Call revived to end bishops’ monopoly over wealth.

For last ten years, yours truly, through SILENT VOICE, has been demanding to abolish SOLE TRUSTEE power of the Parish Priests. The power is being misused, with no trace of accountability. The Finance Committee, provided under Canon Law 536 is just of an advisory nature and has no control over SOLE TRUSTEE. Besides, the members are hand picked by the Parish Priest, to suit his needs.

In my parish of St. Anthony’s Church, Malwani; in the Archdiocese of Mumbai, I am fighting a lone battle against corruption of around Rupees FIFTY LAKHS, spent by SOLE TRUSTEE, bypassing all the guidelines. Members of the finance committee are muted over it.

Hierarchy, after the complaint, instead of taking action, doubled the amount the SOLE TRUSTEE is authorized to spend without taking approval.




Rape scandal spurs reform bid

Call revived to end bishops’ monopoly over wealth.

Advocate Indulekha Joseph, speaks with media at a protest venue seeking justice for a nun allegedly raped by a bishop. Joseph is part of group seeking to reform laws governing church property and finances. (Photo by Christopher Joseph/

Kochi: A campaign to reform laws governing church property and finances has gained momentum in India’s southern Kerala state, where a rape case against a bishop has created a furore.

Church activists, including theologians, have for more than a decade sought greater lay participation in managing the temporal wealth of the Catholic Church, purportedly to check embezzlement.

A draft proposal called the ‘Church Properties and Institutions Trust Bill’ was prepared under the guidance of the late V. R. Krishna Iyer, a former judge of the Supreme Court, and was submitted for the consideration of the Kerala government in 2009.

“We are pressing for it, but the state may not enact it as a law in the near future,” said advocate Indulekha Joseph, a Catholic lawyer connected with the movement.

Placards seeking the enactment of the draft proposal were raised at a street protest that began Sept. 8 in Kochi of Kerala state.

The protesters also demanded justice for a nun allegedly raped by Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar.

A placard stating ‘money is fuel for lust’ implied that unaccounted funds available to members of the Church hierarchy emboldened them to violate other people’s rights.

The draft proposal, which activists now call the Kerala Church Act, proposes periodic audits of church properties and institutions such as schools. The bill also calls for an elected body to manage financial affairs of the Catholic Church and parishes.

Joseph said the state’s successive coalition governments, led by both communists and the rival Congress party, have to date shown no interest in even discussing the draft proposal as they feared it would antagonize the politically influential church leadership.

Christians comprise some 19 percent of Kerala’s 33 million population and their votes are decisive in some areas.

However, Joseph said that a rising demand for the arrest of Bishop Mulakkal could be enough to convince the government that lay people would not be angered by the introduction of new laws applying to church affairs.

George Joseph, chairman of the Kerala Church Act Action Council, told that church funds are used to defend bishops and priests facing criminal cases.

“The church’s money should not be used for supporting and abetting criminal activities of priests and bishops,” he said.

Some 5,600 priests and 40 bishops across the Catholic Church’s 32 dioceses managed the entire wealth of the Kerala Church, with little accountability or lay participation, he said.

“We need a law to make this management more participatory,” George Joseph added.

C. Devasia, chairman of the Kerala Catholic Reform Movement, backed the demand for a new law to ensure lay participation in decision-making.

The hierarchy is said to be opposing the bill on the ground that the Catholic Church’s structure would be weakened by interference of the state.

Father Varghese Vallikatt, spokesperson for the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said that the state legislature had not shown an interest in the proposed act.

He added that the government had not sought the church hierarchy’s views on the proposal since it was submitted nine years ago.

Source: UCAN

FROM THE ARCHIVES (December 2011)

Nun set free without charges





  1. Randell D'Cruz said,

    September 19, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Power to the locals whose parish they belong to. The Priests come and go but the local community should be in charge and responsibilities should be taken up by them. Excellent job!


  2. Isaac Gomes said,

    September 20, 2018 at 10:45 am

    A draft proposal called the ‘Church Properties and Institutions Trust Bill’ is a very good initiative. The Kerala government must consider it by bringing it up in the Assembly for debate. Advocate Indulekha Joseph, along with the enlightened laity of Kerala must press for this.

    The draft proposal, which activists now call the Kerala Church Act, proposes periodic audits of church properties and institutions such as schools. The bill also calls for an elected body to manage financial affairs of the Catholic Church and parishes.

    But I believe the Supreme Court of India has already passed an interim judgement bringing all religious shrines including churches, mosques and all charitable organisations under the ambit of audit. Further hearing was due on 5th September and Final judgement is due.

    The Kerala high court on Wednesday 10th October 2012 ruled that parishioners have rights over Church property. Justice K Vinod Chandran gave the ruling while hearing a case over property rights between parishioners and church authorities of ‘Mukkad Thirukudumba’ Church, Sakthikulangara, Kollam. It was said in the judgement (later ratified by the Supreme Court of India) Parishioners, independently or together as a committee of administrators are competent to represent the parish and claim rights over the properties of the church.
    Read more at:

    Advocate Indulekha Joseph, can cite the above judgement as a case study.


  3. Baptist Fernando said,

    December 13, 2018 at 9:51 am

    The sad thing is now a days our catholic institutions have became corporate offices. And the administrative people are like bosses and the PPC members and SCC animators are treated unpaid employees. And parishioners are common people who only pay tax for everything. They are supposed to only contribute money and not ask questions about the income and expenditure report. If you do it, u will be treated like mentally challenged. So the Lay People only have to PAY, PRAY and OBEY….


%d bloggers like this: