Jose Paul (Delhi) writes: We, the Catholics of our great nation can be proud that our country has the second largest Catholic population in the world. We are only 1.55% of the India’s population. In numerical terms, we are about 20 million Catholics.
To look after our spiritual needs, to guide us through the path of love, to hold our hands in times of temptations, to give us moral directions, to help to safeguard the mystical body of Christ from being disgraced or dismembered, we have 168 Catholic Bishops, about 16 thousand priests, 2500 Rev. Brothers, and more than 50 thousand religious sisters.
All these bishops, priests and brothers are people who believe that they got a divine call to serve Jesus and the mankind out of their love for Jesus. They left their homes, parents, siblings, all the kith and kin of their family. They left their social life and friends for the sake of a greater goal in their life. They sacrificed the natural human desire to have a family of their own and decided to live a life of celibacy for the love of Jesus. They left their worldly possessions and entered the priestly and brotherly life. Every Catholic family was proud to have a priest or brother who serves Jesus and the community. Every parish was proud to have one from their parish. Every diocese was proud to have one from their Diocese. Imagine about 18000 young men from different Catholic families joining like an army to take care of the mystical body of Christ. Every catholic in the country felt proud of these young men and loved them for their selfless sacrifice.
50000 young girls decided to leave all their connections with their parents and siblings and other members of the family and friends, decided to live a life of poverty, obedience and chastity and become the brides of Jesus. Their families and the society felt proud of them and loved them for their brave decisions and actions.
When these 68000 young men and women went to work in the so called vine yard of Jesus, they experienced a very different type of Church there. They did not find the mystical body of Christ. They experienced the churches built by brick and mortar, massive institutions provided to them by the members of the mystical body of Christ. They started believing that Church of Jesus means the material Church and the movable and immovable properties of the Church. They had to manage this Church. The mystical body of Christ (The people) is used only as a source of material wealth and power.
The definition of the word Church seems to have changed for the people and the clergy. Church originally meant the community of people who believe in Jesus. For the lay people, this meaning is true even today. But for the hierarchy and the consecrated people in the church, the church means the clergy, the religious congregations, the church buildings, schools and other institutions which belong to them. The lay people become a part of the church only when there is a threat to these material assets.
A bishop’s residence was called Bishop’s Palace. Even today many Catholics call it Bishop’s Palace. Sure many people call it as Bishop’s House. At the heart of heart, many Bishops who are proud of their high culture and tradition will want to call it their palace. Whatever may be the name of the building, living in luxury is the hallmark of the life there. Management of huge property, money and people made them very powerful in a worldly way. There is no time for them to look after the spiritual needs of the people or to safeguard the mystical body of Christ. We can’t blame them for this. We are responsible for this. They have experienced this life of Raja and Praja or master and slave for long and now the y cannot even recognize which or what is real Church.
The 18000 young men, when they went for their mission in life for the love of Jesus, most of them experienced the luxurious form of life in these palaces, church residences (Palli Meda), in Church related institutions such as schools, colleges, hospitals, social work centres, everywhere with plenty of money to manage and also powerful positions over other human beings whether or non-Catholics. Many of these positions of power would never have come in their way if they remained as lay people with their own families. They believed in a myth that they are serving Jesus by managing these worldly institutions and expanding them. For most of them also the mystical body of Christ is needed only when there is an outside threat for the material Church or any of its institutions.
50000 Sisters. The services they have done to people in the world irrespective of cast and creed in the field of education, health care and social work are commendable. Unfortunately, they have built massive institutions and now they have no time for people as they are all busy managing these massive institutions. They consider the lay people, whether Catholics or not, as only the workers for them. They do some charitable work with a condescending attitude with the money and provision which they get from others. But in general, the human connection is deteriorating in these massive organizations. The pitiable part is that they also believe what they do is the work of the bride of Jesus and so they are caring for the mystical body of Christ.
We have great regard to the Bishops, Priests, Brothers, and Sisters. But we are ashamed of every one of you for one reason. Every one of you without much of exception forgot your first mission which is to take care and safeguard the one and only Catholic which you taught us as the mystical body of Christ. You all know very clearly that there are mighty forces among you trying to break the unity of this Church, trying to stab the body of Christ. There are people among you who are dividing the Church into smaller pieces for the sake of wealth and power. There are people among you who openly break the laws of Christian faith, act againstf the constitution of this Country, throwing the laws of human rights into their waste basket. But we, the lay people, have never seen any Bishop, priest, brother or sister who has got back bone to stand up for the Christ for whom they left everything they considered as precious in their life. Is there no Bishop, Priest, brother or Sister in this country of ours capable of standing up for Jesus? Are you all waiting with a dragger to stab him and drink his blood? Are you not satisfied with the wine which you drink as His blood? Did your spirituality deteriorate to such low level? If you are a genuine Catholic Bishop, Priest, Brother or a Sister, come out and speak up for the sake of your Jesus and your one and only Church. Show us, the lay people, the path to Jesus if you are with Christ Jesus. This is a call to every religious person in this Country.