Press statement on the hunger strike and court order – St. Paul’s Hermit Church, Nagenahalli

July 5, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Pertaining to St. Paul’s Hermit Church, Nagenahalli
By concerned Catholics of the Archdiocese of Bangalore

We, the concerned Catholics of various ethnic groups are deeply hurt and sad that a small group of people, some of whom are obviously misguided and ill-informed, with the support of anti-social forces are tarnishing the image of the Church and the Archbishop of Bangalore with regard to St. Paul’s Hermit Church, Nagenahalli ever since the Archbishop sought to prevent the erection of the bust of Fr. Chowrappa Selvaraj in the Church premises.

We wish to bring to the notice of the public that the installation of a statue or bust of any person as per the prescribed norms in the Church premises is prohibited as per the Code of Canon Law that governs all Catholic Churches all over the world. In this regard, a specific warning under Code 1187 of Canon Law was served on the Parish Priest of the said Church, the Parishioners and all others concerned that the Church shall be closed if the warning was not heeded. Upon installation of the bust in the Church compound, the Archbishop had issued a Canonical Decree on the closure of the Church as per the Code 1373 of the Canon Law for the wilful defiance of the canonical warning.

Some of the leaders with ulterior motives had mobilised people for a hunger strike at first to maintain the bust and later approached the court to open the Church. In between, there were press statements and even protests at the Archbishop’s House. The Archbishop has now been served contempt of court notice for not opening the church.

We want the public to know the facts about Fr. Chasara and his followers. The argument that Fr. Chasara had built the Church and they wished to honour him by erecting his bust for the services rendered by him is totally fallacious as his posting to head the Church was only incidental. It is common knowledge that all churches across the globe are constructed by one priest or the other with the support and contributions from the public. Busts of such priests are not permitted to be installed by canon law.  The more important reason why a bust of Fr. Chasara is unacceptable to the people is that he has been accused and charge-sheeted in the murder of Fr. K. J. Thomas, the then Rector of St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary at Malleswaram in 2013, by the State investigation agencies. If at all a bust in the church has to be erected, it is of persons who have excelled in virtue and holiness, commitment, dedication and service to humankind in accordance with the norms of the church.

Obedience to the Archbishop on matters pertaining to the Church is the basic essential and requisite of a Catholic and more of a priest.  Those who have taken the Archbishop to the court for discharging his duties as per the Code of Canon Law are grossly misled and ill-informed. They can at least be described as led by a “lunatic fringe”.  More shocking is the fact that two of the leaders in the protests are also charged in the same case of murder of Fr. K. J. Thomas.  The Police have not arrested them even after filing the charge-sheet and obtaining non-bailable arrest warrants. Unfortunately, the group has a strong political backing and patronage.

As concerned Catholics of the Archdiocese, we strongly condemn and denounce the installation of the bust of Fr. Chasara, the hunger strike by a small group of misguided people and the court case against the Archbishop. As committed Christians we choose to stand by the church of Bangalore committed to pluralism, diversity and harmony. We urge the State to speed up the investigation and trial of the murder case of Fr. K. J. Thomas so that the killers of a scholarly and saintly priest irrespective of their status or position do not go scot free.

Endorsed by

1.      Justice Francis Michael Saldanha, Former Judge of the Karnataka High Court

2.      Michael Fernandes, Former MLA

3.      J W J Lobo, Former Director, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India

4.      F. T. R. Colaso, Former IG and DIG of Bangalore

5.      Prof John B Kutinha, Former Member of the Backward Classes Commission

6.      T. J. Abraham, Anti-corruption Activist

7.      Gabriel Vaz, Former Political Editor, The Economic Times, Bengaluru

8.      Mrs. Lillian Xavier, Former member of Karnataka Public Service Commission

9.      M. Satyabhushan M. M. Labs

10.  B. G. Koshy, Entrepreneur

11.  Daniel Prabhu, Proprietor, Spandana Innovations, Bangalore

12.  Pericho Prabhu, Coordinator of All Indian Christian Council

13.  Anthony Melvin D Paul – Human Resource Trainer

14.  Joseph Manoharan, Federation of Karnataka Christian Association

15.  Shanthkumar, Managing Director Of Trinity Packers and Movers

16.  Rayappa, President, Karnataka State United Christian Political Front

17.  Alphonse Kennedy, Joint Secretary of the regional SC/ST Commission

18.  Grenold D’ Almeida, JMJ Enterprises

19.  Advocate Shaji Varghese

20.  Cynthia Menezes, Professor of Bangalore University

21.  Arun Fernandes, Businessman

22.   Jaijo Joseph, Chief Executive, AA Associates, AA Towers, Mathikere, Bangalore

23.   P. K. Cherian, Governing Council Member of St. John’s appointed by CBCI

24.  Anthony Joseph, Secretary of the State & South Indian Body-Builders Association

25.  Soosinathan, Former Member of the Karnataka Administrative Service

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One Response to “Press statement on the hunger strike and court order – St. Paul’s Hermit Church, Nagenahalli”
  1. Denis Khan says:

    Remove all statues and images. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth. (John 4:24).

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