Rape and sexual abuse of nuns (and girls and boys) by Indian priests 02


JUNE 17/22, 2017

 

Rape and sexual abuse of nuns (and girls and boys) by Indian priests 02

 

This file is a successor to

RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 01
MARCH 2015/24, 26 OCTOBER 2016/24 JANUARY/28 FEBRUARY/4 MARCH 2017

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/RAPE_AND_SEXUAL_ABUSE_BY_INDIAN_PRIESTS-CHURCH_FAILS_TO_PUNISH_GUILTY_01.doc

 

Below is an excerpt (slightly modified) from the introduction to the above-referred file 01:

In our internet ministry commencing 2003, we have remained dedicated to exposing

-Liberals and dissenters in the Indian Church

-Hinduisation of the Indian Church in the guise of inculturation; false ecumenism and interreligious dialogue

-Liturgical abuses and aberrations in the Indian Church

-Errors and abuses in the mainstream Catholic Charismatic Renewal and in major retreat centres in India

-Indian evangelical- (and New Age-) influenced retreat preachers masquerading as Catholics

-Threats to the Catholic faithful from private/unapproved mystics, false revelations, etc.

-New Age (alternative therapies, eastern meditations, psycho-spiritual counseling techniques and devices, etc.) promoted by parishes, Catholic laity and religious institutions and individuals in ministry in India, but we have never concerned ourselves with moral issues for fear of sitting in judgement over people.

 

We have always been receiving information from individuals about predator priests who seduce or sexually exploit women, more so in the recent past. But we have never till now put such information on our web site.

We now feel constrained to publish on our site certain information in the hope that the Church hierarchy concerned will see that justice is done wherever it still remains to be done, and for three reasons:

1. The issue is downplayed and the predator is protected by the very ecclesiastical authorities who should be disciplining him and comforting the survivor/s;

2. The matter has already been reported or is known to the perpetrators’ authorities but with no effect;

3. The news is no secret and is already in the public domain.

 

It is a matter of great concern to Catholics that the only persons who are taking up and fighting these cases with the Church authorities are liberal nuns, liberal theologians and their forums (see pages 19, 21, 50 ff.)

Their agenda of advocating justice and redressal of the sexual abuse of women uses euphemistic terms like “women’s rights” and “emancipation”, “patriarchy”, “gender equality”, etc. but among their main objectives are the use of inclusive language in the Holy Mass, married priests, and the ordination of women as priests.

 

The present file will be followed tomorrow, June 18, by

RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 03

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/RAPE_AND_SEXUAL_ABUSE_BY_INDIAN_PRIESTS-CHURCH_FAILS_TO_PUNISH_GUILTY_03.doc.

03 will detail the rape and impregnation of a minor by Fr. Robin (Mathew) Vadakkancherry, the pastor of St. Sebastian’s Church, Kottiyoor, Kerala, and the scandalous bribery and intimidation of the victim’s parents by the priest in paying a huge sum of money — allegedly out of what he received through dubious business deals — to ensure to the victim’s father so that he confessed to the rape (see page 3), the attempt by the priest to flee India when the story broke, the collusion of local Church authorities to hush and cover up the rape and the pregnancy, the rapist’s “clout” with Church authorities despite earlier complaints of sexual assault and the priest’s being active in a campaign against the sexual abuse of minors. The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) called the case a “generalization” & an “exception”, resorted to blaming the victim and not the perpetrator, and finally blamed the priest’s rape of the child on the effects of “consumerism”.

In the case of Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC (following shortly in a report numbered 04), a preacher and retreat centre Director who sexually molested two young girls (among others) over a period of 3 to 4 years, hoping to keep it within the Church and not “wash the church’s dirty linen in public”, and following protocol, we respectfully contacted (both over the ‘phone as well as by email) the rapist’s confreres, his Provincial Superior, their Archbishop (of the Syro-Malabar rite), the senior executives and heads of Church bodies and Commissions (including the Presidents of the CBCI and the CBCI) as well as the Apostolic Nuncio to India, commencing March 18 and going up to April 22, 2017. Finally, after six weeks we received a response on June 7 from the President of the CCBI (Latin rite) asking us which rite the rapist priest belonged to, evidently already knowing fully well the answer and attempting to evade responsibility for the Syro-Malabar rite priest’s crimes! Today, 10 days later, the Cardinal, Oswald Gracias, has not replied to my email response of June 7 to him, and tomorrow also marks three months of my futile attempts to bring the Vincentian priest to justice (one of the victims is ready to testify face-to-face against the serial molester-rapist).

All other letters of ours were not answered by the hierarchy and will be reproduced in report no. 04.

The predator’s brother priests and Provincial went from tolerant dialogue to hostility to silence. They sort of followed the Fr. Robin Vadakkancherry (03) pattern that we summarised immediately above: intimidation and harassment of the victims on the ‘phone and deputing the priest to Rome (being sent for “studies” to Rome and overseas transfers seems to occur immediately when priests are exposed in India for sex crimes).

We had set some demands that included a council at which the Vincentians, the victim and our team would confront the priest and seek that he be defrocked and laicized. The proposed date was in mid-May. The alternative to that, they were informed, was our approaching the police and the media. That did not deter them from maintaining a deafening silence. We are now in the process of issuing a final email notice to all concerned, the date for a meeting being reset for mid-August, the ignoring of which will constrain us to approach the law, the National Commission for Women (NCW), and the secular media.

From reports numbered 01 through 03 and into 04, one will see that the sexual abuse of nuns, women in general, minor girls and boys is much more common and frequent than one would have imagined, and that the reaction (or lack of any) of the authorities almost always follows the same pattern. In our compilation of these crimes as reported in the public media, history records that the Indian Church only acts against its criminal priests when their crimes become publicly known and cannot be hidden from scrutiny any longer.

In the Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC case, we have done our very best to keep the matter within the Church but are now constrained to go public in stages. Information will be published partly in report
04, and the rest in August when we intend to approach the police and other agencies. As usual, some detractors of this ministry will condemn us instead of calling for the punishment of the rapist priest and his protectors in the Church.

 


 

We now continue to reproduce more news stories in the present file, spread over a period of several years, taking up from where we left off in report 01, in order to provide more evidence that there are many more sexual predators in the Church than we could have imagined, and that the Church authorities have been engaged in the cover-up and protection of priests charged with sex crimes until they can do so no longer.

 

This file includes news reports not only of sexual predation by clerical wolves in sheep’s clothing (rape, sodomy), but also of Catholic priests who were arrested for the crimes of kidnapping a bishop, and of murder, and there are even priests who murdered another priest, a seminary rector.

The reports are so very numerous that it would be impossible to chronicle them all or even a substantial percentage of what is available on the Internet.

Whatever has been selected has been arranged herein in chronological order – except for page 3.

–THIS FILE HAS BEEN UPDATED FROM PAGE 53 ONWARDS–

Kerala sex scandal: To save a priest from disgrace, I falsely said I raped my daughter, says girl’s father

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-priest-st-sebastians-church-father-robin-vadakkuncheril-kottiyoor-kannur-catholic-establishment-4564391/

By Shaji Philip, Kottiyoor, March 11, 2017

Over a dozen photographs of various Catholic saints adorn a weather-beaten wall of this small, three-room, tiled house on a hill at Kottiyoor in Kannur. “Children are a gift from God,” reads a Biblical verse scribbled over one image. This is the home of the girl who delivered a baby last month after being raped, allegedly by a priest at the local parish. Where a grieving mother laments the “disgrace” that has tainted the family. And where a heart-broken father had to falsely admit that he had raped his own daughter to “protect the priest and the Church” in what is now being described as the worst sex scandal in the history of Kerala’s Catholic establishment.

Last week, police arrested Fr Robin Vadakkuncheril (see entire file no. 03), 48, of Mananthavady diocese, on charges of raping the minor in his parish at St Sebastian’s Church in Kottiyoor. On Thursday, a court in Thalassery allowed police custody of the accused through the weekend.

But at this home on a hill, that’s of little consolation to the middle-aged couple and their five minor children. “The priest betrayed our family and our faith in the Church. After my daughter delivered the baby, he wanted someone to take responsibility for the birth. How could I find someone for this job? Finally, I had to falsely state that I was the father of my daughter’s baby. As a believer, I also wanted to avoid the disgrace falling on the priest and the Church,” says the father, a farm labourer.

“But I realised the seriousness of the crime after police arrested me as the rapist of my own daughter. They told me that I would be jailed for several years. That was when I revealed the name of the priest,” he says. “Robin paid the hospital bill of Rs 30,000 for the delivery and promised to do any penance for his sin. But he betrayed my daughter by trying to escape from India,” says the father, before denying allegations that the family had accepted money from the priest to hush up the rape.

The mother of the girl insists that there was little to suspect in the priest’s behaviour. “On most occasions, there would be women at the parsonage. Those women, once recruited by the priest to study abroad, used to call him ‘papa’. There had been no warning about the priest’s conduct. But unfortunately, our daughter has become a victim,” she says.

Police said the priest raped the girl during the summer vacation last May. At the time, she was engaged in entering data in the parish computer, along with some other girls. “There were a few others at the parsonage. But the priest assaulted the girl when she was alone in the building. She was threatened not to reveal the incident to anyone at home or school,” says the father.

The family says neither they nor teachers at her school noticed any changes in the girl, who attended class even a day before the delivery. “Her menstrual cycle was irregular, but we didn’t have any doubts about any pregnancy. Otherwise, who would wait until delivery?” says the mother.

But the couple say they are still “faithfully loyal” to the Church. “We are part of the Charismatic movement, a reformation movement in the Church. After our fifth child was born last year, we were honoured by the Pro-Life Movement of the diocese, which promotes bigger families,” says the father. As for their daughter, the family says she has been recovering fast. “She has been going to school since Wednesday to appear for her Class 11 examination. She is determined to fight back by focusing on her studies,” says the mother.

 

 


(Story on page 45)

 

 

 

1. Deadly sin

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/marykutty-murder-case-kerela-priest-gets-death-sentence/1/329681.html

By Sreedhar Pillai, August 31, 1988

 


Fr Antony Lazar

 

For three months, thousands crowded the Quilon district and sessions court as the Marykutty murder case edged towards its chilling climax. Last fortnight, with the denouement at hand, the 5,000-strong crowd greeted the verdict – broadcast over loud speakers – with loud applause. The main accused, Father Antony Lazar, 49, and his “hired goonda” Nelson alias Sasi, 30, were awarded the death sentence for the murder of Marykutty, an attractive 27-year-old nurse. Seven others were given life imprisonment.

What gave the Marykutty murder case such a sensational twist were the protagonists – a Roman Catholic priest, Father Lazar and his paramour, Marykutty, whom he had murdered. In Kerala, which has a large Christian population, the sordid revelations of sexual liaison between them, leading to her death had transfixed the entire state.

As the case unfolded in the Quilon court, it was like turning the pages of a lurid novel. Marykutty first met Lazar when she was a nursing student at the church-run Benziger Hospital in Quilon in 1979. The priest was then in charge of constructing a new block for the hospital. The couple were soon involved in a torrid affair. After her nursing course, Lazar used his influence to get her a job in a private hospital near Quilon. Later he got her a job in a church-run hospital adjacent to his house. Ignoring the scandal involved in a priest having a sexual affair, Lazar took Marykutty with him on outstation trips.

 

The seeds of the tragedy were sown in 1985 when Marykutty started pestering Lazar to renounce the church and marry her. Lazar instead suggested she marry somebody of his choice, so that they could continue their affair.

She refused and thus sealed her fate. In a fit of jealousy, Lazar tried to sabotage her nursing career and also aborted marriage proposals that came her way. Finally she married Lazar Miranda of Paravur in August 1985. The judgement says that at this point “Father Lazar became as vengeful as a poisonous snake which had been unwittingly hurt”.

The court had good reason for making such a strong statement. Before Marykutty’s marriage, the priest got her to sign an agreement saying that she had received Rs 30,575 from him. Lazar had given Marykutty the money for her family but later used it to blackmail her. According to her husband Miranda: “She was forced to execute such an agreement to get back her passport and certificates from the priest.” Lazar then filed a civil suit against Marykutty and issued dire threats.

Marykutty’s complaint to the church authorities and her vain bid for police protection only added fuel to the fire. The priest had made it clear that he would only leave her alone if she returned to his bed. But Marykutty, by now a mother, was in no mood to oblige. As the court said: “Blind with sexual jealousy, he at last decided to do away with her.” On October 13, 1986, Lazar’s “hired goondas” led by Sasi stormed her house in Kundara near Quilon and assaulted her. Ironically, the same morning her husband had complained to the local police about Lazar’s threats. Marykutty was rushed to the Trivandrum Medical College Hospital where she died the next day.

The crime branch, which took up the investigation, traced the priest to a hospital in Madras and arrested him in the first half of 1987. Since then, the case has attracted unusual interest as the prosecution paraded 81 witnesses to establish Lazar’s guilt.

What added to the sensation is the fact that this is the third time in the state that a priest has been involved in sex-related murders. In 1966, a Catholic priest, Joseph Bendict, was given the death sentence for the murder of his paramour Mariakutty. Later, he was acquitted by a division bench of the high court.

In 1985, a Protestant priest Ravi Achan, a student of the Homoeopathy college near Kottayam, attempted to rape 17-year-old Jolly. She died as a result. Achan was awarded a life sentence.

The increasing sex crimes of priests have shaken the church in Kerala. Says pastor T. Sathyadas Vattapara: “Compulsory celibacy encourages sex crimes among the priests.” One reason could be that the church in Kerala, be it Catholic or Protestant, has no dearth of money. Crores of rupees from foreign religious funding agencies are pumped into the church every year. Some priests are thus tempted to maintain an un-Christian life-style.

At least six Catholic priests from Kerala have asked the Vatican for “extraordinary permission” to get married and remain in the Catholic fold. But Pope John Paul II has so far not agreed. Warned Joseph Pulikunnel, secretary of the Kerala Catholic Almya Association (a liberal outfit): “Unless the church allows priests to marry, the Catholic Church will have to face more embarrassment.” But considering the shock and sensation caused by the Lazar case, the church in Kerala is bound to be more careful in ensuring that their priests do not violate any more Commandments.

 

2. Priests’ death sentence for involvement in murder reduced to life term

http://www.ucanews.com/story-archive/?post_name=/1989/08/11/priests-death-sentence-for-involvement-in-murder-reduced-to-life-term&post_id=38387

August 11, 1989

The Kerala high court has reduced to life imprisonment a death sentence passed on a Catholic priest convicted of involvement in the murder of a woman three years ago.

A two-man division bench of the high court said Aug. 4 that facts of the case “clearly showed that Antony Lazar and Sasi had conspired with seven others to murder Marykutty.”

The district court of Quilon, 150 kilometers south of Cochin, sentenced Father Antony Lazar of Punalur diocese to death in 1988, after finding him guilty of plotting the murder of a Catholic nurse, Marykutty (Little Mary).

He allegedly had illicit relations with the 20-year-old nurse for several years. According to the post mortem report, she had 19 wounds on her body.

The district court also sentenced to death Sasi, leader of an eight-man gang that broke into the woman´s house and clubbed her at the priest´s bidding. The priest was angered by her marrying another man.

The other gang members received prison sentences ranging from three to 14 years.

The district judge, in reading his verdict, said that despite a respectable position in society, the priest must be given the severest punishment under India´s penal code because he plotted the crime against a helpless woman.

The court case and verdict, announced July 22, 1988, received wide coverage in India´s national press. However, Kerala high court judges said the case was not the “rarest of rare” ones which merit extreme punishment.

The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty should be given only in the “rarest of rare cases.”

The high court also confirmed the sentence of life imprisonment awarded by the lower court to four of the accused. Three others were acquitted for lack of sufficient proof of involvement in the crime.

Marykutty was murdered October 13, 1986, while on the staff at the primary health center at Kundra near Quilon.

The prosecution said that while she was a student at Benziger Hospital in Quilon, she developed an intimate relationship with Father Lazar.

The priest gave financial help to the poor student while she completed her studies. She became disillusioned when the priest refused her request to marry, and married another man in 1985.

In announcing the verdict, the district judge said Father Antony Lazar became “as vengeful as a poisonous snake.”

The priest’s sudden disappearance after the crime attracted suspicion, and he reportedly traveled incognito. He was arrested in November 1987 at Madras, the capital of neighboring Tamil Nadu state.

Father Lazar is the third priest (one Orthodox and two Catholics) convicted of murder in Kerala, whose 30 million people include 4.5 million Catholics.

The first occurred in 1966, when a Father Joseph Benedict created a similar storm in the state. A lower court sentenced him to death, but the high court later set him free, saying he was wrongly implicated while real culprits got away.

 

In another case, a Jacobite (Syrian Orthodox) priest was charged in 1985 with the murder of a teenager while she resisted an alleged rape attempt. Father George Cherian was sentenced by a district court in Kottayam, 100 kilometers north of Quilon, to life imprisonment, which in India usually means 14 years. But the high court upheld his appeal and set him free.

 

 

3. Priests held for murdering nun 16 years ago

http://www.ndtv.com/video/news/news/priests-held-for-murdering-nun-16-yrs-ago-44604

November 19, 2008


VIDEO 01:37

The two priests and a nun arrested in connection with Sister Abhaya‘s (see pages 21, 22 and 25 of 01) murder were produced at the Ernakulam CJM court on Wednesday. Twenty-one-year-old Sister Abhaya was found dead in a well at St Pius convent Kottayam in March 1992. Initially the Kerala police which investigated the case, said it was a case of suicide.

(See
http://www.hindupost.in/news/vatican-directs-south-indias-catholic-church-to-re-induct-a-convicted-child-rapist-priest/
)

 

 

 

 

4. Sister Abhaya murder case: An overview

http://www.theindiancatholic.com/report.asp?nid=11785

Kochi (ICNS), November 19, 2008

The dramatic arrest of two Catholic priests and a nun for their “suspected involvement” in 16 year old murder case of a nun has shocked the nation.

The case concern Sister Abhaya, a 21-year old nun of St. Joseph’s Congregation. She was student of pre-university student in BCM collage Kottayam and was an inmate of St Pius X convent. Here is the chronology of events:

On the morning of 27 March 1992, the nun was found dead in a water well of her convent.

People suspect foul play although convent authorities said it was suicide. They formed an Action Council on 31 March 1992.

The state police investigated the case but concluded it as suicide.

Action Council’s persistent demands force he government move the case to Crime Branch section of the Kerala Police on 7 April 1992.

The Crime Branch submitted its report before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate on 30 January 1993, saying it was a suicide.

Action Council approaches the High Court of Kerala, invoking its special jurisdiction in a writ petition for an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the highest investigating agency in India.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier investigating agency, started investigating the unnatural death of Sister Abhaya on 29 March 1993, under the direct supervision of its officer Varghese P. Thomas.

While the CBI investigation was in progress, an officer who earlier investigated the case obtained written permission from the RDO (Rural Development Officer) to take possession of Abhaya’s personal articles – her veil, slipper, personal diary and such other personal goods, evidence for the case and reportedly destroyed them.

On 30 December 1993, Varghese P. Thomas resigned from the service of CBI and from the investigation of the cases. He told media that he had concluded it as murder but resigned from the job because pressure was put on him to derail the investigation.

On 19 January 1994, he called a special press conference in Cochin and announced that he had resigned from CBI as his conscience did not permit him to comply with a strong directive given by his superior officer, V. Thyagarajan, the then Superintendent of CBI Cochin Unit, who had asked Varghese P. Thomas to record the death of Abhaya as suicide in the CBI Diary.

The press conference becomes a turning point as it attracted national media attention for its allegations against the top most investigating agency in the country. The case discussed in national parliament as well as in the Kerala state assembly on several occasions.

On 3 June 1994 all the MP’s from Kerala State jointly submitted a passionate petition to K. Vijaya Rama Rao, the Director of the CBI requesting him to disallow Thyagarajan to continue in the Abhaya’s murder case.

On the 7 April 1995, using a full-sized dummy of Sister Abhaya, the CBI made some experimental tests in the well where her corpse was found.

On 17 April 1995 Forensic experts submitted their formal report to the CBI investigation team to the effect that her death was clearly murder. Subsequently the CBI declared that the killers would soon be arrested.

But no arrest happened. Protest of the Action Council continued. One such protest was staged in front of the CBI office at Cochin on 27 November 1995.

On 18 March 1996 another protest rally was organized under the former chief minister of the state, E.K. Nayanar, in front of the state secretariate, at Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital.

On 1 July 1996 the Action Council filed a petition in the High Court challenging the inaction of the CBI. The High Court passed an order in the petition on 20 August 1996 directing the CBI to complete its investigation in three months from the date of the order.

On 12 October 1996 all the MPs from Kerala together visited the Prime Minister and jointly pleaded with him to expedite the CBI investigation into the death of Abhaya.

On 6 December 1996 the CBI filed a petition in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court, Ernakulam, seeking permission of the court to wind up its investigation in the matter. They agreed it was a murder, but said they could not trace the culprits.

In response to that, the father of Sr. Abhaya, Thomas, filed a counter petition in the court on 18 January 1997 against dismissing the case and closing investigation.

On 20 March 1997, the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) directed the CBI to re-investigate the case. The court in its order criticized the CBI for its vested interests to defeat the ends of justice.

The Action Council, again on 30 May 1997 filed a Public Interest Litigation in the High Court of Kerala against the non-compliance of the CJM’s directive for re-investigation.

The High Court in its order directed the CBI to report back to the court the progress it had made in the investigation in ten days from the date of the order.

Noting the CBI’s lack of, the High Court directed suo moto the Director of the CBI to appoint a special team from New Delhi to investigate the matter.

P.D. Meena, the Superintendent of the CBI from New Delhi and his team undertook a month-long investigation and reported to the High Court. The CBI was satisfied that the death of Abhaya was in fact murder. However, the CBI report said that due to lack of evidence it was not possible to go further into the matter.

 

 

The High Court again on 28 September 1998 directed the CBI to file its final report of the re-investigation on or before 12 October 1998.

A major breakthrough came on 12 April 2007 when The New Indian Express daily reported that original chemical examination report of the vaginal swab and vaginal smear of Abhaya has been found to have been tampered with.

The manuscript of the workbook report from the Chemical Examination Laboratory shows over-writing at four places. Using a whitener and a different ink, the word ”not” has been added before the word ”detected,” so as to contradict the result for testing semen detection in vagina.

According to a news report in a local daily CBI investigation has come to a conclusion that the Sister Abhaya was murdered according to a pre plan. According to that report Abhaya witnessed something happening illegally, days before her murder. Her killers wanted to terminate her to spoil that evidence. The crime was committed knowing that she will come to the kitchen to drink water from the refrigerator at early morning and it was done with the help of more than two people.

According to media theory one of the priests bludgeoned the nun when she came to drink water early morning. The two priests and the arrested nun then allegedly dumped the younger nun in the well.

The CBI team has conducted a Narco Analysis tests on the suspected priest Father Thomas M. Kottoor and Fr. Jose Poothrikkayil and Sister Sephy.

On 11 December 2007 the team submitted a report to the court saying it was trying to unravel the mystery behind the “unnatural death of Sister Abhaya.” It didn’t speak of any progress.

On January 11, 2008, the Kerala High Court directed the CBI to produce the result of the Narco-analysis test conducted on the suspects in the case in a sealed cover before the court within two weeks.

The court further directed that no third person having any right of disclosure of the content of the results till the appropriate stage, other than the High Court.

The CBI submitted it before the court on January 21, 2008.

The results were submitted in a sealed cover as directed by the court.

On 26th August 2008, the High Court of Kerala accused that the CBI also lied in this case with regards to the handling of evidence.

In September the court asks CBI to hand over the case to its Kerala branch and form a team with officials who can speak local language. A Kerala team takes charge.

Early November the team visits Kottayam. A week later they reportedly detained a young man who lives nearby the convent. His father worked in the convent.

On November second week, they picked up the two priests for questioning. Police registered their arrest on Nov. 18 and informed their relatives.

On Nov. 19 they arrest Sister Sephy and produce the three before the court. The court allows the police have them in custody for 14 days to help further investigation.


 

 

5. Other priests involved in murder cases

http://www.haindavakeralam.com/other-priests-involved-murder-hk12911

Kochi, November 20, 2008

Priests getting involved in murder cases is not new in Kerala. The arrest of Fr Thomas Kottur, Fr Jose Puthrukkayil and Sr. Sephi in connection with the Sr. Abhaya murder case has stirred up the memory of other sensational cases in Kerala involving the priests.

In 1966, Fr Benedict Onamkulam*, a priest of Changanassery Archdiocese, was sentenced to death for the murder of a widow -Mariakutty- on the basis of “circumstantial evidence”. However, he was acquitted by the Kerala High Court on an appeal filed against the lower court judgement, sentencing him to death.

In 1984, Fr Ravi, an Orthodox priest of Kottayam, was acquitted by a lower court after he was charged with murdering a student, Jolly.

In another case in 1986, Fr Antony Lazar was accused of murdering a nurse Marykutty in Kollam. Though he was sentenced to death by the Sessions Court, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the High Court on an appeal against the lower court order.

*He was innocent http://www.spiderkerala.net/resources/3748-Fr-Benedict-Onamkulam-The-accused-priest.aspx 8/12/10

http://www.ucanews.com/story-archive/?post_name=/2000/11/28/catholic-priest-found-innocent-of-murder-charges-34-years-later&post_id=17313 November 28, 2000

 

 

6. Church defends accused in Sister Abhaya death case

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Church-comes-out-in-support-of-Sister-Ahaya-case-accused/articleshow/3814353.cms

Thiruvananthapuram, December 10, 2008

The Syro-Malabar Church has come out in support of two priests and a nun, who are accused in the Sister Abhaya murder case, saying they were innocent and the CBI was trying to falsely implicate them.

 

 

 

 

“Some magic seems to be at work that a case which was not proved for 16 years is depicted to have been solved in just 16 minutes,” Church spokesperson Paul Thelakkat told a congregation of believers in Kottayam.

The meeting claimed that even basic human rights are being denied to the three.

Sister Abhaya was found dead at a convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992, and after several flip-flops, the CBI had arrested three people: Father Thomas M Kottur, Father Joseph Poothikkayil and Sister Sephy 16 years later.

The agency has told the Kerala HC, which is monitoring the case, that there seemed to be a deliberate move from “interested corners” to derail the case.

The CBI told the Kerala High Court, which is monitoring the case, that there seemed to be a deliberate move from “interested corners” to derail the case. The agency said this while replying to a plea of torture filed by some nuns who were questioned by CBI. Denying the charge, the agency said questioning was part of investigation and denied it had physically harassed anyone.

The case of death of Sister Abhaya in the St Pius Convent Hostel in Kottayam on March 27, 1992 has continued to haunt the Church with allegations of involvement of some brethren. The arrest of the accused Father Thomas M Kottur, Father Joseph Poothikkayil and Sister Sephy only confirmed the doubts.

According to investigators, Abhaya had woken up early in the morning and come down to the kitchen to drink water when she saw Sister Sephy and the two priests in an objectionable situation. They said the trio hit her on the head with an axe and then dumped her body in the Convent well.

It is learnt that CBI is now on the lookout for all those who allegedly tried to hush up the case including the former crime branch SP, who had ruled it as a suicide case.

 

 

7. Abhaya case narco tests show confession of priests and nun Abhaya case narco tests show confession of priests and nun Abhaya case narco tests show confession of priests and nunAbhaya case narco tests show confession of priests and nun

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Abhaya-case-narco-tests-show-confession-of-priests-and-nun/articleshow/5011421.cms

Thiruvananthapuram, September 14, 2009

The two priests and a nun arrested by the CBI for the murder of
Sister Abhaya have allegedly confessed to the crime after being administered the truth serum by CBI investigators.

