Have you ever heard of a Roman Catholic Bishop abducted, blind folded, hands tied, stripped, locked up and tortured mercilessly by three of his own priests in “Daddy’s Home”, an institution run by one of them?
No it is not a fairy tale! It really happened to Catholic Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah, Andhra Pradesh, India. The culprits are already caught. For details about the latest developments read three reports published under one head: Indian Currents on corruption in RC Church: 1.An Alert from Cuddapah editorial, 2. The Enemy Within, Cover story 3. Towards a Transparent Church, all simultaneously in CCV
It is all about the Roman Catholic Church in India. The truth is that there is no one Catholic Church in India. There is only a conglomeration of three different Rites fighting among themselves privately without being noticed by Rome, for religious colonization, territorial expansion, socio-economic domination and prominent positions through possession of super-specialty institutions in posh cities which have top market value in rupee or dollar. They are just a carbon copy of the stinking corrupt political system. And each of these Rites are torn apart by the killer disease called the centuries old Caste system – the Bhramins occupying the top executive posts and the laity, like Sudras crawling at the very bottom doing menial jobs for the highly placed. It is to counter this diabolical attitude, tooth and nail, we took on the name: CHURCH CITIZENS VOICE, proclaiming equality of all, weather Pope or Prostitute. As for Francis, he is the first to call himself a “sinner”.
”We produce 70% of the clergy in this country but we control only about 0.04% of the territory. We are justified in wanting more territory” has been the reported long standing pliant of Syromalabar Church (SMC). They and Syromalankara are sweating it out to expand their kingdoms to all posh cities of India first and then to foreign cities like Chicago, Melborne, Europe and middle east, like in the colonial days. They forget the characteristic trait of the followers Jesus is to be the “Little Flock” (Pusillus Grex) but one that does not bend its knees to any insolent might.
Whether in politics or in religion what counts and weighs most is not merit but your position in the Class and Caste system coupled with your value in hard cash or ready cash you can
squander. Just think of 50 crore church in Ernadulam of SMC. Of course there are any number of good, sterling personnel among the bishops and the clergy, literally doing foot-washing ministry to the poorest of the poor in God forsaken places. But the rat race to prove oneself to be one of the top Brahminic class with money and muscle power is so acute that Bishoprics lie vacant in India for years because the man fit for the job happens to be a Sudra, or one lower than the class and caste status of a Brahmin and both the clergy and laity who think they are of Brahminic descend refuse to accept or take orders from one who is lower in class or caste position.
The majority of bishops are ready to silently support and promote this caste mentality and wait till such a compromise candidate is found. They never make any complaints to Rome. It is closely allied to the superiority complex that rules roost in a pure-blood marriage system or Endogamy (pure racialism) practiced in Kottayam diocese. If the Kottayam diocese is able to survive so long in India it is because the country as a whole is ruled by class and caste mentality and not by democratic values even in Communist party in India, of merit and equality of all humans. Proof? CCV wrote ever so many articles requesting all nearly 200 bishops to raise this issue of Endogamy in the two synods on Family in Rome and to discuss the issue on a national level. But not a single bishop opened his mouth in public to respond or discusss it, except one, Bishop Kuriacose Bharanikulangara of Delhi, who agreed with us and privately promised to raise the issue at the Synod but never did. No other bishop from India had the honesty to raise it at the synod because they want to hide this shameful practice from papal or global view. They do this just to project a false image of unity among all Indian bishops in three Rites before Rome just to extract more loaves of new dioceses and Bishoprics from Rome, because the strength of any Rite is based on the number of Bishops they have just like any skeleton political party trying to get more MPs or MLAs to flaunt their strength.
Another sad, harsh truth about the Indian catholic Church is that those who are in top, key controlling positions in the various Rites are not men of metal, vision, conviction and courage. None of them believe in dialogue with the lowly placed laity or in transparency. CCV wrote several letters to CBCI chairman, Cardinal Cleemis and Cardinal Alancherry, head of SMC to find out if they conducted a survey of the Laity on Christian families ordered by Pope Francis. But we were not lucky to receive a word of reply from any of them. A series of letters by prominent writers and laymen, signed up to 18 persons were sent in 2013 to SMC top brass to start a vertical dialogue in SMC with no reply whatsoever, except one reply from Bishop Puthur, now in Australia.
Therefore they — that is those who don’t believe either in transparency or in dialogue — all have only one heavenly option left: admit their moral, spiritual, physical inability and bankruptcy to do their job, as shown by the glorious example of Pope Benedict XVI who retired and got out the way for the unhindered march of the Lord. He thus opened the way for the advent of a Francis Papa, loved by the whole world and shows his love not only for Catholics but, think of it, to Muslims. He took 12 Muslim Refugees from Greece to Rome. Are our Catholic Bishops listening? “Make clear the way of the Lord,” roared a St.John the Baptist in the desert. Like him scribes like this one has been shouting this for ages. Only none of the highly placed prelates respond. They pretend they have not heard or seen emails sent to them directly. Why? Because the churches (Rites) in India do not believe in dialoguing or discussing things among themselves or with the laity publicly. Do not expect such bishops to retire on their own. They should be forced to retire.
What the Church in India urgently needs is young and energetic leaders in their youthful thirties, like Jesus bubbling over with life with vision, conviction and action. Of course our present leadership, now bend with age in their Sannyasa years, must have had all those qualities of Get-up-and-go. But they are now bereft of any of them, because all their get-up-and-go, got up and went. Understandably, what else do you expect in one in his Sannyasa years, well past retirement time? Pope Benedict saw his weaknesses, admitted them honestly and courageously and gifted a Pope Francis for the whole world. You can’t expect that from Indian Bishops.
The CBCI (Catholic Bishops Conference comprising of three Rites) go through the ritual of publicly announced biennial meetings meant to discuss burning issues, but they do it in total secrecy. There is no transparency and therefore no honesty at all in their deliberations. Where is the example set by the two family Synods conducted in Rome or by Jesus himself: “I have spoken things in public, from housetops.” Therefore the Churches (Rites ) in India do not have even an iota of honesty or similarly to whatever Jesus has envisioned and entrusted his followers to do and carry on.
This so-called sleeping church (purposely used by IC, I guess, not to offend their sensibilities) must be awakened, it is argued. Is it possible? Impossible! Why? Because, you can wake up only one who is sleeping, not one pretending to be asleep. Again it is just wishful thinking calculated to paint a rosy picture about the Indian Church that prompts one to say that “for every corrupt priest there are any number of service minded ones”. We don’t want many, but just a few, a sprinkling of Mother Theresas or Gandijes or Narayana Gurujies. Radical change or reforms are not brought about by a battalion but isolated outstanding individuals. Church in India (Rites in India) has no such person to look up to. That is the misery it
faces although Francis recently said that it is “the hour of the Laity now” and it is to the laity “thick in the battle field” that the clergy must look up to and not vice versa – laity to clergy.
The unfortunate thing about caste and class systems in Indian Church is that it is practiced, promoted and patronized by many in the so-called Hierarchical Church, just as Endogamy is openly promoted by the joined circular of Bishop Angadiath of Chicago, Archbishop Moolekat of Kottayam and Caradinal Alancherry. CCV published their letter and sent to all Indian Bishops. Only not a single bishop opened his mouth to comment on it. If Bishops and Arch bishops are caste minded what do you expect from the priestly class and the laity. “Like the pastors, so the faithful.” Similar problems reared their ugly heads in the Apostolic Church on questions of circumcision and when Peter hesitated to join the company of gentiles at meals. Then there was tough guys like Paul who was brutally firm on principles and made no bones to tell Peter in the face that he was clearly in the wrong and the problem was solved instantly. As the Church in India miserably lacks any outstanding personalities like him, Caste system will continue wreak vengeance in India for long. Even the Kuddapa incident will not give the CBCI under Cleemis the guts to act firmly.
The Indian Current’s cover story speaks of the Enemy within. That reminds one of the Gospel saying: “Your enemies are of your own household.” Church in India don’t get enimies in Africa or Europe. Like the first man landing on the Moon, Kadappa in Andhra, India has made history for intimidation, kidnapping at gun point and torturing a Bishop by his own priests who had pledged obedience to him. Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay has at least come out prompty condemning the incident. It remains to be seen how many of the other cardinals and Bishops will follow suit or find reasons to keep silent. When Bishop Alex Dias of Port blare wrote an article in IC urging all to shun pompous titles and appellations like Grace, Excellency, Lordship etc. (he wanted to be called just “Alex” only) and this scribe wrote in reply calling him: “Dear Alex” and wrote an article. But not a single bishop in India said a word of appreciation of Bp.Alex, although many lay people did. What does that say, without saying? All bishops clearly and definitely want to be addressed by pompous, honorific titles and remember Jesus was never called “Your Excellency” not even “Rev.” This scribe and Bishop Alex have never met. Faced with such incriminating deeds, what can we call these bunch of clerics and High Priests except: “You Hypocrites and white washed sepulchers?” as did Jesus. Of course there are exceptions, but no outspoken ones among them. If not ready to speak out where is the witness value?
The CCV take this opportunity to congratulate the Editor of IC and the columnists for bringing out the shameful, stinking rot in
the Catholic Church in India. Dirty linen must be washed clean, privately if possible, or publicly. Left to them, the perpetrators of abduction and torture will never do it. So IC has done a good job. What is more, all the three priests involved should be suspended from all priestly activities and responsible positions in the Church. In the case of Pedophilia the direction given by Francis is that the Bishop who simply transfers and not suspend a pedophile priest should be punished. CCV does not believe in the capacity of existing top brass of the CBCI to steam roll the machinery of justice against the perpetrators of this dastardly crime against Cuddapah Bishop.
Church citizens or any existing lay organizations do not have any legal role, locus standi, in the administrative set up of the church. So who will bell the cat? Carthage must be destroyed. Corruption and caste domination must be wiped out. Who will do it? The despairing thought that there is none to do it, in the prevailing ecclesiastic set up, is making many to think with their “feet” – calling quits and just leaving this Church! The kingdom of God Jesus brought is within you, not in churches of brick and mortar costing 50 crores. Its essence is foot-washing ministry to the poor and homeless in our neighborhood or cherries in our cities! For that you don’t have to go to any well furnished churches or be part of over two thousand denominations, fighting and saying like the publican in the temple : “I am better than the publican at the entrance of the temple.” So just forget about these incorrigible churches. Follow Jesus! Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mob.9446279203