Mumbai Archdiocese objects to his statements on national television
Mumbai : 10th March, 2012 : Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) demanded an apology from Mr. Sanal Edamaruku for the derogatory comments made by him on His Holiness the Pope & on the Priests of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church in general. He has also made accusations & false claims regarding the Cross at Irla, Mumbai from which water has been dripping for 2 days. The Mumbai Archdiocese also took objection to the statements made by Mr Sanal.
On 5th March Tv9Maharashtra aired the news about a Cross at Irla, Mumbai. A gujarati lady of the locality noticed that the Cross was dripping water following which the locals comprising all faiths, creed, culture & age gathered around it believing it to be a miracle.
At 9pmTv9, aired a 1 hr panel discussion episode titled “Ye Kaisi Aastha” where Mr Sanal gave his opinion which included derogatory comments on
His Holiness the Pope & on the Priests of the Catholic Church and the
Catholic Church in general. He has also made accusations & false
claims regarding the said Cross and the reason for the dripping of the water.
An AOCC member,Ms Judith Monteiro, had gone live during the programme objecting to & demanding an apology from Mr Sanal with regards to his comments on the Pope & Clergy and the church, but sad to say he did not apologise.
Ever since AOCC has since been in touch with TV9 office as Mr Sanal’s views hurt the religious sentiments of the Catholic Community. His comments could also have caused a riot as his comments have hurt the religious feelings of the catholic community.
The Mumbai Archdiocese also took objection to the statements made by Mr Sanal. Please refer to the Release from the Archdiocese attached herewith
Mr Arthur D’Mello, Vice President, AOCC spoke to the channel on on
behalf of AOCC and volunteered to pay his air fare from Delhi & stated the following :
1.Mr Sanal should come to Mumbai, visit the Cross at Irla & prove the authenticity of his statements regd the Cross, the church, the Pope & the Clergy (local & general)
2. A panel discussion to follow with Mr Sanal, AOCC members & the Bishop / Representative assigned by Archbishop House, Mumbai
3. Mr Sanal apologise for his derogatory remarks on the Pope & the Clergy and the church which he has made on NationalTelevision
Mr Arthur further stated that if Mr Sanal did not agree to visit the Venue & prove his claims, it will mean that his claims are bogus and AOCC will be forced to make a police complaint against him for provoking communal disharmony by his comments which were personal attacks on the Church, The Cross, head of the Catholic Church & the Clergy thereby hurting the religious sentiments of the Community. The complaint would also be also forwarded to the respective authorities, i.e home minister, law & judiciary minister & others at both state & national level.
On 10th March 2012 Mr.Sanal accepted the challenge and visited the cross at Irla and was given ample opportunity to prove his various allegations and was also offered by the cross owner Mr.Leander Dias that Mr.Sanal could dig up all those portions which he wanted to.Surprisingly he did not dig up any part.
He then went on air an 9 pm and was repeatedly given an opportunity to withdraw his statements made with regard to idol worship being practised by Christians and Catholics , that money from the cross was used to build churches and various other irrelevant comments or else a case would be lodged against him.
The members of the panel were:
Mr.Leander Dias- Owner of the Land on which the cross is erected.
Fr. Augustine Palett -Parish Priest of Our Lady of Vailankanni Church Irla
Ms.Judith Monterio – P.R.Consultant and Member Association of Concerned Catholics
Adv.Arcanjo Sodder-Secretary Association of Concerned Catholics
Adv.Arthur D’Mello – Vice President Association of Concerned Catholics
Mr.Sanal was time and again given an opportunity to apologise but he refused to apologise.
Accordingly an FIR came to be lodged u/s 295 A of the Indian Penal Code against him for having maliciously insulted the religious sentiments of the Catholics at the MIDC Police Station.The said offence is cognizable and non bailable and punishable with imprisonment for upto 3 years.
Attached below is the statement issued by the Archdiocese of Bombay
Statement from : His Lordship Bishop Agnelo Gracias, Mumbai Archdiocese STATEMENT WITH REGARD TO THE IRLA CROSS – in the light of the TV Programme on the ‘Dripping Cross’ A general Observation: The official Church is slow to attribute supernatural causes to ‘extra-ordinary’ phenomena we observe in life. As far as possible, the Church tries to see if such phenomena can be explained by natural causes. Further, the Church does not pay too much attention to these extraordinary phenomena, even though she accepts the possibility that God may intervene in human life in an extraordinary way – what we often term a ‘miraculous’ way. Coming to the ‘dripping Cross’ at Irla: One can doubt if this water dripping has a supernatural cause. The Church has NOT made any pronouncement on it. There is a lengthy scientific process that has to be undergone before any official pronouncement is made. It is quite possible that the dripping water may have a natural explanation. What is surely objectionable are the statements made by the Delhi interlocutor, Mr. Sanal. We point out some of these erroneous assertions: Contrary to the interlocutor’s claim, the Church does not advocate the worship of images. There is a difference between honouring a thing and making it divine, something to be worshipped. We respect and honour the Scriptures of any religion not because the books are in themselves divine, but because they have a special significance for the adherents of that religion. We honour a cross because it is for us a reminder of the love of Jesus who died for us A second gratuitous assertion is that the dripping Cross has been created by priests who are out to make money! This Cross is not on Church property and the one who is alleged to have noticed the dripping water was not even a Catholic. To the best of our knowledge, no money has been collected by any priest. And surely, priests do not build churches with such money, as is claimed by the interlocutor. A third unwarranted statement is that the Pope or the Church is against Science. The interlocutor would only have to go to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on the internet, to see the list of eminent Catholic scientists and how the Church has supported scientific research since the emergence of the European universities in the Middle Ages. There is a Pontifical Academy of Sciences, founded in 1603, which seeks to pay honour to pure science, wherever it is found, to assure its freedom and to promote its research. I realize that the interlocutor has made these and other unwarranted statements out of ignorance – he is unaware of facts. The least he could do would be to apologize to the Catholic community for hurting it, even though it might be inadvertently. + Bishop Agnelo Gracias Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay