Does this question shock you? It should! Over the last couple of years I have been in regular correspondence with Rev Dr Valson Thampu. After retiring as Principal of the prestigious St Stephen’s College, Delhi, he is now settled in Kerala.
But he is terribly unsettled by recent events in what was once described as “God’s Own Country” and the cradle of Christianity in India. Many like him are appalled at the mounting cases of paedophilia, rape, murder, financial misappropriation etc being levelled (and in some instances proved) against priests, bishops and even a cardinal. So he has concluded that the Christian community, not necessarily restricted to Kerala, is in dire need of shock therapy, to shake it out of its complacency and stupor. What is rubbing salt into the wounds are the desperate attempts to shield, play down, obfuscate or interminably delay the path of justice against the accused; and to label the dissenters as “terrorists”. The ultra-chauvinistic Catholic Church in Kerala seems to be beating Modi at his own game of ultra-nationalism.
The National Consultation “We Too Are Church” has appealed for the convening of Vatican III. In an era of breaking news, and shifting goal posts, it is not enough to hark back to Vatican II that concluded 54 years ago. It is now time for Vatican III to address the rapidly mutating issues faced by the church in the modern world.
This was expressed by the 60 participants from 15 States of India at the consultation held from 9th to 11th February at Proggaloy Pastoral Centre, Kolkata. This gathering of lay leaders, clergy and religious was a collective response to the various political and moral crises that the church finds itself embroiled in, without an adequate or credible response. Various “Pastoral Letters” issued by three archbishops, referring to elections, and the frightening Franco Mulakkal fiasco have been attracting a hostile press. To rub salt into the wound, the bishops of Kerala in a recent statement have labelled those raising their voices as “enemies of the church”!
Calling for a Dialogue within and across Laity Groups
We have FAILED to present and be one Church:
The current issues in the media indicate that there are many problems in the Catholic Church and these are surfacing on numerous fronts. Hence the Church appears to be in a slow ‘Disintegration’ mode with the pace accelerating rapidly. The report on the open rebellion by the clergy against Cardinal George Alencherry in Matters India (29 June 2019) supports this theory.
29th November 2018
Voices of Faith convened an historic event entitled “Overcoming Silence – Women’s Voices in the Abuse Crisis” in Rome on 27th November, 2018 featuring diverse voices of women experts, some of whom have personal experience of clerical abuse in the Catholic Church. Three key recommendations for the February meeting of Presidents of Bishops' Conferences were formulated as a result of the event.