101 Christian Intellectuals write to church leaders – dr james kottoor

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Will their light  banish  darkness and confusion in the Church and Society?

James KottorThis is about an open letter of 101 Senior Christian Intellectuals of various churches – therefore an ecumenical group – addressed to the leadership of the Churches in India (see letter below). It was sent directly to the editor of CCV on Aug.5/2017 by John Dayal, reputed Catholic journalist, human right activist, one of the signatories of  Christian intellectuals and former President of All India Catholic Union (AICU) which is going to complete its centenary year soon.

12 Highlights of the letter

Some of the high lights of the letter are the following: 1. Over 600 “violent acts against Christians” have happened during the last 3 years; 2. Besides 47,064 acts of violence against Dalits in 2014; 3. Failure of the Christian community to live up to its mission of “prophetic tradition of defending justice, human rights and freedom, especially of the oppressed and the marginalized”; 4. Failure equally of the leadership of  Churches, “we the men of cloth who walk by the bleeding man on the road to Jericho?”–  failings in  speaking out and acting in time, always coming  too late and  doing too little; 5. they fear that their country  is being changed “from a pluralist, secular democracy to a Hindu Rashtra”; 6. Are pained by “Street lynching” by cow vigilantes becoming too common; “victims charged as accused, stage-managed trials; all on the basis of one’s  religious and caste identities”; 7. Media in India is mute or made “silent in self-censorship, coerced by the state, or by its corporate ownership”; 8.“liberty, equality and fraternity bequeathed to us by the Freedom Struggle as an ‘idea of India” is replaced by “a new coercive culture, steered mob-inspired killers”; 9. “Not In My Name upsurge of public revulsion was the ordinary Indian’s cry against this hate and blood-letting”; 10. “Any erosion, dilution, infringement or violation of Constitutional rights to life and liberty must invite a response from the church(hierarchy) as it does from the people (laity)”;  11. Bible colleges and seminaries should also teach “rights and duties of citizens in international covenants and the Constitution of India to … hone civic conscience;” 12. Christians should join “all faiths, ideologies…. in consolidating peace, resolving conflicts, infusing a sense of values in the body politic”.

A mixture of appeals

Analyzing the 13 points of the letter it is a mixture of appeals, partly to Church leaders, partly to political leaders and partly a confession of Christian community’s failures, its sin of silence in the face of all sorts of atrocities happening around them. 

For instance this letter comes after 65 retired public servants came out  with a public outcry against a jungle raj;  after “not in my name” protest all over the world, and after a CBCI managed to convene an  inter-religious  meeting  of some 40 only (CBCI itself has some hundred bishops). So it presents a rather pathetic picture of  Christian intellectuals, as it comes so late. 

Hour of the laity

In India they used to speak of a Catholic Union. Recently we heard, it is going to celebrate its 100th year of founding. It should have been the one well established group which should have been up and doing these days. We fondly hope, it is not aging or dying. Pope Francis has been speaking so enthusiastically about the hour of the Laity and exhorting the clergy to stop talking and start listening to the Laity and Catholic Union is not seen to have reacted. It is for them to speak out now for Francis to listen. 

May be he will be listening to the 101  Indian Christian intellectuals. The Brazilian Bishops are going ahead with the observance of the Year of the Laity. Similarly many other bishops conferences and CCRI (Catholic Church Reform international of some 60 countries of which many Indians are members) are busy discussing the year of the laity. We ourselves published several articles about it.

We are still excited

So we were really very much excited when we received this open letter of 101 who signed themselves as Senior Christian Intellectuals, since it was precisely such a group we were actually looking for,  to act as source of light, inspiration and guidance, yes act as a real light house in this hour of darkness both in the country and in all the churches. We were actually comparing them to the 25 to 100 professional politicians Sashi Tharoor was  planning to train out or manufacture through quick-fix training courses. When we already have hundred readily available senior intellectuals, why  should churches waste time to manufacture them?

So CCV wrote immediately on Aug. 5th  itself to know more about the details of their meeting, deliberations and plans. From the reply we received today, we understand, it was really an ecumenical meet; the draft we received was the third one which got the approval of all; the report was published in some English publication (not specified); the list was circulated to get signatures etc. Though invited to sign, honestly this scribe  could not, as I know myself to be a know-nothing only and quite comfortable in the ‘cattle-class’.

CCV wated to know who organized the meet, where, when, how many attended etc. As all are in a hurry we could not get answers to all questions, but hope to receive them soon.ma The laity is nicknamed as the sleeping giant and in India all of us may have to do a lot of shouting to wake up our laity and a lot of coaxing may be meeded to make them become battle ready. Old is gold!  We have to rejuvenate our  young or old lay organizations like the Catholic union and similar organizations in various churches to help them take up pressing challenges thrown up daily.

Request for Emails

To be practical and action oriented from the very start we request the organizers of the “Intellectual team” to send to the CCV the Emails and phone numbers of all the 101 signatories to be published so that our global readers can at short notice contact any one they chose to get advise, discuss matters and seek solutions to knotty problems they face. Nothing is going to be done without serious dialogue – vertical and horizontal. All church leaders wax eloquent on dialogue, although our experience is that we seldom get any response from them, busy as they are with church administration, perhaps.

That should not be the case with the 101 who signed themselves as Christian intellectuals for the purpose of dialogue. We request also our readers to send in their better suggestions to complement our limited insights. So let there be LIGHT  and more of it, as God said at the dawn of creation, thanks to the 101 signed-up Good Samaritons. james kottoor, editor, ccv.


Please read below 101 intellectuals’ letter to Church Leaders

John DayalA wake up call to Church leadership – John Dayal to CCV

Press Statement –  Open letter to Church leaders,  4 August 2017

 One Hundred and One senior Christian intellectuals have in an Open Letter to the leadership of the Church in India, called for support to civil society in the struggle to safeguard India’s cultural and religious plurality and diversity, and the republics Constitutional values of secularism, and socialism.

The signatories include Jesuit theologians T K John and Francis Gonsalves, academicians Sr. Nirmalini, AC, Dr. Michael Williams, and St Stephen’s college dean Fr Monodeep Daniel, All India Catholic Union president  Lancy D Cuna, EFI general secretary Rev Vijayesh Lal, New Delhi YMCA president Vijay Russel, Former Member of Delhi Minorities Commission AC Michael, activists Cedric Prakash, Ajay Kumar Singh, Dominic Emmanuel, Virginia Saldanha,  lawyers Jenis Francis, Tehmina Arora, Pramod Singh, PI Jose,  and journalists  Suresh Mathew, Jacob Kani, KM Selvaraj, and John Dayal.

The Open Letter said “The number of violent acts against Christians alone during the last 3 years (2014-2016) are over 600, including an increasing trend at social boycott that impinges on the right to life, food and livelihood. This includes physical violence, stopping of worship in churches, attacks on churches, arrests of pastors and their companions, and rapes of Nuns. 

The National Crime Records Bureau documented 47,064 acts of violence against Dalits in 2014, up from 32,643 in 2010. The violence against Muslims is reaching an alarming peak. The hate spewed not just by non-state actors and political functionaries, but even by Members of Parliament and sometimes by ministers forms the backdrop of this violence, as it also smothers voices seeking justice.”

The Christian community, despite its laudable heritage of the prophetic tradition of defending justice, human rights and freedom, especially of the oppressed and the marginalized, has not come out openly in support of the truth and its upholders. Many had looked upon the Church and expected it to protest these infringements, whoever be the victim of the moment.

“The Church, guided by you, needs to act before it is too late. This is the lesson we learn from history. It is time to stand with the victims to be the voice of poor and marginalised; time to collaborate and partner with the civil society to spread the truth; and time to take bold initiatives and action to prevent further erosion of our humane and constitutional values,” the Open letter said.

The following is the text of the letter and the names, in alphabetical order, of the signatories:

To the Heads of all Churches and other Christian Leaders

We, as Indian Christians, are concerned at the steady shift we see in our country from a pluralist, secular, democracy to a Hindu Rashtra.  What used to be fringe, has now become mainstream. There is a systematic design to undermine the Constitution. Official machinery often seems working in tandem with the ‘vigilantes’. Street lynching, victims charged as accused, stage-managed trials; all on the basis of one’s religious and caste identities. Media seems mute, silent in self-censorship, coerced by the state, or leashed by its corporate ownership. Fake News is the final straw.

What is at stake? The country risks a hierarchical order and an ideology eroding, containing and overwhelming the liberty, equality and fraternity bequeathed us by the Freedom Struggle as an ‘idea of India' for the modern age.  A new coercive culture, steered mob-inspired killers, is destroying lives and families amongst us. Fear stalks the land.

The spontaneous multi-city #NotInMyName upsurge of public revulsion was the ordinary Indian’s cry against this hate and blood-letting.

The anger is as much over the killings as it is over our collective silence.

The government's double talk is apparent. It is right in its solidarity with the global challenge to international terrorism, but has minimized and dismissed the terror wreaked on the weak and the marginalized by the violent nationalism of the mob. Victims have been Dalits, specially their youth and their women, Tribals and religious minorities.

The number of violent acts against Christians alone during the last 3 years (2014-2016) are over 600, including an increasing trend at social boycott that impinges on the right to life, food and livelihood. This includes physical violence, stopping of worship in churches, attacks on churches, arrests of pastors and their companions, and rapes of Nuns. The National Crime Records Bureau documented 47,064 acts of violence against Dalits in 2014, up from 32,643 in 2010. The violence against Muslims is reaching an alarming peak.

The hate spewed not just by non-state actors and political functionaries, but even by Members of Parliament and sometimes by ministers forms the backdrop of this violence, as it also smothers voices seeking justice.

Inevitably, and perhaps deliberately, these divisive and emotional issues divert attention from the repercussions of radical changes in financial laws and economic policies that adversely affect workers, farmers and the youth who suddenly find themselves rendered unemployed. 

The political process taking shape today is against every fundamental humane and constitutional principle of Equality and Dignity of every Indian, and preserving Common Good.

Indeed, it is evil.

And inherently calls upon us as individuals, community and people of Faith, to raise our voice against it.

The Christian community, despite its laudable heritage of the prophetic tradition of defending justice, human rights and freedom, especially of the oppressed and the marginalized, has not come out openly in support of the truth and its upholders. Many had looked upon the Church and expected it to protest these infringements, whoever be the victim of the moment.

This demands serious reflection. As Christians, we are called to be the salt of the earth. Jesus gave the two greatest commandments… loving our Lord with all we have and loving our Neighbour. We have professed obedience to these commandments, but perhaps not as visibly as we should have.

Our children, our youth, ask us if we are showing true Christian love today to our neighbours, manifested in the victims of injustice, the marginalised Dalits and tribals, exploited farmers and unorganized labour? Or have we compromised Kingdom values, for short term gains. Have we become lukewarm; are we the men of cloth who walk by the bleeding man on the road to Jericho?

The Church, guided by you, needs to act before it is too late. This is the lesson we learn from history. It is time to stand with the victims to be the voice of poor and marginalised; time to collaborate and partner with the civil society to spread the truth; and time to take bold initiatives and action to prevent further erosion of our humane and constitutional values.

We humbly call upon you, all Christian leaders and Heads of Churches, to reflect and lead the community in the path of truth, love and justice.

We offer a few points for your consideration, as a Charter of our Duty to our fellow Citizens and our nation.

1.     Based on the Biblical values of justice, right, freedom, dignity and the well-being of every human being, the Christian community should be part of every civil initiative for truth, reconciliation and peace.

2.     Any erosion, dilution, infringement or violation of Constitutional rights to life and liberty must invite a response from the church as it does from the people. Speaking out is often the one response that is needed. Saying “Stop” to an act of injustice can often prevent tragedy.

3.     Our educational institutions must assume their pristine role as crucibles for nation-building, as the Supreme Court has described them.

4.     Our Theological institutions, Bible colleges, Formation Houses must in their pedagogy include familiarization with the rights and duties of citizens in international covenants and the Constitution of India to enhance knowledge and hone civic conscience.

5.     In unison with members of all faiths, ideologies we should marshal India’s tremendous spiritual resources in consolidating peace, resolving conflicts infusing a sense of values in the body politic.

God bless our people. And God bless India

We are:

  1. A C Michael, Former Member of Delhi Minorities Commission
  2. A. Chinnappan, Secretary General – All India Catholic Union
  3. Fr. Ajay Kumar Singh, Human Rights Activist
  4. Fr. Alex Ekka, Educationist
  5. Amrit Goldsmith, Human Rights Activist
  6. Anthony Cruz, Social Activist
  7. Anthony Dias, Scholar
  8. Fr. Avinash Masih, Brotherhood Society
  9. B. Balakrishnan, Advocate
  10. Barnabas Nongbah, General Secretary, Catholic Association, Shillong
  11. Benny Anthony Muttath, Catholic Trainer & Activist
  12. Bertram Devadas, Associate General Secretary, New Delhi YMCA
  13. Ms. Brinelle D’souza, Faculty Member, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  14. Fr. Cedric Prakash, SJ, Human Rights Activist
  15. Mrs. Chinnamma Jacob, Women Activist
  16. Mrs. Clara Fernandes, Assistant Secretary General of AICU
  17. Dr. Daisy Panna, Vice President, Federation of Catholic Associations of Archdiocese of Delhi
  18. Deepak Mukerji, Governing Board Member – St Stephen’s College
  19. Fr. Denzil Fernandes, SJ, Executive Director, ISI, Lodi Road
  20. Fr. Dominic Emmanuel, Activist & Author
  21. Fr. Francis Gonsalves, Theologian & Journalist
  22. Franklyn Ceaser Thomas, Advocate
  23. Gary Andrady, Church Leader
  24. Fr. (Dr.) George Plathottam sdb, Principal, Don Bosco College, Tura
  25. Fr. George Peter, Spiritual Animator
  26. Fr. George Valiyapadath, Capuchin Friar, Padre Pio Shrine, Wayanad
  27. Ms. Hazel D’Lima, Social Worker
  28. Captain Hunjan Singh Govindra, Air India
  29. Rev Isaac Shaw, National Director/President, Delhi Bible Institute
  30. Ivan Menezes
  31. Fr. J Felix, Secretary, Inter-religious Commission, Archdiocese of Delhi
  32. Fr. Jacob Kani, Journalist
  33. Fr. Jacob Panjikaran SG
  34. Fr. Jacob Peernikaparambil CMI, National Convener – Forum of Religious for Justice & Peace
  35. Fr. Jai Kumar, Brotherhood Society
  36. Jasmine Jose SD
  37. Jenis Francis, Advocate & President, Federation of Catholic Associations of Archdiocese of Delhi
  38. Fr. John Chathanatt, SJ, Sahayog
  39. Dr. John Dayal, Human Right Activist & Journalist
  40. Dr. Jolly Rimai, Church Leader
  41. Jose Leon, President – Leo Burnett India
  42. Joseph Bara, Social Scientist
  43. Joseph Mattam, SJ
  44. Fr. Joseph Xavier, SJ, Advocate & Human Rights Activist
  45. Jugal Kishore Ranjit
  46. Sr. Justine Gitanjali Senapati, csj, CAO – Congregations of St. Joseph UN NGO
  47. K M Selvaraj, Journalist
  48. Sr. Kochurani Abraham, Feminist Theologian, Kerala
  49. Kulakanta Dandasena Majhi, JKS Iindia
  50. Lancy D’Cunha, National President – All India Catholic Union
  51. Lawrence F Vincent, Vice President (M) – Catholic Council of India
  52. Ms. Loreign Ovung, Advocate
  53. M. S. Stanislaus, Secretary General – Federation of Catholic Associations of Archdiocese of Delhi
  54. Sr. Manju Kulapuram, FORUM National Secretary
  55. Sr. Manish SCN, Social Animator & Activist, Delhi
  56. Sr. Maria Palathingal, SCN
  57. Marshal Pereira, AICU President – Madhya Pradesh
  58. Dr. Michael Williams, President, United Christian Forum
  59. Ms. Molly Sebastian, Women Activist
  60. Fr. Monodeep Daniel, Dean, St Stephen’s College
  61. Myron J Pereira, Campion Jesuit Residence, Mumbai
  62. Ps. Nehemiah Christie, Head – ADF India Tamil Nadu Legal Aid Centre
  63. Sr. Nirmala Mulackal SCN, Executive Director CBCI CARD
  64. Sr. Nirmalini, AC, Educationist
  65. Dr. Neeti Lal Bhai, Theologian & Human Rights Activist, Varanasi
  66. O J Metei, Theologian / Social Activist
  67. Norris Pritam, Board of Director-New Delhi YMCA & Journalist
  68. Rev Dr. P B M Basaiawmoit, Retired Pastor
  69. Fr. P Augustine SJ, Pastor & Spiritual Guide
  70. P I Jose, Advocate
  71. P. Joseph Packiaraj, President – AICU Tamil Nadu
  72. Fr P R John, SJ, Principal, Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi
  73. Sr. (Dr.) Pauline Chakkalakal, dsp, Biblical Theologian & Coordinator of Interfaith Partnership
  74. Pramod Singh, Advocate
  75. Fr. Prashant Olekar, Educational Activist
  76. Fr Raju Alex, Secretary – Catholic Council of India
  77. Raphael D’Souza, AICU Maharashtra State President
  78. Sr. Rita Puthenkalam, scn
  79. Robin Ratnakar David, Advocate
  80. Fr S. Emmanuel, AICUF National Adviser 
  81. Prof S V Antony, Educationist
  82. Sr. Sabrina Edwards IBVM, Social Worker
  83. Shibu Thomas, Minister of Jesus & Founder – Persecution Relief
  84. Sr. Stella Kaiprampatt
  85. Fr. Stan Fernandes, Educationist
  86. Sunil Mallick
  87. Sunil Nayak
  88. Fr. Sunny Jacob, SJ, Secretary, JEA, South Asia
  89. Fr. (Dr.) Suresh Mathew, Chief Editor, Indian Currents
  90. Fr. T K John, SJ, Theologian
  91. Mrs. Tehmina Arora, Advocate
  92. Fr. Tom Mangattuthazhe, Secretary, UCF of Karbi Anglong District, Assam
  93. Dr. Varghese Manimala, Philosopher, Theologian, Teacher & Activist
  94. Rev Vijayesh Lal, Secretary General, Evangelical Fellowship of India
  95. Vijay Russel, President, New Delhi YMCA
  96. Vinay Stephen, Dalit Leader, Delhi
  97. Fr. Vincent, Church Personnel
  98. Virginia Saldanha, Former Secretary, CBCI Women’s Commission & FABC Laity Commission
  99. Walter Cyril Pinto, Business Development Associate, Udupi
  100. Walter J Maben, Chairman, Karnataka Missions Network Mangaluru, Karnataka

              (The list we received contains only 100 signatories. Jk) 

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5 Responses

  1. almayasabdam says:

    Jose kallidikil (Chicago) wrote: I am not sure sure how sincere our Prime Minister is in his call to eradicate castism from the Society and our minds.  However it is a welcome call.  It is in this background that we have to evaluate the move by the Diocese of Kottayam to file an appeal in the Supreme Court of India to quash the Kerala High court Judgement likening the Strict Endogamy and Exclusionary Practice of the Knanites to the Caste System in India which is declared as Unconstitutional now.  By approaching the Supreme Court to Perpetuate racism and discrimination, the Diocese of Kottayam is causing enormous harm to the Catholic Church and Christians as a whole.  They are hurting the feelings of all Christians and even casting doubts in our true faith itself.

    Christians in India once Prided as part of the only religion which denounced racism and discrimination.  In fact that was the message our Missioners spread all these years and which helped all of us to earn a certain respect in the Society.  The appeal filed by the Diocese of Kottayam will nullify everything that our Missioners achieved with enormous sacrifices.  So it is time for all Christian  Clergy and faithful to voice their protest loud enough denouncing the shameful Act of the Diocese of Kottayam.

  2. Instead of utopian Press Releases / Memorandums, what our 101 Christian Intellectuals should do is implementation of:  

    (1) Sanitation (2) Preventive healthcare (3) Education including Professional Courses and (4) Low Cost Housing for all Christians.

    After all we constitute only 2.5% (approx) of the Indian Population.  Going by the adage "Think global, act local", addressing these issues locally at diocese and parish levels through structured database /mapping, should be the first priority of our intellectuals before they venture to take up larger national issues. 

  3. almayasabdam says:

    Chacko Kalarickal's Reaction: The open letter by 101 Christian Intellectuals to the Church leaders in India

    The open letter by 101 senior Christian Intellectuals to the leadership of the Church in India in the context of crimes against Christians is commendable but it is too little too late. In that letter, we see only the outcry on crimes against Christians. They just ignored the great hate crimes committing against the marginalized Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) by the upper castes, hate-filled crimes committed against Muslims and African students in India. It is the duty of every Christian being the follower of Jesus of Nazareth to speak up against all the above hate crimes not just the crimes against Christians only. It is a belated attempt to wake up the irresponsible leadership of Church leaders as well as the political parties especially the ruling Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP).

    Hate crimes represent an extreme form of prejudice and discrimination. In India, the untouchable castes and several tribal groups are victims of discrimination and hate crimes. They are economically backward and socially excluded with stigmatized identity. Additionally, these groups have been victims of bias-motivated crimes and atrocities at the hands of the upper castes. For centuries, upper-caste Hindus have committed atrocities against lower-caste. The atrocities against religious minorities and lower castes routinely take the form of rape of women, abuse by police personnel, mob killings, constant harassment, illegal land encroachments, forced evictions and so on. These instances are in blatant violation of the Indian constitution that upholds the ideal of equality among all citizens.

    Mob violence has occurred in many parts of India, including attacks on Dalits suspected of illegally transporting cows, the killing of alleged child traffickers in Jharkhand, and the lynching of a police officer at a mosque in Kashmir. All these attacks are deplorable and seem to indicate a weakening of the rule of law. India’s justice system to prosecute perpetrators is overburdened and ineffective. The BJP’s campaign for cow protection appears to have emboldened the vigilante groups. It seems to me that they are operating in some cases with the tacit approval of state authorities. The Prime Minister’s office and the state authorities have done little to show that they disapprove of the violence. The BJP leaders have ignored, or worse, even justified the attacks at times. It’s part of a broader strategy to make India a Hindu state.

    India’s hyperactive Prime Minister Narendra Modi is promoting India as a global hub for education. But hate-filled crimes and physical attacks on foreign students in various cities in India paints a different picture.

    The letter rightly said: “We, as Indian Christians, are concerned at the steady shift we see in our country from a pluralist, secular, democracy to a Hindu Rashtra.” But, unfortunately the letter falls short of addressing the atrocities committed to the lower castes by the upper castes. Though the Editor of CCV, Dr. James Kottoor rightly analyzed the letter as “a mixture of appeals, partly to Church leaders, partly to political leaders and partly a confession of Christian community’s failures”; to me the sleeping giant laity is responsible to usurp the Church leaders.

    Indian authorities vehemently criticized when a 32-year old Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed by a 51-year old US Navy veteran Adam Purinton in Kansas, USA. Before shooting he was yelling at him “get out of my country” thinking that he was Middle Eastern. Of course, it is a hate crime. His wife Sunayana Dumala has asked, “Do we belong here? and “So what is the government going to do to stop hate crime?”. Modi’s government needs to answer those same questions.

