M L Satyan, Bangalore
(Note: I wish this letter had come from a Bishop, Priest or Retreat preacher, not from an ordinary Church Citizen. This only highlights the importance Pope Francis’ call to listen humbly to the laity, as he does. The church citizens also must do the same kind of listening in humility. What is important here? A Church citizen has spoken very politely from the bottom of his heart. Will anyone among the clergy or Episcopal fraternity respond more politely and more constructively? Be ashamed if they can’t. That alone is dialogue in the Church. Without dialogue, vertical and horizontal, comparable only to blood circulation, what we have is a lifeless structure of brick and mortar not fit for human habitation. So let us listen to the clergy! james kottoor, editor)
I have been closely following the types of reactions to the article titled: No Indian Bishop Responds to Papal Call? Church in India & Oct. 4-25 Family Synod written by Dr James Kottoor and published in the IC (Issue No. 27, 06-12 July, 2015).
The first person to demand an “unconditional apology” was Fr. Milton Gonsalves, Executive Secretary, CCBI Commission for Family. The second person who has demanded an “unconditional apology” is Bishop Lawrence Pius, Bishop of Dharmapuri.
I am surprised to note that they have demanded “Apology” from the Editor of IC (and also from the writer too) even after the writer has explained his position. To me the ‘demand for apology’ sounds very arrogant on the part of the clergy. It is high time for the members of CBCI/CCBI and the clergy to sincerely examine their conscience/lifestyle:
How many Imitate Jesus or Pope?
How many Cardinals, Arch/bishops, priests and nuns in India truly follow the teachings of Christ today? Are they willing to apologize for not truly following the teachings of Christ?
corruption-free administration) in the Catholic Church. He has become a role model for the Kingdom Values. Do the church authorities in India follow his examples and instructions? Are they willing to apologize for not following the Pope?
The clergy take vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. Do they really practice them in their life? Are they ready to apologize for their failures?
The clergy is aware that almost 40 per cent of the Indian population is living below poverty line, unable to meet the basic necessities of life such as food, clothes, shelter, health and education. In this scenario, bishops, priests and nuns enjoy all the luxuries of life. Are they ready to apologize for their extravaganza?
Look at Clergy Life
The Catholic Church in India owns plenty of properties in prime locations in the urban areas. And the clergy today is trained to be the “care-takers” of the church properties that have become monuments. Very few priests venture out to lead simple life in rural India. Except a few wealthy laity, most of the laity belongs to lower middle and poor class categories living in rented rooms/houses and squeeze themselves into 500 to 700 square feet houses whereas the clergy live in palatial houses. Are they willing to apologize?
In India millions of poverty-stricken people are semi-clad or half naked. But the clergy spend plenty of money for their garments such as cassocks, religious dresses/vestments/decorative cloths that are used in the church in the name of liturgy. They stick to their own “paraphernalia” and royal/kingly robes. Are they ready to apologize?
The primary responsibility of the Diocesan Multi-purpose Social Service Societies is to reach out to the marginalized communities and undertake integrated developmental activities. It is sad to note that a majority of these centres focus mainly on ‘money-making’/’fund-raising’ for themselves. Are they ready to apologize?
In many dioceses there have been serious allegations of sex, corruption, violence and crime (e.g. Murder of Fr. Thomas in St. Peter’s Pontifical Seminary) against bishops and priests. Yet they continue their ministries. Are the church authorities willing to apologize for not suspending/punishing the culprits?
Some Bishop Dictators?
Do Arch/bishops maintain a healthy and cordial relationship with their own priests in their dioceses/regions? In many dioceses the bishops act like Dictators who often threaten the sincere, committed and outspoken priests by sending letters to them for silly reasons saying that they have the power to ‘suspend’ them. Are these bishops willing to
apologize for their dictatorial attitude and approach?
inexperienced priests as their VGs, Treasurers and Chancellors etc. so that they act as ‘puppets’ and there is no one to challenge the Arch/bishop. The experienced, qualified and saintly priests are sidelined. Are they willing to apologize for this?
How many Arch/bishops and parish priests in India have introduced “participatory decision-making process” and really encourage the laity to be part of this process? Are they ready to apologize for not doing this?
In India, especially in Tamil Nadu, the caste problem is pre-dominant in the Catholic Church. Unfortunately many bishops, priests (diocesans and religious) and nuns are actively involved in perpetuating caste problem in their respective areas. They are supposed to be the ‘unifying factors’ but it is very sad to note that they have become the ‘dividing factors’. Are they willing to apologize?
I wish that the clergy undergoes a serious and sincere introspection and becomes more sincere and committed to their mission entrusted to them by Jesus Christ.
ML Satyan, Bangalore