Catholics’ protest against bishop turns violent

Over 40 people and 15 policemen were injured in the commotion.

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Kollam: 

The police fired teargas shells and used batons to disperse a group of Catholics who tried to break the police cordon and enter the Bishop’s House in the diocese of Quilon in Kerala on Sunday.

Over 40 people and 15 policemen, including Assistant Commissioner K. Lalji were injured in the commotion. Police arrested some 50 people and injured were admitted to the District Hospital in Kollam.

Some 500 people of Saint Joseph parish in Kureepuzha, including women and children, carrying black flags, marched to the Bishop’s House protesting Bishop Stanley Roman transferring their vicar Joseph Daniel.

The police said they resorted to the use of ‘mild force’ as the protestors tried to violently gatecrash into the Bishop’s House. They also threw stones, the police said. The police fired four rounds of teargas shells.

The parishioners said the police action was unprovoked.

The parishioners say the vicar should not be transferred till the construction of their new parish church was over. In November, following protests parishioners were assured that the vicar would not be transferred. The fresh transfer order, they say, violates that agreement.

The order was read out at the Sunday mass. Subsequently, the parishioners decided to take out a march to the Bishop’s House.

The police cordoned off the area anticipating tension. The parishioners made several attempts to breach the cordon and rush into the campus. The police resisted without using force. Then, the protesters squatted on the road and raised slogans against the Bishop and the transfer order.

As there was no initiative on part of the Bishop to initiate talks, even after 45 minutes of protest, the parishioners started venting their ire on the police. Mr. Lalji got in touch with the Bishop’s House authorities and urged them to hold talks.

Diocesan spokesperson George Rebeiro said transferring vicars and priests under the Catholic Church was the prerogative of the Bishop and Daniel was transferred as part of a general transfer procedure.

Daniel himself had explained it to the parishioners but they were not prepared to listen.

He said it was unfortunate that a group of parishioners resorted to violence after misreading a routine diocesan procedure.

Source: The Hindu

 

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1 Comment

  1. Isaac Gomes said,

    May 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Just imagine!Some 500 people of Saint Joseph parish in Kureepuzha, including women and children, carrying black flags, marched to the Bishop’s House protesting Bishop Stanley Roman transferring their vicar Joseph Daniel.

    It’ sad that the situation got out of hand and police had to lathicharge and also use tear-gas to disperse the mob. Agitation like this for the love of a parish priest in very rare. The vicar Joseph Daniel must have really endeared himself to his parishioners who have every right to ask for his extended term.

    Compare this with the Auxilium Parish in Kolkata where the parish priest has been absconding for the last one month after indulging in financial corruption, politicisation of the parish by bringing in hoodlums from the ruling party and destroying the very fabric of the multi-cultural parish.

    Last Sunday on the occasion of the Parish Feast Day dedicated to Mother Mary, a leaflet was distributed among parishioners outside the church. This is reproduced below:

    AUXILIUM PARISH NEWS MAY 2014
    FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION ONLY MUM-DEL-KOL

    50 years ago the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) declared on the need for Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) and Parish Finance Committee (PFC) in dioceses and parishes. In one of the very important documents LUMEN GENTIUM Chapter II, The People of God, the Council said “Upon all the laity, therefore, rests the noble duty of working to extend the divine plan of salvation to all men of each epoch and in every land. Consequently, may every opportunity be given them so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they may zealously participate in the saving work of the Church.” The 1983 Code of Canon Law further expressed the need for PPCs and PFCs in each parish for accountability and transparency.

    In his message dated 10th August 2012 (released by Vatican on 24th August 2012), Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote that the Laity “should be considered not as ‘collaborators’ with the clergy but as persons truly ‘co-responsible’ for the being and activity of the Church.” He wrote spiritual leaders on the other hand, aided by the experience of the laity, can more clearly and more incisively come to decisions regarding both spiritual and temporal matters. He urged the laity “feel the commitment to work for the church’s mission to be your own: through prayer, through study, through active participation …” He exhorted the laity on active co-responsibility with one’s own pastors (cf. Vatican II Decree on the Lay Apostolate Apostolicam actuorsitatem, 20) by having the courage to make even demanding proposals. May your lives be transparent, adopt and share pastoral decisions of the dioceses and parishes … offer your availability to participate at all levels of social, cultural and political life, by always setting your sights on the common good.

    It is in this background, Auxilium Kolkata parishioners requested Fr K.K. Sebastian, Parish Priest, to install PPC and PFC at an early date, because even after 40 years the parish (erected on 25th March 1974), has not implemented Vatican II directive on installation of an elected PPC and PFC.

    • To counter parishioners’ request for PPC and PFC, Fr KK handpicked a group of ‘Yes men & women’ and tried to pass it off as official PPC (in the list of 27 names printed in Family Record and Pastoral Support Book – None of the members were openly elected by parishioners). It was a hideous act of Fr K.K. Sebastian to suit his ends and a big fraud on 10,000+ Auxilium Parishioners.

    • To totally thwart the parishioners’ demand for PPC and PFC, Fr K.K. devised a diabolic scheme. On 20 June 2012 at 7 pm, advised and aided by Sontu Mondol, he set strongmen of the locality, on CAB Auxilium Members. About 40 on motorbikes encircled these parishioners at the tea stall outside Auxilium Parish and threatened to skin them alive if they ever dared to disturb Fr K.K. Sebastian. On 20th June 2012 morning he had a meeting with these elements in his office.

    • A police diary was lodged the same night. At the request of the officers and Eugene Gonsalves, the then CAB Central President, Fr K.K.’s name was not mentioned in the diary though Sontu Mondol & his group’s name was recorded. Prior to that distress calls were made and SMS sent to Fr Thomas Ellicherail, Salesian Provincial. At 21:34 Hours the Provincial sent a curt SMS: “Dear Mr Peter, I’m surprised at ur allegation that Fr KK Sebastian has sent goondas to beat u up! If some people came to meet u & ask u what happened last night in the Parish, they came on their own. Fr Sebastian won’t do such a thing unbecoming of a priest. Please b calm & do not exaggerate!” Just one and a half hours before the aggression by these “some people” Fr Provincial had telephoned Peter and asked him to meet him alone at Provincial House. How did Fr. Provincial foresee that “some people” who were rank outsiders would meet Peter and ask him and his friends on what took place in the parish on 19th June night? Was he hand in gloves with Fr K.K.?

    • During the meeting on 3rd July 2012 at the Provincial House, it was pointed out to the Provincial, in the presence of Ranjit Biswas, Peter Hooper, Eugene Gonsalves, Fr Siby Vadakel, Fr K.K. Sebastian, Fr Chandan Banerjee and others, that since Fr KK had called political party to settle church matters and used them to threaten parishioners, he was unworthy of wearing the cassock. Audio tape of the whole meeting is available for those interested in the truth. Please recall Intention 2 of the Prayer of the Faithful at 8 am Mass at Auxilium Parish on Sunday, 18th May 2014: “We pray for all those who are victims of discrimination and injustice in the world and especially in the Church that they experience the presence of the Lord always at their side”. Unaccounted for Salesian money power was being used by Fr KK to mortally threaten upright and outspoken parishioners. In spite of complaints to the Provincial and the Archbishop, the matter was swept under the carpet. Is it not victimization and injustice by the Church?

    • Fr K.K. called his paid musclemen as “Church Sympathisers” in his letter of 12th November 2012 to CAB Central President, with copies to the Archbishop and his Provincial. One such sympathizer was Patron of Auxilium Parish Feast in May 2013. He was behind bars very recently and is a frequent visitor!

    • Fr K.K. Sebastian alias Sebastian Kuzhipala is hiding: from the court case and from his parishioners. 20 years ago he hushed up a court case against a respected parishioner whom he had threatened to finish off and then suddenly vanished! Twenty years later, the Provincial resurrected him and history repeated itself. What prompted him to bring him back to Auxilium Parish? To call goons into the Church even on Xmas, to fan communal riots by Muslims and import casteism among priests? Who is anti-church – CAB Auxilium or Fr K.K Sebastian?

    • The parish finance is in total disarray. When Fr KK took over as Parish Priest in June 2011, he was handed funds worth Lakhs of Rupees. Today the church coffers are empty with hardly a few thousand rupees! All cleaned up before Fr KK vanished as he had done 20 years ago! Had there been a properly constituted Parish Finance Committee (PFC), this would not have happened. The parish would have been spared the unbridled anarchy and loot by Fr K K. Sebastian who did not account for the total collection from the Mega Charity Raffle held on 17th December 2011 and Christmas collections, etc.

    • 50 years ago, Vatican II gave a directive on PPC and PFC in each parish to ensure transparency in operation. But the Salesian juggernaut has marched on for 40 years in the Parish without these two pillars of the Church. Who cares for the Vatican which is 4500 miles away from Kolkata!

    • Several letters and emails have been sent to the Archbishop including a petition dated 28th July 2012 for Fr KK’s removal. The Archbishop sat on these and allowed matters to come to a head. A court case had to be filed to save members from the constant threats of Fr KK through his “Church Sympathisers”. Whose money was he squandering on these people? Certainly the parishioners’ money? Fr KK and the Provincial behaved as Czars, forgetting they are just “Caretakers or Administrators” to serve parishioners who are the actual owners. The Archbishop too behaved like a toothless general.

    • In the Public Lectures on the Documents of Vatican II held at St Xavier’s College (27 Jan to 15th Sept 2013), on questions whether PPCs and PFCs were mandatory for each parish, Fr Dr D. John Romus, Dean of Theology, Morning Star College, Barrackpore, clearly said that there was no scope for regression. During the Archbishop’s parish visitation when it was pointed out that Auxilium Parish did not have a properly constituted elected PPC and PFC, Fr K.K. Sebastian hung his head down, with the Archbishop looking embarrassed.

    • By nurturing a ROGUE PRIEST like Fr K.K. Sebastian, the Salesian Provincial has sown the seed of Mafia Raj in the Salesian Community and created among the laity a feeling of total mistrust for priests and religious.

    • Even nuns of the different congregations complained to the Archbishop against Fr K.K. Sebastian’s brashness and requested for his REMOVAL. It was met with indifference.

    • The situation in Auxilium Parish demands settlement of the on-going court case through intervention of the new Provincial (the Archbishop of Calcutta prefers to fiddle like Nero while Rome is burning), installation of PPC and PFC in the parish through transparent election and settlement of other urgent matters in the court case where the Defendants / Opposite Parties are Fr K.K. Sebastian (for politicizing and criminalizing Auxilium Parish), Alexander Anthony – President of CAB (for arbitrarily and illegally disaffiliating CAB Auxilium Parish Unit including its duly elected President, at the instance of Fr K.K. Sebastian and installing Curtis Arathoon as Ad hoc President), Sr Caterina Das – Principal Auxilium Parish School (for oral and illegal termination of Mrs Mary Dhara’s teaching job) and Fr Thomas Ellicherail, Salesian Provincial (head of operation).

    • Rumours are rife that Fr K.K. Sebastian has been given marching orders and that Fr Thomas Ellicherail, present Provincial, has arranged a safe passage for him to the USA for higher studies! What an irony! What higher studies would Fr K.K. do when he closes down the study centre at his own parish not once but thrice trampling on the poor children’s basic right to education? By arranging his escape, in the midst of controversies and financial corruption, Fr Ellicherail is committing a Himalayan blunder at the cost of Salesian Community and dipping his hand in the blood of Auxilium and Bahrampur Parishioners. Bengal does not want such a criminal priest. He shall pay heavily if he ever returns!

    • Fr KK has to show up for a clean handover to the new incumbent in light of Archbishop Emeritus Lucas Sirkar’s Circular dated 6th December 2011 as follows:

    (1) The VG, Dean or a representative of the Finance Committee is to be present during handing over of the office. (2) An inventory of the parish is to be made by the outgoing priest. This inventory will be checked by the new incumbent as he takes over. (3) Land documents, files (including minutes of meetings, newsletters, etc.), registers, bank books, vehicles, previously audited statements, bills and documents connected with electricity, land tax, papers relating to on-going projects, should be listed and handed over to the incumbent by the outgoing priest. It is preferable that auditing of accounts is done and copy given to the new incumbent and the Financial Administrator of the Archdiocese. Hatgachia land reportedly bought in 1993 with Rupees One Crore Italian donation for housing of Catholic families is without any clear land title. Many families were evicted or asked to leave the place at a monetary consideration. If the title was clear could the land bought for housing of Catholic families be given away to Milan Mela and other promoters? This is total cheating of the Italian donors and the occupants by the Salesians. (4) It is understood that all claims will have been settled before the incumbent (to be read Outgoing Parish Priest) leaves office. No claim from the incumbent after the handover may be entertained.

    Fr Thomas Ellicherail cannot just make a quiet exit (his term too expires along with Fr KK!). He has to come to the Parish for a clean handover. Duly signed documents on the handover must be displayed on the Church Noticeboard for knowledge of parishioners who are the true owners.

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