Minutes of the Meeting with Cardinal, related to St. Anthony’s Church, Malwani Matter.

VOICE OF THE SILENT MAJORITY

(CATHOLICS FOR TRUTH TRANSPARENCY AND WEEDING OF CORRUPT PRACTICES AT PARISH LEVEL)

SILENT VOICE has been regularly bringing you, matter related to St. Anthony’s Parish, Malwani. We have also kept H. E. Oswald Cardinal Gracias in loop, about it. This post was supposed to be the last one in the series, but we don’t think it will be so.

As the title suggest, it is about minutes of the meeting between Cardinal and yours truly, which summarize entire matter in brief.

SILENT VOICE thanks our readers for standing by us, during this entire exercise.

GREG

LETTER TO CARDINAL

21st, July, 2018;
Your Eminence,
Thank you very much, for your valuable time, to discuss the matter related to St. Anthony’s Parish; Malwani; on 26th, June, 2018.
After about thirty five to forty minutes of deliberation on the issue, you decided to keep the matter open for further investigation, which I appreciate. This letter is just to remind you that I would be waiting anxiously for the outcome of this investigation, as soon as possible. I regret to say that there is a tendency among the hierarchy, to remain silent, in order to let matter die a natural death. His Lordship Bishop John Rodrigues did not report his findings to you, till the day we met, on my insistence to do so.
Your Eminence, I love my CHURCH for its values, particularly the TRUTH, as much as I love my Nation and Community. I have never liked any kind of malfunction of administration, in any of these wings of the society. I have been raising my voice, in whatever way possible, within my limits wherever any injustice is seen.
Towards the end of our meeting, though you committed to keep the matter open; I had made up my mind to put a lid onto it; reason for this is mentioned below. However, my conscience is not letting me do so. Hence, I am appealing to you, to look into this seriously, because your ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY, TOWARDS CORRUPTION is at stake over here.
I would like to put down briefly, in form of minutes, what transpired between us, in order to refresh your memory.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING

Ø ME: The parish priest Fr. Agnelo Fernandes has committed CORRUPTION, which is a serious offence. He has violated the directives of the Hierarchy, while spending over Rs, Forty Lakhs for various jobs carried out within the vicinity of the Church. As per guidelines, for every job that is taken up, at least three quotations are required to be invited, which wasn’t done in any of the cases. Besides, amount exceeding beyond Rs. Four Lakhs, needed to get prior approval from hierarchy, which has not been done in any of the cases.
Ø YOU: I agree with you that CORRUPTION is serious offence, but it is just a violation of laid guidelines. It can’t be called a CORRUPTION.
Ø ME: (Surprised) If bypassing guidelines and manipulating bills is not CORRUPTION then what could be other purpose for doing this? It has been done with mal-intention to CHEAT the Hierarchy and the Church. That is how I look at it.
Ø ME: I had a meeting with His Lordship Bishop John Rodrigues, for about an hour and explained the matter to him in details. Thereafter, his Lordship visited Parish and met the parish Priest. As per the information available to me, a third person, supposed to be a contractor, was also present. If this is true, then don’t you think it is unfair? Why should an outsider be present at a confidential meeting?
Ø YOU: Bishop John has not spoken to me on this matter, yet. I called you because you wanted to meet me.
Ø ME: At the committee meeting following this controversy where this issue was discussed, I asked to produce the copies of the quotations, which was not done, because they had none.
Ø ME: After this controversy, one more job for replacing an old gate has been taken up. Well, in this case, four quotations were received, thanks to my opposition/ruckus in earlier matters. However, interestingly, while three of the quotations were within limit of the expected cost, the fourth was exceeding three times of the expected cost, ie 4.50 Lakhs against 1.25 Lakhs. Surprisingly, it belonged to the same contractor, who got a major chunk of forty lakhs plus, without following due process. You can thus imagine, whether the fair amount is paid for the jobs done.
Ø ME: Around Rs four Lakhs have been spent on renovating the kitchen, in the parochial house. No doubt, the kitchen was in shambles. However, considering the road widening issue still pending, a minimum amount could have been spent, since the committee decided to bypass the procedure, looking at emergency situation. I mentioned this to Fr. Agnelo after the meeting.
Ø ME: Have you ever known about water logging in the area of the GROTTO, in the monsoon that it required increasing the level? Around Rs. ten lakhs have been spent for it; ignoring the fact that the area is within RL (REGULAR LINE), for road widening. Later on the reason for doing so was changed to BEAUTIFICATION of the area.
Ø ME: Your Eminence, these things are happening in every parish in the Archdiocese which you, me and everyone knows. In this case the matter has been brought to your notice in writing; hence it is expected of you to take action against him.
Ø YOU: (ANNOYED) What do you expect me to do; transfer him?
Ø ME: Yes, that is what the parishioners would be happy with. (Spending huge amounts at such a short time, has become talking point among parishioners; though all of them may not be aware of the controversy).
Ø YOU: How can I transfer him, just because he has not followed rule? May be, he will do it next time. Besides, you are the only one opposing it. What about other committee members? I can’t just go by what you alone are saying.
Ø ME: If the parish priest produces the proof ie. Three quotations for each job done, I will withdraw my complaint. Besides, none of the members will ever go against the parish priest, because, some derive financial benefit by being in the committee and others who want to be in his good books, just to be on some committee or a cell. This fact is known to all.
Ø YOU: By way of contracts?
Ø ME: You judged it right, your Eminence. These guys are known to parishioners. One of them was presented with a gold chain by a contractor, as per the information available to me. The other one, collected money from a stall owner, during the novenas and did not deposit it.
Ø YOU: Did you bring it to Fr. Agnelo’s notice?
Ø ME: I had forwarded the message, which I had received from the stall owner, to Fr. Agnelo. Till date he is silent over it.
Ø ME: I would like to share with you something about Fr. Agnelo, which is out of context. He has a history of being transferred within a year from OL of Lourdes Parish, Orlem; for similar controversy.
Ø YOU: (Looking perturbed) Mr Pereira, you should have done your homework, before making such allegations. You must take your words back and apologize. Fr. Agnelo has never been at Orlem.
I stuck to my statement. At this stage, you called for his file and found out that he indeed was at Orlem, though only for a year; about which you expressed surprised and apologized, which was really embarrassing to me. (At this stage I had decided to close this chapter, as mentioned above). Your Eminence, I am not sure, whether this was mentioned to you. A signature campaign was carried out by parishioners, to save a century old Grotto, which the parishioners believed, was sold to the builder, along with the plot on which it is standing. The Grotto still exists, but as per my knowledge it is still in the possession of the society, on paper.
Recently, this Grotto is embroiled in fresh controversy. It has just been renovated and the over century old Images, which certainly would carry a heritage tag and Antique Value, have been replaced with new ones. No one knows, where the old Images are, as per the information available to me. It would be interesting to know, where the images are at the moment. Fr. Warner, in charge of Heritage museum at St. Pius Seminary, denied having received these images.
Your Eminence, the Parish Priest might be a SOLE TRUSTEE, but the lay faithful, the Parishioners are TRUE OWNERS of the Church, they certainly would like you to act as per your policy of ZERO TOLERANCE TOWARDS CORRUPTION, lest their perception about hierarchy’s leniency towards errant clergy will be strengthened.
GREG R. PEREIRA

REMINDER

26th, August, 2018
Your Eminence,
This is just to remind you that it was assured that you are not closing the matter, but will keep it open and would investigate further. I would not know, how further the investigation has gone and what is the outcome.
However, at property and finance committee meeting on Monday the 20th, Fr. Agnelo gleefully announced that rules for the expenditure by parish priest are revised and the amount that the parish priest need not take any approval has been doubled. I think this change was overdue, since long. But my conscience is not willing to accept it as wise move. This will encourage the Parish Priests to spend more, where it is not necessary; just like what is happening at our parish; even before this revision could take place.
Besides, it is my perception that change has taken place, because of my complaint and in case of Malwani Parish; the revision means SHIFTING OF THE GOAL POST to save the accused.
However, since the related matter pertains prior to this revision, the change should not come in the way of fair judgment. The delay in the judgment has emboldened the accuse Parish Priest to continue with his charade of unnecessary expenditure.
We pray, to Good Lord, to shower upon you His choicest Blessings and WISDOM to do justice to your policy of ZERO TOLERANCE TOWARDS CORRUPTION.
Yours always, in Our LORD JESUS CHRIST

GREG R. PEREIRA

 

WE ARE COMMITTED TO VOICE OUR CONCERN, AGAINST ANY UNDESIRABLE ACTIONS WITHIN THE CHURCH, 

(To Be Continued)

From Archives :

Fitting Response from SILENT VOICE, to a LEGAL NOTICE Served By BISHOP……

 

 

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Church ‘glorifying’ bishop accused of raping nun

National Commission for Women agrees to press for improved security for alleged victim and five supporters.

 

New Delhi:
India’s National Commission for Women has accused Catholic Church officials of failing to support and protect a nun who has accused a bishop of raping her.

Chairwoman Rekha Sharma told media in Kochi city on Dec. 1 that the official church was “glorifying” Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar while failing to protect the alleged victim.

“They [church officials] are glorifying the accused bishop,” Sharma said after meeting a delegation of Catholics who sought the commission’s intervention to provide security for the nun and her supporters in a convent.

Sharma alleged that church officials were not listening or acting to protect the nuns. The church has also failed by not having an internal system to report sex abuse, she said.

“There was nobody she [the nun] could go to and complain. We have also written to the church urging them to constitute internal complaint committees where women can complain,” she said.

The 48-year-old nun, former superior of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation, complained to Kerala police in July that Bishop Mulakkal raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

Five other nuns, who belong to the congregation that functions under the bishop’s patronage, held a public protest calling for the bishop’s arrest. He was arrested on Sept. 21 but a court bailed him on Oct. 15.

Bishop Mulakkal has consistently denied all the allegations and claimed that the nun is taking revenge against him for initiating disciplinary action against her violation of her religious vows of obedience and chastity.

Protesters are now demanding revocation of the bishop’s bail on grounds that his freedom could endanger witnesses, including the alleged victim, and hamper justice.

A Christian delegation met Sharma seeking the commission’s intervention to protect the nun and her five colleagues at their convent after their congregation refused to cooperate with police to improve security.

Delegation leader Riju Kanookaran, who leads a group working for transparency in the church, said Sharma agreed to take up the issue with the federal government led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party.

The lay group’s move came after Sister Regina, the present superior of the nuns’ congregation, wrote to police to say that it does not have the resources to tighten security around the convent and suggested that the nuns who feel threatened can be moved to a government shelter home.

Police had asked her to install two night-vision CCTV cameras, cut the branches of trees near the convent and cover two wells, among other things.

Sister Regina told police that the congregation did not have funds for the work, while installing cameras would affect the privacy of people living in the convent and the orphanage attached to it.

The nuns supporting the alleged victim told ucanews.com that the congregation wants to force them out of the convent for going public against the bishop.

Sister Anupama, one of the five nuns who publicly protested, said they began to fear for their lives after the death of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, a priest in the bishop’s Jalandhar Diocese. The priest, who had testified against the bishop, was found dead under mysterious circumstances a few days after the bishop was released on bail.

“The proposal to move us to a shelter home is an attempt by Bishop Mulakkal and those supporting him to oust us from this convent,” Sister Anupama told ucanews.com. “The moment we move out of the convent, they could declare us as leaving the professed life and dismiss us from the congregation.”

Sister Anupama claimed that the congregation was “doing everything possible” to “harass and threaten us so that we should withdraw from the case against the bishop.”

She also said the congregation’s claim that it has no money for security cameras cannot be taken seriously when it spent “thousands of rupees” to “fly around to defend the bishop.”

Source: UCAN

American killed on Andaman island ‘not a missionary’

Police and church officials deny reports that John Chau was trying to convert primitive tribal people.

 

New Delhi:
Indian police and church officials have poured cold water on media reports that an American murdered on an isolated island was trying to convert tribal people to Christianity.

John Allen Chau’s body was found on a beach of North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal with arrow wounds on Nov. 17.

Indian laws prohibit visitors to the island to protect the existence and identity of the tribal people, who reportedly have low immunity. The Sentinelese people, one of world’s most primitive tribes, are known to resist outsiders and often attack those who go near their island.

Dependra Pathak, director general of police of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, told the News Minute website that he was told that Chau, 27, lived in the U.S. state of Alabama and was “some kind of paramedic.”

“People thought he was a missionary because he had mentioned his position on God and that he was a believer on social media or somewhere online. But in a strict sense he was not a missionary. He was an adventurer. His intention was to meet the aborigines,” Pathak said.

Chau arrived in Andaman capital Port Blair on a tourist visa. On Nov. 16, he and six fishermen went close to the island on a fishing boat, and he then used a canoe to land on the island.

He was attacked by arrows but continued walking. The fishermen saw the tribal people tying a rope around his neck and dragging his body. They were scared and sped away but returned the next day to find his body on the shore, wire agency AFP said quoting an official source.

Bishop Aleixo das Neves Dias of Port Blair, which covers the area, told ucanews.com that the diocese did not have any accurate information about the victim but confirmed that he was not associated with the Catholic mission in the area.

The bishop said that those who know about the history and geography of the area know “it is suicidal to enter the area. Projecting religious conversion as the motive of the visitor is misplaced.”

“How can anyone imagine going to a place to convert people when you know you will surely be killed upon landing there?”

