Clerical sex abuse of all varieties – high profile, low profile and mixed profile — is hogging the limelight on the global stage. It all started as a global exhibition last January in Chile, a little known country on the other side of the globe with the lead player, Mr.Clean, Bishop Barros, in the beginning for Francis, and ended with out ending in the mass resignation of all 34 bishops of the country for being complicit in the sex scandal. Unbelievable but true!
Simulateously a double edged scandal – financial and sexual started unfolding and exploding in Kerala, India’s southern tail-end garden, this side of the globe. As for the first part, the financial scandal, Mar Alancherry the Kingpin is divested of all administrative powers as the head of the Ernakulam archdiocese (See report: CCV June 23)
Trial starts in Kochi
The second part is the opening of the trial of the landmark sex scandal of the Catholic priest Robin Vadakkancherry this week. An elaborate report is given below for you to read:Trial starts in landmark sex case of Catholic priest
Fr. Robin arrested on Feb. 27, 2017
Yes eye-catching sex abuse of minors has become the staple food of readers on the national and global horizon. Today it is by a Catholic priest in one’s own locality or city; tomorrow it is: “Five women were abducted from a Jesuit-managed school and gang-raped in a forest near the Khunti area of India's Jharkhand state”, (UCANIndia report) or it is about a retired cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 87 in Washigton.
In the last instance he is punished for a crime he did some 50 years ago, which he says he can’t even recollect. Still he accepts the punishment ‘obediently and honestly’. Can you understand the meaning of those words: “obediently and honestly” used in this context? We can’t, since those words smack of or radiate powerfully concepts of ‘hypocrisy’ or double speak.
Abuse going from Bad to worse?
It is in this context what Pope Francis said after studying the Chile sex scandal comes as a wake up call and warning that things are going from bad to worse in the church. Listen to what he said:
Pope said that “the painful situations that have happened (in Chile) are indications that something is wrong with the ecclesial body.” The wound of sexual abuse, he said, “has been treated until recently with a medicine that, far from healing, seems to have worsened its depth and pain.”
If so how can we his admirers, (there are also critics galore who want to see him fail miserably or die) help him in his red-cross rescue work in the deserted battle field of the church to reduce pain of the wounded and dying and provide comfort for the helpless?
India awaits major cleansing of temple
What Pope Francis was doing in Chile was a minor cleansing of the Temple with 34 bishops or high priests(buyers and sellers) and it still remains to be completed. What he has to do in India is very major, serious cleansing (both financial and sexual}, operation with lightning and thunder, involving over 100 bishops (not just 34) and three Rites (Latin, Syromalabar and Syromalankara), all putting up a false façade of unity but fighting might and main for territorial conquest (religious colonization) of their kingdoms through creation of Rite-based dioceses and new bishops with clownish head gears and colourfull or hilarious dresses, to rule over them.
Like political parties
The two oriental Rites in Kerala, just imitate the skeleton political parties, to get more bishops and dioceses created, because the strength of a Rite is measured by the number of bishops it has, just as a political party’s strength is decided by the number of MPs or MLs it has. India’s Rite rivalries are as mundane as that.
Of course the Latin Rite in India can’t be accused of that kind of craze since it has been for long like the Congress party in India.They just support the two oriental rites just for the sake of the indirect benefit of the number game – with the two oriental Churches, the number of CBCI goes up to become perhaps the biggest catholic Bishops Conference in the world after US.
The report on the Clergy sex scandal is provided by UCANIndia, an independent Asian News agency which recounts also a series of recent clergy sex sandals. The public is fully aware of crores of money spend by Syromalabar Church for covering up many clergy sex scandals starting from the notorious 26 year old Sr.Abhaya murder scandal (her body was found in a well) and the role played by Joemon Puthenpurackal and the story surrounding two priests and a nun. In this case if no one is still convicted all say it is thanks to the mighty might of the money power of the Syromalabar church. It is said church has no problem even if it has to pay to the tune of Rs.30 lakhs for each hearing to its high profile lawyers.
In the landmark Robin sex scandal case seven more are facing trial, the administrator, gynecologist and pediatrician of the church-run hospital where the delivery was conducted, a diocesan priest, a midwife who assisted the birth and two nuns who arranged care for the baby.
Recently Caught Priests
In another case, 35-year-old Father Thomas of Palai Diocese was arrested on Feb. 16 on charges of raping a 42-year-old Bangladeshi woman. On December 2017, a special court in Ernakulam sentenced Father Edwin Figarez on charges of raping a 14-year-old. In 2013, Fr. Arokiaraj in Palakkad was dismissed from the clergy by the Vatican after a 17-year-old girl was found dead.
Why so many rape cases in Kerala called Catholicism’s fortress? Because it has become money minded and worldly and lives in a dream world that Vatican needs it more than it needs Vatican, they say. Directions from Pope or Oriental Congregation are simply ignored to push or prod them to go prodigal with mercy and pardon.
Where is zero tolerance?
Church's policy to maintain "zero tolerance" of sexual abuse of children and women in work place was issued in Sept.2015 and is due for review after three years this coming November but it is not made public even to this day but is kept as a ‘sacred’ secret document for bishops and major superiors only, not for the many rogue priests who prey on the fair sex and young. Why? Is the question raised.
By keeping it as a mystery document instead of practicing transparency they make many pastors to become wolves in sheep’s clothing, as it happened in Chile. Similarly the Oriental Congregation and Vatican reportedly directed the Chicago diocese to take back around a lakh of faithful excommunicated on the stupid ground of not having pure blood and if no action is taken even after three months who is to blame? With such watchmen to guard the flock, why do we need robbers?
Replace Chicago Bishop?
A group of Chicago’s outspoken laymen who discussed this issue yesterday, and one of them Sri Joy Oravanakulam suggested the following: “Just as Saul was removed from the throne for not obeying God, and David his servant was made king, the Bishop of Chicago who refuses to follow the directions of Vatican must be removed and enthroned in his place some one who has the courage to enforce orders from the Vatican.” Any takers for this suggestion?
Pope Francis has an uphill task, a real Hymalayan problem before him to rebuild the crumbling St.Damian Church. No wonder why Francis is lamenting that the pestering wound of clergy sex abuse is worsening rather than healing. May be some vested interest groups are forcing or remote controlling Francis to make marriage compulsory for all priests.
That may make sex-crazy clergy rejoice and shout saying the rule given by Paul that a bishop must be the husband of one wife, really means a priest can have more than one wife. james kottoor, editor, cvv.
Please read below the UCANIndia report on Kerala’s Landmark trial of a Catholic priest!
Trial starts in landmark sex case of Catholic priest T.K. Devasia, Kochi, In UCANIndia, Posted on June 18, 2018
Father Robin Vadakkancherry was charged with rape after a schoolgirl gave birth at a church-run hospital in Kerala.
In the photo: People gather as police bring Father Robin Vadakkancherry for investigation to his St. Sebastian's Church at Kottiyoor in Kerala after he was arrested on Feb. 27, 2017, for raping a minor girl student from a school under his management. (ucanews.com photo)
Kochi: A court in southern India is to start the trial of a Catholic priest, more than a year after he was arrested on charges of raping and impregnating a 17-year-old schoolgirl.
The court in Kannur district of Kerala will finalize the trial schedule on June 18. Kerala High Court has directed the court to complete the trial within six months, government pleader B.P. Sadanandan told ucanews.com.
Father Robin Vadakkancherry of Mananthavady Diocese was parish priest of St. Sebastian's Church in Kottiyoor at the time of the alleged offense.
The 49-year-old priest was arrested and placed in custody in February 2017 after the girl gave birth to a boy.
His diocese, part of the Syro-Malabar Church, suspended him following his arrest. Seven more people are facing trial on charges of trying to hide a sexual offence against a minor girl. All are on bail. They are the administrator, gynecologist and pediatrician of the church-run hospital where the delivery was conducted, a diocesan priest, a midwife who assisted the birth and two nuns at a church-run orphanage who arranged care for the baby.
The trial will be keenly watched in the state because of the way in which the girl, her family and officials of multiple church institutions spanning two districts allegedly collaborated to cover up the crime, rights activists said.
The church-run hospital did not report the minor status of the girl to police, while an orphanage accepted the newborn baby without required legal documents, it is claimed. The government-run Child Welfare Committee of Wayanad district, headed by Father Thomas Joseph Therakam of Mananthavady Diocese, is accused of authorizing the orphanage to accept the newborn without verifying the mother's age.
Police charged Father Therakam with aiding the cover-up of a crime. He was also removed from chair of the district child welfare committee.Police investigated the case after the government-run Child Helpline received an anonymous letter three weeks after the girl gave birth. Father Vadakkancherry was arrested near an airport as he was allegedly attempting to flee the country
Though the two accused priests have been suspended by the diocese, no action has been taken against the nuns for allegedly covering up a crime. Diocesan spokesman Father Jose Kocharackal told ucanews.com the church will take action against the accused if they are found guilty by the court.
"It was an isolated case but was blown out of proportion by the media. An attempt was made to paint the entire clergy in a bad light. An entire community cannot be blamed for the wrongs done by a few," he said.
Father Kocharackal said the church was vigilant against all types of sexual crimes and will take stern action wherever required. However, rights activist Jomon Puthenpurackal claimed that church officials acted only after their efforts to shield Father Vadakkancherry failed.
Sister Abhaya case
Puthenpurackal has been spearheading a campaign to bring justice for a nun whose body was found in her convent's well 26 years ago. Puthenpurackal maintains the "Sister Abhaya case" is the biggest example of the church protecting criminals, claiming that officials aided a nun and two priests accused in the case after an investigation established a murder related to sex.
"Sex violations are on the rise in the church in Kerala. This is because the church is protecting the guilty. If church officials stop this and take stern action against the guilty, such cases will come down," Puthenpurackal said. A string of sexual assault cases involving clergymen have been reported recently.
In the latest case, police arrested 35-year-old Father Thomas Thanninilkumthadathil of Palai Diocese on Feb. 16 on charges of raping a 42-year-old Bangladeshi native in Kerala after he befriended her through social media. He was suspended following his arrest.
In December 2017, a special court in Ernakulam handed down a double life term to Father Edwin Figarez on charges of raping a 14-year-old several times from January to March 2015 in the priest's parish residence in Thrissur district. He too was suspended soon after arrest.
In 2013, Father Arokiaraj of St. Stanislaus Church in Palakkad was dismissed from the clergy by the Vatican after a 17-year-old girl was found dead. He later admitted raping the girl but Kerala police declared her death was suicide. Arokiaraj later allegedly confessed in a telephone conversation to killing the girl.
Puthenpurackal said cases involving priests were coming to light because of social media. "Earlier, such cases were suppressed by the church by exploiting the religious sentiments of people," he said.