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Pope urged to try Chile experiment to cleanse Indian Church 

By Matters India Reporter

(Reissued after correcting the designation of James Kottoor)

New Delhi: Pope Francis should try his Chilean experiment with the bishops of India to cleanse the Church in the country.

Pope Francis should bring together Catholic bishops of India for “some soul searching” and take steps “to wipe out both sexual and financial corruption” plaguing the Church, says James Kottoor, editor of the Church Citizens’ Voice.

Pope Francis on May 15 met with 34 Chilean bishops in the Vatican to discuss a clergy sex abuse scandal that has plagued their national Church. On the first day of the three-day meeting, the Pope “handed each bishop the text with the subjects for meditation,” the Vatican said.

“We are feeling first of all pain and shame. Pain because unfortunately there are victims; there are people who suffered abuse and this deeply pains us,” Monsignor Fernando Ramos, secretary general of the Chilean bishops’ conference, told a news conference on May 14. “And shame, because these abuses took place in ecclesiastical environments, precisely where these kinds of abuse should never happen,” added Monsignor Ramos, who is the auxiliary bishop of Santiago.

A week ago, the Vatican said the Pope wanted to “examine in depth the causes and consequences” of abuses of power and sexual abuse, as well as “the mechanisms that have in some cases led to cover-ups and serious neglect of the victims.”

Kottoor, a journalist with half-a-century of experience, says the Pope is not targeting just the episcopate of Chile but the whole People of God (faithful) who make up 90 percent of the Church in that country “who want to see justice being meted out through deeds, not words alone.”

Referring to the Indian situation, Kottoor says the Indian episcopate is among the least transparent and most silent in dealing with sexual abuse cases. The Catholic lay people in India, he observes, are becoming “more and more vocal in discussing such issues.”

He also notes that the India has the fourth largest bishops’ conference in the world with more than 200 prelates.

“In India such cases are seldom discussed in public either in the secular or religious press. But the one that has hit international headlines is the Ernakulam land-sale scandal with Cardinal Alencherry in the eye of the storm.”

Kottoor says the Indian Church for long has been beset with sexual abuse cases allegedly involving Catholic priests. One case pending since 1992 is the murder of Sister Abhaya, whose body was found in a convent well.

The editor says the lay people in India would wish Pope Francis would take a similar initiative with the Indian bishops, who are divided into three Rites – Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara.

“One can only hope and pray that such corrective steps would be taken, by bishops’ conferences around the world, and especially in India, in the nearest future for the good of the whole faithful who are left confused like sheep without enlightened shepherds to guide and lead,” Kottoor says.

He also says firm action should be taken to wipe out sexual and financial corruption in the Church in all countries in the world. “On this issue there can’t be two opinions,” he adds.

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6 Responses to Pope urged to try Chile experiment to cleanse Indian Church

  1. Parimala Selvaraj

    Warm Greetings dear brothers and sisters 🙂

    Our Indian Church is our Family… and will have some good+bad+ugly portions to it that we have to deal with just as in any family life situation, while also offering solutions for rebuilding her, being part of the Universal Church.

    Celibacy is an “offering” from those who wish to “choose” religious life. It is NOT a forced persecution 🙂 but a willing sacrifice, which is what strengthens in the quiet so many who CANNOT offer faithfulness and fidelity in their commitment as a “people of God”. There are many who attempt it through their “calling” initially BUT fall apart when they truly CANNOT LIVE that “way of life” for God along their preparation – this is NOT their sin but an “understanding into their human SELF” – that helps them to FINALLY accept their calling well+full when they do, with a FIRM RESOLVE, making it a COVENENTial commitment to adhere to, for the glory of God. It is a very sweet offering that pleases God, no doubt there. Indeed, A VERY difficult one, yet, a fragrant offering, that makes those committed uniquely “chosen” in their faithfulness journey with God… Once again, it is God Who helps them keep that covenant, and they attest HIS presence in their lives each time they have passed their “human tests” with flying colours YAY ThankYOU God 🙂

