Corruption unparalleled in Indian RC Church
dr. james kottoor
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 “Dady’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 are only a conglomeration of three different Rites fighting among themselves 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 crowling 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, 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 kingdom 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 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 – that is, harmless and good for nothing one — 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. 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 and fishes 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, courage and action. None of them believe in dialogue with the lowly 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 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 himself 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 bubling over with life with vision, conviction and action. Of course our present leadership, now bend with age in their Sanyasa 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 wemt. Understandably, what else do you expect in one in his Sannyasa years, well past retirement time?
The CBCI (Catholic Bishops Conference comprising 3 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 carry on.
This so-called sleeping church (purposely used by IC 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. If Bishops and Arch bishops are caste minded what do you expect from the priestly class and the laity. 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.
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 alredaly come out condemning the incident. It remains to be seen how many of the other cardinals and Bishops will follow suit or find reasons not to.
When Bishop Alex Dias of Port blare wrote an article in IC urging to shun pompous titles and appellations like Grace, Excellency, Lordship etc. (he wanted to called just “Alex” only) and this scribe wrote in reply calling him: “Dear Alex”, 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 honorific titles and remember Jesus was never called “Your Excellency” not even “Rev.” This scribe and Bishop Alex have never met.
The CCV take this opportunity to congratulate the Editor of IC and the columnists for bringing out the 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 on that mountain or this, not in that temple or this (recall Jesus talking to woman at the well) 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 (carpenter of Nazareth who called himself the “Son of Man” ( not any priest, bishop or cardinal) in the raw, who went about doing good to the last, least and lost. Recall the admonition of St.James: “ Pure, unspoilt religion, in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated in this world.” (James 1.27)
Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mob.9446279203
Published in: Church Citizen’s Voice, Kerala, Voice of Bumbai Laity, Mumbali, Matters India, Delhi,
Bishop Kuriacose Bharanikulangar, Delhi, 9/5/16
Dear James chettan,
Thank you for the thought provoking article. Very interesting! I have noted the reference to me also. About your request to make the survey on the family (in connection with the Synod of Bishops in Rome), I had also written to you. But you mention that only one (another) bishop reacted.
The “despairing thought” at the end “… calling quits and just leaving this Church” is unacceptable. I simply respectfully agree to disagree!
God bless you.
PS. I had gone thru the IC. I had invited Fr. Suresh to preach at our last monthly recollection
James kottoor, 9/5/16/
A million thankss for the prompt reaction. Question is not whether you agree or not. None can agree with another on everything. I don't agree with many of my own thinking. What is vital is readiness to dialogue for which none of our great Bishops are ready.
Too busy to write more being busy with many things others have imposed on me an old horse nearing 82, waiting for some one to take up my work and eagerly waiting for the Visa from heaven to quit this world.
Yes, as you stay put in your view so do I, in mine. For no fault of mine I was born a member of SMC and I shall not die, as Ambedkar said of himself about dying a Hindu, a member of SMC. I said this in my speeches in Chicago, also in my writings. Have also told my children never to come for my burial, as I have given my body to medical college and forbade any priest or pujari to do payed prayers for me after death. You can do it when I am alive. God bless you. james
Sr. Beena Thomas, email@example.com,12/5/16
This is just to congratulate you for the well articulated article about the bishop kidnapping event you wrote in "Matters in India" news. It is really sad the way things go here in India within the three rites. There is no Francis effect among the bishops of India. Pen is mightier than anything. So please keep writing and some day it will touch someone who will make a difference.
Good luck, best wishes and prayers,
Notre Dame, Patna