a defence of the old regime of absolute monarchy in which she was institutionally invested. But while political sedition would eventually come to the front of the Church’s opposition to Masonic membership, this was by no means the initial reason the Church opposed the Masons. What Clement XII described in his original denunciation was not a revolutionary republican society but a group spreading and enforcing religious indifferentism: the belief that all religions (and none) are of equal worth, and that in Masonry all are united in service to a higher, unifying understanding of virtue. Catholics, as members, would be asked to put their membership of the lodge above their membership of the Church. The strict prohibition, in other words, was not for political purposes but for the care of souls.

From the outset, the primary concern of the Church has been that Masonry suborns a Catholic’s faith to that of the lodge, obliging them to place a fundamental secularist fraternity above communion with the Church. The legal language, and penalties, used in the condemnations of Freemasonry were actually very similar to those used in the suppression of the Albigensians: the Church sees Freemasonry as a form of heresy. While the Masonic rites themselves contain considerable material which can be called heretical, and is in some instances explicitly anti-Catholic, the Church has always been far more concerned with the overarching philosophical content of Freemasonry rather than its ritual pageantry.

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the Catholic Church and its privileged place in the government and society of many European countries became the subject of growing secularist opposition and even violence. Now, there is little if any historical evidence of the lodges playing an active role in beginning the French Revolution. However, the anti-clerical and anti-Catholic horrors of the Revolution can be traced back to the secularist mentality described in the various papal bulls outlawing the Masonic lodges. Masonic societies were condemned not because they set out to threaten civil or Church authorities but because such a threat was the inevitable consequence of their existence and growth. Revolution was the symptom, not the disease.

The alignment of Church and state interests, and their assault by seditious and revolutionary secret societies, were clearest where the Church and state were one: in the Papal States of the Italian peninsula. As the 19th century began, a new iteration of Freemasonry came to prominence which was explicit in its revolutionary character and avowed in its opposition to the Church; they called themselves the Carbonari, or charcoal merchants. They sanctioned and practised both assassination and armed insurrection against the various governments of the Italian peninsula in their campaign for a secular constitutional government, and were perceived as an immediate threat to the faith, the Papal States and the person of the pope.

The link between the passive threat of the philosophy and secrecy of Masonry and the active revolutionary plots and acts of the Carbonari was laid out in Pius VII’s apostolic constitution Ecclesiam a Jesu Christo, promulgated in 1821. While the Carbonari’s avowed and active opposition to the temporal governance of the Papal States was addressed and condemned, it was still made clear that the gravest threat posed even by these violently revolutionary cells was their philosophy of secularism.

Throughout all the various papal condemnations of Freemasonry, even when lodges were actively supporting military campaigns against the pope, as they did with Garibaldi’s conquest and unification of Italy, what was always the first objection of the Church to the Lodge was its threat to the faith of Catholics and the freedom of the Church to act in society. The undermining of the teachings of the Church in the lodges, and the suborning of her authority on matters of faith and morals, were described repeatedly as a plot against the faith, both in individuals and in society.

In the encyclical Humanum Genus, Pope Leo XIII described the Masonic agenda as the exclusion of the Church from participation in public affairs and the gradual erosion of her rights as an institutional member of society. During his time as Pope, Leo wrote a great many condemnations of Freemasonry, pastoral and legal. He outlined, in detail, what the Church considered to be the Masonic agenda and, reading it with contemporary eyes, it is still shockingly relevant.

He specifically referred to the aim of secularising the state and society. He referenced in particular the exclusion of religious education from state schools and the concept of “the State, which [Masonry believes] ought to be absolutely atheistic, having the inalienable right and duty to form the heart and the spirit of its citizens.” He also decried the Masonic desire to remove the Church from any control in, or influence over, schools, hospitals, public charities, universities and any other body serving the public good. Also specifically highlighted was the Masonic push for the reimagining of marriage as a merely civil contract, the promotion of divorce, and support for the legalisation of abortion.

It is almost impossible to read this agenda and not recognise it as the underpinning of almost all of our contemporary political discourse. The settled view on these matters of many, if not all, of our major political parties, indeed the very concept of the secular state and its consequences on Western society, including the pervasive divorce culture and near universal availability of abortion, is a victory of the Masonic agenda. And this raises very real canonical questions about Catholic participation in the modern secular political process.

Throughout the centuries of papal condemnations of Freemasonry, it was normal for each pope to include the names of new societies that shared the Masonic philosophy and agenda and which should be understood by Catholics to come under the heading of “Masonic” in terms of canon law. By the 20th century, this had come to include political parties and movements such as communism.

When the Code of Canon Law was reformed, following Vatican II, the canon specifically prohibiting Catholics from joining “Masonic societies” was revised. In the new code, promulgated in 1983 by St John Paul II, explicit mention of Freemasonry was dropped completely. The new Canon 1374 referred only to societies that “plot against the Church”. Many took this change to indicate that Freemasonry was no longer always bad in the eyes of the Church. In fact, the reforming committee made it clear that they meant not just Freemasons, but many other organisations; the “plot” of its secularist agenda had spread so far beyond the lodges that to keep using the umbrella term “Masonic” would be confusing. The then Cardinal Ratzinger issued an authoritative clarification of the new law in 1983, in which he made it clear that the new canon was phrased to encourage broader interpretation and application.

Given the crystal-clear understanding in Church teaching regarding what the Masonic plot or agenda against the Church includes (marriage as a merely civil contract open to divorce at will, abortion, exclusion of religious education from public schools, exclusion of Church from the provision of social welfare and or control of charities), it seems impossible not to ask: how many of the major political parties in the West can now be said to fall under the prohibition of Canon 1374? The answer may well be rather uncomfortable for those who want to see an end to the so-called culture wars in the Church.

More recently, Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken of his grave concern at Masonic infiltration of the Curia and other Catholic organisations. At the same time, he has warned against the Church becoming a mere “NGO” in its methods and goals – which is the direct danger of that secularist mentality which the Church has always called a Masonic philosophy.

Masonic infiltration of the hierarchy and Curia has long been treated as a kind of Catholic version of monsters under the bed, or McCarthyite paranoia about commie infiltrators. In fact, when you speak to people who work in the Vatican, you will quickly discover that for every two or three people who laugh at the very notion, you can find someone who has directly encountered it. I myself know at least two people who were approached about joining during their time working in Rome. The role of Masonic lodges as a confidential meeting point and network for those with heterodox ideas and agendas has changed little from pre-Revolutionary France to the modern Vatican; 300 years after the founding of the first Grand Lodge, the conflict between the Church and Freemasonry is still very much alive.

Ed Condon is a canon lawyer. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the history of the Church’s legal sanctions against Freemasons

This article first appeared in the August 11 2017 issue of the Catholic Herald. To read the magazine in full, from anywhere in the world, go here

 

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