Published on: 11:50 pm, July 30, 2018
Cover image: Fr James Erthayil of Kanjirappally diocese.
In yesterday's report captioned Needed: 1000 Courts for Speedy Trial of Rape Cases, it was mentioned that in the Bishop Franco Mulakkal alleged nun rape case, the investigators are going very slow and yet to question the Bishop. Last night (29th July) NDTV channel (and may be other news channels) showed that one Fr James Erthayil of Kanjirappally diocese, reportedly acting as an intermediary for the Bishop of Jalandhar, coaxing over telephone Sister Anupama, one of the nuns (who are supporting the nun who brought up the allegation of rape against the Bishop) of Missionaries of Jesus, to withdraw their support of the nun and ditch her. In return he said a new sprawling convent would be built for the nuns in Kanjirappally Diocese in Erumeli. Sr Anupama retorted that none of them would back out of the case against the Bishop. The purported 11-minute audio tape of the telephonic conversation is with Asianet and Times News Network.
The mattersindia.com report reproduced below corroborates the above observation on Fr James Erthayil of Kanjirappally Diocese.
Fr James Erthayil's style of operation reminds the parishioners of Auxilium Parish Kolkata, which has 10,000+ parishioners, of the erstwhile Parish Priest Fr K.K. Sebastian alias Sebastian Kuzhipala, who imported Kerala Church's heady mix of money and muscle power.
Wherever Fr (?) K.K. Sebastian would get posted, he would align himself (through money power – money which is meant for the welfare of the local laity) with the ruling dispensation, threaten parishioners with police cases and hired musclemen and would even attack them through his hired forces. He would stoop to any level and even try to get them sacked from their jobs, especially if they worked in missionary institutes. He would always handle big construction projects worth crores of rupees (Auxilium Parish Kolkata is one such marble monument built with Italian donation courtesy the 97 year-old living legend Fr Rosario Stroscio). He was probably the first parish priest in Kolkata to have openly exhibited money and muscle power and also tried to mix the poison of Casteeism among priests. Of course he could not have done all these mega schemes alone without backers in the Salesian House. He had the audacity to say that politics and even fisticuffs in Church are a must. In 2012, when the parishioners were pushed to the wall with life threats, they filed a court case against him and he vanished in June 2014 into the blue without handing over proper accounts. His display of muscle and money power vitiated the whole parish to such an extent that all Laity Activities have come to a standstill. The Archbishop has been a mute spectator and the stunting effect still pervades in the Parish.
Incidentally he is the same priest who masterminded "Loreto School Lucknow's date with 'Jesus' – read Times of India report by Dilip Awasthi, TNN Sep 10, 2006, 12.40 am IST where his Chandra Cult associate Naba Kumar Mondal went around grunting and growling, making hissing sounds while 'inducing' Jesus to enter his body. The girls fainted seeing this snake-like satanic process of receiving Jesus into one's body. There was a huge uproar, vandalism in the school and a court case.
It is because of priests and bishops like these, the Catholic Church is going from frying pan to fire, to the dismay and bewilderment of the Laity, who are ironically called `Sheep!'
Readers would do well to read Rev. Valson Thampu's crystal-clear 16th July 2018 Indian Express (also reproduced in Church Citizens' Voice) "CLERICAL SEX CRUSHING CHURCH IN INDIA – A COMMUNITY AT THE CROSSROADS" where he writes "To me, the greatest failure of the church in the past, until Pope Francis decided to catch the bull by its horns, is to have protected the predators under the mistaken notion that this safeguarded the church from infamy. In this, the church erred grievously." He further writes: "Sexual aberrations among priests is a reality, but the primary issue, I dare say, is not libido. It is money. HAND ON HEART I TESTIFY: THE CHURCH HAS CHOSEN TO DAMN ITSELF BY SERVING MAMMON, WHILE PRETENDING TO WORSHIP GOD." "It was this money power that made the priest already referred to think that he could rape and impregnate a teenage girl and plaster over his heinous crime with a bribe of Rs.10 lakh." The priest concerned is Fr. Robin Vadakkumchery, of Kottiyoor, Kannur.
Rev. Thampu closes with the observation: The message screaming at the church from these eruptions of aberration is just the same: “You cannot serve God and Mammon.”
This brings us back to the repeatedly raised question of implementation of Parish Finance Committees (PFC) in each parish of India. The CBCI and all the local Bishops and Archbishops are silent on it. Had there been PFC in each parish, then neither Fr (?) K.K. Sebastian nor Fr (?) Robin Vadakkumchery nor Fr James Erthayil in this instance, could have flaunted their unaccounted for money and muscle power to prey on the faithful like wolves in sheep's clothing. Isaac Gomes, Asso. Editor, Church Citizens' Voice.