    Our work as Laity, as a people, must be in “helping our religious” LIVE their commitment without being a temptation for them, without offering them chances to fall along their journey…

    Indeed, the work of the Laity can always be questioned, Na? 🙂 Why NOT? When the religious are, so can the laity, because ALL of us form The Church… IF the work of the Laity is NOT satisfactory in rebuilding The Church as a Family, as a fruitful part of the Universal Church, then the religious and the remaining Laity have a part in it also – because there can be a possibility that THE GOOD people of God willing to work FOR THE CHURCH have been let go / let down, by either of them, Na? 🙂 There is NO competition in Heaven, so why must there be any in our work along the journey to live there? Indeed, we can ALL do with some mighty reformation and transformation, but that is an ongoing process, is it not? Transformation that will not have to change the tree but that which can help INCREASE+ENHANCE GOOD fruits from it…

    Much prayers and love in Christ Jesus everyone 🙂
    Pari

     
  2. Nithiya Sagayam Anthony

    There is also the issue of Groupism based on Caste, Region and Language. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Church are very much affected by Caste mentality and there is Caste Discrimination even among the leaders of the Chuch and also among the Priests and Religious let alone the laity.
    – THere is too much instituionalism and less charism and prophetism.
    -Nithiya

     
  3. A. S. Mathew

    Imposing celibacy upon the Priest is not practical and not Biblical. The first Pope Peter was married, JESUS healed his mother in-law with high fever.

    St. Paul had a calling to be single, but any reference in the New Testament that the people who are called for the Ministry in any level must be single? On the other hand, it was stated that the Elder of a Church should be married and with children.

    The Catholic Church is expecting the Priests and Bishops to be totally dedicated to the Church; thus no family to divert that focusing. By the marriage of the Priests, no diversion will take place; but they can be more vibrant in their ministry as Priests and Bishops; thus far less activities of sin behind the door. If marriage is permitted, so many highly qualified Priests will come to join the Church as Priests.

     
  4. chhotebhai

    James Kottoor has done well to highlight this issue. However, I don’t see why we should wait for the Pope to act through the bishops. Reform, renewal, revolution all begin from below, never from above.

    Since the most publicized cases of sexual and financial misdemeanours by priests seem to be in Kerala, and Kottoor is also based there, it would be in the fitness of things if he organized a two day seminar to address the issue, inviting eminent speakers, lay leaders and activists, and if possible victims of sexual abuse.

    Personally I would assure him of my full support for the same, and would arrange for other lay leaders to also attend it.

     
  5. Achachan

    When experts talk of big things ordinary people may not be able to retort. One expert doctor Madeleine says:- “sexual desire is dependent on many different factors with testosterone being one of them.”
    Every human being has sexual desire. Men may have more,I do not know.Celibacy should not be rated something low. Marriage is not prescribed by Jesus and Church for satisfaction of the sexual desire.
    Some accepts celibacy for the Kingdom of God. Of course sometimes human weakness may lead to sins. If they are really unable to continue celibacy,they should leave. Marriage is not a solution as there are reports of many instances of sex outside marriage among Protestant pastors. The solution is dedication,faith and prayer.
    This is not to say that celibacy cannot be changed by the Church. We should accept the authority of the Pope as our Church is not a democratic organisation.

     
    • A. S. Mathew

      When the Apostles came from Mount Olives, Peter had the first agenda of the meeting to have a new addition to the Apostle group vacated by Judas. Read in the Acts of the Apostle 1:12-26, how they cast the lot to select in between Barsabbs and Matthias? Matthias was selected.

      We give credit to Abraham Lincoln for defining democracy; and to the U.S. as the pioneer of democracy. But the 1st century Church was the ideal democracy. Then, why the Catholic Church took away the direction of the first Pope Peter who delivered the Apostolic preaching in selecting an Apostle through democratic principle?