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Bishops-Shah meeting: Priest editor voices caution 

By Matters India Reporter

New Delhi: Chief editor of a leading Christian weekly wants the Church leaders in India to take other minority groups into confidence in their dialogue with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that heads the federal coalition government.

“Given the current political scenario, the bishops should take other minorities too into confidence,” Capuchin Father Suresh Mathew, editor of the Indian Currents, said on June 3, a day after some Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant leaders in Kerala met with BJP president Amit Shah.

Shah met the Church leaders at Kochi, Kerala’s commercial capital, on the second day of his three-day visit to the southern Indian state. The 52-year-old political leader, who masterminded the BJP’s emergence as India’s top political party, was scheduled to meet more Church leaders on June 3 at the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.

After Shah’s first meeting with the Church leaders, Father Jimmy Poochakkattu, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar Church, told media that there was nothing political in the event.

However, the Indian Currents editor cautions the bishops that any attempt to align with the BJP will show the Church in poor light. “Let (Church leaders) stand erect and tell Shah that the central government under the leadership of his party is threatening the secular fabric of the nation,” Father Mathew told Matters India on June 3.

The Catholic priest wants the church leaders to demand that the BJP protect the rights and privileges the Indian Constitution guarantees to the country’s citizens and minorities.

“What the bishops need to realize is that the people are more intelligent than them. Laity cannot be seen as their exclusive vote bank. They should not bargain for positions and privileges showing the numerical strength of the Christians in Kerala,” Father Mathew asserts.

The priest also posted an open letter to the bishops in his Facebook page where he commends the prelates for raising the issue of Father Tom Uzhunnalil’s safe return. The Indian Salesian priest was abducted by Islamic fundamentalists in Yemen on March 4, 2016.

Father Mathew’s post says the Church weekly “wants to caution the shepherds on the intentions of the BJP. The party with blood of innocent Muslims on its hands wants to draw political mileage by appeasing Christian bishops.”

The priest wants Christians to become pray to Sangh Parivar’s “dishonest” designs to set up a Hindu nation in India

According to Father Mathew, the federal government’s recent notification on cattle slaughter “trumps reason and violates the Constitution” that gives states exclusive powers to legislate on preservation of cattle.

“By encroaching on the states’ domain, the Modi Government has put the axe to the very federal structure of the country,” alleges the editor who bemoans that the government has ignored hundreds of thousands of people who depend on trades based on cattle slaughter. “We know well the target of the ruling dispensation,” he adds.

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11 Responses to Bishops-Shah meeting: Priest editor voices caution

  1. Siby Joseph

    It is good to see Suresh taking such a strong position. The church leaders in Kerala are not all able to see the motives of politicians and happily join them for chit chat. They must maintain their dignity, keep politicians and politics away from the church and stand for the Gospel and Gospel values, after all the position they hold comes from the Gospel and the people.

  2. Thankapan vaidhyar

    It is good to correlate what was the position of the bishops conference when the NSS (Kerala eezhava samajam, the scheduled caste of Hinduism) divided their population into parishes and requested to merge or – what is called in sociology – the sankritisation into syromalabar Catholicism). The eezhava society as far as I believe were mainly producers of toddy in Kerala. Syrians used to mock at them for there lower level profession. But unfortunate most of the Catholics became addicts (privately) to this toddy While mocking. (What a work of God- as punished Israel for their infidelity- what Lord made holy, who are you to speak against?)But the then toddy producers are now not in same position, many are good politicians, businessmen to officers etc,in Kerala society now. Present Syrians are addicts to beef and liquor, sorry to write, this same church had great holy tradition incomparable with whole universal church, many saints are coming from the same church.

    There was a time the syromalabar church was aristocratic in Kerala society but now it’s position is upward down. Financially very bad as rubber rate went down, nursing profession became cheaper in gulf coast countries (other castes ladies entered into same profession with more acceptable way)
    It is good to keep historical developments of the bishops conference. This body is responsible for most of the major social shifts. I suggest some genuine research be done on such subjects. Even today most of the eezhava families join in church feasts of their locality as they had already designed to emerge to Catholicism. Before they go to shabarimala they connect them to some Catholic Church. Once Church rejected them with humiliating justers. now church leaders are begging…. Back….
    Keeping all mystery in the church is not right. Keep only divine matters holy and mystery.

  3. chhotebhai

    Suresh, as editor of Indian Currents has taken the BJP head on and we salute him for it. It would be good if we could increase the circulation of Indian Currents, especially among the laity.
    I have already expressed my views on the bishops playing toei toei with the BJP. It does not bear repetition

  4. Jothi SJ

    At times our leaders are too innocent to understand the designs of the venomous BJP leaders..! It is also due to our Church leaders ignorance of the context,…I was sad to read it was ‘casual’ meeting…wondered our leaders are jobless to have chit chat with shrewd politician..? Let us pray for the Graces of Holy Spirit on our Church leaders..!

  5. Remya Thomas

    Happy feast of Pentecost! I admire your courage to challenge the leaders of the Church . I read your thought provoking article and am inspired by your courage to stand for truth and fight against injustice. I pray that the church may have many more sons like you to stand for the gospel values . May God be with you to go forward in your ministry , voicing against corruptions and injustice in the church and in the society. All the best. …..

  6. Fr.Joseph Anithottam

    Three kudos to Fr.Suresh. The Syro Malabar Church has become a community of opportunists. Do they have the guts to ask Amit Shaw :
    1. To stop bogus and coerced kar vapsi,
    2. To uphold the constitution in letter and spirit,
    3. To grant freedom of religion as enshrined in the constitution,
    4. To stop persecution of the minorities and minority institutions whether it is a place of worship or an educational or health institution.
    5. Who are these so called leaders who met shaw? Do they think that the people are with them.Are they not aware that the ministers are taking instructions from the RSS how to run the ministry. Do they not know what has happened in India after the BJP came to power? The Bishops are sitting in the well guarded and protected Palaces. The poor people, downtrodden in remote villages are shivering to say they are christians or muslims. This is the fate of the minorities in India today.

  7. Enée Grentidez

    Fr Suresh is quite right. For whatever issue concerning the minority rights the bishops should take along the other minority groups for a dialogue with the Government. It is quite noticeable that the BJP is adopting a ‘Divide et impera’ (‘Divide and conquer’) approach towards the Christians: ready and willing to give concessions where they expect or hope to get the Catholic or Christian vote – see in Goa for English education, see in the North-East for the latest ban on cattle selling – and, the next stage, remove those concessions when they believe their stranglehold on the particular state is complete.

  8. Varghese Gnalian, SSP

    I congratulate Fr Suresh for being loud and clear verbally, which the bishops of Kerala failed to voice during their meeting with Amit Shah. Why are the bishops nefarious about the hidden designs of Sangh Parivar and its agents?. Nothing less than a Hindu Rastra is the ultimate aim of the BJP and its affiliates and mentors. It is the RSS that rules the nation. People of Kerala are intelligent and prudent but the Christian leadership fails to take a tough stand against the subtle designs of the Sanghies. This is a dangerous trend. The nation is heading for a civil war with all these BANS and PROSECUTIONS and PERSECUTIONS aimed at the dalits, muslims, christians and ordinary hard working citizens of our country creating a fear psychosis. The elected representatives are becoming dictators and enemies of people. They are a privileged lot with all exceptions which they do not deserve. The citizens of our Mother land should unite and arise against such atrocities.

  9. Dr Roy Chwdhury

    Never trust these Sanghis. They believe only in POLITICS OF OPPORTUNISM. The EXTINCTION OF MINORITIES is their agenda. That is the meaning of the slogan Sab ke saath sab ka vikas. The Sanghis proven agneda is DIVIDE AND RULE. The rest is only gimmicks to to polarize church leadership

  10. Ajaya kumar Singh

    Appreciate that Fr.Suresh articulated it; it is not just apprehensions; but sinister agenda….only wondering if people could understand RSS interest in Kerala church leadership. Wish the leadership could do background check of the people before they get into; of the present state BJP president and Sasi teacher…what they have spoken of Kerala Church leadership in the past..

    • F. M. Britto

      The bishops need to act as ambassadors of Jesus than for the Church’s profits. F.M. Britto