In the 1980’s there were various agitations in Mumbai challenging the sale of St.Marys Church Property in Mazagon. Parish Members also filed cases against the said sale of Church land.
While granting sanction in Proceeding No..3-4/128-86 the Charity Commissioner stated that “The Property belonged to a Catholic Trust and is very close to a Catholic Church ( St.Annes Church ).The Developer has agreed to develop the aforesaid property of the Trust and accommodate purchasers ,occupants who shall be Catholics only.The subsequent purchasers and occupants shall also be Catholics”.
Today sadly besides the catholic name there are only a couple of catholics.Prime Property has gone out of the Catholics hands.
The Church has done nothing about the same nor has it learnt from its mistakes.
In 1990’s St.Michaels Church Mahim sold the development rights of Marinagar.As per the Charity Commissioners Order the flats had to be sold at the rate of Rs.1500 a sq. foot and had to be owned and occupied by Catholics only and the said clause had to be repeated in all agreements.Despite having pointed out to the Church and Bishop Agnelo Gracias in particular that there are persons who are not catholics and some who were not catholics at the time of purchase the Church has done nothing to rectify the same .On the contrary the Church has rewarded the same builder further by giving him more plots to develop.
The Church after the sale of lands is effected does little or nothing to ensure that the flats remain and are occupied by the Catholic Community.The time will not be far off when the few catholics remaining in the City are pushed towards Palghar and Panvel.
Despite having being told time and again that all flat sale agreements should be tri partie agreements where one of the parties is the Church who is a consenting party so that it is ensured that all future occupants are Roman Catholics , the Church in Mumbai is deliberately not taking a stand and it appears that builders interests are taken care of and hence the silence.
While the Church believes in transparency the said transparency appears only in Rented flats.Why is the same transparency not shown when The Examiner Press building is being sold ,When Marinagar was re sold in the year 2008 at the rate of Rs.2000/-,When Ave Maria was sold, When flats were being given to Ravi Shastri and that too to set up an office?When property is to be alienated all deals above rupees Four Lakhs need the sanction of the Cardinal.
If persons at the top are not disciplined then it is quite obvious that persons below will also be not disciplined and will take advantage of the said situation. Today what is happening in St.Johns Church Thane is very sad.