New Delhi: The Kerala police on July 30 registered a case against a Catholic priest who allegedly offered a deal to scrap a rape case against a bishop.
The police action came after the family of a Kerala-based nun alleged that Father James Erthayil had telephoned her offering “land, building and safety” if she withdrew the case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, a diocese in Punjab.
Bishop Mulakkal was accused of sexually abusing another nun 13 times between 2014 and 2016. She went to the police after the bishop filed a complaint against her and five others, accusing them of threatening and blackmailing him.
The bishop, who has been booked for rape by Kerala police, has claimed innocence and said he is a victim of vendetta for taking disciplinary action against the nun.
Father Erthayil reportedly telephoned Sister Anupama another nun who supports the rape survivor. He now faces a non-bailable case threatening Anupama and offering her inducement to withdraw the case.
The police are investigating the audio of the alleged phone call to Sister Anupama. The authenticity of the leaked audio could not be verified independently, but the priest’s congregation, Carmelites of Mary Immaculate congregation, has already taken action him.
The congregation has termed the incident unfortunate and clarified that it has nothing to do with the priest’s alleged offer of land to nuns.
“Father James has been asked to step down. An enquiry has been initiated,” the congregation was quoted by ndtv.com as saying.
The congregation removed the priest from his post as the superior of their house in Kurianadu. Later he was suspended as the manager of a school in Idukki district, mathrubhumi.com reported.
Meanwhile the Jalandhar diocese has denied that it has asked anyone to mediate in the case. “We have not appointed any mediator or plan to appoint one. Such news is an attempt by a wicked mind to thwart the probe,” Father Thomas Poochalil, secretary of the diocese, said in a press note.
He said they have seen news items about attempts to get the allegations against the head of Jalandhar diocese withdrawn through a mediator. “They are absolutely baseless and mere tactics to divert the investigation into the case,” he said.
Father Poochalil also said the diocese wants the real truth to come out after proper investigation and the guilty punished, hence it would never support any move to divert attention.
According to the audio clip in Malayalam language, circulated in social media and telecast on TV channels, the priest had telephoned Anupama for 11 minutes. After introducing himself to the 30-year-old nun he says: “We can buy some land, build a convent and shift you all there safely. This won’t happen tomorrow but everything has a time. We can think about it.”
He also speaks about threats if the woman doesn’t withdraw her complaint.
“If you all are adamant on your stand, this won’t happen. If you withdraw your complaint and go to one of your convents in Odisha, Andhra, threats may arise. But if you move independently and go under some other Bishop, there won’t be any threats. It will be good if you think about this and if you decide to do this positively, I will help you in any way possible. I can’t do everything, but will help in whatever I can do. In the sense that we can buy some land, build a house, shift them. They will support. I suggested this because they have said they will support,” he says.
The nun asks who will “support” the family, the Jalandhar Diocese? He answers with a “yes”.
“If we have to buy 10 acres of land and build a decent building for everyone, it’s not easy. So they will help, but their condition is that this case must be withdrawn,” he explains.
The nun refuses the offer and tells him they won’t withdraw any case. “We must get justice. We don’t desire to lose any life, or sell our dignity,” she says.
The priest then tries to persuade her and says, “I’ve understood the situation. I respect your feeling. I was just giving my suggestion. So they are actually thinking about buying some land for this in Erumely and Ranni area. So in that case, you can stay in that compound itself.”
“We have got the audio. We have taken the statement of the nun. We will file a case today after verifying the authenticity of the audio and establishing the identity of the priest,” top police sources told NDTV.
Speaking to NDTV, the family of the nun said, “We have been waiting for justice from the church. When the church failed to offer any help, we were forced to go to the police. We are not worried about the lives of our children. When someone becomes a nun or priest, they are willing to lay down everything for Christ. But there are many Judas’ in the church, ready to betray Christ and people.”
As per the News Minute dated 30th July 2018:
The Kerala police have registered a criminal case against Father James Erthayil, the priest whose leaked audio conversation exposed his attempt to bribe and threaten a nun to withdraw a rape case against a bishop.
The leaked audio clip was a conversation between Father James Erthayil, part of the Kanjirappally diocese of the CMI and Sister Anupama from the Missionaries of Jesus in Kottayam.
"A criminal case has been registered against the priest at the Kanjirapally police station on Monday evening. He has been booked under IPC sections 214 (Offering gift or restoration of property in consideration of screening offender), 506 (Criminal Intimidation) and 120 (O) of the Kerala Police Act (causing nuisance to any person by repeated or undesirable or anonymous call, letter, writing, message, e-mail or through a messenger)," Vaikom DYSP Subhash confirmed to TNM.
Investigations will commence on Tuesday and following this, a case will be registered against the priest, the DYSP added.