Father Dharampal Tirkey, financial adviser of the diocese, told ucanews.com that attributing conversion as Chau’s motive “is part of a malicious attempt to link the unfortunate incident with Christian missionary work.”

He said initial information gathered by the diocese showed that the deceased was doing some research and had previously made an aborted attempt to enter the prohibited area.

Christian missionaries and the church had been “unnecessarily dragged into a controversy of conversion,” Father Tirkey said.

Reports said seven people including the six fishermen who took Chau to the island were arrested on charges of culpable homicide amounting to murder, ferrying people on an overloaded vessel and voluntarily causing hurt.

In 2006, the Sentinelese people killed two fishermen whose boat inadvertently drifted onto their island.

Source: UCAN

H. E. OSWALD CARDINAL GRACIAS, WILL HAVE MORE TIME TO DEDICATE TO HIS ARCHDIOCESE

Cardinal Bo replaces Cardinal Gracias as FABC president
He will take charge from January 2019.

Photo credit: cbcpnews.com

Oswald Cardinal Gracias

New Delhi:

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon archdiocese has been elected president of Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), said a message from the federation.

Cardinal Bo was elected at the FABC’s Central Committee meeting held Nov. 16 in Bangkok, the message said. He will take charge from January 2019.

Cardinal Bo succeeds Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay who completes his two terms as FABC president Dec. 31, 2018.

Cardinal Gracias also was FABC Secretary General from January to December 2012.

Cardinal Bo was born in 1948 in Sagaing Region of Myanmar to peasant parents.

He sent to a Salesian-run boarding school in Mandalay and later joined a Salesian seminary in Anisakan village.

Bo was ordained a Salesian priest in 1976 and appointed as prefect of the the Diocese of Lashio in 1986. Four years later, he was consecrated Bishop of Lashio. In 1996, he was transferred to the Diocese of Pathein.

In 2015, Pope Francis named him cardinal. In April 2015 he was appointed a member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Pontifical Council for Culture, and Secretariat of Communication.

Courtesy: UCAN

Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, Venakanni; Damaged in Cyclon Gaja…

Cyclone kills dozens, displaces thousands in southern India
Churches, including a Marian shrine among the thousands of buildings damaged by storm in Tamil Nadu.

 

One of the towers of Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health at Venakanni can be seen without its cross after Cyclone Gaja blew it away Nov. 16. The cyclone also killed at least 45 people and displaced thousands on the coast of southern Tamil Nadu state. (Photo by John Arokiaraj)

New Delhi:
A cyclone killed more than 40 people and displaced hundreds of others at the weekend as it tore a destructive path across southern India, severely damaging farmland and buildings including the region’s most revered Marian shrine.

Catholic Church agencies have joined Tamil Nadu state government in relief efforts to help people affected by Cyclone Gaja in Thanjavur Diocese and Pondicherry-Cuddalore Archdiocese.

Officials say at least 46 people were killed and more than 100,000 displaced when their thatched homes were blown way by strong winds and driving rain that hit coastal areas early on Nov. 16, when the Gaja made landfall.

“More than 122,000 people have been evacuated and are in 351 relief camps, while rescue teams are helping others in villages, cut off by the storm,” said John Arokiaraj of Caritas India, the Catholic Church’s social action arm in the region.

He said at least 10,120 houses were destroyed and another 5,770 partially damaged, while 1,300 fishing boats and other fishing gear were damaged. Livestock, crops and coconut trees were badly affected were also destroyed, he said.

The worst-hit areas were in Tanjavur Diocese.

“The livelihoods of our people are destroyed when their fishing equipment or livestock and farmlands were destroyed,” diocesan chancellor John Zachariah said.

More than 30 churches, including the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health at Venakanni, some 60 chapels and 15 schools were also damaged in the cyclone, he said.

Rector of the Marian Shrine, Father Maria Anotony Prabhakar, said the storm blew away a cross atop one of shrine’s two towers.

“Another building in the compound also suffered damage,” he told ucanews.com. The hands of a 20-meter-high statue of Jesus Christ also suffered damaged.

“There was no loss of life or injury at the shrine,” he added.

The shrine, a pilgrim center since the 16th century, attracts some 20 million people a year. Church officials said some 3 million of them come during a 11-day long annual festival that concludes on Sept. 8, which Catholic celebrate as Mary’s birthday.

Despite the damage, hundreds of people were taking shelter in the buildings within the shrine compound, while 15 other Catholic parishes were also providing shelter and assisting people, church officials said.

The bishops’ conference vowed to help as many people as it could irrespective of religion.

“Caritas India is assessing the damage and will begin immediate relief intervention as soon as possible,” Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, the conference secretary-general said in a statement.

Source: UCAN

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