  4. Isaac Gomes says:

    From the report "101 Christian Intellectuals write to church leaders", the following points emerge:
     

    1. The Press Statement speaks of 101 Christian intellectuals. However, the list has only 100 names.

    2. The background / brief credentials of some signatories is missing. What is their area of expertise?

    3. The report does not say which newspapers published the PRESS STATEMENT dated 4th August 2017.  There is a credibility gap.

    4. Why are the 101 intellectuals and leaders so dependent on Church support instead of taking their thoughts to the masses? Jesus did so.

    5. Does it mean the 101 leaders cannot stand on their own without the crutch of Church support? When Jesus spoke out his mind, he never looked for institutional prop / support. He spoke on the strength of his conviction of Truth and Justice, which our 101-strong leaders are professing.

    6. Direct appeal to the Church for leadership gives rise to a doubt about our 101 leaders' capabilities to hold on their own (as we can see some of them flounder during debates on National TV Channels) , even though the team of 101 consists of seven Advocates and several Human Rights and Social Activists.

    7. The argument that the number of violent acts against Christians alone during the last 3 years (2014-2016) are over 600, needs to backed up by authentic statistics (locationwise/ statewise and yearwise).

    8. Dr James Kottoor has rightly asked Dr John Dayal to furnish the contact details (phone numbers and email IDs) of the 101 leaders to send distress calls on the lines of Ham Radio. Leaders must be contactable and available to serve those whose cause they profess to take up.

    9. There is an acute dearth of Christian leadership. We see the same leaders wearing different hats for different occasions, on most church committees. New leadership is not encouraged; dissenting voices are ostracised. The same leadership clings to top posts in church committees and in lay associations, through crony culture, to ensure vested interests.

    10. Priority of our Christian leaders seems to be more on looking out for crisis situations than on building the community from the grass-roots level by promoting intensive method of spread of Education, Higher Education, Preventive Healthcare, Sanitation, Low-cost Housing and Safety Measures. Our Christian leaders/intellectuals lack skills on implementation of projects based on Sustainable Development Concept. Example: Lack of initiative to get funds from MPs for MPLAD Schemes for  Local Community Development. The Government of India allots Rs 5 crore every year to each MP to sanction development work in his/her constituency.

     

  5. almayasabdam says:

    Varghese Pamplanil comments on the open letter

    Congrats and best of luck to each and every one of the senior  Christian intellectuals who wrote the letter to the Church leaders  for their valiant  efforts. Let me admit that I am not a very intelligent person, yet a keen student of history, particularly that of Catholic Church. I have no right to comment on the various, dime a dozen, Christian denominations other than the Catholic Church.  But having been  born to a Nazarani Catholic family,  let me exercise my  right to put my views.

    Please allow me to point out that history is not on the side  these well meaning people,  however well intentioned they are. They may well remember of what happened to Arnold of Bersica, Fra Dolcino, Giordano Bruno,  Girolamo Savonarola, Jan Huss, the Albegeois, the Vaudois, the Lollards, the Hussites. Of course, it was another time and place and much water has flown down the Tiber. But old ways generally persist unless  a mighty heave is made. Sitting on piles  of ill gotten wealth  and chummy with  political and religious leadership of every hue,  the Excellencies and Lords will care hoot for the desperate pleas of the affected members of the Church. I  know of,  at least, one bishop  whose bosom  friends are S/Shri  Pinaray  Vijayan, Vellappally Natessan, Muralimanohar Joshi of BJP and others of various religious and political affiliations without any distinction.The power  game is of a unique genre . I haven’t witnessed  genuine moral and   ethical behaviour in the high echelons of the church.  They make every compromise to achieve their ends. For the leadership of the Church, its members  are for milking  tithes and other levies and dump cattle to be  whipped around. The believers are by and large “ mumbay gamikkum govu thante, pimbe gamikkum bahugokkal “ only. They are not inclined to change their set ways, beliefs and habits.  In the secular Europe , Christianity is , by  and large,  irrelevant; it has very few takers. Its mainstay is parts of Africa and Asia; in Latin America  it is on the retreat. The efforts  of the  respected well-meaning  persons reminds me of a European’s observation  on road markings in Kerala “ what a waste of expensive  paint”

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