Church funds equal Indian Navy’s annual budget

Panaji:

Christians want state laws to govern assets of churches

Christians are a mere 2.5 per cent of the country’s population. But, the Church in India suffers from a case of plenty, says Remy Denis, All India Catholic Union President.

Church authorities control funds equivalent to the Indian Navy’s annual budget. The Church is also the second largest employer after the government, he said.

Eduardo Faleiro, a former Union minister and Goa NRI Commissioner, is among the growing number of Catholics like Prof Denis, who support a law to govern Church properties and a far greater degree of transparency in the way the Church manages its earthly assets.

“The Church is not a symbol of power but service, and democratic laws must apply to it equally. All religions must be kept on the same footing,” Faleiro said at a conference called to debate the matter of bringing Church properties under state laws.

The laws that govern Church properties in Goa were enacted during the Portuguese regime. The same laws have long since been repealed in Portugal, Faleiro said.

Almost all other religions in India have laws enacted to administer their properties, K T Thomas, former Supreme Court judge, said. Hindu temples are governed by laws specifically enacted for each trust and their accounts are subject to judicial review. The Sikhs, one of the smallest religious groups in the country, have the Sikh Gurudwara Act. Muslim trust properties comes under the Wakf Act.

“I feel the opposition from the Christians is on account of a fear that a provision for judicial scrutiny is likely to expose the expenses and magnitude of wealth of the denomination,” Thomas said. The head of the Believers Church had recently acquired a huge plantation in Kerala for Rs 123 crore. This was apart from the vast assets already held by the denomination, he said. The Church in Kerala also runs its own media network.

Thomas said there was a misplaced apprehension that the Parliament, through legislation, would grab the properties of the churches. No such law could be passed by Parliament or State legislatures, he said. All religious denominations have the right to own and acquire properties, establish and maintain religious institutions. “But, in matters of administration of your properties you have to abide by the law,” he said.

DH News Service

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About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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8 Responses to Church funds equal Indian Navy’s annual budget

  1. Joseph Pereira-IC Colony, Borivali says:

    If the Catholic Church funds is equal to the Indian navy budget, why is there no transparency in the accounts. The amount is very big and with no transparency the lid of the cookie jar is open to both clergy members as well as those in the administrative office. Why cant the Govt of India, the income tax dept, the ED and the Charity commissioner look into this. The ED is important as there is a high suspection that the money is sent off to Rome. Can the investigation begin.

    • Hello Joseph, yes I fully agree with you.This must be investigated by The relevant Govt authorities.We need to have accountability, transparency and honesty in our Catholic Church accounting systems.

    • Deusvicit says:

      Comparing a non-profit organization such as the Catholic Church with a vital defence sector such as the Navy does question a lot of issues regarding “plenty”. The Indian Navy has to survive to patrol, safeguard and monitor the waters surrounding the Indian Ocean and overall security of the nation. Investments and purchases are lump-sum no doubt.
      What does the Church do with all of the funds? Have they managed to eradicate poverty within the Catholic community itself(Charity begins at home) or are they having too much so that they can siphon off a good portion of it to private parties?
      Where is all of the money going? Don’t they make annual declarations of how much money they’ve spent?

  2. Jimmie Ferriera says:

    Fr Peter, you are absolutely right. Gordon can you write to this so called foundation and ask for yearly statement of accounts and it spends.

  3. M Dsouza says:

    Thanks Gordon, its imp we know what all donations go into and how it is being spent.

  4. Jack Daniels says:

    Today Oswald Gracias is asking each parish to donate for Uttarakhand. One, he is late as usual and two – Archdiocese funds are not being disclosed to the laity.

  5. Hello, as I have said earlier, I have lost complete faith in all these donations being asked for, The Archdiocese and each catholic church in The Archdiocese of Bombay must table their statement of accounts duly audited and with supporting documents before they ask the laity to Pay. Of course the cause is good yet a lot of catholics like myself have lost trust, there is no transparency in the accounts and the process is on to ensure the Govt does a audit. I do recall when our church, Sacred heart parish at Santa Cruz,Mumbai India was refurbished, the finance committee asked for the supporting documents for the expenditure and it was noticed that some of the bidders were not from this planet. This is how low the administration can get, and till date there is no proper accounts. of course the administration says its hurts them sadly when these issues are brought up, yet I would appreciate the administration to challenge these allegations, in a public forum under the watchful eye of the print and electronic media.
    Will the Archdiocese of Bombay accept this challenge?

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