KOCHI: Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) president Archbishop Soosa Pakiam said the apprehensions the Church had about the liquor policy of the LDF government have come true.
The Archbishop said the Church felt cheated on the issue. “We will continue our agitation against liquor with the support of like-minded organisations. We will not let them (the government) sleep peacefully,” the prelate told reporters here on Thursday.
“We feel cheated. Earlier, both the UDF and LDF had supported the Church’s stand. There were signs the LDF government was stepping back from the policy to close down bars, and it has now become true. The Church is taking a stand against liquor as it is a social evil. We believe the liquor culture will ruin Kerala society. The KCBC will soon prepare a policy on production, distribution and consumption of liquor,” the Archbishop said.
He said the KCBC would adopt the same policy that the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) follows in Dalit empowerment. “The KCBC is chalking out a housing project for Dalits. Another decision is to augment activities for rehabilitation of those released from jails,” he said.
Soosa Pakiam said the Church would also initiate steps to support the transgender community. “Transgender persons are also a creation of God and they deserve compassionate consideration of society. They too have the right for decent living like any other citizen. However, they are being exploited now,” the Archbishop said.
Referring to the alleged ban on sale of cattle for slaughter, he said the recent developments had created apprehensions among the minorities. “Cultural diversity and lifestyle of all communities should be protected as envisaged in the Constitution. The integrity of the country could be ensured by protecting interests of all communities,” he said.
On the controversy over the application filed by the Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, headed by the Archbishop, before the Joint Excise Commissioner seeking permission to increase production of wine, the Archbishop said it was only an attempt to tarnish his image and thereby weaken the agitation against liquor. “The Church manufactures and uses wine that does not contain even one per cent of alcohol. Wine is prepared under the Cochin Mass Wine Act.
A request was filed seeking to hike the production volume of the wine as there was a considerable increase in the number of priests, faithful and also the number of Masses being celebrated. If the Excise Department required any clarification on the request, it should have asked us. Instead, the Excise officers released our request through media,” he said.
The Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram had requested to raise the production of mass wine to 2,500 litres from the present 250 litres
(Source: The New Indian Express)