The tapes of narco tests aired by regional TV channels on Monday showed Father Jose Poothrikkayil, Father Thomas M Kottur and Sister Sephy revealing what happened on the night of the murder in a state of sedation induced by the truth serum.

Within hours, the Kochi chief judicial magistrate asked the TV channels to stop the telecast of the tapes as the case was under trial. Narco analysis is not relied upon by courts as primary evidence.

Sister Abhaya’s body was found in the St Pius convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. More than 16 years later on November 19, 2008, the CBI arrested the two priests and the nun on the basis of circumstantial evidence and the revelations in the narco analysis test. The agency says the two priests had illicit relations with Sister Sephy, which was known to Sister Abhaya.

Both the priests and the nun, however, say the narco CDs were edited by the investigators.

According to the CBI, on March 27, 1992, the two priests entered the convent through the kitchen door unbolted by Sister Sephy. Once inside, Sister Abhaya chanced upon them and this upset the accused who felt that she would reveal it to someone. So they killed her and threw the body into the convent well, the agency claims.

The local police and crime branch had written off the case as a suicide. But after a public outcry, the case was handed over to CBI which gave the first hints that it was a homicide. But controversy continued to plague the case and the CBI officer who began the investigation put in his papers alleging pressure from seniors who wanted him to close it as a suicide case. Subsequently, he claimed that the pressure had come from the office of the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.

Only recently, the case had taken another twist with the former director of the Bangalore Forensic Laboratory, S Malini, telling CBI that Supreme Court Judge Justice Cyriac Joseph had visited the lab in May 2008, when he was Chief Justice of Karnataka high court, and seen the CDs of the narco analysis conducted on the accused. The revelation raised eyebrows and the Kozhikode district Bar Association passed a resolution requesting the Supreme Court Chief Justice to hold an inquiry into the visit.

Apart from the Abhaya case, stories of harassed nuns have come out in recent times. Some months ago, a former nun wrote an autobiography outlining the harrowing moments in her ecclesiastical life, which she says prompted her to drop the veil. ‘Amen – Oru Kanyasthreeyude Atmakatha’ (Amen Autobiography of a Nun), the real life story of Sister Jesmi, who was associated with the Congregation of Mother of Carmel, narrated tales of nuns kissed by the priest during confession and her own tale of being stripped by a priest who was respected for his moral rectitude.The two priests and a nun arrested by the CBI for the murder of Sister Abhaya have allegedly confessed to the crime after being administered the truth serum by CBI investigators.

The tapes of narco tests aired by regional TV channels on Monday showed Father Jose Poothrikkayil, Father Thomas M Kottur and Sister Sephy revealing what happened on the night of the murder in a state of sedation induced by the truth serum.

Within hours, the Kochi chief judicial magistrate asked the TV channels to stop the telecast of the tapes as the case was under trial. Narco analysis is not relied upon by courts as primary evidence.

Sister Abhaya’s body was found in the St Pius convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. More than 16 years later on November 19, 2008, the CBI arrested the two priests and the nun on the basis of circumstantial evidence and the revelations in the narco analysis test. The agency says the two priests had illicit relations with Sister Sephy, which was known to Sister Abhaya.

 

 

8. Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse

http://www.ucanews.com/2010/06/18/women-are-also-victims-of-clergy-sex-abuse/

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2010/07_08/2010_07_04_Saldanha_WomenAre.htm

By Virginia Saldanha, June 18, 2010

 

 


The issue of sexual abuse of women in the Church in Asia has been simmering beneath the surface for a long time. It is not a new issue. It has just never made the news before. But that must now be rectified.
Over the years I have become acutely aware that the problem is widespread. Many victims are crying out for justice, healing and support. But too often those cries for help are silent, made by the women victims to themselves alone.
That must stop.
For the women who have approached me already and for those I am yet to hear from, my pledge is simple. I will reach out to you with hope of justice and the path to recovery and peace.

No shortage of evidence

There is no shortage of anecdotal evidence of the scale of the problem which in some cases dates back many years. Astrid
Lobo-Gajiwala, a prominent leader in the women’s movement in the Church recently shared this story with me:
“I had gone for a family camp organized by Church personnel about 10-12 years ago. I wandered into the kitchen to meet the helpers and got into conversation with the cook.
“When she came to know who I was she told me her story. She was a former nun who was forced to leave because she became pregnant. She was very, very bitter.
“She said she had been working for a bishop and he was the father of her child, a boy, who was being looked after by a church-run orphanage. The bishop continued in his position as shepherd of the flock.”
See VIRGINIA SALDANHA-BISHOP FATHERS CHILD BY NUN

VIRGINIA SALDANHA-BISHOP FATHERS CHILD BY NUN

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VIRGINIA_SALDANHA-BISHOP_FATHERS_CHILD_BY_NUN.doc

 

Brief public appearances

Occasionally the issue becomes public – at least briefly – before retreating beneath the surface again.
The first study of the problem was in 2000 when the Women and Gender Commission of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines did research on the sexual abuse of women in the Church. They presented their partial findings to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
In 2003 the CBCP came up with “Pastoral Guidelines on Sexual Abuses and Misconduct by the Clergy.” The final document was signed by Archbishop Quevedo, then president of CBCP on September 1, 2003.
At that time I was Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India’s Commission for Women as well as the Executive Secretary of the Women’s Desk in the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences Office of Laity & Family.
Spurred on by the Philippines survey, I began to investigate the issue in India. I found Indian sisters shy about talking about it so I approached a Mother General from Switzerland. She confirmed that it was an issue, but that congregations were asked to deal with the issue “in house”.
The drawback of this approach was that only the Religious sister concerned was “dealt with”, rather than the problem itself.

Prepared to speak out

Some sisters were prepared to speak out, although few appeared to hear them. When 26 Indian women theologians met in Bangalore in 2002, they issued a statement saying:
“We raise our voice of concern and protest against the individual clerical abuse of women.
“We decry Institutional injustice to women that strips them of dignity and renders them powerless.”
But progress in addressing the problem was slow and frustrating. I worked with the then Executive Secretary of the Commission of Clergy and a woman theologian to produce a syllabus on sexuality, to be used in the training of seminarians. It was rejected. I feel the response to the issue was a questioning of the links between the women theologians’ group and the CBCI Commission for Women. They were subsequently de-linked in 2003.
Once again, the problem slipped back beneath the surface. But women’s voices could not be fully silenced and we continued to hear stories and the cries for help.
At a seminar for Religious, some years ago, I sat with a group of sisters to talk about the impact of patriarchy on women in the Church. One sister spoke about her experience as a nurse being summoned by the priest in the mission area as he was sick. When she was attending to him, he pulled her down on top of himself.

An elderly sister sitting by my side said to me: “Virginia, this is a big problem, something must be done about it!” I agreed, but where to start? For a long time I was not able to do anything except raise the issue at various talks and discussions in the Church.


Hopeful signs

However, there were some hopeful signs that some men in the Church were prepared to address the problem. Calcutta Jesuit Provincial Father George Pattery*, for example, raised it when talking to ucanews.com at the February 2006 General Body meeting of the Conference of Religious of India. *yet another liberal priest
“The tendency is to silence the victims whenever complaints of sexual abuse are made. From now on, we will work to formulate a policy that will ensure justice for all within the Church.”
Montfort Brother Mani Mekkunnel, national secretary of the Conference of Religious India, a strong defender of women’s rights in the Church, also spoke of the need to chart a policy on sexual abuse of Religious within the Church.

 

 



But the momentum only really began to gather over the past year or so. With the avalanche of child sex abuse cases in the Church coming to light in different parts of the world, women began asking, “what about the sexual abuse of women which is also a violation of women’s dignity, abuse of priestly position, and violation of the vow of celibacy?”

Sexual misbehavior

More women began to approach me personally.
In February this year, a Religious sister from Asia living in the UK contacted me because she had suffered from the sexual misbehavior of an Indian priest while he was in the UK. He even boasted to her about his other sexual escapades!
Since then, I have been accompanying and supporting this brave and tenacious woman on her journey to bring justice and healing to herself and other victims of this priest.
As she has pursued her case of sexual harassment, she has found that the priest’s boasts were far from idle. Reports to the authorities came to light from when he worked in India of his sexual misbehavior with many women, included sending inappropriate emails, betraying their trust and physical abuse.
In May this year I met with another victim of sexual abuse by a priest. She said that she had emotional problems and went to retreats organized by the priest, looking for counseling and healing. She was convinced by the priest that healing came from God in the form of his “loving touch”, which developed into a sexual relationship. She later discovered that he had relationships with other women who also came to his retreats for counseling.

Time for action

More cases came to light during the East Asia Bishops’ Institute on Women in Taiwan in May this year, where the issue of violence to women in society and in the Church was brought up.
A participant from Taiwan shared tearfully her own experience of sexual abuse by a priest while Sprout women’s group in Taiwan said that they have helped with a case of sexual abuse in the Church and developed a course for sexual harassment prevention in all the dioceses of Taiwan.
But the time for talk is over. We in the Church need to address this problem urgently.
First we need to acknowledge a problem exists. Then we need a survey to quantify the scale of the problem and then we need action – to bring justice and healing in existing cases and to do our best through education and policy to address this issue in future.
But most of all we must ensure that no more are women left to cry for help and not be heard. END

Virginia Saldanha is the former executive secretary of the FABC Office of Laity and Family. She can be contacted on womynvs@gmail.com and would like to hear, in absolute confidence, from any women who have suffered from sexual abuse in the Church.

 

Out of 28 readers’ comments, 27, including one from UCAN itself, lauded Virginia Saldanha’s crusade:

My name is Paddy and I work on the editorial team at ucanews.com. If you need to get in touch with Virginia, you can email me at paddy@ucanews.com and I will make absolutely sure your message reaches her. UCAN

 

Only one of the 28 respondents saw through the subterfuge:

The author’s email ID reveals more about the author than what is written here. The “womynvs” evidently refers to “womyn” followed by the author’s initials. For the uninformed, the word “womyn is tied to the concept of radical feminism, the kind which will not tolerate the spelling “woman” because it has “man” in it. The earliest use of the term “womyn”, according to the Wikipedia essay, is attested in the Oxford English Dictionary as being the name of a 1975 “womyn’s festival” mentioned in a lesbian publication. It is absolutely essential to discern the rising strains of militant feminism within the Church from the real sociological/gender issues. Bishops beware! –By “Guest”

 

Please see pages 50 ff. for my detailed comments on all of the above-named who are fighting for the “rights” of women who are sexually abused by priests.

 

9. Post in the (liberal) MangaloreanCatholics yahoo group digest no. 2060 dated July 8, 2010

Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse says Virginia Saldanha

Posted by: “Allwyn Fernandes”
MangaloreanCatholics@gmail.com Wed Jul 7, 2010 10:48 pm (PDT)

Virginia Saldanha speaks up at last, says “Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse”
When people like Virginia Saldanha speak up, you know the wind has turned!!!
Better late than never, but better never late! It takes greater courage to speak truth to authority when authority is powerful. Now the bishops have been weakened considerably and people are developing the courage to speak up. But still, I am glad that Virginia has decided to speak up – she did not even reply to my email earlier giving her a specific case. Now she wants people to come forward and confide in her. By all means, Virginia, we will because, as you say, “That must stop.” Amen to that!

 

Bishops had better beware – nothing like women roused to anger. You have treated the complaints of victims shabbily for far too long. –Allwyn Fernandes (The late Allwyn Fernandes, a journalist, was also a liberal –Michael)

 

 

10. After nun, former priest writes a tell-all book on sexual exploitation

http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/after-nun-former-priest-writes-a-tellall-book-on-sexual-exploitation/675649/

By Shaju Philip, Thiruvananthapuram, September 1, 2010

Barely a year after a former Catholic nun (Sr. Jesme) wrote in her autobiography about the suppressed sexual life and draconian rules within the convents, a former Catholic priest has come out with his own experiences of homosexuality at seminaries, sexual misconduct of priests, lack of transparency in money matters and the unfair approach of superiors.

In his 160-page book, Here is the Heart of a Priest, K P Shibu Kalamparambil has written about life he had had to lead as member of the Catholic Vincentian congregation for past 24 years — 11 years as priest, 13 as seminarian.

The 39-year-old former priest left the Catholic order in March 2010, and flew to Doha where he joined as a teacher with an Indian school. A native of Angamaly near Kochi, Shibu has found his leave period to release and distribute the book. “I have faced stiff opposition from the Vincentian congregation and my family alike when I broached the idea of publishing my story.”

His book is an open letter about alleged sexual anarchy of priests, injustice meted out to members and mismanagement of resources at a Catholic order. “Three times I had met with road accident. As my Congregation failed to support me, I had to meet the hospital bills on all occasions.”

“While working as a teacher with the Congregation-run educational institution in Kasargode, I had to face agitations from student outfits. The Congregation did not come to my rescue. When a priest is insulted continuously…, what is the logic in the Church saying that he should suffer everything for Jesus?”

On his early days at Papal Seminary in Pune, Shibu alleges he was sexually abused by senior seminarians. “Homosexual relations were rampant in seminaries. The victims had to suffer silently. If they complain…, both the accused and the victim would be shown the door. Hence, succumbing to the urges of the seniors was the only option…”

“During pastoral work, the seminarians used to travel on cycles. While moving around on a cycle, seminarians made a point to give lift to children. They (children) would be asked to tightly embrace the riding seminarian. Such acts were done with deliberate sexual intention,” he alleges in the book. “There had been incidents of senior seminarians pretending as priests and hearing confessions.”

He alleges several priests sexually exploited widows or nuns sexually. He also alleges, “Certain priests have no qualms to divert donations from believers for their personal purposes. Church funds should be handled by government agencies…”

Shibu himself is the publisher of his work, which has only 100 copies in the first edition. “I am planning a second edition of 10,000 copies.”

Provincial-General of Vincentian Congregation Fr Paul Puthuva said he would comment after reading the book.

Fr Paul Thelakkattu, spokesperson for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, said: “Unfortunately the Church is one in which people like him are also living and working… He has simply betrayed the trust of the faithful.”

In 2009, Sister Jesme had embarrassed the Kerala Catholic Church by writing about her sexual encounters with priests in her work Amen.

 

 

11. After nun, former Kerala priest writes a tell-all book on sexual exploitation

https://christianwatchindia.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/after-nun-former-kerala-priest-writes-a-tell-all-book-on-sexual-exploitation/#comment-8880

September 2, 2010

[As above]

2 of 3 readers’ comments:

i.) I am compelled to support the news item and say that most of the Roman Catholic priests (and also nuns, as alleged in the Sr. Abhaya murder case) indulge in sexual encounters in the field wherever they work, whether it is seminary, convent, charitable (?) organizations, educational institutions, institutions for deaf & dumb or mentally handicapped, health care institutions etc. etc. run by them. These are all business establishments run by professionals trained by the Church. I can give at least 5 cases known to me personally where RC priests/ nuns eloped and got married after breaking their holy vows, although I respect them for what they did because they did not continue to commit adultery while in their holy white robes!

A few years back, a priest principal of a prestigious Catholic educational institution (college) in Central India was accused of sexual harassment by students and there was an agitation also for days together. He (the priest principal) used to call Christian girl students (especially Catholic students) to his chamber in the guise of “counselling” and talked vulgar things. The outrageous, sexually-overtured vulgar talk in the guise of “counselling” from an elderly man in a priest’s white attire (not stature), holding the “respectable” position of the Principal of that college had made widespread resentment amongst the students who went on an agitation indefinitely. (Please. note that it was without any help or instigation from the so-called Hindu or saffron outfits). The Christian students were tolerating the outrage and reporting it to their parents. However, it leaked out when the priest-principal “counselled” a Hindu girl with a Christian name.

 

 

 

In this case, although the student leaders met with the top police authorities and even the Chief Minister of the State, no case could be filed against the culprit principal because of vote bank politics and the clout the Church had on the then State Government. The then Archbishop, who never talked directly with a layman of his diocese, personally called on phone the parents of all the affected agitating Catholic girl students and asked them to keep quiet in the name of the great Church and threatened them to face consequences if acted otherwise. The top police authorities also expressed their inability to take action in the wake of top political interference. The parents of the affected Catholic girl students were also pressurised through their relatives, friends, police force, and influential nun teachers of their children and political leaders of their locality! For relatives, friends and fellow parishioners, an individual is a non-entity and the Church was above everything else!! Ultimately, the indefinite agitation of the hapless students of the college ended without taking the culprit to justice!!! The “pious” principle of the “prestigious college” later on organized a mass congregation of the faithful in a great event organized by him at the expense of the Church by inviting “charismatic” or “Divine centre” people from Kerala and declared that he is actually a “saint” who “overcome” the temptations of the devilish designs of his teenaged girl students!! He further explained that the devilish girl students were trying to get rid of him because of his strict discipline on moral issues!! The story ended there and the “pious father principal” continues to enjoy the public respect as the principal and priest of that “prestigious college-cum-church campus” and the victim students who stood against his unholy designs stand condemned even today in the society!!!

This story is published today to the parents to emphasize that you alone are the parents, spiritual teachers and everything else on earth to your children and do not trust or rely on the Catholic priests solely because the Church teaches you that they are your spiritual teachers. Gone are the days they were spiritual teachers, they are now killing professionals, criminals, devils with the vast power of the Roman Catholic Church, the power of money collected from you and political clout for exploiting your faith in God and the Church.

Have faith in God, but do not trust these devils on earth in white robes who exploit you and your faith in our Holy Father. –Manoj KJ

 

ii.) Michael Prabhu, March 20, 2017 at 08:49 AM:

Can someone please help me get in touch with K P Shibu Kalamparambil?
See
SEXUAL ABUSE OF NUNS BY INDIAN MALE RELIGIOUS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/SEXUAL_ABUSE_OF_NUNS_BY_INDIAN_MALE_RELIGIOUS.doc* at my web site.
Violated individuals please contact me with proper documentation of the perpetrators on 044 2461 1606
Michael Prabhu, Chennai

*Now renamed as RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE BY INDIAN PRIESTS-CHURCH FAILS TO PUNISH GUILTY 01

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/RAPE_AND_SEXUAL_ABUSE_BY_INDIAN_PRIESTS-CHURCH_FAILS_TO_PUNISH_GUILTY_01.doc

 

 

12. Kerala church shocked by sex allegations

http://www.ucanews.com/story-archive/?post_name=/2010/09/02/kerala-church-shocked-by-sex-allegations&post_id=60534

September 2, 2010


 

Kerala’s Syro-Malabar Church has been rocked by the release of a controversial book which accuses its clergy of a range of misdemeanours and abuses. An official has responded by describing the book as “an all-out attempt to malign the Church.”
Here is the Heart of a Priest, the autobiography of Shibu Kalaparamban, a former member of the Church’s Vincentian congregation, was officially launched on Sep. 2.
It alleges that Catholic priests and nuns have broken the vows of chastity and engaged in sexual sins including homosexuality, child abuse and illicit relations. The author narrates confessions he has heard, to substantiate his allegations.
Kalaparamban, who was a priest for 13 years, told ucanews.com that “homosexuality and blue films have become part of religious life.”
“I have read the book and feel very sorry about what is written. It is unfortunate,” said Father Paul Thelakat, spokesperson for the Syro-Malabar Church, who went on to say that the book “finds only perversions in the Church.”
Father Thelakat also alleges that the Papal seminary in Pune, where the former priest was trained, advised his superiors not to ordain him but they did so out of compassion.
(So now they ordain priests “out of compassion”!!!!! –Michael)

“It is a pity he was a priest throughout these years and he has heard confessions and given spiritual guidance. He has simply betrayed the trust of the faithful, divulging even confessional secrets to the public,” said Father Thelakat said.
Kalaparamban, who now lives in Qatar and was suspended when he left Kerala without permission, claimed that he wrote the book only after “detailed thought and discussions.”
A similar controversy broke out in Kerala in 2009, when the autobiography of former nun Jesme alleged a prevalence of sexual abuse and lesbianism in Catholic convents.

 

 

 

13. ‘Ex-nun’ writes about convent life and escape

https://www.telegraphindia.com/1120503/jsp/frontpage/story_15445106.jsp

By G. Ananthakrishnan, Wayanad, May 3, 2012

 


 

An hour’s drive through the treacherous Thamarasseri pass in Kerala’s north is Pulpally where every Christmas Mary Chandy and her orphans wait for Santa to bring them blessings and gifts. But the carol teams apparently walk past, refusing to enter the orphanage gate.

The local diocese of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church has restrained its flock from dealing with the “former nun” who claims to have “fled” her convent more than a decade ago, disgusted with what she refers to as “sexual anarchy” among the clergy.

But Sister Mary Chandy, 68, has now come up with a book purportedly drawn on her own life in the convent, which threatens to embarrass the Church. The book, Best wishes, Graceful Lady, is due for release tomorrow.

The Church denies she was ever a nun. “What we are given to understand is that she was never a professed nun. She was only a candidate and was employed in the convent as kitchen helper for a brief period,” said Joseph, secretary to the Bishop of the Mananthavady diocese in the tribal district.

“In 2004, she arrived in the limits of the diocese and started living with a few children. Her institution did not fulfil necessary conditions and so a notice was issued in the diocese bulletin that it did not have the recognition of the Church,” he said.

Officials at the convent, Daughters of Presentation of Mary in the Temple, at Chevayoor in Kozhikode district, too denied she was a nun there.

Chandy says she isn’t surprised. “They want to disown me as they are afraid of the truth,” she says, pointing out passages in her book that narrate how she defended herself from the sexual advances of a priest, how she escaped the convent and the attempt by a fellow nun to silence her baby born out of an alleged affair with a clergyman.

Chandy’s book comes three years after former nun Sister Jesmi’s tell-all autobiography Amen, Autobiography of a Nun.

The attempted assault, writes Chandy, took place soon after she had donned the white robe. “It was the duty of the Sisters to welcome the priests who came calling on official work. Once it was my turn, but I was not confident about my cooking. When I went to give the Father breakfast, he locked the door before sitting down. This made me more uncomfortable. The priest then stood up and caught my hands. But I broke free and ran around the table with him chasing me. Suddenly… I grabbed a wooden stool and hit him on the head. There was blood all over. Other inmates scolded me and took him to the hospital claiming he had tripped…

Another chapter refers to her escape. “After 41 years in the Convent, I decided that enough was enough. One day I told the Mother Superior that I wanted a saree. She bought me the same and I put it on and walked out of the convent quietly, leaving my robe before the Cross. That night I took shelter in a neighbour’s house. Knowing a search was on for me, I borrowed a shirt and trouser from the house and fled the scene the next morning dressed up as a man.”

The attempt to kill the newborn occurred at a convent in Wayanad in 1998 after she had left her Order, claims Chandy. “I was visiting the convent to see two children who were related to my family. Once there, I was talking to a nun when we heard the cry of a newborn nearby… I followed the sound and discovered that it came from a toilet attached to a room. There were two more Sisters with me and we broke open the door. There was blood all over the floor and the nun who had just delivered was trying to push the newborn’s head into the dirty water of a closet in a bid to silence it. If we were late by a minute, the baby would not have survived. After coming to know of her pregnancy, the nun wanted to marry the priest who was responsible for it and lead a family life. But he refused to accept her.”

Social activist Jose Pazhookkaaran, who assisted her with the book, says: “I met her by chance in the course of my social work. But then I tried to verify what she said and found no reason to disbelieve. There are too many coincidences in the story and I don’t think it’s possible to make up all that.”

Sister Jesmi said she was happy one more person had attested what she was saying all along.

 

 

14. Priest at Don Bosco school arrested for molesting male student

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/priest-at-don-bosco-school-arrested-for-molesting-male-student/239515 01:53
July 16, 2012

 

 

 

 


VIDEO 01:53

Father James Soren had been absconding since Thursday when the Class V student complained to his parents.

Another story: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/hostel-suptd-arrested-on-abuse-charge/lite/ July 18, 2012

Fr. CM Paul SDB writes that the charges are false: https://cmpaul.wordpress.com/tag/fr-james-soren/ July 24, 2012

 

 

15. Indian priest arrested in US for sex crimes

http://www.ucanindia.in/news/indian-priest-arrested-in-us-for-sex-crimes/18566/daily

New Jersey, July 19, 2012

Prosecutors in the United States have charged a Benedictine priest from India with two sex crimes, one against a minor.

However, several of his parishioners at Church of the Visitation in Brick Township, New Jersey, have questioned the charges.

Police arrested Fr. Marukudiyil C. Velan (see page 20), 64, known to the parishioners as “Father Chris,” on Saturday with criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child.

They acted on a complaint from a woman that the priest had made sexual contact with her and her minor daughter the same day. She told investigators that the priest had befriended her family before the incident.

Fr. Velan has been working at the parish under Trenton diocese as a visiting priest since 2001. A garden, named for Father Chris in the back of the church’s yard, was empty Tuesday afternoon, a day after his arrest became publicly known.

Authorities said the priest is now lodged in Ocean County Jail.

The diocese Monday said it has withdrawn Fr. Velan’s ministry privileges while the investigation continues. It has offered to cooperate with the process and made available its official who coordinates assistance to victims of clerical sexual abuse.

The prosecutors have not released the names of the alleged victims.

David Clohessy, spokesperson of the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), commended the woman for “acting responsibly and promptly” in reporting the case.

Some people took issue with SNAP and what they see as the organization’s tendency to judge an accused priest before he is indicted or brought to trial.

“Some people jump immediately to the conclusion of guilt, and some people automatically go the other way,” said David F. Pierre, Jr., a journalist based in New England who has chronicled the clerical abuse scandals on his website, The Media Report. “People do need to know that there are false allegations out there. We hear so much about Catholic priest abuse that people tend to jump to conclusions.”

Some of Fr. Velan’s parishioners too sounded skeptical about the charges.

“Please don’t let this be another witch-hunt,” pleaded Donna Smith, a parishioner, who said the priest had earlier counseled her alone and she found nothing wrong in his behavior.

Several parishioners described how the priest dropped off food at the homes of those who were hungry, prayed with sick relatives at the hospital late at night, and worked with Mother Teresa in his native India before coming to the United States.

A woman who only gave her name as “Adrienne” said the priest had counseled her to get over her mother’s death. “If it weren’t [for] his words of comfort I wouldn’t have made it through,” she said.

Another parishioner, Anna Jones, said the priest was available for help at any time of the day. “You could call him at 3 a.m. for a blessing and he would be there,” she said.

Pierre said what makes Fr. Velan’s case so unusual is that it is so recent. Almost all other cases priests got arrested for things they did years ago, usually decades ago.

“This case could be all true, we don’t know,” he said. “But the correct approach is a cautious approach,” he added.

The accused priest is a member of the Camaldolese Congregation of the Order of St. Benedict. He joined Trenton diocese after service in India, Australia and California.

 

 

16. Court extends police custody of Pune school Vice-Principal

http://www.firstpost.com/india/court-extends-police-custody-of-pune-school-vice-principal-603058.html

Pune, January 26, 2013

 

 

 

 


 

The police custody of the Vice-Principal of National Institute of Open Schooling study centre at Don Bosco High School here, held for allegedly molesting a Class X girl and attempting to rape her, has been extended up to 29 January by a local court.

Father Egidius Francis Falcao, arrested on 21 January night, was produced before Judicial Magistrate First Class Rohidas Wankhade after his police custody ended yesterday.

Police sought further custody of Falcao, which was granted by the court.

Sub-Inspector Reshma Mulani informed the court that examination of call data records of Falcao and the girl
revealed they were present in the school at Yerawada when the alleged incident took place on 2 January.

Some supporters of Falcao had claimed a day after his arrest that the 14-year-old victim was absent on 2 January as per school records and staff members had said she was an irregular student.

 

 

17. Fr Falcao has an unclean past: Cops

http://www.dnaindia.com/pune/report-fr-falcao-has-an-unclean-past-cops-1794227

January 30, 2013

The Yerawada police on Friday informed the court that investigations have revealed that Egidius Francis Falcao (61), the vice principal of Don Bosco School, was involved in similar incidents in Mumbai where he worked before coming to Pune. Falcao has been arrested for allegedly attempting to rape a 14-year-old student of the school.

The information was revealed during a remand hearing of Father Falcao in the court of judicial magistrate (first class) SS Patil on Tuesday. The magistrate has remanded Father Falcao in magisterial custody. Falcao had worn a black jacket and had covered his face with a green-coloured monkey cap when he was brought to the court by a police team led by sub-inspector Reshma Mulani around 3.30 pm. The police had sought extension of Father Falcao’s police custody for seven days.

Mulani informed the court, “A police team had gone to Mumbai to find out as to why Father Falcao left his previous jobs with schools in Matunga and Vasant Vihar in Thane. Investigations there revealed that Father Falcao was involved in similar incidents there and had been asked to resign. He is not co-operating in the police investigations.”

She added, “During investigations, it was also revealed that some other school students were also manhandled in a similar way. Custodial interrogations are needed to probe into details. Besides, we have to visit his hometown for investigations.” Defence lawyers Harshad Nimbalkar, Sachin Thombare and Ashok Robot opposed the plea for extension in the police custody.

They submitted, “Father Falcao is in police custody since his arrest. Ample time has been given to the police and further investigation is not required.”

 

 

18. Don Bosco staffer gets bail in molestation and rape bid case

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Don-Bosco-staffer-gets-bail-in-molestation-and-rape-bid-case/articleshow/18391883.cms

By Asseem Shaikh, Pune, February 8, 2013

The court of special judge Vinay G Joshi on Thursday imposed stringent conditions on Father Egidius Francis Falcao, vice-principal of the National Institute of Open Schooling study centre at Don Bosco high school while releasing him on bail. He was arrested on January 21 for allegedly molesting and attempting to rape a 14-year-old girl student January 2.
Falcao was released on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000 with one solvent surety of the like amount. He was directed to give attendance at the Yerawada police station every Sunday between 10 am and noon till further orders to facilitate the police in conducting investigation.
He has been prevented from entering the territorial jurisdiction of the Pune Municipal Corporation till the filing of charge sheet except when he has to give attendance at the police station. He was asked to provide his intended residential address and cell phone number to the investigating officer and seek permission of the court if he intended to change his address and phone number.
The bail order states that Falcao should not enter the class where the girl and her friends named in the first information report were studying. He was directed not to perform administrative acts of the school relating to the girl or witnesses named in the complaint which would affect their educational career.

 

 


He was also asked not to call any student to his cabin. He was warned not to directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case. He was further directed not to leave the country without seeking permission from the court.
In his bail plea, Falcao had denied molesting or making advances towards the girl or physically abusing her.
Falcao’s lawyer Harshad Nimbalkar argued that the girl had registered a complaint after an inordinate delay because his client was a renowned teacher and some people were jealous of him undertaking social activities on behalf of the school and church.
Nimbalkar also submitted there was no evidence of a rape bid under section 376 (rape) read with 511 (attempt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as he did not make any preparation for committing the crime.
He argued that as there was no prima facie evidence against his client as per sections 354 (molestation) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC and 7 (sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

Nimbalkar said that Falcao has become a victim of dirty politics. He has an unblemished service record and has received several recommendations in the educational field. The police have completed investigations and have recorded statements of witnesses, he added.

Opposing the bail plea, additional public prosecutor Pratap Jadhav said that Falcao, in a well-planned manner, had called the girl to his office and had closed the door and had twice made an attempt to drag the girl but she pushed him aside and fled. No student will implicate a teacher in such a crime, he said.

Jadhav argued that the police have collected evidence that Falcao had committed similar offences when he was posted at Vasant Vihar in Thane in 1996. He had resigned from the post after the girls and their parents had made complaints to the school trust.

He alleged that the Don Bosco school administration was putting pressure on the girl and her three friends by saying that Falcao was innocent and addressing a news conference after he was arrested.

Fr. CM. Paul contends that the priest was “framed”: https://cmpaul.wordpress.com/author/cmpaul/page/35/ Jan 23.

 

 

19. Priest among suspects in Indian rector’s killing

http://www.ucanews.com/news/catholic-priest-among-murder-suspects-in-india-seminary-murder/70543

By Christopher Joseph, Kochi, March 21, 2014

A Catholic priest and two other men have been arrested in connection with the murder of a seminary rector in southern India’s Bangalore almost a year ago, police said today.

Father Elias Daniel, a Carmelite priest, and two other people identified only as William Patrick
(who also is a priest -Michael) and Peter, are now in police custody.

“We have very strong evidence that these people have done it,” said senior police officer Pranab Mohanthy, who leads the investigation, referring to the murder of Father K. J. Thomas of Bangalore’s St. Peters seminary on March 31 last year.

Police said there was “a lot of resentment” towards the rector by the accused, who felt they had been sidelined for important posts in the seminary.

According to police, the accused had hatched a “criminal conspiracy” and selected Easter Day when most occupants of the seminary would be on leave.

“They went in prepared to kill,” said Mohanthy, additional commissioner of police, who led the team of detectives investigating the murder. He said they were armed and made no attempt to mask themselves. “They were ready to kill whoever confronted them,” he said. 

Church sources admitted the case is linked to a three-decade-old ethnic language issue simmering in the Church in Bangalore. Local Catholics who speak Kannada say they are neglected in policy decisions and appointments in the Church, which is dominated by migrant Catholics from neighboring Tamil Nadu and Kerala states.

The police examined 2,000 people in connection with the case and a large volume of call details was analyzed. Five people, including three Catholic priests, were subjected to narco-analysis tests.

 

 

20. Rector murder case cracked, three priests arrested in Bangalore

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/rector-murder-case-cracked-three-priests-arrested-in-bangalore/

March 22, 2014

Close to a year after they began investigations into the sensational murder of a senior priest at a seminary linked to the Vatican, the Bangalore Police Friday claimed a breakthrough with the arrest of three priests, who allegedly conspired to carry out the killing.

An internal rivalry over control of seminary’s assets has been cited as the motive for the killing of K J Thomas, the rector of the St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary, on the intervening night of March 31 and April 1 last year. Karnataka police chief Lalrokhuma Pachaua identified the accused as Father Illyas Daniel, Father William Patrick and Peter.

Thomas was found murdered in a room at the seminary, which is involved in the training of priests, on the morning of April 1, 2013 by the principal of the seminary Fr Patrick Xavier. The case was a major challenge for police, with pressure to crack it coming from the chief minister and senior Congress leaders in Delhi. A few relatives of the deceased priest from Kerala recently approached the high court, seeking a CBI inquiry because of the delay in the police probe.

 

 

Police sources said priest Illyas Daniel served at Gulbarga, William Patrick at Kengery and Peter at Shiluvepura in Bangalore. “Two more priests who were involved in the case are still at large. We will nab them soon,” a source said. The three arrested priests were produced before a court and taken into police custody for a week. DGP Pachaua said Illyas and his associates confessed to the offence. He said Thomas had been working in the seminary for many years and Illyas and other accused were unhappy with him for various reasons. Also, there was resentment among the accused that many of them were being sidelined for important posts and that only a few persons were occupying important seats. They wanted to bring change in the system inside the seminary and rise to prominence, the DGP said.

“The accused persons required important documents relating to the seminary to gain prominence. These records pertained to lands that were granted to the seminary. Therefore, they hatched a conspiracy to break into the seminary and obtain these documents,” Pachaua said.
They allegedly decided to execute their plan on March 31, 2013 as it was Easter time and the accused knew that most at the seminary would be away and there would be no one other than Fr Thomas and a few others. According to the police, on the night of the murder Illyas, William Patrick, Peter and others met near the Yeshwantpur Circle and walked up to the seminary armed with rods and other weapons.

“They began to break open locks of seminary rooms and started searching for the documents. Fr Thomas came out of his room and saw the accused, who then assaulted him causing his death. They left no clue behind,” the police chief said.

Police said they cracked the case following several leads. Fingerprints were taken from the spot and matched with the fingerprint data base of known offenders in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and Puducherry. More than 2,000 people were examined.

Five persons, including three priests present at the time of the killing at the seminary, were subjected to narco tests. The investigations led them to Illyas and his associates.
Police Commissioner Raghavendra H Auradkar said the police would not be able to reveal more details as it may hamper further investigations. “The investigation is still on. Some more persons will be nabbed soon,” he said.

 

 

21. In Kerala, Catholic Priest Arrested for Allegedly Raping 9-year-old

http://www.ndtv.com/cities/in-kerala-catholic-priest-arrested-for-allegedly-raping-9-year-old-560187

By Sneha Mary Koshy,
Thrissur,
May 5, 2014

 


 

A 44-year-old Catholic priest (see the article below), who allegedly raped a 9-year-old girl in Thrissur, Kerala, has been arrested from Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu. He had been on the run since April 25, after the girl’s family registered a police complaint claiming the priest had sexually assaulted the girl several times in April.
According to the police, the girl was sexually assaulted by the priest thrice in April, after he promised to give her free robes for the Holy Communion. The priest allegedly also took nude photographs of the child on his mobile phone.
The priest has been relieved of his duties by the Thrissur Archdiocese.
The police have slapped charges under Section-376 (1) of the Indian Penal Code, Section-66 (a) of the IT Act and Section-4 of the Protection of Infants from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, apart from other provisions in the IPC, all of which are nonbailable clauses.
Section-66 (E) of the IT Act has been invoked against the priest for allegedly photographing the girl.

 

 

22. Kerala church priest, accused of raping nine-year-old, arrested

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/raju-kokken-kerala-churuch-priest-molesting-girl/1/359105.html

By J Binduraj,
Kochi,
May 5, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Raju Kokken, a 40-year-old Catholic priest at Saint Paul’s Church in Thaikkattussery in Thrissur in Kerala, who was on the run since parents of a nine-year-old girl accused him of allegedly raping their daughter on April 25, was arrested from Poothappady in Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu on Sunday.

He was hiding at the house of a relative to evade the arrest.

Kerala Police’s Shadow Police wing took into custody the priest with the help of Tamil Nadu Police. His arrest was registered after the police brought him to Thrissur on Sunday.

 

According to Ollur police, the nine-year-girl was lured by the priest with the promise of free vestments for her holy communion and the vicar raped the girl thrice in April in his office room.

The girl, who hails from a poor family, was forced to go naked before him when the vicar asked her to remove her clothes in the pretext to check whether the Holy Communion dress fits her or not.

The girl told police that she was sexually assaulted thrice by the priest afterwards. The girl said the priest took her naked photos on his mobile phone too.

Police registered a case against the vicar under various nonbailable sections of the IPC and Section 66 (A) of Information Technology Act.

Meanwhile, following the complaint and after an internal inquiry, Thrissur Arch Diocese ousted the priest from the church. The priest, on the run since April 25, reached Alwaye from Thrissur and escaped to Nagercoil the same day.

There were public protests in Kerala for delay in arresting the priest even after a week. According to police, they got a clue about his whereabouts from his mobile phone signal.

“His mobile phone was switched of for three days, but on the fourth day he called home from that number. We reached Nagercoil after tracing his mobile signals,” said a police officer.

Meanwhile, Hunny, 35, a pastor from Thrissur, was arrested on charges of molestation bid. The girl who came to his divine retreat centre at Parali in Palakkad was force to have sex with him in Coimbatore on February 3 after he promised to marry her.
But after the incident, the pastor distanced from her and threatened to kill her if she revealed the incident to anyone. The girl revealed the incident later to her close friends and with the help of an NGO, she lodged a complaint. The pastor was arrested on Sunday.

In another case, on April 30, Kerala Police arrested a pastor, Sajan Mathai, 40, hailing from Ranni in Pathanamthitta on charges of raping a girl on February 23. He was arrested following the complaint of a 17-year-old girl hailing from Mundakkayam in Kottayam district. The incident came to light after the victim became pregnant. Police said the pastor raped the girl during the annual celebration of Israel Pentecost Church in Punchavayal.

 

 

23. Nun sets fire to fellow novice

http://www.ucanindia.in/news/nun-sets-fire-to-fellow-novice/25060/daily

Suspect and victim caught up in love triangle, police say.

Thiruvananthapuram, June 2, 2014

A novice nun in the southern Indian state of Kerala has been arrested for allegedly setting a fellow novice on fire in what police say was a lesbian love triangle gone wrong.

Delsy Varghese, a final year novice with the Daughters of St Ann congregation, suffered 45 percent burns and was seriously ill in hospital.

The attack occurred early on Sunday at St Ann’s convent in North Paravoor. Fellow novice Rachel Jossy, 21, was later arrested and offered a full confession during questioning, police said.

“She has been charged with attempted murder,” said Inspector T B Vijayan from the North Paravoor police station.

Jossy confessed to pouring kerosene over Varghese while she slept and then set her alight, Vijayan said.

Later, she joined other nuns in rushing the victim to hospital, he said. The victim told police that someone had tried to kill her and police said a subsequent investigation revealed that the two novices were involved in a long-standing feud.

“We suspect that jealousy prompted her to set Varghese ablaze,” Vijayan said.

He said Jossy admitted that she and the victim were in a close relationship that had turned sour. Jossy later became friendly with another nun with whom Varghese also became close, he said.

Things came to a head when convent authorities decided to send Varghese and the third nun to Andhra Pradesh for an advanced course and Jossy to Thiruvananthapuram.

“She [Jossy] wanted to stop Varghese and her partner leaving together,” Vijayan said.

 

 

 

Convent Mother Superior, Sister Jasmine, dismissed the police’s account and instead accused the media of trying to spice up a tragic incident by concocting a lesbian love story.

“You are putting forward stories without basis. I don’t want to talk on this issue,” she said.

Syro-Malabar Church spokesman, Father Paul Thelakat, tried to downplay events. “The unfortunate incident looks to be an act arising from some animosity between two immature novices,” he said.

 

 

24. Indian Priest Arrested for Possessing Child Pornography

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/indian-priest-arrested-for-possessing-child-pornography-724228

New York, January 8, 2015


 

A 47-year-old Indian priest has been arrested in the US state of Florida on charges of possessing child pornography, with authorities saying he asked a 14-year old boy to help him delete about 40 pornographic images of young boys from his phone.
Jose Palimattom
(see pages 7 and 19 of 01), a visiting priest from India, was arrested on Monday on charges of possession of pornography and distributing it to a minor.
He is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of USD 10,000 bail.
Palimattom is a priest of the Franciscan Province of St Thomas the Apostle in India and began serving a two-year residency in December 2014 at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in West Palm Beach, a parish of the Diocese of Palm Beach.
The priest has allegedly told authorities that he had been reprimanded at his church in India for being “involved with a minor male,” but the incident was not reported to police.

The head pastor at Holy Name Catholic Church told deputies that when Palimattom joined, he was told to have no contact with minors without another adult present.
The diocese said in a statement that it is “greatly concerned and takes very seriously the charges” against Palimattom.

It said when the Diocese learnt about the allegations, it immediately contacted authorities and cooperated in the investigation conducted by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
The cooperation resulted in the arrest of Palimattom.
The diocese said it undertakes a thorough screening of visiting priests before granting them faculties to minister or celebrate sacraments within its diocese.
As part of its due diligence, the diocese had completed a background screening which also included a screening in India, and received a Certificate of Aptitude from the Minister Provincial in India.
During this background process, no prior misconduct was revealed.
It said the allegation is being taken very seriously and expressed sincere regret to the family involved and those hurt by “this regrettable matter”.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s officials said Palimattom allegedly showed a 14-year-old boy child pornography on his cell phone after service in the Church on Sunday.

 

 

25. Vatican ‘suspends’ priest accused but acquitted of rape charge

http://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay.aspx?newsID=289954

Bengaluru, January 12, 2015

In perhaps the first incident of its kind in the history of the Archdiocese of Bangalore and probably even in Karnataka, the Vatican has suspended a priest, who was accused and tried in the court of “forcibly raping” a young college-going girl in Tumakuru.
The priest, however, was acquitted by the court of the charge as all the witnesses including the girl, her parents, grandmother and others had turned hostile.
According to information independently confirmed by Daijiworld after contacting several authoritative sources in the Archdiocese, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is the highest body in the Roman Curia, has officially communicated to the
Archbishop of Bangalore Dr. Bernard Moras last week regarding its decision of suspending the exercise of “the priestly ministry in public” of Fr Simon Bartholomeo with immediate effect.

 

 

The Archbishop, when contacted by Daijiworld, declined to either confirm or deny the decision on suspension of the priest and merely said: “I am not at liberty to disclose any information on the issue. You have to speak to the person concerned (Fr Bartholomeo).”
However, it is reliably learnt that the Archbishop has divulged the contents of the communication from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the members of the Archdiocesan College of Consultors.

The members of the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Bangalore are: The two Vicar Generals Msgr. S Jayanathan, Msgr. C Francis, Episcopal Vicar for Religious Fr Xavier E Manavath, CMF, Fr Mathew Koikara, CMI, Fr Edward David, Fr A S Anthony Swamy, Fr Joseph Menezes, Fr Mariappa Gregory, Fr Vincent Maria Gregory and Fr L Arulappa.

According to some of the members of the College of Consultors, who were contacted by Daijiworld, the order from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith pertaining to Fr Bartholomeo cannot be strictly termed as a “suspension.” However, it specifically bars the person from “exercising priestly ministry in public” and as such he cannot function as a priest.
Vatican’s decision on virtually “suspending” the priest, Fr Bartholomeo, was communicated to the Archbishop of Bangalore by Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio to India in Delhi, according to a member of the College of Consultors.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith had taken the decision to bar Fr Bartholomeo from “exercising the priestly ministry in public” followed an inquiry conducted by the Metropolitan Diocese of Bombay. “Any decision on revocation or withdrawal of the order will have to be taken only after the Metropolitan Diocese of Bombay submits its report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome,” said a member of the College of Consultors.

Inquiries by Daijiworld revealed that Vatican had asked the Archbishop of Bangalore to conduct the inquiry as complaints against Fr Bartholomeo had been directly forwarded by several persons and organisations. But the Archbishop had reportedly declined to get involved in the issue on account of the agitations by some of the Kannada priests against him. Consequently, Vatican entrusted the task of conducting the inquiry to the Metropolitan Diocese of Bombay.

Fr Bartholomeo was appointed as the Parish Priest of St Rita’s Church in Kunigal Town in Tumakuru in the year 2004. He had reportedly close and intimate relations with a young 19-year-old college going girl, who was also getting training in operating computers. As the girl was a commerce student, the priest reportedly offered part-time job of handling the church accounts. The friendship between the girl and priest turned intimate allegedly leading to sexual relations from 2005 onwards and girl reportedly got pregnant and was allegedly helped by the priest to undergo abortion or medical termination of pregnancy at a private nursing home in Bangalore in the year 2006.

The girl and her parents lodged a complaint with the Kunigal police in the year 2008 and the case was tried in the court of the Second Additional District and Sessions Judge of Tumakuru. The priest, however, was acquitted by the court as all the prosecution witnesses including the girl, her parents, teachers and others had turned “hostile.”

Fr Bartholomeo had been transferred as the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Fathima Church at Jalahalli in Bangalore last year. The posting of Fr Bartholomeo as the Parish Priest of the Our Lady of Fathima Church from Tumakuru led to strong protest by the local people.

Incidentally, Fr Bartholomeo is one of the key leaders of the Kannada Catholic Priests Association, and according to the police sources is believed to be very close to Fr William Patrick, one of the two priests along with a lay accomplice arrested in the sensational case of the murder of Fr K J Thomas, the then Rector of the St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary in Bangalore (see pages 16, 23) in the small hours of March 31-April 1, 2013.

It is learnt that Vatican is seized of several complaints against many of the other priests, especially those involved in the fight against the Archdiocese on the language issue. The pro-Kannada priests as well as pro-Tamil priests and many other lay associations have also reportedly sent several complaints against the Archbishop and pro-Kannada priests.

 

 

26. Vatican suspends Bangalore priest accused of rape

http://www.ucanindia.in/news/vatican-suspends-bangalore-priest-accused-of-rape/27425/daily

Bangalore, January 12/13, 2015

Activists are now campaigning for reopening of the case.

The Vatican has suspended a priest of Bangalore archdiocese accused of rape in what is described as a first in India. Father S Bartholomeow, the parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima Church, Jalahalli in North Bengaluru, was accused in a rape case in 2013 in Kunigal, Tumkur district. The case was subsequently closed after the complainant turned hostile. Activists are now campaigning for reopening of the case. Bartholomeow, police sources investigating the murder of St Peter’s rector Father KJ Thomas, say was a close associate of Fr Patrick, a priest arrested in the murder case.

Bangalore Archbishop Bernard Moras, while confirming the suspension, told Times of India newspaper: “He has received the order, I cannot comment on why he was suspended or any other details now. It’s best you ask him (Bartholomeow).”

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/Vatican-suspends-Jalahalli-priest-accused-of-rape/articleshow/45848763.cms

 

 

27. Brick Priest Sentenced to Probation after Being Cleared on Serious Sex Charges

http://brick.shorebeat.com/2015/01/brick-priest-sentenced-to-probation-after-being-cleared-on-serious-sex-charges/

By Daniel Nee, January 31, 2015

 

 

 

A Roman Catholic priest most recently assigned to The Church of the Visitation in Brick has been sentenced to two years of probation after being found guilty of groping a woman but cleared on more serious charges of molesting her children.

Superior Court Judge James M. Blaney handed down the sentence Friday to Marukudiyil C. Velan (see page 14), 65, formerly known as “Father Chris,” the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed.

Velan was charged in July 2012 with molesting a mother and her two children on different occasions, including once when he molested all three during the same day. Velan was at the mother’s residence delivering food since the family was poor and needed assistance, officials have said.

At his trial in 2014, attorney S. Karl Mohel poked holes in the prosecution’s case, pointing to the fact that the group had dinner together after the alleged molestation took place. He also argued a confession the prosecution touted as strong evidence against the priest was marred by the fact that detectives screamed and berated the priest, who is not a native English speaker, until he provided an answer they wanted.

The defense’s theory was that the accuser’s goal was to collect money from the church in a civil lawsuit.

Ultimately, a jury cleared Velan on the molestation charges but convicted him on a charge of criminal sexual contact for inappropriately groping the mother.

Velan maintained his innocence throughout the trial, and was supported in the court room during his trial each day by a group of parishioners. According to a report by Asbury Park Press court reporter Kathleen Hopkins, Velan told Blaney at his sentencing Friday that he “didn’t do anything wrong” and “couldn’t believe what happened.”

Velan, according to the report, is no longer a priest and wants to return to his native India. But he must wait until the two year period of probation ends before he can do so. Mohel said Velan is currently surviving on Social Security.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known for its strong media statements, said in such a statement Friday, “We are sad that Fr. Marukudiyil Velan, known as ‘Fr. Chris,’ will not do jail time. But we are grateful to the brave family that reported this priest’s crimes. And we are confident that this mom’s courage to speak up and to seek justice will protect more people.”

As criminal sexual contact is a fourth degree crime, it carries no assumption of incarceration and Velan will not have to register as a sex offender.

 


28. Whistleblower Sister Jesme: Kerala nun should throw Rs 12 lakh compensation back at church

http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/whistleblower-sister-jesme-kerala-nun-should-throw-rs-12-lakh-compensation-back-church-22199

The News Minute, March 31, 2015

In February 2015, when Sister Anita returned to Thottakkattukara in Kerala after a dreadful ordeal at Motherhouse in Italy, she was hoping that her alma mater, Sisters of St. Agata Convent in Aluva, would take her in. 

“There were days in Italy when they refused to give me food,” TNIE quotes her, recounting the alleged horrors of her three year stay in Italy. 

“After a series of torture, I was thrown out of the convent on February 19. When I sought shelter in another convent, with the help of another nun, the congregation authorities bought air ticket to Kochi and asked me to leave Italy,” Sister Anita told a roomful of journalists at a press conference on March 2 in Kochi. 

But when she reached the convent in Aluva, she was denied entry. “My luggage was thrown out and I was asked to leave the convent. It was the local people who took me to the Janaseva Sisubhavan,” she said.

If this was a nightmare for the nun, then the events leading up to her transfer to Italy, if her allegations are to be believed, are even more traumatising.

In 2011, Sister Anita was transferred from her convent in Aluva to a convent in Panchore in Madhya Pradesh. While working as a high school teacher, a priest at the convent allegedly sexually harassed her. According to Sister Anita, when she complained to the Mother Superior, she was reprimanded, isolated and soon shipped to Italy.

Four years later, the case is hogging the headlines again as the Catholic Church in Kerala, under pressure, has decided to pay Rs 12 lakh to the nun to “rehabilitate” her. The congregation, which is alleged to have thrown her out with her baggage when she sought help, has asked her to return her robes.

The settlement is being touted as the first of its kind by the church, but the church denies allegations of “sexual harassment”.

“What sexual harassment? Who has spoken about sexual harassment? People are obsessed with sex and the word sex, so someone made up this story. I asked the nun if she had been harassed and she said no. When she has no complaint, then why are others bothered?” asks Father Paul Thelakkattu, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar Church.

Thelakkattu has no clear answers to why she was not allowed inside the church after returning from Italy. “She came back from Italy in February, but she cannot get along with the community anymore,” he said, with no explanation as to why she was unable to get along with the community.

Sister Anita had joined the congregation in Aluva in 2007, and was part of a different congregation for almost a decade before that.

Reji Njallani, National Chairman of the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement, which is helping Sister Anita through this torment alleges that she faced immense hardships in Italy. “She told us that she was made to do all the kitchen chores in the congregation, which was a workload for 4 to 5 usually. They had not paid her salary too for many years.”

 

 

 

Further, according to Njallani, Sister Anita had met a Bishop in Ernakulam and demanded that the church act on her complaint. She had also demanded that if the congregation was not willing to take her back, then she has to be compensated. “The church is powerful. There was a lot of pressure on the family, and finally the Sister agreed. Anyway, at 40 years of age, it is only justified that she asks for compensation,” he says.

Father Paul Thelakkattu denies the amount was paid as compensation. “It was an amount to appreciate her service to the church. She has been a part of the church for 24 years. She is 40 years now and we know that it will be tough for her to suddenly start her life.”

But are all nuns who leave the congregation given such huge settlements? “No, everyone is not compensated, but as I said, she was part of church for many years. So it was our benevolence that we decided to pay her,” Father Paul Thelakkattu said.

“The Sister should throw that money back at the congregation and lead a dignified life. I can help her,” says Jesme, another nun who had walked out of her congregation in 2008 alleging physical and mental harassment. In the last few years, Jesme has become a rallying point for those questioning the church in Kerala. She has even penned a book called “Amen” based on her experiences.

 

 

29a. Tamil TV channel under fire for ‘degrading’ bishop, nuns

http://mattersindia.com/tamil-tv-channel-under-fire-for-degrading-bishop-nuns/

Coimbatore,
June 21, 2015

Priests, nuns and lay people of Coimbatore Catholic archdiocese Saturday staged a demonstration to protest a private television program that denigrated the Church.

Vicar General of Coimbatore Fr John Joseph Stanis, who led the protest, said that the agitation was to condemn defamatory remarks. “They were one sided statements and the channel did not approach us to verify them. This has tarnished the image of the church and hurt the sentiments of believers,” he told The Hindu.

The protest took place at St. Michael’s Cathedral, Coimbatore. The protestors claimed that the program hurt their sentiments. In the television program a 40-year old woman alleged that a Catholic priest had misbehaved with her 18-year-old daughter before murdering her on the premises owned by the church near Walayar in Palakkad District in Kerala in July 2013.

The program further added that the parents were afraid to send children to the schools run by priests after the incident and also made defamatory remarks against the bishop and priests. The two-hour program was aired in two episodes in the evening on July 15 and 16 – and re-telecast in the morning over the next days.

Fr Stanis said that the priest Arokiaraj, who was accused of involvement in the incident, was dismissed under the Canon Law on moral grounds on charges of misbehaving with the girl.

Stating that it was up to the police to inquire and find out the ‘mystery’ behind the girl’s death, he said that the church was ready to cooperate with the police for inquires in connection with the allegations posed by the woman (Shanthi Roselin). The vicar general said that the church would file a defamation petition against the television channel.

Earlier this week, Roselin lodged a complaint with the city police alleging that a few persons – instigated by the accused priest damaged her house and threatened her a day after the first episode was aired.

Based on the complaint Ukkadam Police have registered a case against six persons under sections 147 (rioting), 294B (obscene language), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

 

 

29b. Christians plan to sue Tamil television channel

http://www.ucanindia.in/news/christians-plan-to-sue-tamil-television-channel/29251/daily

Coimbatore,
June 22, 2015 Source: New Kerala

Christian leaders in Coimbatore said they plan to file a defamation suit against a regional Tamil television channel for broadcasting content that offended the Church.
Some 900 Christians protested on Saturday to against what they called “degrading” content. A guest in a talk show in the region channel made derogatory remarks against the Coimbatore Bishop, Thomas Aquinas, and diocesan priest and nuns, they said.
The show was telecast on June 15 and 16 without clarifying and verifying the facts, they said without specifying to press what exactly were derogatory.
Catholics in the diocese, including nuns, laypersons and priests, gathered at St. Michael’s Church and protested peacefully, raising slogans and demanding investigation into the channel and its content.
The telecast infuriated the entire mass of the Catholic Church. Therefore, together the priest, the religious and the laity we called for this agitation against the particular TV (channel), Z Tamil,” said Vicar General of Coimbatore Father John Joseph Stanis.
The senior priest said they would file a defamation case against the channel. Reports said Catholics plan to intensify the protest against the channel if they continued to target minorities.

 

 

 

30. Four more priests charged in murder of seminary rector in India

Victim’s family demands laicization of accused clergy

http://www.ucanews.com/news/four-more-priests-charged-in-murder-of-seminary-rector-in-india/74720

By Christopher Joseph, Kochi, December 3, 2015

Police in southern India have accused four more priests in the murder of a major seminary rector, while the family of the victim have demanded church officials remove the accused from the priesthood.

Police filed additional charges Nov. 27 in a Bangalore court naming seven people including Fathers I. Anthappa, A. Thomas, Anbu John and Chowrappa Selvaraj, said police officer Victor D’Souza, who is coordinating the investigation.

Three lay people also were newly charged in the murder of Father K.J. Thomas, whose body was found inside St. Peter’s Pontifical Seminary on April 1, 2013.

“The court will issue nonbailable warrants and they will be arrested soon. But that’s the court’s decision. We do not know when,” D’Souza told ucanews.com Dec. 2.

Two priests — Fathers Elias Daniel and Father William Patrick and a layperson only named as Peter — were arrested in June 2014. A total of 10 people, including six priests, now stand accused.

According to the police investigation, Father Thomas was killed because of an ethnic rivalry between the Kannada-speaking minority and Tamil-speaking migrant majority. 

The immediate motive for the murder and how the alleged conspirators conceived the crime as beneficial to them was unclear, police said.

D’Souza said police “have a fool-proof case” but declined to elaborate, saying the case was “quite complicated.”

 
 

Priests not defrocked

Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore told ucanews.com that he “knows nothing” about the progress of the case against the priests and laymen other than what he has read in the media.

“I know from the media that they are named as accused. I do not have any other information,” he said.

However the priests are not defrocked or suspended. “We will have to wait” before seeing any canonical action against the accused priests, the prelate said.

“Of course, they continue to be priests, and celebrate Mass,” Archbishop Moras said.

The victim’s brother K.J. Mathew has written to the papal nuncio to India, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, and Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, pleading for them to “laicize” clergy accused in the case.

The letter said the “continued status as priests” of active suspects “is creating great scandal among the people and giving them the undue benefit of doubt.”

 

 

31. Murdered rector’s family deplores ‘Indian church apathy’

http://www.ucanews.com/news/murdered-rectors-family-deplores-indian-church-apathy/75294

By Christopher Joseph, Kochi, February 23, 2016

Call on bishops to suspend accused Bangalore priests while legal process is in motion

Family members of a seminary rector murdered in southern India nearly three years ago have called on bishops to suspend several priests accused of the crime.

Church inaction and apathy regarding the affair have caused the family great distress, they said.

“The continuance of these accused priests in active ministry gives them an undue advantage of doubt,” K.J. Mathew, brother of the murdered priest
Father K. Thomas, said in a letter to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

Two priests and a lay person were arrested almost a year after Father Thomas was found murdered on April 1, 2013, inside St. Peter’s Pontifical Seminary in Bangalore. These two priests remain in custody.

In November, police charged four more Catholic priests and three other people with conspiracy to murder.

“Despite the court issuing nonbailable arrest warrants, these priests continue in their parish ministries, which shows how casually church officials look upon the crime,” Joyson Mathew, the dead priest’s nephew, told ucanews.com.

“Further delay in taking action against the accused will alter progress in this case. We request all the accused priests in this case be suspended and to initiate canonical proceedings to laicize [defrock] them,” said the Feb. 22 letter, a copy of which was seen by ucanews.com.

It said a request in mid-February by the jailed priests for a reinvestigation by federal authorities was “a tactic to buy time and to delay any action.”

The family said it has no reason to doubt the evidence presented by investigators.

“A group of people are trying to subvert justice so openly and we are not able to do anything about it,” the letter said.

The police are reluctant to arrest the priests still serving “because of the clout and influence of the church” said Joyson, who lives in the United States with his father, K.J. Mathew.

 
 

Inaction deplored

He said in the U.S. and other Western nations “priests are immediately removed from ministry following allegations of this nature, and investigated. If there is an arrest they are most often suspended, pending an investigation.”

He said the murder was part of a three-decade long and ongoing ethnic tussle in the Bangalore Archdiocese and in the seminary, where local Kannada language-speaking Catholics have been fighting for linguistic and administrative superiority.

 

 

Joyson accused archdiocesan authorities and Vatican officials responsible for the management of the Pontifical seminary of “contributing to the situation that led to the murder by their delay in taking action against some priests.”

The murder and its investigation are “an opportunity for the church to put its house in order. If this opportunity is missed, the church in Bangalore is headed for greater darkness,” he said.

Related Reports

Two Indian priests charged with rector’s murder

Four more priests charged in murder of seminary rector in India

In the Indian rector’s murder, the ‘why’ matters as much as the ‘who’

Jailed Indian priests seek new probe into rector’s killing

Priests kill priest!!!!! (See also pages 16-17, 23-24)

This story in itself merits a separate file for its complexity and the great difficulties and hindrances that the Bangalore police encountered during their lengthy and arduous investigations.

 

 

32. Two priests among 14 arrested in bishop’s kidnapping

http://www.ucanews.com/news/two-priests-among-14-arrested-in-bishops-kidnapping/75933

May 3, 2016

Two Catholic priests were among 14 people arrested May 2 for allegedly kidnapping and assaulting Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, police said.

Cuddapah town’s police superintendent Navin Gulati told ucanews.com that Father Raja Reddy
engineered the kidnapping and attack on the bishop, motivated by “greed for money and power.” 

 


Fr. Raja Reddy

 

Bishop Gallela, 54, and his driver were blindfolded, handcuffed and forcibly taken to an undisclosed location while they were returning home April 25 from a function. The criminals beat the bishop while demanding US$75,000 from the diocese, police told media May 2. 

Following an investigation, police arrested Fathers Raja Reddy, 48, and Mohan Reddy, 45, and the gang they organized to commit the crime. 

According to police, the suspects confessed to four earlier attempts to kidnap the bishop between April 6 and 15.

The suspects stole bank cards from the bishop and driver and left them on the highway early April 26 after the bishop agreed to pay $30,000, police said.

Police charged the suspects with kidnapping for ransom, banditry, attempted murder, assault, and criminal conspiracy, the police official said. Each charge carries prison terms of 10 years to life, he added.

Gulati said the priests were upset over being transferred, which led to the kidnapping, Gulati told ucanews.com

Father Raja Reddy headed a network of homes for the poor, which receives overseas funding thorough the bishop. The priest accused the bishop of mishandling funds meant for the homes, police said.

Diocesan chancellor Father Paul Prakash confirmed the two accused were priests of the diocese but said the diocese has no official information on the charges or arrests.

Bishop Gallela was receiving medical treatment and unavailable for comment, his secretary Father Dharmendra said.

Officials of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in New Delhi also said they have no details about the case and could not respond.

“However, if media reports are true, it is indeed shocking that priests are involved in the kidnapping of a bishop for money,” said spokesman Father Gyanparakash Topno.

 

 

33. Fr Raja Charity shop in Ireland closes

According to police, Father Raja engineered the kidnapping and attack on the bishop, motivated by “greed for money and power.”

http://www.ucanindia.in/news/fr-raja-charity-shop-in-ireland-closes/32211/daily

May 22, 2016

 

 

 

 


 

A Charity shop in Ireland run by one of the priests arrested for Cudappah bishop’s kidnap has closed last week.
Fr Raja Reddy, whose foundation runs the charity shop in Schull in County Cork, is currently under arrest in Jammalamadugu in Karnataka in connection with the kidnap and assault of Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cudappah.
Fr Raja’s Charity Shop in Schull is now closed and a sign, posted on the door, informs customers that the shop will remain closed and that fundraising is suspended ‘until the conclusion of the investigations into the alleged malpractice in India’. 
Bishop Gallela, 54, and his driver were blindfolded, handcuffed and forcibly taken to an undisclosed location while they were returning home April 25 from a function. The criminals beat the bishop while demanding US$75,000 from the diocese, police said.
The accused left the bishop and his driver on a highway early morning on April 26, after the bishop agreed to pay roughly $30,000 for their freedom. The assailants allegedly took away a bag belonging to Bishop Gallela containing a small amount of cash, three ATM cards, a silver chain with the bishop’s holy cross, and his iPhone.
Following an investigation, police arrested Fathers Raja Reddy, Mohan Reddy and Sanivarapu Marreddy, and the gang they organized to commit the crime.
According to police, Father Raja engineered the kidnapping and attack on the bishop, motivated by “greed for money and power.”
Fr Raja runs “Raja Foundation” and a network of institutions for poor including “Daddy Home” and an international school. 
One Irish volunteer who helped Fr Raja set up the Schull charity shop and travelled to India to see the work of the Foundation there, has since broken off ties with the Foundation, citing local concerns including the lack of engagement with local community groups and the local diocese. 
Fr Raja had previously visited Schull to talk about the work of his Foundation.

 

 

34. Religious leaders, women in India struggle with clergy abuse of nuns (See pages 50 ff. for my comments on the activists who are supposedly championing the cause of women who are sexually abused by priests; despite the apparently noble ideals, things are not what they seem to be.)

http://globalsistersreport.org/news/equality/religious-leaders-women-india-struggle-clergy-abuse-nuns-40571

By Jose Kavi, New Delhi, June 24, 2016

Despite her efforts, Sr. Manju Kulapuram could not get justice for a fellow nun who was a victim of voyeurism two years ago. Kulapuram is the national secretary of the Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace, an advocacy group for women religious.


Sr. Manju Kulapuram is national secretary of the Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace

 

The nun (Sr. Anupama Joseph SRA)
had complained to Kulapuram that a seminarian (Pradeep John Ekka)
had secretly watched and videotaped her taking a bath
(see pages 2-4 of 01). The sister and seminarian were attending a seminar on rural healthcare in an eastern Indian town. Kulapuram, whose organization assists religious in sexual abuse matters, prefers to keep the names of the people involved in the case anonymous.

 

 

 

The forum, a group of progressive Catholic religious in India, dissuaded the victim from going to court and assured her that they would get her justice from church authorities, says Kulapuram, a Holy Cross nun.

They took the matter to the seminarian’s bishop. The prelate merely sent him to Rome to continue his theological studies, Kulapuram says.

The forum then took the case to the apostolic nuncio, urging the papal representative to speed up the process of justice and set up “an objective and impartial mechanism within the church” to address sexual harassment cases involving church personnel.

Kulapuram says, despite these measures, the victim did not get justice, and her own superiors failed to support her. “Finally she was forced to leave the religious life disgusted,” Kulapuram, who worked closely with the victim, told Global Sisters Report.

The former nun is now settled in Kerala, her native state in southern India, and has cut all contact with people associated with her former life as a religious.

Poor treatment of Catholic religious women by male members of the church is “a very serious problem” in India, Kulapuram says. “If it comes out, it will be like a tsunami,” she warns.

The scope of clergy abuse of Catholic sisters in India is unknown and has not been studied. In this case, and often in others, the abuser was not disciplined or removed from his clergy role, and the outcome of the cases remain secret. In June, Pope Francis spoke out against church secrecy when he decreed that bishops who protect clergy sex abusers* would face removal. His law focused mostly on victims of pedophiles but also mentioned “vulnerable adults.”

*POPE FRANCIS AUTHORISES REMOVAL OF BISHOPS NEGLIGENT ON SEXUAL ABUSE

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/POPE_FRANCIS_AUTHORISES_REMOVAL_OF_BISHOPS_NEGLIGENT_ON_SEXUAL_ABUSE.doc

 

In 2010, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, the leading clergy group in the country, released a gender policy to promote equality and harmony among men and women and to denounce violence against women. The policy won Vatican approval, the bishops said, but it does not directly address clergy sex abuse.

Additionally, priests use power over women religious to control their property, require them to cook and clean for them for little or no compensation and, during disputes, deny them communion or confession, sisters and their advocates say.

In February, the forum for religious sent “a letter of concern” about the alarming trend of abuse to all bishops and major superiors in India.

A group of Indian Christian women, both lay and religious, consulted on the problem in 2010, 2011 and 2013 and drafted a set of norms to deal with sexual abuse of adults within the church. They sent the standards to the bishops’ conference for action but have received no response. The group will meet again on June 26, said Holy Spirit Sr. Julie George, director of Streevani, a center dealing with women’s issues.

The bishops’ conference did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this story.

 

Opportunities for abuse

The abuses take place in parishes, schools and social service centers where nuns work as subordinates to priests. Some retreat masters and priest counselors, who privately treat sisters with emotional and psychological problems, also abuse nuns, Kulapuram says.

During spiritual retreats, for instance, a nun meets with a clergy adviser in a closed room for guidance and discernment, creating an opportunity for sex abuse.

The forum secretary says that in most abuse cases the nuns do not protest. “This was the one case where the sister stood her ground,” she said in reference to the voyeurism incident.

The victim immediately reported the matter to leaders at the seminar, her superiors, members of the Catholic bishops’ conference and the national association of religious major superiors. She also demanded that the seminarian be questioned and the tape be seized. Several months later, she wrote to the prelate concerned after he sent the seminarian back to Rome.

“Cases of sexual violence on [religious women] go unaddressed, and its perpetrators often go scot-free. This cannot be tolerated anymore,” says the letter the forum drafted on Feb. 22 at the end of its annual meeting.

About 75 priests and nuns, who are involved in struggles for justice and peace, attended the four-day meeting at Kottayam, a Christian stronghold in the southern Indian state of Kerala, to address the theme “Reinventing Religious Life in the Context of India Today.”

In the end, they said they were forced to write the letter as their analysis of current challenges to religious life revealed issues that needed urgent attention by church leaders.

The letter cites “an increasing use of the Sacraments by the clerics to punish the faithful, especially religious women,” and demanded an immediate end to such practices. In these cases, a priest in conflict with a nun would deny her communion, hearing her confession or saying Mass at her convent. These acts of obvious shunning create scandal in the parish.

The letter also notes attempts to “domesticate” religious life by giving a bishop “total control” over priests and nuns in his diocese. Such moves, the letter says, violate “the very nature and role of religious life,” where men and women try to exemplify “radical evangelical living” in a prophetic way.

The forum stated that the exclusion of women from governmental structures in the church to be a “violation of human rights.” The letter asserts the need to protect and sustain the “legitimate autonomy” of religious life.

 

 

A call to set the standard

Several nuns and others told GSR they agreed with the forum.


Sr. Rita Pinto, Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, left, is president of the Sisters Section of the Conference of Religious India

 

Sr. Rita Pinto, president of the sisters’ section of the Conference of Religious India, a national association of major superiors, says the way the Indian church deals with sexual abuse cases has become “profoundly disturbing” and it sets “a bad precedence,” especially in a country plagued by sexual violence.

Pinto says the prelate in the voyeurism case refused to act against the seminarian despite having “sufficient proof.” He treated the victim as the accused instead of handling her case with compassion and sensitivity, said Pinto, a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart congregation.

The 2010 bishops conference policy does not address clergy abuse but states the church “will work toward elimination of all forms of violence against women and advocate zero tolerance in all arenas of social and religious life.” It also promises to set up “structures and evolve mechanisms for effectively combatting violence and sexual harassment against women in families, workplaces and church institutions,” the group’s spokesman said. The policy also encourages nuns to use their talents in their prophetic calling to promote women’s causes in the church and society.

However, what happens in reality is just the opposite, says Virginia Saldanha, a lay Catholic woman theologian who from 2000 to 2010 headed the Women’s Desk, part of the Office of Laity for the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. She held a similar post from 1998 to 2004 for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

Although India has more than 100,000 women religious, very few volunteer to protest “the endemic issue of the abuse of women by priests,” Saldanha bemoans.

 


Virginia Saldanha is lay theologian and former secretary of the Women’s Desk of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, and secretary of Women Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

 

She says she came across several cases of abuse when she traveled India as the head of the bishops’ women’s commission. When she took up the matter with the provincials, they told her that they would deal with it in-house. “But I found that ‘in-house’ meant punishing the sister and taking no action against the abuser.”

She says her heart bled when the nun in the voyeurism case was ignored and denied justice.

 

The way power is wielded

The laywoman cited another case in Kerala, where six nuns opposed attempts by priests to take over their parish school in 2007. An archdiocesan regulatory council clarified the nuns were the school’s owners, but the priests and their bishop rejected the decision, irritated that the nuns would contest the matter. The dispute led to “a longstanding and festering sore in the Catholic church in Kerala,” Saldanha recalls.

 

 

In 2011, a division bench of the Kerala High Court ruled that the local community of nuns was the owner of the school and the local superior the manager. In the end, the nuns yielded to pressure from their superiors and church authorities; they handed over the school to the priests and were transferred to different locations.

Saldanha sees signs of nuns who manage kitchens and homes for priests and bishops, a practice the forum calls “domestication.” She says women religious in these roles are not recognized as “equal human persons.”

Pinto says some bishops allow women orders to open institutions or projects only if they lend some nuns to work in diocesan institutions. “This is a method to bring the sisters under the control of the bishops,” she told GSR. Compelling sisters to do the sacristy work or provide food to parish priests are instances of domesticating the religious, Pinto says.

Sr. Shalini Mulackal, the first woman president of the Indian Theological Association, says the nuns are partly responsible for their domestication in the church. “Often religious women are not assertive or bold enough or knowledgeable enough” to stand up for their “legitimate autonomy,” she says, adding that this is because most women have “internalized patriarchal value systems of society.”

 


Sr. Shalini Mulackal is the first female president of the Indian Theological Association

 

Some bishops and priests who cling to a patriarchal mindset view women as persons with no decision-making or thinking capacity. “They consider women as inferior to men and expect them to be submissive in everything,” Mulackal says.

Saldana wants Catholics nuns to be on the forefront of the women’s movement in the church. “But instead they reinforce the women’s stereotype of submission and unquestioning obedience,” Saldanha says.

The lay leader recalls that some sisters dropped out of the Indian Women Theologians Forum after they became leaders in their congregations, lest they be seen associating with outspoken women in the progressive group.

She fails to understand why a social service project operated by nuns requires the bishop’s signature to get aid from funding agencies. “Why can’t the provincial of the congregation sign it? This shows how the system is created to control women,” she says.

Saldanha says such undue power of bishops over women religious often leads to abuses. She recalls an incident in the 1990s when a bishop in central India ordered some nuns to leave his diocese, based on flimsy reasons. Bishops often pressure provincials to curb “errant” or “bold” nuns who dare to stand up for their rights, she says.

 

The biggest taboo

Mulackal, the theologian, says few nuns speak openly about abuses because sex is “a big taboo” among the religious, as it is in Indian society in general.

“So it is almost impossible for young religious to resist and openly tell the concerned authorities to take action for fear of bringing shame upon oneself or even losing one’s religious vocation,” Mulackal told GSR. “It may take a long time before these issues come into the public domain.”

Mulackal, who teaches in a Jesuit theology seminary in New Delhi, cited a case a few years ago when two young nuns were found impregnated by a priest who held a “high position” in another diocese. The order expelled the nuns, but everyone, including the nuns’ congregation, tried to protect the priest to safeguard the church’s name. “In such cases it is difficult to ascertain whether it was sexual violence or coercion, or [whether] it was with the consent of the person concerned,” she told GSR.

The woman theologian says that when bishops are alerted to such cases, the most they would do is transfer the priest, “after giving him a chance of attending some counseling program.”

 

Cheap labor

Some priests harbor “a distorted notion” that women religious should serve as cheap laborers for the church, Mulackal says, adding that nuns working in some diocesan institutions get only “a small stipend.”

However, she agrees that the bishop has the right to intervene in the life of a religious community in matters of faith and morality. A bishop has to challenge the religious order, if its institutions collect unlawful donations or deny access to the poor. “If the Christian values are not lived, the bishop has a right to intervene,” Mulackal says.

 

 

 

Fr. Varkey Perekkatt, head of the Jesuits’ Delhi province, says women religious working in diocesan institutions often suffer bad treatment silently. He too agrees they are seen as cheap labor and are paid meager honorariums. Those nuns “go through difficulties with great pain, often in silence” and as a result they miss the joy of being a religious, he says.

The Jesuit provincial also opposes using sacraments as punishment. “No priest is allowed to do so. Such aberrations have to be stopped by all means, and priests perpetuating such practices have to be taken to task by the authorities concerned,” he asserts.

Women religious aggravate the situation when they refuse to assert their basic rights, he says. “Peace at any cost seems to be the mode of operation. What we need is more dialogue among the partners concerned.”

Perekkatt said some bishops and major superiors fail to challenge the subjugation of women as they themselves are not free from social menaces and harbor the patriarchal mindset. When the real need arises, they “fall back to their old clutches of self-protection,” he says.

“Only the Lord God can liberate us from these shackles and make us true disciples of the Lord,” he said.

Jose Kavi is the editor-in-chief of Matters India, a news portal focusing on religious and social issues in India. This article is part of a collaboration between GSR and Matters India.

 

 

35. St Fidelis College vice-principal held for harassment

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/St-Fidelis-College-vice-principal-held-for-harassment/articleshow/53678052.cms

Lucknow, August 13, 2016

Lancy Lobo, the vice-principal of St Fidelis College, was on Friday arrested on charges of harassing a class VIII girl student of his school. The school is indefinitely shut.
SSP Manzil Saini said Lobo was arrested from his residence in Vrindavan Yojana on the basis of a statement made by the girl before a magistrate under Section 164 CrPC (considered as evidence in court). Charges levelled against Lobo include outraging modesty, voluntary causing hurt, causing hurt by means of poison and criminal intimidation. Charges under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) have also been slapped on him.

The girl had accused him of spiking her water bottle and putting a letter and objectionable items in her bag. Initially, the police had registered a case against unidentified persons but the picture became clear after the girl recorded her statement. Lobo is a native of Chikmagalur in Karnataka

Earlier in the day, the college administration sent out a message to all parents informing them about indefinite closure of the school.

While the message didn’t cite any reasons, college’s teachers’ representative Tea Joseph told TOI that the Vikas Nagar SO had informed the school of a probable threat of protests from various organisations. “Considering the safety of students, which is our priority, we decided to shut down the school till further information,” said Joseph. He added, “The closure also marks the protest against the accusations against the vice-principal and principal.” The indefinite closure, said Joseph, came after consulting Bishops who were the head of Catholic institutions. “We also met the DM and the IG and they have assured their full support to us,” he said.

 

 

36. Three years after her daughter’s death at Kerala priest’s residence, mother takes on Catholic Church

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kerala-priest-arrest-fathima-sophia-father-arockiaraj-tamil-nadu-catholic-church-he-was-god-2987910/

By Arun Janardhanan, August 21, 2016

A 17-year-old from Tamil Nadu is found dead at the residence of a priest in Kerala. Is it a suicide? Or murder? Arun Janardhanan tells the story of the girl’s mother taking on the Catholic Church, leading to the arrest a week ago of five senior priests, including a Bishop.

How do you say no to God?” a victim of sexual abuse asks a team of investigative reporters in the Oscar-winning Spotlight, a movie based on Boston Globe’s months-long investigation into cases of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests. At her home in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Shanthi Roselin, 42, says a similar line, over and over again: “Avar engalin kadavulaaka irunthaar (He was our God).”

On July 23, 2013, Roselin’s 17-year-old daughter Fathima Sophia was found dead in the guestroom of
Father Arockiaraj (see pages 15 and 16 of 01), the priest of St Stanislaus Church in Walayar in Palakkad, a Kerala district that borders Tamil Nadu. Police registered a case of suicide and the matter was soon closed.

What followed were a series of bizarre events — Father Arockiaraj allegedly confessing to the victim’s mother that he killed her, a ‘letter’ that pointed to a relationship between Sophia and Arockiaraj, a secret canonical court that resulted in the defrocking of Arockiaraj, some secret correspondence with Rome, transfer of police officers in Kerala. All along, Roselin says, she knew her daughter hadn’t killed herself.

Three years later, Roselin’s fight against the powerful Catholic Church for allegedly colluding to cover up the “murder” of her 17-year-old daughter has reached a key turning point. Last week, five top Catholic priests, one of them a Bishop, were arrested and subsequently released on bail.

 

 

 

The arrests were under Sections 201 and 202 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deal with “causing disappearance of evidence” and “intentional omission of information”. The sixth priest, Arockiaraj, who is accused of killing the girl, was arrested in December 2015 and is now out on conditional bail. He has now been booked for rape and sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Though Arockiaraj, now 36, denies murdering Sophia and says he had “no sexual relationship” with her, the minutes of the proceedings of a canonical court held on August 19, 2013, four weeks after the murder, show otherwise. In the meeting — The Sunday Express has accessed its minutes — Arockiaraj admits that he had “bodily contact” with the victim and that he “used her”. The meeting, presided over by Coimbatore diocese Bishop Thomas Aquinas, had ended with the Bishop saying that he has to write to Rome for “not to say Mass”, meaning Arockiaraj’s suspension.

Fr. John Joseph, the Vicar General of the Coimbatore Diocese, says the Church acted immediately against Arockiaraj “as per the canon law”. When asked why the Church hadn’t reported sexual abuses against a minor to police, he says, “That was a mistake… We are innocent… It was a very, very unfortunate incident. There were mistakes on the part of the Church too. But we didn’t do it on purpose.”

******

Roselin says her family first met Arockiaraj in 2007, when he was transferred to a church near their home in Coimbatore town. “My daughter was then in Class VI. Arockiaraj was like God to us. He used to call me akka (elder sister),” she says.

Since Sophia’s father was physically impaired — an accident had left him with speech and hearing problems — Arockiaraj, says Roselin, was a father figure to Sophia and “was like family”. Roselin’s husband works as a salesman in a textile shop in Coimbatore.

Roselin gives several instances of how the priest won their trust: how he had twice, in 2011 and 2012, taken her daughter to a church-run hospital near Thodupuzha in Kerala for the treatment of a “nerve disorder”, how even during the last summer vacation, Arockiaraj had taken her to the church in his car almost every Saturday and Sunday for catechism classes. Even after the priest moved out of Coimbatore, first to Valparai in Tamil Nadu and later to Walayar, Roselin and her family kept in touch with Arockiaraj.

Roselin says her daughter regularly visited the church campus in Walayar, 38 km from their home. “Arockiaraj was the only person she was familiar with there. She would hang on to his every word. He was also very affectionate and we had no reason to suspect anything,” says Roselin.

However, a month before her murder, Roselin says, the girl had slapped the priest. “He was visiting us that day. When I returned with a glass of juice from the kitchen, I saw her slapping him. I shouted at her but he asked me to calm down, saying she was just angry that he had scolded her. I did scold her.”

A day before the alleged murder, Roselin says, she and her husband had spent the night in a hospital in Coimbatore, where her mother-in-law was admitted. “The children (Sophia and her younger brother) were at home that night. We reached home at 6.30 am in the morning and were to leave for the hospital again. As Sophia woke up, she said she was coming with us, but later changed her mind and said she was going to college,” says Roselin. Sophia, a first-year B. Com. student, went to a college near Walayar.

What happened next can only be pieced together from different versions — Roselin’s, police records, and Arockiaraj’s confession to the canonical court and, allegedly, to Roselin.

Around 12.35 that afternoon, Roselin says, she got a call from Arockiaraj. “Konnittein, konnittein (I killed, I killed),” he allegedly shouted before the call ended abruptly. Soon, he would call her again to say that Sophia had tried to kill herself and that she died in his lap on way to the hospital. “While we were on our way from Coimbatore to Walayar, he called me some 33 times,” says Roselin.

The police reached the spot at 2.30 pm and found the body on the floor. A case of suicide was registered and after an initial investigation, the matter was closed.

In the days and weeks that followed, Roselin says, Arockiaraj would call her and confess that it was he who killed Sophia, that it was “an accident” that happened when he tried to silence her using her dupatta during a minor scuffle at his church room. As he sought pardon, he was said to have made more confessions: that senior priests and the Kerala police had helped him cover up the death as suicide. “He told me that Bishop Aquinas, who was not in town on the day of the murder, was informed immediately after the incident. They wanted to protect the Church,” says Roselin. This is an angle the police are now probing.

Four days after her daughter’s death, Roselin suffered a heart attack and had to undergo an angioplasty. But through all this, what rankled her was that since her daughter’s death was declared a suicide, the Church had denied Sophia her burial rituals. “I tried to meet the Bishop several times to seek proper rituals for my daughter. But they never let me meet him,” she says.

Four weeks after the girl’s death, Bishop Thomas Aquinas convened a meeting at the Bishop House to discuss the matter. The minutes of the ‘canonical court’, held on August 19, 2013, indicate that the top Church administration, including the Bishop, knew of the alleged sexual abuse, though the Church never reported it to the police. During the meeting, Arockiaraj admits that he had “bodily contact” with the victim. “She forced me to have bodily contact… I used to take her to a psychiatrist…,” he says. He also says that he once “stayed with the girl in Pollachi lodge”.

A year after Sophia’s death, Roselin says she came across “two key things” that steeled her into taking on the Church. One was a “love letter” Arockiaraj had written to Sophia. The letter, which Roselin found in Sophia’s bag, is now with the police (they confirmed the presence of such a letter). The other was a photograph of Sophia, taken while her body was being brought home from Coimbatore.

 

 

“That day in the ambulance, I had clicked her photos since that was the last time I would see her face. I looked at her photos again and I saw those bruises on her face. That gave me the courage to fight the Church,” she says.

“For the first one year, I had no evidence other than Arockiaraj’s confession. When you are a woman from a poor family attached to the Church, it is not easy to take them on. It’s a big deal,” she says. The family lives in a house owned by the Church.

Arockiaraj’s confessional phone calls reportedly continued. In February 2015, Roselin says she began recording them. She also began calling the priests — since the family had close links with the Church, Roselin knew each of them personally — and asked them about her daughter’s death. In the course of several such conversations, the priests are alleged to have confirmed what Arockiaraj had told her.

That’s when, Roselin says, she decided to “nail Arockiaraj’s lie”. In June 2015, with the help of a relative journalist who worked for a local TV channel, she organised a sting operation against the priest. She called him and told him that Sophia kept appearing in her dreams, asking her why she had “not sought answers from Father”. She requested him to meet her at the Tirupur bus stand. Arockiaraj now lives in Tirupur with his family.
That day, Roselin arrived with a microphone tucked in the folds of her green sari. The TV crew stationed across the road filmed the meeting.

Following the telecast of the sting operation on Zee Tamil TV channel, in which Arockiaraj is seen confessing, Roselin’s house was attacked, the Church organised massive protests in Coimbatore and Roselin was
excommunicated.

In the video, accessed by The Sunday Express, Roselin is seen and heard asking Arockiaraj why he killed Sophia. Arockiaraj initially refuses, nervously asking why she wanted to know, “even after I have told you everything”. Roselin then asks Arockiaraj if he killed Sophia alone or if he “allowed others to use her”. “We used to go out often. No other person has touched her… All that happened (that day) was, I wanted to prevent her from making noise… So I used her shawl (dupatta) to silence her. It was an accident, trust me… I didn’t plan it. It was not planned,” he says, pleading. He talks about a similar fight he had with Sophia another night that had left him “embarrassed” since there were nuns living within earshot in the convent on the church campus.

When contacted, one of the nuns, who is now serving as the headmistress of a Church-run school in Walayar, says she did witness one of their fights. “Also, the day Sophia died, I saw her body lying in the guestroom (attached to Arockiaraj’s room). He was a good priest. But we never interfered in his personal matters,” she says.

Arockiaraj, in the video, also admits that he informed senior priests about the “accident”. And that it was a police officer (he doesn’t name him) who advised him to make it seem like a suicide and tell the story of her dying on way to the hospital. Arockiaraj goes on to tell Roselin that he is scared to go to jail.

Arockiaraj was arrested in December 2015, six months after the telecast of the video.

Talking to The Sunday Express, Arockiaraj, who spent 60 days in prison, denies the allegations. He says the TV show was a “drama”. “I don’t want to name anyone but it is a conspiracy to tarnish the Church. I have not been booked under 302 (the IPC Section relating to murder), Section 307 (attempt to murder) is the only charge against me. Other priests and the Bishop booked in this case are also innocent. Roselin has come up with these allegations, a year and a half after the incident, to extort some Rs 20 crore from the Church,” he says.

Arockiaraj also claims that he “had no sexual relationship” with the girl. “I revealed all this before the canonical court of the Bishop… God has a plan for me. I trust in God,” he says.

******

In August 2015, two years after Sophia’s death, Roselin went to the Palakkad SP’s office (under whose jurisdiction the Walayar church falls) with all the “evidence” — the recorded phone calls, the video — and asked for the case to be reopened.

In May 2016, a Palakkad court ordered the police to arrest the four priests and the Bishop. Two weeks ago, DSP M K Zulfiquer, who was transferred out of Palakkad by the previous Congress-led UDF government in Kerala, was sent back by DGP Lokanath Behera to lead a fresh investigation.

DGP Behera says their investigation so far shows that all the priests and the Bishop knew of “the series of sexual abuses on a minor”. “They reported it to Rome but were hiding the same information from the police. The police also should have acted promptly. If there are complaints that the probe was influenced in the initial stages, we will probe that too,” he says.

DSP Zulfiquer says the final charge sheet in the case will be submitted in 30 days. “We are studying the evidence. Section 302 (for murder) may be added in the final charge sheet. The accused has already been booked for rape and under POCSO,” he says.

Kulantha Raj, one of the priests accused of the cover-up, accepts that Arockiaraj “made a mistake” but goes on to ask why Roselin had taken two years to approach the police. When asked about the presence of audio tapes, in which he is heard talking to Roselin about the murder, he simply says the Church has taken action against Arockiaraj.

“This mother should have been cautious. It was a sex scandal. We sent the report to Rome and Pope Francis issued the suspension order,” says Raj, 59, who was the ‘in-charge Bishop’ on the day of the murder. Father Madala Muthu, 65, the former vicar general, Father Melchoir, who works as the rector of a seminary, Father A M A Lawrence, the procurator of the Coimbatore diocese, and Bishop Acquinas are the other accused priests — all of them top priests in the Catholic Church.

“They (the priests) were God to us,” says Roselin, sitting at her home in Coimbatore. “Pope Francis is the only person I trust now. He is God.”

 

 

‘I used the girl. I accept’

Four weeks after the alleged murder, a ‘canonical court’ was held at the Coimbatore Bishop House to discuss the matter. The meeting was held for the purpose of a formal document to be sent to Vatican and had reportedly lasted only a few minutes, said sources in the Bishop House.

Excerpts from the minutes of the proceedings, held on August 19, and accessed by The Sunday Express.

Arockiaraj: When I was in (Coimbatore), they came for the birthday blessings of the girl. In the beginning, I had only phone communication. When I was in Valparai, she used to contact me over phone…

Bishop: “It is said that the girl was abused many times.”

Arockiaraj: “I used the girl. I accept.”

Bishop: “She is a minor girl. Why did you do that?”

Arockiaraj: “They threatened me, out of fear I did. I thought that it would solve the problem.”

Arockiaraj: Once I stayed with the girl in Pollachi lodge

Fr Lawrence (judge of the court): “Did she ask you to marry her?”

Arockiaraj: “She never asked me to marry her. They compelled to give a letter, I wrote a letter — (that) I abused her and spoiled her.”

 

 

37. Media reports on murder investigation upsets Indian church officials

Reports created an impression that a bishop and priests were put in jail and then bailed out but nothing of that happened

http://www.ucanindia.in/news/media-reports-on-murder-investigation-upsets-indian-church-officials/32819/daily

Kochi, August 23, 2016

Indian media reports about an investigation related to the death of a young woman in Coimbatore Diocese are misleading and blown out of proportion to sensationalize the issue, say church officials
Media reported recently that
Bishop Thomas Aquinas of Coimbatore and three priests, who are diocesan officials, were arrested on charges of hiding information on the death of a woman named Fathima Sofiya.
“Unfortunately, false news was published by some newspapers and periodicals. According to the Diocese of Coimbatore the news is false, malafide and defamatory,” said Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India.
The case against the bishop and priests is linked to the complaint of Sofiya’s mother S. Shanthi Rosalyn’s claim that Bishop Aquinas and four priests suppressed information about how a diocesan priest had sexually abused and allegedly murdered her daughter, who was 18 years old at the time of her death in 2013.
A statement from the diocese categorically denied the arrest and bail. However, “three priests were called to the police station to explain the position in reference to the complaint of the woman,” it said.
The priests have explained to police that “there was no attempt to hide facts in the case and that the very action of suspending the priest and then having him dismissed from the clerical state are evidence to this effect.”
According to Bishop Mascarenhas, Bishop Aquinas has not even visited the police station. Bishop Aquinas was not available for a response.
Father John Joseph, vicar general of Coimbatore Diocese told ucanews.com that media reports “created an impression” that the bishop and priests were “handcuffed and put in jail and then bailed out. Nothing of that happened,” he said.
The media were trying to sensationalize the issue. The bishop and the priests have nothing to do with Sofiya’s death, he said. However, the reports were made out as if they were responsible for the woman’s death, he said.
Father Joseph said the bishop was out of India when the woman died and that the clergymen only heard of the
priest H. Arokiaraj‘s alleged abuse of the teenager after her death.
Arokiaraj was then suspended from his clerical duties on Aug. 23, 2013 and the Vatican dismissed him from his priestly responsibilities the following month.
The case of the woman’s death was initially closed as one of suicide. However, a court ordered its reopening last year following Rosalyn’s complaint that the bishop and priests hushed up the sex abuse and murder by the priest.
The diocese views its bishop and senior priests “are unnecessarily being dragged into the case with the aim of extracting compensation from the diocese,” Father Joseph had earlier told ucanews.com earlier.
According to him, the dead woman’s mother is seeking 20 million rupees (some US$300,000) in compensation.

 

 

38. Kerala Priest Arrested For Alleged Sexual Abuse, Murder

http://www.ndtv.com/tamil-nadu-news/kerala-priest-arrested-for-alleged-sexual-abuse-murder-1449992

By Sam Daniel Stalin, Coimbatore, August 25, 2016

A Roman Catholic priest has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing and murdering a college student in Kerala’s Palakkad district.
Four other clergymen, including a bishop — who had conducted an internal inquiry and found the priest guilty but failed to inform the police — were arrested for allegedly covering up the case.

 

 

 

 




The girl’s family alleged that the priest took her home in their absence

VIDEO http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/kerala-priest-arrested-for-alleged-sexual-abuse-murder/428706 01:46

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXKgEyxiDf8 01:46

 

Back in July 2013, the 18 year-old woman was found dead at the home of Fr. Arockiyaraj (see pages 15 and 16 of 01), whom she knew well since he attended his spiritual discourses.
The family — residents of Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore, an hour’s journey from the state border — alleged that he had taken her home in their absence.

Still, the police said it was a case of suicide. But 18 months later, in 2014, the woman’s mother found a suicide note among her possessions at home.
The police, which has now filed a murder case, say the 37-year-old priest had sexually abused the girl for more than two years before murdering her.

The death of the girl and the subsequent arrests came as a huge embarrassment for the church. Not long ago, another Catholic priest from Tamil Nadu was convicted for child sexual abuse in the US.
The church authorities at the Coimbatore Diocese refused to speak on record.

Off the record, an official said: “It was a mistake on our part that we did not share findings on the parish priest’s sexual abuse.  But we did not know it was a murder. Action against the mother is for her baseless allegations against the Bishop through media.”
Stanley John, secretary of Irayarasu Layman’s Forum said, “The Pope had clearly said anyone who hides facts and information on child abuse has to be sacked even if they are Bishops. Now who would do this? They have abided by the Canon Law, but have not bothered to obey the civil law”.

 

39. Kannur Priest held for sexual assault on seminarian

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2016/oct/26/priest-held–for-sexual-assault-on-seminarian-1531862.html

Kannur, October 26, 2016

A Catholic priest, who was also the rector of a seminary in Kannur district, was arrested by the Iritty police for alleged sexual assault on a 21-year-old seminarian who was undergoing training under him at the institution.

Fr James Thekemuriyil (41) from Ulikkal was arrested by a police team led by Circle Inspector Sajesh Vazhalappil from Bangalore on Monday based on the complaint lodged by the seminary student.

The alleged sexual assault took place When Fr Thekemuriyil was the rector of Deiva Matha Seminary at Iritty.

The seminary is under an Italian Congregation. According to the complaint filed by the seminary student, the rector sexually assaulted and attempted to have unnatural sex with him.

“Fr James was expelled from the seminary following the student’s complaint. We took him into custody from Bangalore where he was working as a guest lecturer in another institution,” said CI Sajesh.

The police have registered a case under Section 377, 342 and 506 of the IPC. After presenting him in the court, he was remanded in judicial custody.

Police have launched a detailed probe into the case as unconfirmed reports say that other students of the seminary had also raised similar complaints against the priest earlier.

 

It is learnt that Fr Thekemuriyil is the first and only priest of the Italian Congregation. It is also learnt that Fr Thekemuriyil’s initial attempts to become a diocese priest and member of another congregation became unsuccessful, as he was expelled from the seminary stage itself, for unknown reasons.

Finally his attempts to become a priest succeeded when he joined the Italian Congregation.

 

 

40. School Principal, a Kerala Christian Priest, arrested for Sexually Abusing 11-year-old Boy Student

http://www.hindupost.in/news/school-principal-kerala-christian-priest-arrested-sexually-abusing-11-year-old-boy-student/

January 2, 2017 EXTRACT

Incidents of sexual abuse by Christian priests at missionary educational institutions or children shelters/orphanages in Bharat is a regular occurrence. Some cases which HinduPost has tracked in recent years (the below is by no means an exhaustive list of all such cases):

 

 

 

—November 2016: Two Christian women teachers Nutan Joseph and Indu, of the ‘reputed’ St. Xavier’s missionary school in Patna were arrested for allegedly having sex with a five-year-old girl student. School Principal, ‘Father’ Jacob, is also under suspicion and his role is being investigated by police.

—August 2016: Lancy Lobo, the vice-principal of St. Fidelis College in Lucknow UP, was arrested on charges of harassing a class VIII girl student of his school. Last month, Lobo was released on bail as State counsel submitted that the government had no objection.

—April 2016: Vatican directed the South India Catholic Church to reinstate an Indian Catholic priest, Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, who was convicted of sexually assaulting minor girls in USA

—January 2013: Father Egidius Francis Falcao, vice-principal of the National Institute of Open Schooling study centre at Don Bosco high school, Pune was arrested for allegedly molesting and attempting to rape a 14-year-old girl student. Police investigations revealed that Father Falcao was involved in similar incidents in previous schools in Mumbai and had been asked to resign from there – yet, he got bail in a few weeks.

Often, these offending priests get away citing persecution – Christian bodies start a whisper campaign to explain the charges as ‘dirty politics’ insinuating the shady hand of ‘fascist Hindutva organizations’. Police and administration too fall weak in front of the combined might of the secular establishment.

Note and Correction: The report of sodomy committed by Fr. Basil Kuriakose
in the above story has been omitted. This priest (see pages 32 and 33 of 01) is probably of the Orthodox Church; the error is regretted.

 

 

41. Kerala sexual abuse: Rape of minor girl by priest shows the systemic cover-up of serious crimes by the Church

http://www.firstpost.com/india/kerala-sexual-abuse-rape-of-minor-girl-by-priest-shows-the-systemic-cover-up-of-serious-crimes-by-the-church-3309046.html

By T.K. Devasia, March 1, 2017

An anonymous letter received by a child-line in Kerala has brought to light a major operation to cover up the rape of a minor girl by a Catholic priest in the state with 18 percent Christian population.

The police foiled the operation by detaining Fr Robin Vadakkumchery (see the entire file 03), vicar of St. Sebastian’s Church at Kottiyoor in the state’s northern district of Kannur, while he tried to escape to Canada on 27 February.

The police recorded the arrest of the 48-year-old priest, who allegedly raped and impregnated the 16-year-old girl, on Monday and a case slapped against him under section 376 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

The priest, who belongs to the Mananthavady diocese of Syro-Malabar Church, one of the three Catholic rites in Kerala, had tried to cover up the incident by taking the girl to a Church-run hospital for delivery and thereafter shifting both the mother and the new-born baby to an orphanage under the diocese.

Iritty Deputy Superintendent of Police Prajeesh Thottathil said the hospital authorities had not reported that the delivery that had taken place three weeks ago to the authorities. He said that a case will be registered against them if they have deliberately hidden the delivery.

The police official, who is heading the investigating team, said that legal action will also be taken against the victim’s parents if they are found to have colluded with the accused in covering up the incident.

The family had refused to file a police complaint against the priest, who held many important positions in the diocese including that of director of the Church-run daily, ‘Deepika’, and television channel, Jeevan TV, when Kannur Child Welfare Committee reported the matter to the police following a secret investigation into the information contained in the anonymous letter received by them.

Committee chairman Mathew Thelliyil told the Firstpost that their investigation had revealed that the priest had raped the girl, a Class XII student of IJM Higher Secondary School, Kottiyoor, where the priest served as the manager.

The mother of the victim lodged a complaint after initial investigation by the police revealed the crime, but the victim tried to shield the priest by naming her father as the rapist in place of the priest. The father, who is a small farmer, also supported her by owning up to the crime.

The victim identified the actual culprit after the investigating team grilled her. The police suspect that the family may have tried to shield the priest after they were bribed by the Church authorities. They also do not rule out the possibility of intimidation by the Church.

Curiously, the Mananthavady diocese had not taken any action against the priest until the police registered the case against him. Mathew Perumattikunnel, vicar general of the diocese, claimed that the matter had come to their notice only after the police took the priest into custody.

However, the Church activists take the claim with a pinch of salt since the victim had given birth to the child in the Church-run hospital and the mother and the new-born baby were protected in an orphanage under the diocese. Moreover, the priest had announced during the mass on Sunday that he was going on leave.

 

Ex-priest Shibhu Kalamparampil, who was defrocked after he exposed the sexual abuse and corruption in the Church in his autobiography, said that it was difficult to believe that the victim and her family had tried to shield the priest without the knowledge of the higher authorities in the Church.

 

 

 

“I strongly believe that the family may have tried to hush up the rape after pressure was mounted on them from top echelons in the Church. A priest alone will not be able to cover up such a serious crime,” he said adding that the Church has been mostly silencing the victims of sexual abuse by threatening God’s wrath.

“Many believe this and never report incidents of sexual abuse to the authorities. This has been encouraging priests to continue with their immoral activities. The bishops turn a blind eye as it will affect the very survival of the Church,” said the ex-priest who described the nunneries as brothels in his autobiography titled Oru Vaidikante Hrudayamitha (Here is the Heart of a Priest).

Those who question this will not be able to continue in the Church. A nun, who had complained of unwanted sexual advances by the priest while she worked as a teacher in Madhya Pradesh in 2011, was thrown out. When she refused to leave, the Church silenced her by giving her a compensation of Rs 12 lakh.

Another nun, Sister Jesme was forced to quit the religious life of over three decades after she resisted sexual advances against her from priests. After quitting the Mother of Carmel Congregation in 2007, she revealed the gross sexual abuse of nuns by the priests in her autobiography, Amen.

Shibhu said nuns were silently suffering the abuse as they had no place to go after quitting the nunnery. Priests and nuns quitting the religious life are not accepted by their families or the society as they consider leaving the vocation as a sin.

 

There has been a rise in sexual offences involving priests in the state in the recent months. Rector of a Catholic seminary in Kannur district was arrested by the Iritty police in October last year for the alleged sexual assault on a 21-year-old seminarian who was undergoing training under him at the institution.

In January this year, a 65-year-old priest, who was working as principal of a school at Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district, was arrested for abusing an 11-year-old in the school dormitory.

In December last year, a Catholic priest was sentenced to double life imprisonment under POCSO Act for the rape of a teenage girl. The priest, Edwin Figarez (see pages 13-15 and 34 of 01), had raped the victim many times while serving as the priest in a local church under Kottappuram diocese during 2015.

 

In August last year, another Catholic priest was arrested for allegedly raping and murdering a college student in Palakkad district. Four other clergymen, including a bishop were arrested for allegedly covering up the case.

Reji Njallani, who has launched an association to champion the cause of ex-priests and nuns, said that sexual abuse cases involving priests and nuns were showing an increase in the state as they are finding it difficult to maintain celibacy.

He said that the situation was alarming in the Syro-Malabar Church, which is the largest Catholic rite in Kerala. Reji told the Firstpost that a large number of priests and nuns in the Church have been demanding right to marry. This, he believes, may solve the problem to a great extent.

“This is not a difficult matter since the Syro-Malabar Church is an independent Church that is free to take a decision on crucial issues without the approval of Vatican. Seventeen out of 22 independent Catholic churches in the world have allowed the religious people to marry,” he pointed out.

He said Catholic priests in Kerala were allowed to marry until the 16th century, when the Portuguese took control of a major section of the Church. The bishops who are now trying to take the Church to pre-Portuguese days are silent on the marriage of priests as they consider celibacy as a sign of superiority over other religions.

Reji said the Association of Catholic Priests, ex-Priests and Nuns will float an open church to attract priests and nuns who are suffocated with the life in the established church. The priests joining the open church will be able to perform all priestly duties, including administration of the sacraments. Reji hopes that this will force the established Church to undertake reforms need by the changing times and solve the ills plaguing it.

 

 

42. Minor abuse by priests turning a major issue for Catholic Church in Kerala

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2017/mar/01/minor-abuse-by-priests-turning-a-major-issue-for-catholic-church-in-kerala-1575987.html

By Babu K Peter, Kochi, March 1, 2017

Despite attempts by the Church to rein in clerical sex abuse, incidents of exploitation of minors, both female and male, involving priests are on the rise casting a shadow on the Church in Kerala.

Concerned over the increase in incidents of priests sexually abusing minors, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) is considering a protocol for priests and nuns who interact with students.

“It is unfortunate such cases are being reported frequently. If this is the situation, the Church will have to think of framing a protocol for priests and nuns who interact with children,” said Fr Varghese Vallikkatt, KCBC deputy secretary and spokesperson.

At least five major incidents of child abuse involving priests have been reported in Kerala during the last two years. Only one among the accused in these cases has been convicted.

It was just two months ago Fr Edwin Figarez (see pages 13-15 and 34 of 01), who was the parish priest at Puthenvelikkara, was awarded double life term for raping a 14-year-old girl. In October 2016, Fr James Thekemuriyil (page 33), the rector of a seminary in Kannur district, was arrested by the police for alleged sexual assault on a 21-year-old seminarian who was undergoing training under him at the institution.

 

 

Fr Raju Kokkan (see pages 22 and 34 of 01), parish priest of St Paul’s Church at Thaikkattusery was arrested for abusing a 10-year-old girl. He allegedly abused the girl after inviting her to the parsonage. He had offered a new set of dress for her first holy communion ceremony.

 

Allegations of sexually abusing boys were levelled against a parish priest of a famous church in Kochi city. However, the priest escaped legal action as the victims failed to approach the police. The diocese authorities shifted the priest to a home of retired priests and later entrusted him with the charge of a parish.

“These priests have brought disgrace to the Catholic Church. Being an independent Church, Syro Malabar Church, in exercise of its power to take decisions, should allow priests to get married” said Reji Njellani, president of the Open Church Movement and an officer-bearer of the Kerala Catholic Reformation Movement (KCRM). 

 

 

43. Sex and the Catholic Church: Sins of the Father


http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/features/sex-and-the-catholic-church-sins-of-the-father

By Shahina KK, March 10, 2017

But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” -Matthew 18:2-6

Pope Francis’ recent call for zero tolerance towards child offenders within the Church seems to have had little impact in Kerala. The recent arrest of a priest in Kannur for raping and impregnating a 16-year-old girl has thrown the issue in sharp relief again. Father Robin Vadakkumchery (see the entire file 03), the Parish priest of St Sebastian’s Church in Kottiyoor in Kannur district was taken into custody under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code; he faces charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) and Juvenile Justice (JJ) Acts as well. He stands accused of several crimes other than rape, including a conspiracy to cover up the alleged sexual abuse and a pregnancy that resulted from it, complicity in moving the newborn from the mother’s arms to an unknown place, and finally offering money to the family to stay silent and forcing the minor to pin the child’s paternity on her own father if anyone were to ask. According to the police, while the main accused is Vadakkumchery, other priests and nuns were involved in breaking a series of laws in his favour.

The case surfaced once the girl’s plight was brought to the notice of Child Line, a private service meant for such reports. Its workers met the girl and learnt of her status as a minor, what she had undergone, and of the child she had borne. “We got the information from Child Line,” says Sunil Kumar, Circle Inspector of Police at the Peravoor station in Kannur district, who is in charge of the investigation. “Initially, the girl was in denial mode, and said she had no complaints against anyone. She refused to disclose Father Robin’s name. Upon further interrogation, she made the shocking statement that her own father raped her. When I questioned her father, I was convinced that he was innocent. We gave the girl extensive counselling and made her aware of the legal and social consequences .She disclosed the name of Father Robin only after she realised that her dad would go to jail.”

The sequence of crimes began in May 2016, according to the police. It was a rainy day, and the girl had been left alone in the church hall after her brother, who had accompanied her there, returned home early. The priest allegedly asked the girl into the rest room and then raped her. Being of a poor family, the girl and her family saw themselves as helpless against the authority of the priest. Once the pregnancy was obvious, they were later offered Rs 10 lakh as hush money—and for the girl’s father to be cited as the man responsible for it. On February 17th, the victim delivered a baby in Christhu Raja hospital in Kannur, and the newborn was moved to an orphanage run by the Church the same day.

Once an FIR was registered, the priest tried to flee, but the police caught him in Malappuram on his way to the airport. As questioning revealed, his plan was to move to Canada. The probe has since widened to cover the roles of eight others—among them, five nuns and the doctor and administrative officer of the hospital—and all are absconding.

Adding fuel to the fire, a Church-funded weekly magazine Sunday Shalom** published a bizarre editorial holding the victim responsible for her so-called ‘sin’. The editorial says: ‘Dear girl, you are like my daughter, let me tell you this, you are also at fault before the God Almighty, Why did you forget who a priest is? Having a human body, he also has temptations. It was your duty to stop him.’

**BISHOP OF RAMANATHAPURAM RECOMMENDS YOGA THROUGH SHALOM MINISTRIES

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/BISHOP_OF_RAMANATHAPURAM_RECOMMENDS_YOGA_THROUGH_SHALOM_MINISTRIES.doc

 

In a dramatic turn of events since, the police is currently on the trail of Father Thomas Joseph Therakom, chairman of Wayanad’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC), and Sister Betty, a member of it, both of whom are suspects. “Child Line reported the incident to the CWC on February 7th, but they too tried to hush up the matter. They took no legal steps as stipulated in the JJ and POCSO Acts,” says the police officer in charge of the investigation.

Since Therakom, a priest, was the head of a quasi-judicial authority, the police needed state clearance to act against him. On March 6th, the state government disbanded the CWC, taking away his immunity, and the Church authorities have informed the media that he has been suspended from the position he held as spokesperson of the Mananthavady Diocese.

CASES OF SEXUAL abuse involving priests have been coming to light with alarming frequency in Kerala.

 

In December 2016, a special court in Ernakulam sentenced a Catholic priest to a double life term as he was found guilty of raping a 14-year-old girl. Father Edwin Figarez, a parish priest at Lourde Matha Church in Puthenvelikkara, had raped the girl several times that year.

 

 

The existence of accomplices had raised eyebrows in this case too, with a nurse at a government health centre also convicted for her failure to report the case to the police.

In a similar incident in 2014, Father Raju Kokkan, a Parish priest of the Thrissur Catholic Archdiocese was arrested for the alleged sexual abuse of a 10-year-old girl. According to the police, he took the child to the parsonage of the church where he would perform duties as a priest, and then raped and took nude photographs of her. The trial is underway at a Thrissur sessions court.

 

On July 23rd, 2013, Fathima Sophia, a 17-year-old girl, was found dead in the residence of Father Arokiaraj (see pages 15 and 16 of 01), a Parish priest of St Stanislaus Church in Walayar, Palakkad. The police closed the case as one of ‘suicide’, but the priest later confessed to murder. He made the disclosure as a ‘strategic error’ when he got caught in a sting operation by a Tamil TV channel, which aired footage of the priest admitting that he’d killed her when she resisted his advances. The case was reopened, and the court ordered that he be booked along with four other priests (for trying to conceal the crime), including Bishop Thomas Aquinas of Coimbatore. The confession had followed an epic battle waged by the victim’s mother Shanthi Roselin. Over the phone, the priest had admitted to Roselin that he’d had sexual contact with her daughter, even though he’d insisted it was at the latter’s instance, and also referred to the girl’s death as an ‘accident’. Having recorded the phone conversations, the mother sought the help of a journalist friend to arrange the sting. Thus the priest was caught on camera saying that he had strangulated Fathima with her dupatta to silence her once she started screaming. It was apparent that the police had been too hasty in closing the case as suicide, ignoring a letter written by the girl to her mother that Father Arokiaraj would be responsible if something were to happen to her. All the five accused are out on bail and the trial is yet to begin.

 

“Sexual crimes committed by priests cannot be compared to those by ordinary people,” says Maria, who was once a nun. She quit her convent because she could not put up with the exploitation of nuns there. “The sexual offences committed by priests cannot be viewed as a singular crime committed by one person. It is an organised crime,” she alleges, “The authorities or whoever is concerned only try to hush up matters instead of reporting the same to the police. They are worried only about the reputation of the Church and do not bother about victims.”

Maria’s own experience was traumatic. She was forced into sexual relations with a priest for a few years, and she felt she had no option but to cooperate with him if she wanted to stay at the convent. “Finally, I decided to wind up the double game,” she says. Many other former nuns and priests vouch for what Maria has to report. “You cannot see a single incident of sexual abuse directly reported to the police by the Church authorities themselves. They take action against the priest involved only after the crime is exposed. Its power, absolute power, and even the media is silent on this aspect,” says a former seminary student who quit three decades ago and is now a planter. “This is not a new phenomenon, I knew such things have been happening since 1980.Priests travel in India and abroad accompanied by nuns,” he adds, “and nuns have very little voice, they have no choice but to follow instructions.”

An activist working for socially deprived children in Maharashtra, a nun who has seen these power equations closely, says she feels sorry for the nuns booked in the Kottiyoor case. “This is a heinous crime and I have no doubt that whoever involved in concealing the crime should be brought to the court,” she says, “but I assume that those nuns are too powerless to report the crime to the police even if they wanted to do. Once a nun, the choices are limited. Quitting the convent and going back home is hell.”

 

Among the most sensational cases involving the Catholic clergy in Kerala was the 1992 murder of Sister Abhaya (see pages 21, 22 and 25 of 01 and pages 5-8, 41 of the present file), who was found dead in the well of St Pius X Convent in Kottayam. It led to a national outcry, the CBI was brought in, and there were suspicions that the probe had been botched. There had been signs of a physical struggle at the crime scene, and bodily injuries found in the autopsy suggested a case of homicide, but attempts were allegedly made to pass it off as suicide. It was only in 2008 that two priests and a nun were charged with Sister Abhaya’s murder, but by then much evidence had been lost or tampered with. In 2009, the CBI submitted a report saying the victim had most likely been killed with an axe and dumped in the well after she stumbled upon the two priests and a nun in a ‘compromising position’, but no conclusive evidence could be provided. The case has not yet come to a close, and several writ petitions on various aspects of the case have complicated legal proceedings.

While cases such as these do not mean that the Church itself has fallen afoul of the law in its conduct, its reputation risks being tarnished in public perception. “The Catholic Church has made a vital contribution to the growth of the state,” says a senior Christian journalist, adding, “The popular image of a priest or nun was that of a person who dedicated his or her life to the welfare of the society. Malayalam cinema did not have a villain who is a priest or nun till the 90s.That trend began only after the Abhaya case.” He holds the view that the Catholic Church is an institution powerful enough in Kerala to protect its own. It is in its own interest not to let criminals hide themselves under a cloak of piety.

 

 

44. Rape by Church priest: A redux of spotlight in Kerala

https://www.hindujagruti.org/news/97850.html

By Sandeep Balakrishna, March 14, 2017 (Italics emphases theirs -Michael)

 

 

 

Yet another ghastly revelation emerging from the sanctified walls of the Syro-Malabar Church relates to the rape and impregnation of a minor girl by Fr Robin Vadakkumchery, vicar of the St. Sebastian’s Church at Kottiyoor, which falls under the Catholic Diocese of Mananthavady.

What is truly sickening in this case is how both the girl and her father were pressured by the Church authorities into falsely admitting that she was raped by her own father. As the long and documented history of rampant paedophilia in the Catholic Church across the globe shows, the typical modus operandi includes a combination of psychological and authoritarian pressure and monetary allurement exerted upon the victim. It’s no different in this case as well, as this Indian Express report shows:

The police said the priest had promised money to the girl’s father for accepting the paternity of the child.

“The priest gave money to pay the hospital bills after the delivery. The victim’s parents are farm workers and have five children, all minors. The priest also assured them he would look after the family’s future financial requirements. The girl’s father was not aware of the harsh laws and what was in store for him,” said the officer, adding that the father’s “loyalty towards the priest” also prompted him to shoulder the blame of the vicar’s alleged crime.

In other words, the victim’s family was poor, helpless, and looked up to the Church authorities as figures of trust and authority. Indeed, not only was Fr Robin a vicar, he held several influential positions in the diocese. He was Director of the Church-run daily paper, Deepika as also the Director of its TV channel, Jeevan TV. Unfortunately for the girl, he was also the manager of the IJM Higher Secondary School, Kottiyoor, where she was studying in Class 12.

As that Indian Express report mentions, but for an undercover police investigation, Fr Robin would’ve never been apprehended because he was all set to flee to Canada. More fundamentally, the investigation was itself put in motion thanks to an anonymous letter received by a child helpline in Kerala.

 

Indeed, the Catholic Church in Kerala seems to have set a record of sorts for pervasive sexual abuse of nuns as well as paedophilia.

Consider these:

—The bestselling autobiography Amen by Sister Jesme
(see pages 21 and 25 of 01) reveals the widespread sexual abuse of nuns by the priests.

—The excommunicated and defrocked former priest, Shibhu Kalamparampil in his autobiography, Oru Vaidikante Hrudayamitha (Here is the Heart of a Priest), likens nunneries to brothels as we shall see.

—A rector of a Catholic seminary in Kannur was arrested by the Iritty police in 2016 for sexually assaulting a 21-year-old seminarian.

—In January 2017, a 65-year-old priest was arrested for abusing an 11-year old boy in the dormitory of the school of which he was Principal.

—In December 2016, Fr. Edwin Figarez
(see pages 13-15 and 34 of 01) was sentenced to double life imprisonment under the POCSO Act for raping an underage girl multiple times in his capacity as the priest of a local church.

—In August 2016, a Catholic priest and four clergymen were arrested for raping and murdering a college student in the Palakkad district.

—In 1992, Sister Abhaya‘s dead body was found in the well of a convent and subsequent investigations revealed that she had chanced upon Fr. Puthrakkayil, Fr. Kottoor, and Sister Seffi engaged in a three-way sexual activity, which led to her murder.

—In 2015, Sister Anita
(see page 21) who publicly protested against sexual harassment by a priest was hounded out of the Church, and after much determined fighting, was eventually given twelve lakh rupees in an out-of-court settlement and defrocked.

 

It goes without saying that these are merely the cases that were reported or somehow came to public attention and that the number of the unreported ones is far greater.

But what’s worse than the actual crime is the cover up which happens inevitably, and almost immediately in each such case. Indeed, the constant refrain is about the Church pressure on the victims to stay silent and the motions initiated to protect the perpetrators. Apparently, it appears that the higher in the Church hierarchy the perpetrator is the greater is the protection he enjoys. This phenomenon reveals three key elements:

The first is the swiftness on the part of the Church to protect the perpetrator, which stems from its ever-vigilant attempt to preserve the global Catholic Church apparatus intact.

The second is the vise-like hold that it maintains over the flock of its faithful who although aggrieved, have practically no redressal.

The third is its ability to influence and manipulate the state and the legal system in its favour.

 

Indeed, it’s not inaccurate to say that perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the global Catholic Church has been the manner in which it has continued to emerge almost unscathed over the centuries despite being tainted by innumerable sexual crimes. This feat is truly unparalleled in the history of mankind.

If that sounds harsh or farfetched, one only needs to read the comprehensive and damning expose by the “Spotlight” team at The Boston Globe of how for over three decades, numerous clergymen sexually exploited underage boys in the Roman Catholic Church in the Boston area. One of the victims of the notorious priest, Fr. Geoghan, was just four years old. The expose was later made into the award-winning and highly acclaimed movie, Spotlight.

 

 

First published as a series in 2002, the expose apart from generating massive public outrage against the Catholic Church, also eroded the “traditional deference to church.” Yet, the same pattern of cover-up was repeated in that case as is now occurring in Kerala as we shall see.

….as documents started flowing from the church in 2002 and more alleged victims came forward, it soon became clear that clergy abuse was…a systemic problem in the Boston Archdiocese, involving scores of priests and hundreds of victims across the metropolitan area.

For decades church leaders kept horrific tales of abuse out of the public eye through an elaborate culture of secrecy, deception, and intimidation. Victims who came forward with abuse claims were ignored or paid off, while accused priests were quietly transferred from parish to parish or sent for brief periods of psychological counseling… By the end of 2002, some 1,200 priests had been accused of abuse nationwide, according to a study by The New York Times.

 

This isn’t really different in what’s unfolding at present. The same Shibhu Kalamparampil has this to say:

I strongly believe that the family may have tried to hush up the rape after pressure was mounted on them from top echelons in the Church. A priest alone will not be able to cover up such a serious crime… Many believe this and never report incidents of sexual abuse to the authorities. This has been encouraging priests to continue with their immoral activities. The bishops turn a blind eye as it will affect the very survival of the Church…

Shibhu’s remark is consonant with the aforesaid note on preserving the global Catholic Church apparatus intact. It also resonates with the late Christopher Hitchens who waged a lifelong crusade against rampant sexual abuse in the Catholic Church “from Ireland to Germany to Australia to Belgium to the United States,” and scathingly remarked how the Roman Catholic Church holds it better for the cries of raped and violated children to be ignored, and for the excuses and alibis of their rapists and torturers indulged, and for a host of dirty and wilful untruths to be manufactured wholesale, and for the funds raised ostensibly for the poor to be paid out in hush money and shameful bribery, rather than that one tiny indignity or inconvenience be visited on the robed majesty of a man-made church or any limit set to its self-proclaimed right to be judge in its own cause.

 

Indeed, it’s a travesty of sorts that in the wake of each scandal emanating from the Catholic Church, the clergy authorities don’t think it fit to hand over their errant underlings to the law of the land but institute their own internal “inquiries,” a euphemism for “cover up.” In the case of Fr. Robin,

Curiously, the Mananthavady diocese had not taken any action against the priest (Fr. Robin Vadakkumchery) until the police registered the case against him. Mathew Perumattikunnel, vicar general of the diocese, claimed that the matter had come to their notice only after the police took the priest into custody. 

However, the Church activists take the claim with a pinch of salt since the victim had given birth to the child in the Church-run hospital… the priest had announced during the mass on Sunday that he was going on leave.

Ultimately, there’s a cruel irony in every such episode of child abuse emanating from the Catholic Church. Since the beginning, the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality, contraception, and abortion between consenting adults has remained absolute and unflinching—that they are sinful. Yet when a crime as depraved as paedophilia is committed by one of its own—a Man of God no less, far from regarding it even as a sin, it closes ranks and protects him.

 

 

45. Kerala Priest, Nuns, Accused Of Shielding Alleged Rapist, Surrender

http://www.ndtv.com/video/news/news/kerala-priest-nuns-accused-of-shielding-alleged-rapist-surrender-452106

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/kerala-priest-nuns-accused-of-shielding-alleged-rapist-surrender/45210
March 17, 2017

 

VIDEO 02:30

A Catholic priest and nuns accused of shielding a fellow priest who allegedly raped a teen last year, have surrendered to the police in Kerala’s Kottiyoor today. One of them is also the former chairman of Wayanad Child Welfare Committee (CWC). They have been charged with covering up the rape of a minor girl and protecting a fellow priest.

 

 

 

46. Kerala Christian group wants nuns to hear women’s confession

The Kerala Catholic Reformation Movement argues that women’s confessions before priests often lead to their exploitation and therefore, nuns should be allowed to hear their confession.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kerala-christian-group-wants-nuns-to-hear-women-s-confession/story-f2uTLvDjttzEDORhooKqaN.html

Thiruvananthapuram, March 20, 2017

A Christian group in Kerala has demanded that nuns should be allowed to perform the sacrament of confession for women and minor girls, in the wake of growing sexual crimes involving priests in the state.

They argue that women’s confessions before priests often lead to their exploitation and want the Catholic Church to shed what they called its “patriarchal attitude”.

The Kerala Catholic Reformation Movement, which claims to stand for reforms in the church, organised a sit-in protest on Sunday before the archbishop’s house in Kochi to put forward their demand. Members of the movement held placards and banners, saying women are afraid of performing confessions before priests.

Many believers, including women and girls, have welcomed the latest move.

“In Bible, there is no mention that the sacrament of confession should be done only by priests. We want nuns to perform this to check increasing crime involving priests,” Indulekha Joseph, a spokesperson of the movement, said.

She said her organisation is also planning a mass memorandum to Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church all over the world, in this regard.

A confession, also known as penance and reconciliation, is one of the 7 sacraments of the Catholic Church, in which followers seek absolution for sins committed by them and are absolved by a priest.

“There are many instances that during confession the priest concerned asking the woman embarrassing questions. Some find an eternal pleasure in this. Since there are many experienced nuns around, the task should be entrusted to them,” Sister Jesme, who discarded her robe in 2010 alleging sexual exploitation, said.

Her autobiography ‘Amen’ had triggered a controversy in the church and the community. Many like her believe that confession often gives the priest an opportunity to embarrass and exploit the woman concerned.

However, Kerala Catholic Bishop Council (KCBC) dismissed the latest demand as a mere publicity stunt.

You can’t generalise things citing an incident. The agitation is to get media attention and without understanding the core principles of the Bible,” a spokesperson for the council said.

Two weeks ago, the Mananthavady Diocese was forced to tender an apology after a senior priest allegedly raped a minor girl who later gave birth to a baby.

The victim’s father, belonging to an economically backward family, was promised Rs 10 lakh to own up the crime. But the prompt investigation by the police turned the tables on the priest. A maternity hospital and an orphanage controlled by the church are in the dock.

The accused Father Robin Vadakkumcherry, the vicar of St Sebastian church in Kottiyoor, was arrested while he was planning to slip out of the country.

Besides the priest, the police also arrested 5 nuns for covering up the incident.

Embarrassed by the incident, many favour a strict code of conduct for priest and nuns. Reformists blame insiders for the rot and they are planning to send a letter to the Vatican seeking stringent steps to rein in what they call “wayward priests”.

“Once a crime is committed, the first reaction is an attempt to cover it up. This emboldens others also to commit the same crime,” a spokesperson for the Catholic Laymen’s Association said lauding the latest demand.

 

 

47. Kerala: Priest booked on charges of sexually abusing boys

The accused was booked under Section 377 IPC and Sections of POCSO Act.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-priest-booked-on-charges-of-sexually-abusing-boys-4578235/

Thiruvananthapuram, March 21, 2017

Kollam police have booked a priest on charges of subjecting three minor boys to unnatural sex.
The boys were seminarians who were staying with the accused,
Fr Thomas Parackal, who is now absconding.

Parackal, 30, belonged to a France-based Catholic congregation but was working as a parish priest under Punalur diocese, the police said. A few seminarians, who were Class 12 students, were staying with the priest at a rented house at Kottathala in Kollam district. They had joined the congregation Society of St Eugene De Mazendo, but were pursuing higher secondary education in Kollam.

“The case was registered against the priest after a boy approached volunteers of Childline, a government-backed arm for children in distress. The priest allegedly abused the three boys last July when they were staying with him. Later, all three left the seminary. One of them developed behavioural changes and revealed the trauma to family members,” said a police officer.

The accused was booked under Section 377 IPC and Sections of POCSO Act. Punalur diocese spokesman Fr Johnson said the accused was hired to run a parish due to shortage of priests in the diocese. After the case was reported, the diocese has divested him of all duties.

Story also at http://www.ucanindia.in/news/kerala-priest-booked-on-charges-of-sexually-abusing-boys/34373/daily.

 

 

 

 

 

48. A Catholic priest from Kerala was arrested on Tuesday from Madurai in Tamil Nadu, after he managed to escape following charges of molesting a 14-year-old boy.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/catholic-priest-from-kerala-arrested-for-molesting-14-year-old-boy/story-tiy06Ep8evQcogtQeEPYfM.html

March 21, 2017

A Catholic priest from Kerala was arrested on Tuesday from Madurai in Tamil Nadu, after he managed to escape following charges of molesting a 14-year-old boy.

Catholic priest Thomas Parakulathil, 32, was arrested by Kerala Police on Tuesday morning from Madurai, after he ran away when police reached the church in Puthoor during Mass on Sunday, a top official involved in the case told IANS.

“He has now been brought to Kottarakara and the police are doing their job,” said the official.

 
 
 

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The arrest took place after the boy along with his parents hailing from Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram approached police in Poovar last week saying that he was molested by Parakulathil last year.

After the incident, the boy returned home and it was only after he revealed the reason why he did not want to go back to Kottarakara, that the parents decided to file the complaint.

Based on the complaint, Poovar police transferred the case to Puthoor police station near Kottarakara in Kollam district where the incident took place.

 

 

49. 25 years on, mystery still shrouds Sr. Abhaya’s death

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/25-years-on-mystery-still-shrouds-sr-abhayas-death/articleshow/57832464.cms

Kottayam, March 25, 2017


 

It will be 25 years on this Monday since Sister Abhaya
(see pages 21, 22 and 25 of 01 and pages 5-8, 37 of the present file), a Knanaya Catholic nun, was found dead in the well of St Pius X convent here under mysterious circumstances. CBI had arrested after 16 years on November 18, 2008, Fr. Thomas M Kottoor, Fr. Jose Poothrikkayil and Sister Sefi. The accused had been behind bars for 49 days. Though the CBI filed the charge sheet in the CBI court on July 17, 2009, the case is still pending trial. The charge sheet makes it clear that the two men had trespassed into the convent and indulged in immoral activities. Sr. Abhaya happened to see their acts, which lead to her murder.
Even after eight years of the CBI filing a charge sheet against the three, the trial is yet to begin in the case in the special CBI court in Thiruvananthapuram. Mystery deepened when V. V. Augustine, former additional sub-inspector (ASI) who had carried out the inquest on the body of Sr. Abhaya 16 years ago, was found dead with his wrist cut in a compound near his house in November 2008.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” says human rights activist Jomon Puthenpurackal, who have been keeping alive the legal battle for the past 25 years. He said the special CBI court judges so far did not get enough time to begin trial in the case. “The judges were posted for a very short time in the court. They should be posted for at least the full duration of three years,” he said. The case will come before the new judge on May 20. Hopefully, the trial will be completed in his time,” said Puthenpurackal.

After Abhaya was found murdered on March 27, 1992, the local police investigated for 17 days followed by 9.5 months of investigation by crime branch of police. The case was closed after that. However, the case was reopened by the CBI on March 29, 1993. Following this, the CBI had filed in the court thrice that they are winding up the investigation as they cannot nab the accused. However, the court rejected this report on all three occasions and the Ernakulam chief judicial magistrate court had issued orders in 1997, 2000 and 2006 to continue the probe.

The major twist in the case came when a forensic test as directed by the court confirmed that the work book of the chemical examination of the vaginal swab and smear of Sr. Abhaya had been tampered with a purposeful intention of contradicting the original findings.

Puthenpurackal said that if the culprits were brought under the law and punished, it would have been a lesson to the clergy. He also said that the mounting cases of sexual abuse by priests could have been averted had the culprits in Abhaya case were punished. “The culprits were not ousted from the church and are occupying important positions also,” he said, adding that the church should be ashamed about this.

 

 

 

 

50. A Cancer in the Body – The Culture of Clericalism

The sexual abuse crises point to an even deeper malaise

http://www.indiancurrents.org/a-cancer-in-the-body-1504.php

By Fr. Myron J. Pereira SJ, INDIAN CURRENTS, 13-19 March 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 11.

 
 


 
 

For years, nay decades, when reflecting on the paedophile crises in the Church in the west, Indian Catholics would smugly tell themselves, “Oh, but that happens over there. Our traditions here are far better. Our priests are different.  They are holier, more dedicated…”  Such naiveté is touching, and only reveals how out of touch most are with Indian realities.

What is the prime Indian reality related to women and gender issues? It is that India still lives in a feudal age, dominated by patriarchal attitudes, which reveal themselves in aggressive behaviour towards all those considered “inferior” – and first among these are women of all ages, and children of both sexes.

This applies across the board to all groups and communities.

Sadly, it also applies to the Catholic clergy, even though they are by definition celibate, and therefore by tradition and custom, generally not seen as culpable in matters of sexual transgression.

But the facts challenge this general perception.

A recent report from news agency UCAN stated, At least five major incidents of child abuse involving priests have been reported in Kerala during the last two years. Only one among the accused in these cases has been convicted…and went on to name the accused in each instance. It also added, “It is unfortunate such cases are being reported frequently. If this is the situation, the Church will have to think of framing a protocol for priests and nuns who interact with children,” said the spokesperson of the local bishops’ conference.

Most celibate priests are not sexual predators, whether of children, adolescents or women. Most of them are good men, and dedicated to their calling.
But almost all of them, especially those in the higher ranks of the Church, are complicit in ‘covering up’ and ‘rationalizing away’ – any threat to the clerical system of which they are part, be this sexual crime, financial theft or the manipulation of the system to one’s own private benefit. Simply put, rarely will anyone speak out and ‘rock the boat’. They have been trained to conform, not to confront.

This is what clericalism is, the belief that the Church exists solely for the benefit of a small but powerful oligarchy: the clergy and the hierarchy. Entrance into this coterie is through the rite of priesthood and vow of celibacy. And over the centuries the clergy has become a privileged caste, protective of its own, defensive against outsiders. As one Australian bishop described it, “The marginalization of women and the laity is part of this culture of clericalism that contributes not insignificantly to the abuse, sexual abuse crisis.”

The culture of celibacy is corrupt, not because it makes priests sexual predators. It is corrupt because it is a culture of criminal complicity, of collusion and of cowardice.

As the perpetrators of sexual crimes and financial embezzlement belong to a closed and exclusive culture, with its own archaic laws and hidden legal proceedings, they remain virtually untouchable.
Moreover they enjoy enormous deference from law enforcement and the courts, as well as from ordinary Catholics, many of whom will never accept “washing Father’s dirty linen in public”.

It is clericalism then that reveals the Church for what it is – an obstacle to unity, and to dialogue with the other Churches, with other faiths, and with the modern world. It is clericalism which locks the Church in a time warp of its own making, which has created a self-righteousness quick to judge and condemn, slow to show mercy.

Is there then no solution?  There is, and it lies in transparency and accountability. But these are not values learned from within the church structure but from without.

A hierarchical model sees change coming from above, from popes and bishops. And what it sees, it can control.  A democratic model sees change coming from below – from the subalterns, from the peripheries, from the outcastes. From women. It is open-ended, diverse, pluriform and confusing. All that we’ve been taught to suspect.

Harvey Cox once predicted, “Women will re-make the Church.” About time too. Now we can better understand the resistance.

 

 

51. POCSO and Our Bishops

The day may not be very far when the laity may not even get scandalized.

http://www.indiancurrents.org/pocso-and-our-bishops-1516.php

By Fr. Subhash Anand, INDIAN CURRENTS, 20-26 March 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 12.

 

 

 

 

Recently a priest (Father Robin Vadakkancherry, 03) was arrested by the police on the charge of raping a minor. The Hindu even reports that the priest “has confessed to the crime” (Delhi Ed., 1 March 2017, p. 5). Another report maintains that the parents kept the situation secret, and some activist alerted the police. The victim gave birth to a child some weeks ago. When the police questioned the victim’s father, he said that he himself was the father of his daughter’s child, “to protect priest and church” (The Indian Express, Jaipur Ed., 11 March 2017, p. 4). If these reports are true, they raise some very disturbing questions: How and why did the parents not alert the police? Were they intimated? Were they bought? How could they keep their unmarried, school-going daughter’s pregnancy a secret? Were the bishop and his team totally in the dark about what that priest is reported to have done? Were the persons responsible for her safe delivery not bound to get her age and marital status checked? Were they not bound to alert the police knowing that she was a minor? If these persons had an obligation, and if they still remained silent, where they also intimidated or bought? Was this school-going girl the only victim of that priest, or has he ruined the innocence of others also? If so, were they or their parents also bought or intimidated? From where did the priest accused of the rape get all the money he invested to keep his crime hidden, and also for the delivery of his child for which alone he paid Rs. 30000? MORE  THAN  ONE  PERSON  SEEMS  TO  BE  INVOLVED  IN  THE  RAPE  OF  THAT  MINOR. We all must thank God that the priest did not force the mother to get his child aborted, and thus be guilty of rape and murder.

I presume our bishops have carefully studied POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, Act No. 32 of 2012). Two sections are especially relevant for us.

§19: Reporting of offences: (1) Any person  including the child who has apprehension that an offence under this Act is likely to be committed or has knowledge that such offence has been committed, shall provide information to  (a) the special juvenile police unit (b) the local police

§21: (1) Punishment for failure to report or record a case: Any person, who fails to report an offence under sub-section (1) of section 19 or section 20 or who fails to record such offence under sub-section (2) of section 19 shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extend to six months or with fine or with both.

§21: (2) Any person, being in-charge of any company or an institution who fails to report the commission of an offence under sub-section (1) of section 19 in respect of a subordinate under his control, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine.

If we really love Jesus and his community, then more important than the reputation of the Church are the values that Jesus cherishes. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mt 18.5-6). Yes, priests who abuse innocent people deserve to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Sometimes that will be the only way to stop them from committing further crimes.  In any case, right now the Church does not have much reputation to lose. More than once Pope Francis has pleaded: “Do not make the Church an NGO.” I am afraid the Church in India is very much an NGO: a Non-Godly Organization.

If we do not take up the issue very seriously, then we will have some more very embarrassing episodes. We even find priests who are guilty of rape procuring abortion. Soon we will have instances even of rape, followed by the murder of the victim to hide the crime. A few years back a priest engaged a killer to eliminate a person who confronted him on his sexual escapades. It seems to me that more and more we, priests and bishops, are less and less concerned with the community of Jesus. If at all we have some concern, it is about our institutions. Career, money, partying, X-Spam-Subject: YES glamour, alcohol and sex are becoming more and more important.  But then the day may not be very far when the laity may not even get scandalized. They will vote against the Church by their feet. They will just walk away. This has already started happening. It is time to wake up.

I have sufficient reasons to say that the above episode is only the tip of the iceberg. I know for certain instances of a priest sexually abusing minors. Instead of alerting the police as he was supposed to do, the bishop transferred that priest, thus exposing more innocent people to his lust. The bishop who follows this approach is acting in a very irresponsible way and is guilty of abetting sexual abuse of minors. Thus, he also is responsible for a priest’s sexual escapades. Similarly there are priests who collect a lot of money through questionable means. There are others who deal with religious women and the laity with clerical arrogance and anger. These continue in office for two reasons: the clerical claim that once a priest always a priest; were the bishops to suspend errant priests, there would not be enough left to run the diocese. As it is, the errant priests are ruining the diocese, and much more the Church.

I also believe that the bishops are primarily responsible for the sad situation we are facing. In 1969 and 1988 the bishops were urged to make some radical changes in the formation of their future priests. I was actively involved in both those meetings. The bishops just did not understand the problem and consequently turned down the proposal. They need numbers for two reasons: numbers indicate their “success”; priests provide cheap labour to keep the show going. Most of us priests and bishops are very particular about the rules and rubrics that govern our liturgy. Very recently the Latin Bishops even authorized a comprehensive Directives for the Celebration of the Liturgy. With due respect, I must say many of those rules and rubrics are concerned about trivialities. The people who made those rules and rubrics are making unnecessary fuss about unnecessary things. On the other hand, we are prepared to ignore rules that will help to prevent crime against minors (POCSO). We have a horribly distorted sense of priorities. If priests and bishop want that the laity accept Church rules and regulations, they must set a good example by accepting the rules of the state, more so since those rules are concerned with a very serious evil possibility.

 

 

 

In the world outside the CEOs of companies, wanting to be considered credible, are very careful in selecting their staff. If some staff is found to be seriously dishonest or incompetent, the CEO takes the responsibility and dismisses that person. If such failures happen again, he may even submit his resignation to the board of directors. I have given retreats to the priests of over fifty dioceses in India. I have also travelled a lot on different jobs. I have met many priests and bishops all over the country. I do not hesitate to say that many of our bishops are neither efficient managers nor effective pastors. If they really love the People of God more than they love themselves then it is time for them to resign. By continuing in office they are selling Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and betraying him with a kiss.

Subhash Anand is a liberal priest. See my comments, pages 50 ff. and the file

NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 15-DEMAND FOR ORDINATION OF WOMEN PRIESTS-FR SUBHASH ANAND AND OTHERS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/NEW_COMMUNITY_BIBLE_15-DEMAND_FOR_ORDINATION_OF_WOMEN_PRIESTS-FR_SUBHASH_ANAND_AND_OTHERS.doc

 

 

52. Seminary Rector Thomas murder Case: State Government moves SC

http://www.newskarnataka.com/bangalore/seminary-rector-thomas-murder-case-state-government-moves-sc

Bangalore, April 15, 2017

The state government has moved a petition in the Supreme Court, questioning the state High Court verdict dated August 30, 2016 for leaving out five accused in the St. Joseph’s Seminary Rector Fr. Thomas murder case (16, 23), including a woman. Saint Peter’s seminary too has filed an appeal in the apex court last month questioning HC decision dated August 30, 2016. The court has sought replies from the accused and the state police in the case before the case comes for hearing on May 17.

“The HC decision to leave out the 5 accused will have substantial influence over the case and the rest of the accused. Ultimately, the verdict of the state HC may deprive justice to the petitioners”, the state government has stated in its appeal. The government has provided scientific, technical and other supporting statements in its petition to the Apex Court.

It may be noted that the high court had said that the state police had taken more than 2 years to provide substantial additional evidence to the case which took place in 2013.

“Since police had to collect evidence from people abroad in the case, the delay is perhaps justified”, state government has mentioned in its appeal to the SC.

It may be recalled that 64-year-old Fr. Thomas, the then rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary was bludgeoned to death in its precincts on the night of April 1, 2013. His hard line stance which led to isolating Kannada Catholics led to his murder, it was suspected. Later, many including few diocesan priests were arrested in connection with the case. Among the accused, 5 were let off by the HC in its order dated August 30, 2016. Fr. C. Selvaraj (known as Chasara), a Kannadiga priest, an accused in the case who led a group of Kannada Catholics had died of illness on March 16, 2016.

 

 

53. Indian Catholics frustrated over clergy sex abuse cases (See page 50 for my detailed comments on some of the below-named who are fighting for the rights of women who are sexually abused by priests)

https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/indian-catholics-frustrated-over-clergy-sex-abuse-cases

By Jose Kavi, New Delhi, May 1, 2017

A rash of recent alleged sex abuse cases involving Catholic priests in Southern India have left Christians distraught and frustrated over the local church’s lack of response. More than 100 theologians, women religious, priests and feminists have written to India’s bishops to demand they react quickly in accordance with the pope’s call to end such transgressions.

“We are trying every way to get the bishops to act. We thought this is a good opportunity,” says Virginia Saldanha, a theologian who was part of the team that drafted the March 22 letter to the bishops.

Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, another theologian who coordinated the letter’s drafting, says the Feb. 28 arrest of a Catholic priest who allegedly raped and impregnated a young teenage girl in his parish in Kerala state spurred them to go to church authorities.

Police apprehended Fr. Robin Vadakkumcherry, 48, of the Mananthavady Diocese while he was trying to flee the country after the alleged crimes. Vadakkumcherry is now in jail awaiting trial, police said.

Fr. Thomas Therakam, another priest from the diocese, and five nuns were charged for allegedly helping Vadakkumcherry cover up the scandal. The six religious, along with a few alleged lay accomplices, went into hiding to evade arrest but later surrendered to authorities and are now out on bail.

The case outraged members of several Catholic religious and justice groups. They wrote to Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, saying they were “deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church.”

Cleemis told NCR (National Catholic Reporter) on April 22 that he had received the letter but was on a tour in the United States in April and had fallen ill on his return. He declined to comment on the contents of the letter but said he plans to present it to the Standing Committee of the conference when it meets May 2-5 in Bengaluru, Southern India. The cardinal said the bishops’ conference has no direct control over the bishops and deals only with general matters the Catholic jurisdictions in India have in common.

 

 

Gajiwala told NCR that she does not expect an individual response from church leaders. She said she hopes they at least will issue a statement to express concern over the issue and list the steps they will take to prevent such cases.

She added that Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who heads the Latin rite wing of the Indian church, has promised her that he, too, would raise the matter at the May meeting.

The letter outlines six areas of concern for the church, prompted by the Vadakkumcherry case:

—Eroded fiduciary trust between priests and parishioners who consider the priest as “another Christ”;

—Failure to comply with Indian criminal laws on abuse of minors and shielding the abusers;

—Need for a diocesan structure to follow up on clergy sexual abuse cases and to include women on the oversight committees that would conduct inquiries;

—The release of a bishops’ conference policy to prohibit, prevent and redress sexual abuse in the church;

—Greater care in selecting candidates for the priesthood, improved seminary training and ongoing clerical formation on questions of sexuality and celibacy;

—Examination of the relationship between clergy and women religious, and the possibility that sisters might cover up cases of abuse by priests.

The 122 individuals signing the letter include members of the Indian Women Theologians Forum, Satyashodhak (discernment), Streevani (women’s voice), the Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace, and the Conference of Religious India. More than half of the signers are Catholic nuns. Copies of the letter were sent to the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro; the heads of three ritual churches in India; and several bishops’ conference officials.

The letter expressed disappointment that “it took an outside agency to blow the whistle on the crimes that had occurred.” A child helpline agency notified police after receiving a tip about the case after the 16-year-old girl delivered her child in a church hospital on Feb. 7. Her baby boy was taken without her permission to an orphanage managed by nuns in Kannur district, police said.

Vadakkumcherry was the parish priest of St. Sebastian Church in Kottiyoor and manager of a school where the girl was an 11th grader. The priest had allegedly offered the girl’s family 1 million rupees ($15,600) to coerce her father to claim he impregnated her.

The church hesitates to expose its criminal priests because it fears its enemies would exploit the situation, the letter says, charging that the church’s clandestine management of sexual abuse cases causes more harm because “delayed corrective action festers the wound.”

A demand for bishops’ conference guidelines to tackle abuse cases
(see pages 25-29)
was raised a year ago by 75 members of the Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace, a progressive group. Their request to all bishops and major superiors to check priests abusing Catholic religious women has gone unanswered.

Saldanha says she has been involved in the issue since the first clergy abuse complaint came to her in 2010. “Since then, we formed a group to try and get the church to deal with this issue in-house, but in a just manner, especially doing justice to victims.”

The group drew up guidelines for how priests should deal with women, drafted a policy based on government laws, and in 2013 presented the documents to the bishops’ conference through the bishops’ Commission for Women.

“We were promised action,” Saldanha said. “But we are still waiting for these documents to be made public.”

Conference officials said they had passed guidelines
to address clergy abuse cases at their biannual meeting last September and would release them publicly after fine-tuning them. The guidelines have not yet been made public.

The bishops’ silence has irked some Catholics. “We don’t need any wishy-washy guidelines from bishops for such heinous acts. As citizens, it is our incumbent duty to report a crime and not aid or abet it,” said Chhotebhai, a former president of the All India Catholic Union who goes by a name meaning “little brother.”

He says the church tends to hide in fear from abuse cases in hopes the controversy will somehow be resolved. “The church must be humble enough to admit error or wrongdoing in its ranks,” the lay leader said. “Otherwise today’s injury will become tomorrow’s septic wound that would necessitate amputation.”

Gajiwala wants the final policy from the bishops to focus on justice for the victim, rather than safeguarding the reputation of the church or the priest.

Saldanha, who was secretary of the bishops’ Commission for Women and the office of the
Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, said bishops fear a “tsunami of complaints” if the guidelines are made public.

The Indian church has faced a plethora of clergy abuse cases in the past year. Fr. Thomas Parackal

On March 21, police arrested Fr. Thomas Parackal
(see page 40), rector of a seminary in Kerala’s Punalur Diocese, on charges of sodomizing three seminarians who were minor boys. On Dec. 9, 2016, a court in Ernakulam, Kerala, gave a priest a double life term for raping a minor girl.

To add to the church’s shame, Outlook, a New Delhi-based weekly English newsmagazine, carried a cover story titled “Priestly Predators.” (See image on page
3)
The Jan. 30 article cites several clergy abuse cases over the years and remarks that Francis “atoned for the sins of his clergy. But the Indian Church showed no signs of remorse for pastors’ sexual crimes.”

The sexual abuse cases have severely shaken ordinary Catholics, especially in Kerala. E.M. Baby, a parishioner of Kottiyoor, says that their priest’s “double life” has shocked them. He says Vadakkumcherry wore the mask of a strict moral disciplinarian in the parish. The priest’s arrest took place as the Oriental Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, began their Lenten period of prayer and fast.

 

 

 

“Very few people, especially women, went for the annual confession during Holy Week this year. People have lost faith in going to a priest,” he added.

N.K. Thomas, a college professor and a Catholic in the Palai Diocese, says priests and their waywardness have become the topic of discussion in his parish. “The problem the church faces today is not want of a priest but unwanted priests,” he said.

Young people join seminaries seeking the comfortable life of their priests, he added. “Our priests have lost the service mentality as they get entangled in the worldly way of life.”

Fr. Babu Kalathil of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, which is the seat of Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, says the people of Kerala, where Christianity was introduced 2,000 years ago, used to hold priests and nuns in high esteem. “That image has taken a severe beating,” Kalathil told NCR.

Jesuit theologian Fr. T.K. John, who signed the letter to the bishops, says the scandals have already sullied the Indian church’s face, dimmed its moral and spiritual credibility and reduced its witnessing power and opportunity. The cases have brought upon all a corporate feeling of guilt, says the priest, who has taught seminarians for more than four decades.

John and Chhotebhai want the church to pay more attention to priestly formation. The Jesuit priest wants candidates for the priesthood to learn in a free atmosphere the demands of celibate life and get guidance from competent persons to make free decisions.

“Confront as unhealthy the uncalled for secrecy and touch-it-not attitude,” John told NCR. “Maturity calls for acknowledging every form of urge as normal, like hunger, thirst, etc., and deal with them openly.”

Chhotebhai warns that the church should not recruit immature teenagers to become priests. He also finds fault with the laity’s subservient behavior. “Like a thoroughly domesticated dog, they are so loyal to their masters that they can see no wrong in them; and if there is, they choose to turn a blind eye,” he says.

Kochurani Abraham, a leading woman theologian in Kerala, says the Vadakkumcherry case has created “palpable fear” among people because they can no longer trust the church as a safe and holy place. She is disappointed that some church spokespersons have tried to dismiss the controversies as media hype meant to tarnish the church.

Abraham hopes the church will learn from the scandals, urging it to shed its “pretensions to be a ‘heavenly’ institution and become one with the suffering humanity, as Jesus did through his life, passion and death.”

Jose Kavi is the editor-in-chief of Matters India, a news portal focusing on religious and social issues in India. This article is part of a collaboration between Global Sisters Report and Matters India.

 

Letter to India Bishops 03 22 17

https://www.scribd.com/document/346927578/Letter-to-India-Bishops-03-22-17#from_embed

March 22, 2017

To: Baselios Cardinal Cleemis,

President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI),

Major Archbishop of Trivandrum,

Archbishop’s House, Pattom,

Trivandrum – 695 004, Kerala.

Subject: Concern about sexual abuse in the Church

 

Dear Cardinal Cleemis,

We, the members of the Indian Women Theologians Forum (IWTF), Satyashodhak, Streevani, Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace (FORUM), Conference of Religious India (CRI) Women’s Section, and other individuals who are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church write in the context of the recent scandal involving the parish priest in Kerala who sexually abused a minor girl leading to her pregnancy.

 

1. Need to recognise issues specific to the ecclesial context

The episode highlights an issue that is unique to the ecclesial context, one which women have been struggling to bring to the attention of the bishops for the past 4 years, namely, that the violation of the fiduciary trust inherent in the priest-parishioner relationship has an additional dimension of damage, because we are taught to believe that the priest is ‘another Christ’. When such a man is a sexual offender, faith in the God he represents is shaken to the core. To the physical, mental and psychology trauma is added spiritual trauma. Not just the victim, but the entire family, the faith community and all those involved in the fight for justice are affected, and all need spiritual healing.

 

2. Need to respect and comply with State laws

Thankfully the State has laws that recognise sexual abuse for what it is, a crime that must be penalised. Similarly, the law regarding the abuse of minors is very clear, and shielding an abuser is now also punishable by the law. Unfortunately in the present instance the Church seems to have failed on both these counts. It took an outside agency to blow the whistle on the crimes that had occurred.

One of the purported reasons why the Church is reluctant to expose its criminal priests is the fear that such admissions will be exploited politically by vested interests. It is our contention that when the clandestine management of these cases comes to light it does far more harm, for delayed corrective action festers the wound. If on the other hand the laws of the land are followed it will give the signal that the Church leadership is composed of law abiding citizens, and that the Church as an institution supports justice for the victim.

 

 

3. Need for structures to address sexual abuse when it occurs in the Church

The current case will be tried in a court of law, and sadly by the media, but we all know that it is not the first case and will not be the last. To prevent repeat bungling and criminal activity, not to speak of untold damage to the reputation of the Church and the faith of its people, what we need urgently are structures in each diocese to handle these cases as soon as they occur. The government has already laid down the law for forming Internal Committees in the workplace, to receive and deal with cases of sexual harassment of women in organizations that have more than 10 employees. These committees are required to have women as chairpersons and at least 50% women members including a woman from outside the organization, working with women’s issues. The names of the Committee members as well as the objectives of the Committee are required to be displayed prominently in the organization so that employees are aware of whom they can approach. This also facilitates accountability of the employer.

The CBCI could insist on forming similar committees in every diocese with the mandate to conduct enquiries when sexual abuse happens, and the authority to make and implement recommendations.

 

4. Need for a Policy to prohibit, prevent and redress sexual abuse in the Church

What we also need urgently is a CBCI Policy to prohibit, prevent and address sexual abuse in the Church. A few of the women among the undersigned have been working with the CBCI Council for Women to bring out such a Policy for the past few years. It has met with many delays. We understand from Bishop Jacob mar Barnabas, the Chair of the Council, however, that the CBCI Standing Committee last year approved a Policy, and we are awaiting its release. It is our hope that such a Policy will not only demonstrate the bishops’ concern for vulnerable victims of abuse, but also restore the bishops’ credibility with regard to the zero tolerance of sexual violence to women that they have promised in their Gender Policy.

 

5. Need for greater attention to the choice of candidates for the priesthood and seminary formation

Since the instances of sexual abuse by clergy are being increasingly reported in the Indian Church, we think that greater care needs to be taken when choosing candidates for the priesthood and more attention given to seminary training and on-going clerical formation on questions relating to sexuality and celibate commitment. More importantly however, there must be conscientization with regard to patriarchal attitudes that promote condescension and even aggression towards those considered “inferior”, and clericalism that is perceived to place the ordained outside civil law, and permits lack of accountability and transparency. At its root, sexual abuse is ultimately not about sexuality or celibacy, but about the gross misuse of the disproportionate power assigned to priests. The improper handling of the case of a seminarian caught in

voyeurism in 2014, a case that was much discussed within church circles and was finally given an ethnic colour by the local authority in an attempt to protect the accused, points to the need for urgent measures to be taken in this regard.

 

6. Need to address issues pertaining to clergy-woman religious relationships

The Kottiyoor incident draws attention to another disturbing issue in the Church. We are deeply concerned that some women religious have been charge sheeted under POCSO for allegedly covering up the crime to protect the offending priest. It is a pointer to the many unresolved issues concerning the clergy-women religious relationship in the Indian Church, which need to be addressed and resolved in ways that safeguard the integrity and wellbeing of the Church.

We are happy to note that Pope Francis has taken serious cognisance of sexual abuse by clergy and repeatedly condemned it. Two years ago while speaking at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia to a gathering of hundreds of bishops from around the world, he pledged that “Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.” In June 2016 he laid out legal procedures to include negligence or omission in handling abuse allegations as one of the “grave reasons” that canon law allows for dismissal of a bishop.1 Once again, in a strongly worded letter to Bishops on 28 December. 2016, he exhorts them to renew their commitment to ensuring that these atrocities will no longer take place. In his words: ‘Let us find the courage needed to take all necessary measures and to protect in every way the lives of our children, so that such crimes may never be repeated. In this area, let us adhere, clearly and faithfully, to “zero tolerance.”‘2

Our letter is written in the same spirit, to express concern for hurting victims of sexual abuse in the Church, and to suggest measures to prevent such abuse, and when it does occur, to address it in accordance with existing laws and with sensitivity to victims, so that our Church remains a visible sign of justice, compassion and healing.

We remain sincerely in Christ, who stands as a Champion of abused and exploited women, and St. Joseph, whose feast we celebrated this month, who protected his young wife from the violence of patriarchal power.

 

Yours sincerely,

—Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala (Mumbai) – Co-ordinator, Indian Women Theologians Forum (IWTF) & Satyashodhak, asklobog@gmail.com

—Advocate Julie George (Pune) – Director, Streevani, streevani@gmail.com

—Jacob Peenikaparambil CMI (Indore) National Convener, Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace (FORUM) jacobpt48@gmail.com, forumofreligious@gmail.com

—Manju Kulapuram SCSC (Hyderabad) National Secretary, Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace (FORUM) manjukulapuram@yahoo.com

—Rita Pinto RSCJ, Vice President, National CRI, & President, Women’s Section, National CRI ritarscj@hotmail.com

 

 

 

Notes

1. https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/francis-gives-vatican-authority-initiate-removal-bishops-negligent-sexual-abuse
June 4, 2016

2.
Letter of the Holy Father to Bishops on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, 28 December, 2016.

 

Signatories:

1. Abraham Kurian IPS (Kerala) akurien333@gmail.com

2. Agnes Almeida DHM (Ahmedabad) agnesm14@gmail.com

3. Alice Erani SJC (Gadag) alicesjc@gmail.com

4. Dr. Aloma Lobo (Bangalore) alomalobo@gmail.com

5. Amala SND (Gumla) amalasnd@gmail.com

6. Ammini V.K. SJT (Bhopal) amminisjt@gmail.com

7. Anand Mathew IMS (Varanasi) anandinmiso@gmail.com

8. Ancy CJ (Bongaigaon) cjancy@gmail.com

9. Anna SJC (Jharkhand) annolickalsjc@gmail.com

10. Annie Jaise CMC (Wayanad) annie_jaisecmc@yahoo.com

11. Anto Joseph SJ (Patna) antothunda@hotmail.com

12. A. Puthumana SJ (Patna) abeputhumana@gmail.com

13. Abraham Kurian IPS (Kerala) akurien333@gmail.com

14. Advocate Audrey D’Mello majlislaw@gmail.com

15. Augustine P. SJ (Torangatti) augustinesj@gmail.com

16. A.X.J. Bosco SJ (Secunderabad) boscofr@gmail.com

17. Benjamin HM (Sundargarh) bnjmnhm@rediffmail.com

18. Brinelle Dsouza (Mumbai) brinelledsouza@tiss.edu

19. Prof. Caesar D’Mello (Mumbai) fr.caesar1945@gmail.com

20. Cedric Prakash SJ cedricprakash@gmail.com

21. Celia UMI (Chitradurga) celiaumi@gmail.com

22. Celine Paramundayil MMS (New York) celinemms8@gmail.com

23. Clara CSJ (Itarsi) claraitarsi@gmail.com

24. Clara Alappatt HCM (Bangalore) clarajv54@gmail.com

25. Cyprian Fernandez (Kerala) cyprianfernandez@gmail.com

26. Devassy M.K. SG (Guwahati) devassysg@gmail.com

27. Dorothy Fernandes PBVM (Patna) dorothypbvm@gmail.com

28. Elsa Muttathu PBVM (Chennai) elsapbvm@gmail.com

29. Prof. Errol D’Lima SJ (Mumbai) erroldlima@gmail.com

30. Prof. Evelyn Monteiro srevelynm@gmail.com

31. Prof. Felix Wilfred felixwilfred@gmail.com

32. Advocate Flavia Agnes flaviaagnes@gmail.com

33. Francoise Bosteels SDS francoisebosteels@gmail.com

34. Dr. George Pattery SJ (Delhi) gpattery@gmail.com

35. Gracy Sunder OLP srgracy@gmail.com

36. Hazel D’Lima DHM (Mumbai) dlima.hazel@gmail.com

37. Helen Saldanha SSpS, former Secretary, CBCI Women’s Commission helen.saldanha@gmail.com

38. Jacinta D’Souza DHM jacinta99@gmail.com

39. Jacob SG (Ranchi) jacobpanjikaransg@gmail.com

40. Prof. Jacob Parappally MSFS parappally@gmail.com

41. Jeanne Devos ICM (Mumbai) jeannedevos333@gmail.com

42. Joe Mathew SJ jomathewsj@gmail.com

43. Joel Urumpil SCN (Chatra) srjoelscn@gmail.com

44. Dr. John Dayal (Delhi) john.dayal@gmail.com

45. Prof. John T. K. SJ tkjohnsj@gmail.com

46. Josantony Joseph (Mumbai) josantonyjoseph@gmail.com

47. Jose D. Maliekal SDB, (Vishakapatnam) jose.maleikal@gmail.com

48. Joseph C.M (Bangalore) cmjosephsg@gmail.com

49. Jose Kavi (Delhi) kaviyil@gmail.com

50. Prof. Joseph M.T. SVD (Mumbai) mtjosephsvd@gmail.com

51. Dr. Joseph Neetilal IMS (Neeti Bhai), (Varanasi) neetibhai9@gmail.com

52. Judy Siqueira (Pune) siqueira.judy@gmail.com

53. Justine Gitanjali Senapati SJA (New York) msgitanjali.justine@gmail.com

54. Jyothi Fernandes (Karnataka) jyothiferna@gmail.com

55. Jyoti SMMI (Chhapra) smmi.jyoti@gmail.com

56. Kiran CJ (Buxar) kiranmuthucj@gmail.com

 

 

57. Dr. Kochurani Abraham (Kerala) kochuabraham@gmail.com

58. Prof. Kuncheria Pathil CMI kuncheriap@gmail.com

59. Kurien Kunnumpuram SJ (Kerala) kuriensj@gmail.com

60. Latika SJB (Kannur) latika_sjb@rediffmail.com

61. Lilly Joseph DHM (Cuddalore) lillyjoseph56@gmail.com

62. Dr. Lissy Joseph SCCG (Hyderabad) lissy9j@yahoo.com

63. Marcia D’Cunha (Mumbai) dmarcia20@gmail.com

64. Dr. Margaret Devadoss FMA djmagifma@yahoo.co.in

65. Dr. Margaret Gonsalves (Vasai) mgonsal@gmail.com

66. Mary James MCJ (Ahmadabad) maryjamesmcj@yahoo.co.in

67. Marianne Puthoor SCN (Gumla) mjaanscn@gmail.com

68. Dr. Matthew Coutinho SDB (Jerusalem) coutmatt@gmail.com

69. Mathew Pannathanath SG (Bangalore) mathpan@gmail.com

70. Meera RGS (Bangalore) ethammac@gmail.com

71. Mercy ICM (Trichy) mercytvpm@rediffmail.com

72. Mercy Francis MMS (Patna) mmsmercy@gmail.com

73. Dr. Metti Amirtham, SCC (Trichy) mettiamir@gmail.com

74. Muriel Rego (Mumbai) arielrego4@gmail.com

75. Fr. Myron Pereira SJ (Mumbai) pereira.myron@yahoo.in

76. Nancy Vaz FDCC (Mumbai) navazfdcc@gmail.com

77. Nicholas Barla SVD (Sundargarh) nickybarla@gmail.com

78. Prof. Noel Sheth, S.J. (Mumbai) nsheth43@gmail.com

79. Noella de Souza MCJ (Mumbai) noelladesouza@gmail.com

80. Olga Netto (Mumbai) ndsolnet@gmail.com

81. Dr. Pauline Chakkalakal, DSP (Mumbai) paulinedsp13@gmail.com

82. Philip Manthara SJ (Patna) – mobile: 9430510537

83. Philo Thomas RA (Pune) philovthomas@gmail.com

84. Philomena D’Souza FMA (Mumbai) philudsouza@gmail.com

85. Poonam CJ (Buxar) cjpoonam@gmail.com

86. Prabha SND (Bihar) Prabhasnd@gmail.com

87. Prashant Olalekar SJ (Mumbai) olalekar@gmail.com

88. Ralph Fernandes (Mumbai) ralph.ralryan@gmail.com

89. Ramila DHM (Bareilly) rdodia_77@rediffmail.com

90. Ranjini SCSC (Darjeeling) ranjini_seb@yahoo.co.in

91. Raynah Braganza Passanha (Pune) raynahbraganzapassanha@gmail.com

92. Reethamma CCV (Delhi) reethaccv@yahoo.co.in

93. Prof. Rekha Chennattu RA rekhara@gmail.com

94. Roselyn Karakattu SCN roselynscn@gmail.com

95. Rosina SSpS (Madhya Pradesh) rosinassps@yahoo.com

96. Roy Lazar A. roylazar@hotmail.com

97. Rudi Heredia SJ (Delhi) rudiheredia@gmail.com

98. Sabina Pathrose RGS (Nagpur) sabinargs@hotmail.com

99. Sadhana SRA (Balia) sadhanasra@gmail.com

100. Sebastian Kizhakkekutt (Pala) sebastian.bodhi@gmail.com

101. Prof. Shalini Mulackal PBVM (Delhi), President, Indian Theological Association (ITA) smulackal@gmail.com

102. Shanti Picardo FC (Siliguri) picardo.shanti@rediffmail.com

103. Shanti Fernandes RSCJ (Malwan) shantirscj@gmail.com

104. Sherly K MMS (Kerala) sherlymms21@yahoo.com

105. Sophie RSCJ (Patna) sophierscj57@gmail.com

106. Subhash Anand (Udaipur) 43subhash@gmail.com

107. Sujita Kallupura SND (Patna) smsujitasnd@gmail.com

108. Suren Abreu (Mumbai) suren.abreu@gmail.com

109. Sunita CJ (Meja) littytt@gmail.com

110. Teresa Dorjee SCSC (Patna) teresadorjee@gmail.com

111. Tessy Paul MSI (Nalgonda) sr.tessypaul@gmail.com

112. Theramma MMS (Changanassery) theramma@gmail.com

113. Thresiamma Mathew OMMI thresiamma.ommi@gmail.com

114. Advocate Tresa Paul SCSC (New Delhi) tresapaulhc@gmail.com

115. Urmila ICM (Patna) urmilaicm@rediffmail.com

116. Valsa MMS (Teni) valsa.mms@gmail.com

117. Valerie Siqueira (Pune) val_siy@yahoo.com

118. Prof. Varghese Manimala OFM Cap (Kottayam) varghesemanimala46@gmail.com

 

 

119. Varghese Theckanath SG (MSI) msihyd2009@gmail.com

120. Veena SHM (Bhadohi) sr.veenachandra@gmail.com

121. Veena Jacob RA (Patna) srveenara@gmail.com

122. Virginia Saldanha (Mumbai) Former Secretary, CBCI Women’s Commission & FABC Laity Commission womynvs@gmail.com

 

Copies to:

1. Giambattista Diquattro, Apostolic Nuncio to India.

2. Oswald Cardinal Gracias, President, Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI).

3. George Cardinal Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly.

4. Telesphore Cardinal P. Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi.

5. Bishop Andrews Thazhath, CBCI Vice-President-I.

6. Bishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, CBCI Vice-President-II.

7. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, CBCI Secretary General.

8. Bishop George Antonysamy, CCBI Vice President.

9. Bishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto, CCBI Secretary General.

10. Bishop Jacob mar Barnabas, Chairperson, CBCI Council for Women.

11. Talisha Nadukudiyil SD, Secretary, CBCI Council for Women

 

I wrote something like this in my immediately following report
03 ( see pages 19, 20 of 03):It is a matter of great concern to conservative/orthodox/traditional Catholics that the only persons who are taking up and fighting these cases with the Church authorities are liberal nuns, liberal theologians and their forums. Their liberal (excuse the thrice-repeated word) agenda of militating for justice and redressal uses innocent terminology like women’s “rights”, women’s “emancipation”, “gender equality”, “the impact of patriarchy on women in the Church”, etc. but among their ultimate objectives are the use of inclusive language in the Holy Mass, the abolition of priestly celibacy, and the ordination of women as priests.

It is only these “progressives” (see pages 26, 27 and 45) and champions of heterodoxy that take on the issue of the sexploitation of women in the Catholic Church in India. The Church generally ignores these forums.

127 individuals have signed (pages 47-50) the March 22 letter to Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, President of the CBCI. A couple of them (Virginia Saldanha, Astrid
Lobo-Gajiwala, pages 8-10, 44-46) are lay women “theologians”. These women, supported by certain Bishops, were encouraged to attend theology classes at the St. Pius X Seminary in Mumbai, and by virtue of that, are now acclaimed as “theologians” and preach to Bishops at their conferences! They were given plum postings in the Archdiocese of Bombay.

The details of their organizations and activities are chronicled in the files listed on the following page.

Virginia Saldanha: “At that time I was Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India’s Commission for Women as well as the Executive Secretary of the Women’s Desk in the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences Office of Laity & Family.” (Page 9)

Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, a non-practicing syncretised Catholic, is on the editorial board of the Bombay Archdiocesan weekly, The Examiner.

More than half of the signers are Catholic nuns” (see page 45). Saldanha’s and Gajiwala’s heterodox writings are published frequently in The Examiner along with those of their feminist associates.

Other individuals and organizations named (pages 8-10, 11, 25-28, 42, 44-46) such as Provincial Fr. George Pattery SJ, Montfort Brother Mani Mekkunnel SG, the Conference of Religious India (CRI), UCAN (a leading Catholic news agency), Allwyn Fernandes, Sr. Manju Kulapuram SCSC, Sr. Rita Pinto RSCJ, the Conference of Religious India (CRI)Sr. Shalini Mulackal PBVM, Chhotebhai Noronha, Fr. T.K. John, Sr. Kochurani Abraham, Fr. Myron Pereira SJ, Fr. Subhash Anand, and signatories like Bro.
Varghese Theckanath SG
, Fr. Suren Abreu, Sr. Rekha Chennattu RA, Fr. Noel Sheth SJ, Sr. Metti Amirtham
SCC, Sr. Margaret Gonsalves, Sr. Pauline Chakkalakal DSP, Sr. Rekha Chennattu RA, Fr. Kurien Kunnumpuram SJ, Fr Jacob Parappally MSFS, Fr. Felix Wilfred, Fr. Errol D’Lima SJ, Sr. Evelyn Monteiro, Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ, Fr. Anand Mathew IMS, to selectively name a few, are liberals and feminists, some very radical indeed. Almost all of the named appear in my critical reports including the ones on the heretical 2008 St. Pauls New Community Bible that was finally withdrawn, and at least one, Fr. Prashant Olalekar SJ, is into propagating New Age.

I’m fairly certain that if I invest time in a Google search, I will uncover unfavourable stuff on most of the other signatories. Don’t birds of a feather flock together?

Note that none of them use the prefix “Fr.” or “Sr.” to their names and prefer “Advocate” or “Dr.” or “Prof.”… or nothing. They are simply not consecrated Catholic priests and religious first! They are… professionals.

The Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace describes itself as a “progressive group” (page 45); so does the Indian Women Theologians Forum
(page 28). From my study and research over the years I can say the same for “several Catholic religious and justice groups” (page 44), Satyashodhak
, Streevani (Women’s Voice), and even the “prestigious”
Conference of Religious India.

Read a UCAN respondent’s astute analysis of Saldanha‘s womynvs@gmail.com
email id on page 10.

 

 

 

That one of their not-too-well-hidden agendas is women priests is seen in the following files:

VIRGINIA SALDANHA-ECCLESIA OF WOMEN IN ASIA AND CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE-FEMINIST THEOLOGY AND THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN PRIESTS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VIRGINIA_SALDANHA-ECCLESIA_OF_WOMEN_IN_ASIA_AND_CATHERINE_OF_SIENA_VIRTUAL_COLLEGE-FEMINIST_THEOLOGY_AND_THE_ORDINATION_OF_WOMEN_PRIESTS.doc

VIRGINIA SALDANHA-WOMENPRIESTS INFILTRATES THE INDIAN CHURCH-CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VIRGINIA_SALDANHA-WOMENPRIESTS_INFILTRATES_THE_INDIAN_CHURCH-CATHERINE_OF_SIENA_VIRTUAL_COLLEGE.doc

WHAT’S VIRGINIA SALDANHA DOING WITH “NUNS ON THE BUS”?

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/WHATS_VIRGINIA_SALDANHA_DOING_WITH_NUNS_ON_THE_BUS.doc

UCAN CONFIRMS IT FAVOURS WOMEN PRIESTS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/UCAN_CONFIRMS_IT_FAVOURS_WOMEN_PRIESTS.doc

UCAN CONFIRMS IT FAVOURS WOMEN PRIESTS-02

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/UCAN_CONFIRMS_IT_FAVOURS_WOMEN_PRIESTS-02.doc

UCAN CONFIRMS IT FAVOURS WOMEN PRIESTS-03

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/UCAN_CONFIRMS_IT_FAVOURS_WOMEN_PRIESTS-03.doc

WOMEN PRIESTS-THE NCR-UCAN-EWA NEXUS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/WOMEN_PRIESTS-THE_NCR-UCAN-EWA_NEXUS.doc

NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 15-DEMAND FOR ORDINATION OF WOMEN PRIESTS-FR SUBHASH ANAND AND OTHERS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/NEW_COMMUNITY_BIBLE_15-DEMAND_FOR_ORDINATION_OF_WOMEN_PRIESTS-FR_SUBHASH_ANAND_AND_OTHERS.doc

 

 

As we proceed to the partial disclosures in the case of Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC following shortly in the report numbered 04, let us first refresh our minds with the contents of pages 1 and 2 of the present file, and find some similarities between our analyses and portions of some of the 53 news stories sourced.

 

1.
Page 11: In 2010, “Provincial-General of Vincentian Congregation Fr Paul Puthuva said he would comment after reading the book” written by ex-Vincentian priest K P Shibu Kalamparambil on the sexual abuses rampant in the seminary and in the Church at large, thus evading committing himself by speaking.

Fr. Paul Puthuva VC
is the very same Provincial who we contacted in the Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC case and who stonewalled our efforts to get the sexual molestations investigated in the presence of the molester.

 

2.
Page 26: “The prelate merely sent him (the peeping tom seminarian Pradeep John Ekka)

to Rome“.

Exactly the same was done with Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC. He was sent by Fr. Paul Puthuva to Rome.

 

3.
Page 26: “The bishops’ conference did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this story“.

The Cardinals, the bishops’ Conferences and their Executive Commissions did not respond to our letters.

 

4.
Page 27: “She (Virginia Saldanha) says she came across several cases of abuse when she traveled India as the head of the bishops’ women’s commission. When she took up the matter with the provincials, they told her that they would deal with it in-house. “But I found that ‘in-house’ meant punishing the sister and taking no action against the abuser.

Can we expect the same to occur when the Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC story breaks?

 

5.
Page 28: “Bishops often pressure provincials to curb “errant” or “bold” nuns who dare to stand up for their rights … when

two young nuns were found impregnated by a priest who held a “high position” in another diocese. The order expelled the nuns, but everyone, including the nuns’ congregation, tried to protect the priest to safeguard the church’s name.

We telephonically contacted and corresponded with Fr. Paul Puthuva’s Syro-Malabar Archbishop Most Rev, Kuriakose Bharanikulangara of Faridabad and the ecclesiastical authority over the retreat centre of which Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC was the Director. The Archbishop terminated correspondence with us, and it appears that everyone is trying to “protect the priest to safeguard the church’s name“.

 

6.
Page 38: “
But what’s worse than the actual crime is the cover up which happens inevitably, and almost immediately in each such case. Indeed, the constant refrain is about the Church pressure on the victims to stay silent and the motions initiated to protect the perpetrators. Apparently, it appears that the higher in the Church hierarchy the perpetrator is the greater is the protection he enjoys. This phenomenon reveals three key elements:

 

 

 

The first is the swiftness on the part of the Church to protect the perpetrator, which stems from its ever-vigilant attempt to preserve the global Catholic Church apparatus intact.

The second is the vise-like hold that it maintains over the flock of its faithful who although aggrieved, have practically no redressal.

The third is its ability to influence and manipulate the state and the legal system in its favour“.

We have experienced the first and the second.

Will we be subjected to, like others before us, the third, when we approach the law?

 

7.
Page 39: “Curiously, the Mananthavady diocese had not taken any action against the priest (Fr. Robin Vadakkumchery) until the police registered the case against him. Mathew Perumattikunnel, vicar general of the diocese, claimed that the matter had come to their notice only after the police took the priest into custody“.

Will we see a similar occurrence in the Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC matter?

 

8.
Page 42: “But almost all of them (priests), especially those in the higher ranks of the Church, are complicit in ‘covering up’ and ‘rationalizing away’ – any threat to the clerical system of which they are part, be this sexual crime, financial theft or the manipulation of the system to one’s own private benefit. Simply put, rarely will anyone speak out and ‘rock the boat’. They have been trained to conform, not to confront“.

That is what we too are to some extent experiencing in the Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC issue.

 

9.
Page 42: “As the perpetrators of sexual crimes and financial embezzlement belong to a closed and exclusive culture, with its own archaic laws and hidden legal proceedings, they remain virtually untouchable.

Moreover they enjoy enormous deference from law enforcement and the courts, as well as from ordinary Catholics, many of whom will never accept “washing Father’s dirty linen in public“.

Will we see a similar happening in the Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC problem?

 

10.
Page 44: “Cardinal Baselios Cleemis
told NCR (National Catholic Reporter) on April 22 that he had received the letter (of March 22, 2017 from Ms. Gajiwala and co., pages 46-50) but was on a tour in the United States in April and had fallen ill on his return. He declined to comment on the contents of the letter but said he plans to present it to the Standing Committee of the conference when it meets May 2-5 in Bengaluru, Southern India“.

Page 45: “Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who heads the Latin rite wing of the Indian church, has promised her (Gajiwala) that he, too, would raise the matter at the May meeting“.

We wrote to Cardinal Baselios Cleemis (CBCI) most ironically on April 22, the very afternoon of the day he answered the query from the NCR! He has not yet replied nearly 2 months later.

We wrote to Cardinal Oswald Gracias (CCBI) also on April 22 and again on June 8. He has not responded.

Both of them (and other episcopal recipients) had an excellent opportunity to present my letters concerning Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC to the Standing Committee of the Bishops’ Conference when it met May 2-5 in Bengaluru, since the smouldering fire of the clerical sexual abuse matter has been stoked by the “progressive groups” by their March 22 letter which preceded the bishops’ meet by about six weeks.

Did they? I doubt it. If they had, I would have heard from someone in authority by this time.

 

11.
Page 45: “
The letter (of March 22 from the 5+122 signatories) expressed disappointment that “it took an outside agency to blow the whistle on the crimes that had occurred.”

Are the Vincentian authorities and the oligarchy of the Indian Church prepared for that eventuality in the matter of the sickening sexual assault of young women by Fr. Joby Kachappilly VC at his retreat centre, which his confreres were already aware of since much before we contacted them?

 

SOME RELATED FILES

AS A LOVING MOTHER
MOTU PROPRIO OF POPE FRANCIS WARNING THE BISHOPS JUNE 4, 2016

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/AS_A_LOVING_MOTHER.doc

POPE FRANCIS AUTHORISES REMOVAL OF BISHOPS NEGLIGENT ON SEXUAL ABUSE

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/POPE_FRANCIS_AUTHORISES_REMOVAL_OF_BISHOPS_NEGLIGENT_ON_SEXUAL_ABUSE.doc

ON HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE PEDOPHILIA ISSUE

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/ON_HOMOSEXUALITY_AND_THE_PEDOPHILIA_ISSUE.doc

 

FR GALI ARULRAJ HAS MISTRESS KIDS EMBEZZLES A MILLION POUNDS FROM BRITISH CHARITY BUT NOT DEFROCKED

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/FR_GALI_ARULRAJ_HAS_MISTRESS_KIDS_EMBEZZLES_A_MILLION_POUNDS_FROM_BRITISH_CHARITY_BUT_NOT_DEFROCKED.doc

 

 

 

SEXUAL PREDATORS MORE PREVALENT AMONG RABBIS PASTORS YOGIS THAN AMONG PRIESTS

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/SEXUAL_PREDATORS_MORE_PREVALENT_AMONG_RABBIS_PASTORS_YOGIS_THAN_AMONG_PRIESTS.doc

 

FR JOE PEREIRAS BLATANT LIES ERRORS AND CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/FR_JOE_PEREIRAS_BLATANT_LIES_ERRORS_AND_CRIMINAL_ACTIVITIES.doc

 

FR JEGATH GASPAR RAJ-IN PRAISE OF SHIVA-PRIEST INVESTS RS 15 MILLION, FLOATS COMPANY WORTH RS 100 CRORES

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/FR_JEGATH_GASPAR_RAJ-IN_PRAISE_OF_SHIVA-PRIEST_INVESTS_RS_15_MILLION_FLOATS_COMPANY_WORTH_RS_100_CRORES.doc

 

ARCHBISHOP OF MADRAS MYLAPORE-MURDER ACCUSED IS CHANCELLOR

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/ARCHBISHOP_OF_MADRAS_MYLAPORE-MURDER_ACCUSED_IS_CHANCELLOR.doc

 

DOMINIC DIXON CONVICTED IN USA DEPORTED FROM CANADA FOR SEXUAL MOLESTATION OF BOY

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DOMINIC_DIXON_CONVICTED_IN_USA_DEPORTED_FROM_CANADA_FOR_SEXUAL_MOLESTATION_OF_BOY.doc

DOMINIC DIXON CONVICTED IN USA DEPORTED FROM CANADA FOR SEXUAL MOLESTATION OF BOY 02

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/DOMINIC_DIXON_CONVICTED_IN_USA_DEPORTED_FROM_CANADA_FOR_SEXUAL_MOLESTATION_OF_BOY_02.doc

CONVICTED PEDOPHILE DOMINIC DIXON TRIES TO SILENCE THIS MINISTRYS EXPOSES OF HIM http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CONVICTED_PEDOPHILE_DOMINIC_DIXON_TRIES_TO_SILENCE_THIS_MINISTRYS_EXPOSES_OF_HIM.doc

CONVICTED PEDOPHILE DOMINIC DIXON TRIES TO SILENCE THIS MINISTRYS EXPOSES OF HIM 02 http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CONVICTED_PEDOPHILE_DOMINIC_DIXON_TRIES_TO_SILENCE_THIS_MINISTRYS_EXPOSES_OF_HIM_02.doc

 

UPDATE

54. Indian priest charged with pedophilia

http://www.rediff.com/news/2004/jun/08priest.htm

By Arthur J. Pais, New York, June 8, 2004

As the 62-year-old priest Simon Palanthingal (it’s Palathingal, see page 19 of 01), charged with four counts of sexual assault on a 9-year-old boy over a decade ago, awaits an extradition hearing from New Jersey to Wisconsin, the American Catholic Church, devastated by hundreds of sexual abuse cases, faces yet another embarrassing revelation.

Palanthingal, who earned a master’s degree in journalism from Marquette University, Wisconsin, allegedly assaulted the boy Nick Janovsky who was also being abused at the same time by another priest, Nick Janovsky’s uncle Dennis Pecore.

Janovsky, 23, told a Milwaukee, Wisconsin newspaper late last week that Pecore, who had already been convicted and was on sex abuse probation in another case, had begun molesting him (Nick) during the probation. Pecore was later sentenced to 12 years in prison for molesting Janovsky.  Palanthingal, who was introduced to the young Janovsky by Pecore, allegedly assaulted the boy without the knowledge of the uncle.  

If found guilty,  Palanthingal who belongs to the Salesian Order of Don Bosco in India which known for its educational institutions for boys across the country including St. Bede’s and Don Bosco in Chennai, faces maximum 20 years on each of the four counts he has been charged with. He is being held on a $1 million bail, with the authorities saying that he is a flight risk and could attempt to return to India.

The alleged abuse began in the summer of 1990, shortly after the victim’s ninth birthday, and continued until June 1991. It took place at Jordan House, a Milwaukee residence for priests.

Milwaukee, a city of the descendants of German and Polish Catholics, has welcomed many Indian priests to the journalism program at Marquette, a Jesuit institution.  The victim, according to the complaint, “reported that the defendant told him not to tell anyone about these sexual acts because it was ‘between us’ and ‘our secret.’ ”

Janovsky, whose family moved to a southern state many years ago, says while he was aware of his uncle’s conviction, he had assumed that Palanthingal might have been prosecuted too. He began to check on Palanthingal following the on-going revelations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.    

In the past five years, the Church had been forced, in the face of vociferous and persist complaints from the victims and their families, to own up the sexual misbehavior of scores of priests and shell out nearly $1 billion in compensation. The church had been importing hundreds of priests from India and the Philippines in the 1980s following an acute shortage of priests across America especially in small cities and rural pockets and the dramatic decline in the numbers of Americans studying to be priests.

The Catholic priests from India were arriving in America in significant numbers — along with Indian nurses — much before the Silicon Valley and America’s IT industry discovered it too faced shortage of tech engineers and workers.

 

 

 

Palanthingal earned his master’s degree in journalism from Marquette University, one of the few American schools that offers a full course in religious journalism. Many American bishops send their priests to replenish their journalistic skills or acquire new ones at Marquette so that they could run church publications and TV network.  

Palanthingal, who served with the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey since late 2001, has also served at a number of American dioceses. He was on arrested Thursday in the presence of Milwaukee detectives who were waiting outside his home for him to arrive from a business trip to another American city.

Described by many parishioners, most of who are middle class and immigrants from Central and South America, as a helpful and inspiring priest, Palanthingal had applied to become a full-time diocesan priest. As Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski, head of the Diocese of Metuchen, terminated that application on Friday and revoked Palathingal’s right to minister in the diocese, he accused the priest of withholding crucial information from the higher authorities.

“While Father Palathingal apparently knew of this allegation when it first surfaced over a decade ago, the Diocese of Metuchen first became aware of the allegation this morning when it was notified of his arrest,” the bishop said in a statement. 

“In light of these events, and the fact that when he applied to work in the diocese he affirmed that on no occasion has his behavior ever called into question his ability to associate with minors, Father Palathingal’s faculties to minister in the Diocese of Metuchen have been revoked,” the statement added. 

Bootkoski’s office also asked anyone with knowledge of alleged criminal activity involving Palathingal to contact the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3300.

 

 

55. Priest Gets 16 Years for Sexual Assault of Boy, but within 4 Years, he’s eligible for Parole

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news10/2004_11_09_Nunnally_PriestGets.htm

By Derrick Nunnally, dnunnally@journalsentinel.com, Journal Sentinel Online, November 9, 2004

http://www2.jsonline.com:80/news/metro/nov04/273748.asp

A Catholic priest who admitted to repeated sexual assaults of a Milwaukee boy in the early 1990s was sentenced to 16 years in prison Tuesday but may be released as soon as 2008.
Father Simon Palathingal, 62, needed to spend at least four years in prison for his crimes, said Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Karen Christenson, to get treatment for being a sexual offender. The boy was 9 and 10 years old when Palathingal, who was studying at Marquette University, assaulted him covertly while attending the boy’s family gatherings as a respected friend in social gatherings.
“You betrayed his trust,” Christenson told Palathingal. “You abused your power, and you destroyed his faith and the faith of his family.”
Palathingal, a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco religious order, was arrested in July in South Amboy, N.J., where he had been living and working as a priest. He later pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child in an arrangement that included dropping two additional charges. He knew the boy, Nick Janovsky, through another priest, Father Dennis Pecore, who was convicted in 1994 of abusing Janovsky, his nephew.
Janovsky, now 23, stared toward Palathingal on Tuesday as a prosecutor read an explicit description of the specific abuses. Janovsky’s relatives bowed their heads during the description, and some embraced each other tightly to endure the graphic details.
Then Janovsky told Christenson he wanted the priest to get something near the maximum possible sentence of 40 years behind bars, more if it were somehow possible.
“That would be the only way to guarantee that this man would not harm other children,” Janovsky said.

Instead, the judge gave Palathingal two 16-year sentences to serve at the same time. That was less than the 20 years Assistant District Attorney Gale Shelton had requested, but more than the five to six years Palathingal’s attorney, Edward Hunt, had suggested.
Under laws in place at the time of the offenses, Palathingal will be eligible for parole after four years. Janovsky said afterward he was “disappointed” Palathingal might return to society within a few years.
“I think it’s a mistake,” Janovsky said. “This man should be locked up for 16 years and not have access to children.”
Palathingal appeared drawn and passive behind his thick glasses. The slight, gray-haired priest had initially told detectives that 9-year-old Janovsky had instigated the sex acts, but the priest recanted that in court. He said he had questioned his own faith during the five months in jail.
“I have hurt and harmed a kid, Nick Janovsky, through my own selfishness,” Palathingal said. “This is how God wants me to pay for it. No matter how much I have suffered or will suffer, my pain pales in comparison with what Mr. Janovsky has endured all those years.”
Palathingal said he hopes to get out of prison and return to his native India as a priest. That drew criticism outside the courtroom from Peter Isely of Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests. “When he gets out, he’s going to be able to get right back in the pulpit, get right back in the schools,” Isely said.

 

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