The recent events at the Ollur parish in the diocese of Trissur ought to be an eye opener for all parish priests and bishops in Kerala.
The church has to pay to Raffael Thekkiniyath Rs. two and a half lakhs as compensation for molesting him. The dispute between this layman and the parish priest Fr. Nobi Ambookkan was settled in the presence of the district collector and police commissioner as well as distinguished persons of the locality. The priest admitted his mistake in instigating a group of parishioners against Raffael Thekkiniyath and organizing a protest march intending to disrupt the marriage of the son of Mr. Thekkiniyath on the ground that he filed a case in the court for damaging his house through heavy fire-works in the vicinity of the church. A previous complaint was ignored and the use of heavy fireworks was repeated again this year. The parish priest also let a leaflet to be printed and distributed denouncing the lawful demands of the parishioner. The auxiliary bishop of Trissur, Mr. Thattil sided with the priest and demanded withdrawal of the case if Thekkiniyath family were to live in peace. All this arrogance on the part of the churchemen takes place in the 'year of mercy' proclaimed by the pope and the KCBC! They were not hesitant to make use of the denial of the sacraments to punish a member of the parish for his resistance against evident injustice on the part of the parish priest. Mar Thattil is auxiliary bishop of Syro-Malabar Catholic Archdiocese of Thrissur since January 2010. The man is a bachelor of theology and has a doctorate in Canon Law. But in practical commonsense, he is a zero! Otherwise he wouldn't have supported the actions of a foolish parish priest that clearly stood against all Christian values.
According to the settlement arrived at between the parties, the wedding will be conducted in all propriety. The church authorities made themselves really big fools. The proverb 'Do use a needle in time, or you might need an axe later' has proved to be true once again.
(Zacharias Nedunkanal, asso. editor, CCV)