Press Release from AP Bishops
(Note: The following press release was sent to the editor CCV by the Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC), that is, Apex Body of Bishops and Heads of Christian Denominations in A.P. It is signed by Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderabad, President of Federation of Telugu Churches & President of Telugu Catholic Bishops’ Council (TCBC). We (the CCV) believe the core issue here is not the “safety and security of Minorities to be ensured and the lives of leaders of religious communities” to be protected, but speedy treatment (yes lightning speed is called for) on war footing of the deadly cancer called Caste system eating into the very vitals of the Catholic Church in India everywhere irrespective of Rites and dioceses, especially in States like Andhra and Tamilnadu. As Francis Papa tells us Church in India is a field hospital in the midst of a deadly war between Castes or class struggle (rich devouring the poor) where those dying by the killer disease of Casteism must be saved first. It is a question of human survival irrespective of minority-majority communities one belongs to. Catholic or otherwise, they cease to be churches or followers of Jesus, once they are infected with Caste and class viruses. james kottoor, editor)
On behalf of Federation of Telugu Churches – FTC (earlier known as Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches – APFC), which is an apex body of Archbishops / Bishops and Church Heads of major Christian Denominations in the twin Telugu States of A.P. and T.S., as its President, I strongly condemn the vicious assault of Most Rev. Dr. Gallela Prasad, Roman Catholic Bishop of Cuddapah, and his car driver that took place on April 25, 2016, while he was on his way back from a religious function at Karunagiri in Kadapa district.
The ruthless manner in which they were blind-folded, forcefully confined and brutally attacked for several hours stretching through the night, is highly condemnable. It is unbelievable that such a violent atrocity is perpetrated on a high ranking religious leader of a Minority Community, who has fully devoted his whole life to God and is totally dedicated to the service of the needy and marginalised.
Hence, we appeal to the Police and law enforcement authorities to investigate the case thoroughly and bring to book the culprits behind the heinous crime so that safety and security of Minorities can be ensured and the lives of leaders of religious communities be protected.
Most Rev. Dr. Thumma Bala, Archbishop of Hyderabad &President of Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC) &President of Telugu Catholic Bishops’ Council (TCBC)
The Editor of CCV sent the following message to Archbishop Thumma Bala:
Dear Archbishop Thumma Bala,
I am terribly, terribly saddened, grief stricken and shocked personally at what has happened to Bishop Gallela Prasad, of Cuddapah and so are every one working with Church Citizens Voice.
The hurt it has caused to the Christian spirit of all in India is beyond measure. The brutal, unchristian and inhuman behavior of the three priests Fr. Raja Reddy, Fr. Vijaymohan Reddy and Fr. Sanivarapu Reddy reminds me and all of us the betrayal of Judas and the reported reply of Jesus to him: "Friend, why do you betray the Son of man with a kiss?"
These three did it for money and worldly positions and possessions in the Diocese of Cuddapha as is clear from the report. In the case of Judas he repented, threw the money he received to the High Priestly class in the temple and hanged himself, that is, he punished himself with death, when he came to his senses like the prodigal son.
Therefore I consider Judas as the greatest of saints, going to the extend of condemning himself to death, which none of the other apostles Peter who denied Jesus thrice, Thomas who doubted, James and John who wanted power and position sitting at the right and left of Jesus' throne wanted.
I am wondering and praying that these three priests also could be repenting and imitating the sinful Apostles. For that I would even suggest solitary confinement for these three priests at least for one month, before taking serious actions against them, imitating Jesus who did not punish physically his erring apostles.
In any case the Church in India is not in need of such kind of clergy and laity. If these three did such dastardly crime, the whole clerical culture should share the blame. Every one of us is the product of the community and culture we live in. All of us have to point an accusing finger at ourselves for not preventing this development in our midst.
All of us should put on sack cloths and aches first, instead of pointing an accusing finger at the three greedy Andhra priests. Those of us who feel more guilty must retire and step aside, as did Benedict XVI instead of being bloat and curse of the Indian Catholic Church.
The three priests must make the high ranking or low ranking members of the Catholic Church in India to hang their heads in shame and say: "I have sinned . I am co-responsible, I have betrayed my Lord Jesus." These are the thoughts of this unworthy follower of Jesus.
In any case CCV has given the widest publicity to the news. We sent it to all Indian Bishops and all well meaning people around the globe to sting the consciences of those who have a Christian conscience to repent and help bring about reform in his/her community. May this happen with the Lord's help. james kottoor. For reflection see the editorial attached.CCV sent its reports and editorial to all Indian bishops. At least one Bishop promptly reacted and wrote the following:
Archbishop Kuriacose, Delhi, May 9/16
Dear James chettan,
Thank you for the thought provoking article. Very interesting! I have noted the reference to me also. About your request to make the survey on the family (in connection with the Synod of Bishops in Rome), I had also written to you. But you mention that only one (another) bishop reacted.
The “despairing thought” at the end “… calling quits and just leaving this Church” is unacceptable. I simply respectfully agree to disagree!
God bless you.
PS. I had gone thru the IC. I had invited Fr. Suresh to preach at our last monthly recollection.
Archbishop Kuriakose, Diocese of Faridabad-Delhi
James Kottoor, replied on May 9/16
A million thanks for the prompt reaction. Question is not whether you agree or not. None can agree with another on everything. I don't agree with many of my own thinking. What is vital is readiness to dialogue for which none of our great Bishops are ready.
Too busy to write more being in the midst of many things others have imposed on me an old horse nearing 82, waiting for some one to take up my work and eagerly waiting for the Visa from heaven to quit this world.
Yes, as you stay put in your view, so do I, in mine. For no fault of mine I was born a member of SMC and I shall not die, as Ambedkar said of himself about dying a Hindu, a member of SMC. I said this in my speeches in Chicago, also in my writings. Have also told my children never to come for my burial, as I have given my body to medical college and forbade them to get any priest or pujari to do paid prayers for me after death. You can do it when I am alive. Many thanks and God bless you. James
Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org; Mob: 9446219203