Priest transfer sparks protest in Kerala parish

Police lathi-charging demonstrators in front of the Bishop’s House at Tangasseri in Kollam on Sunday. Photo: C. Suresh Kumar

Kollam –  Transfer of a priest from a parish in South India’s Kerala State evoked tensions among protesters with many injured in a clash between policemen and members of the Catholic parish.

With tensions rising, the Police resorted to firing tear gas shells and beating up the aggressive mob. Some protesters were hospitalized with minor injuries. Irate protesters pelted stones after they were stopped by the police in front of the Bishop’s House.

The protest was organized by members of Kurippuzha, a parish in the suburbs of the town, demanding cancellation of the transfer orders of the vicar serving them. The parishioners called for the priest to be retained in the parish till the ongoing renovation of the church building was completed.

Talks held between the bishop’s representatives and parish council on the issue had failed and the transfer order was read out at the Church May 25th.

Though appointment and transfer of priests are the prerogative of the bishop, emotions from parishioners could not hold.

The transfer order was issued in normal circumstances as it had been the policy of the diocese to move vicars who had served three years in a parish, a church spokesperson said.

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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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One Response to Priest transfer sparks protest in Kerala parish

  1. Sonu Suthan says:

    By 12 noon, over 500 parishioners, including women and children, carrying black flags, marched to the Bishop’s House from Kureepuzha in protest against Kollam Bishop Stanley Roman transferring their vicar Joseph Daniel.

    The parishioners’ contention was that the vicar should not be transferred till the construction of their new parish church was over. In November, protests had erupted over the same issue, they said.

    The issue was then settled on the assurance that the vicar would not be transferred. The fresh transfer order was in violation of that agreement, they said.

    The order was read out at the Sunday mass. Subsequently, the parishioners decided to take out a march to the Bishop’s House.

    As there was no initiative on part of the Bishop to initiate talks, even after 45 minutes of protest, The Police got in touch with the Bishop’s House authorities and urged them to hold talks. Which was never done. The Scene can be viewed http://www.malayalamtv.in/play.php?id=JNOW1_-0ES0

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