When the priests drink, what spews out is absolute filth *A Life is not born in the Church. The nun is forced to abort *Peter’s house is broken *Sins of our fathers

July 16, 2012 by  
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Kerala, July 23, 2012: The nun who walked out of her Kozhikode convent 14 years ago on what compelled her to leave.

Sixty-seven-year-old Sister Mary Chandy walked out of the Congregation of the Daughters of Presentation of Mary in Chevayur, Kozhikode, 14 years ago. She wrote her autobiography, Nanma Niranjavale Swasthi (Peace to the One Filled with Grace), in April 2012. Excerpts from an interview:

What did you do after you left the convent?

I only had the clothes that I was wearing. I did not have any money. I remember envying men for they can sleep at night under a tree but a woman cannot do that. I would visit houses and ask for donations. My dream was to open an orphanage and look after unwanted children.

Is there one incident that made you quit the order?

There are so many incidents that hurt me. After I left the convent, I went through many trials and tribulations. It has been a long journey outside.

You have said that the priests drink during festive occasions?

Yes, both the priests and nuns drink wine and foreign liquor. When the priests drink, what spews from their mouths is absolute filth.

The Church says that you were only a cook for a brief period and not a nun in the convent?

If that is so, why have they kept my baptism certificate? It is now in their hands to prove I was not a nun.

What you say about the priests…does it hold for the majority of them?

No, there are many good priests and nuns who do a lot of good work. But then there are also the bad ones. My advice to young Catholic girls is to not to go for counselling or confession to the priests.

A Life is not born in the Church. The nun is forced to abort


Kerala, July 23, 2012: The priest, whose memoirs were published in 2010, on the sexual misconduct of priests and financial irregularities.

Father Shibu Kalamparambil, 40, was defrocked from the Vicentian Congregation after 12 years as a priest. His memoir Oru Vaidikante Hrudayamitha (The Heart of a Priest) was published in 2010.

Why did you decide to write the book?

I had aired my views about the sexual misconduct of priests and financial irregularities many times but they were not willing to correct themselves. So I wrote this book and for four years I showed it to near and dear ones and to those inside the Church. They advised me not to publish it, they said it would be catastrophic. They kept saying that things will be corrected but they never were so I published my book.

What is the Church establishment’s response when a priest makes a complaint?

The complaints are dealt with by the bishops and they influence the laity. If a woman among the laity becomes pregnant because of a priest or a bishop, they build houses or give money to them and hush it up.

What happens when a nun gets pregnant?

A life is not born in the church. When it comes to the nuns, they either make her abort the child or she is sent out of the church. If the nun tries to take it up, then she is ostracised by society.

What about the financial irregularities?

Financial irregularities are rampant. The priest collects money in the name of reconstruction of the church. The laity who come to church donate in good faith. But some of the priests, they never reveal the exact amount to the parishioners…they take their share and hand over the remaining to the church.

Peter’s house is broken


Kerala, July 23, 2012: The meek shall inherit the earth? Not if the Church has its way.

The Catholic church is an ancient monolith and has been in the game of power, wealth, cadre- and institution-building for so long that nothing can change it except its own perceptions of survival. It is an inflexible iron-frame with a cold sense of history that can rebuff its enemies with a bizarre patience. At the same time, it is also a highly malleable—almost amoebic—system that bends to the times with strategies so subtle that they remain invisible for centuries. It is the canniest self-perpetuating bureaucracy of the world. That is how it has withstood the turbulent forces of history ever since Emperor Constantine transformed it into the master of the Roman Empire in AD 313 through the Edict of Milan. One signature made the underdog top dog. The Church has never looked back.

It survived the tempestuous challenge of Martin Luther and the Reformation. Its expertise in conducting immense and long-standing wars is simply mind-boggling. The Crusades are just one example. It emerged unscathed from the second world war thanks to the notorious neutrality it maintained with the two horrendous dictators: Hitler and Mussolini. In fact, few remember today that the papal state of Vatican City was granted to the Church by Mussolini in return for its acceptance of fascist authority.

The point is, the Church is a tough nut to crack. It remains doubtful if it can be reformed even if the Pope were inclined to try. Because, its empire is today flung far across continents, nations, cultures and civilisations, and there are the machinations of countless vested interests at work. The Pope might be able to ensure that the cardinal principles of faith remain uniform and sacrosanct. But even that is not easy. For instance, saints deposed by the Vatican years ago are still venerated in Kerala. The Kerala church finds them useful. As for celibacy, if a priest gives it up, what can the Church do? Next to nothing.

Like all religious hierarchies that have gained influence in the modern world, the Catholic church too, by and large, keeps word and deed apart. By word, I mean the word of Jesus, which is the bedrock of the Church. Perhaps it isn’t possible at all to make the two one if you wish to obtain and retain great power and great wealth. For who can live today the beggarly life that Jesus lived and expect to be taken seriously by presidents and prime ministers?

The Church is as worldly an institution as—a comparison to aid clarity—the United States of America, holding monopoly over an unbeatable brand name: Jesus. The J-brand, sedulously built up over 2,000 years, is so powerful that the blatant aberrations of the Church go unnoticed under its overpowering spiritual glamour. Without its charisma, the Church would collapse like a house of cards. Therefore, the last thing the Church wants is to let people find the real Jesus: a poor, wandering dreamer and revolutionary who just lost out.

But somewhere in the glitzy interior of this behemoth, Jesus’s civilising messages—love and mercy, for example—continue to survive in their many guises. That is how the Church continues to be able to legitimise its materialistic goals. It’s a simple question: if you are poor, can you help others? The answer is, no. You need to be wealthy to be charitable, to build educational institutions, hospitals, orphanages, old people’s homes. Not to mention, the churches, seminaries, convents, pilgrim-centres and so on.

But there comes a point, as with the church in Kerala, when the goal of profit-making overrides all else, as happens with any heartless business empire. And the spiritual message becomes just a gaudy, conspicuous robe to cover the currency bundles. But luck is with the Church. Because the faithful don’t see this as a problem. The more the glitter and the pomp, the better. For them, the church is more status symbol than spiritual center. Without the splendour of the rituals and ceremonies, their weddings and funerals will turn into shabby, boring affairs. The Church for them is a grand event-producer.

The Church can be reformed only from the inside because it is a closed and closely guarded system—and afforded further protection by its minority status under the Indian Constitution. The Church’s most consistent critic in Kerala, Joseph Pulikunnel, calls for all church assets—thought to be worth a few billions—to be transferred to the laity. But his is a utopian dream. For, the laity are no saints. They are, on the other hand, congenital sinners! And they have more use for money than the priests!

Sins of our fathers


Kerala, July 23, 2012: The Little Flower convent nuns who took the church to court.

Do nuns and priests have civil rights? The canon law and the Catholic Church say the professed people have no right to sue the Church. It took six brave sisters of Little Flower Convent, Narakkal, in Ernakulam district, to prove it otherwise. They created history of sorts when they sued a Syro-Malabar bishop of the Ernakulam diocese and the priest of St Mary’s Church for criminal intimidation and forgery.

In the normal course, the sisters would have had to take up their problems with the ecclesiastical forums and, under the precept of obedience, listen to them. What made the sisters take this drastic step? The sisters run two schools and a poor home on three acres of land in Narakkal. From the late 1930s, successive parish priests of St Mary’s church had been helping them to manage the school. The sisters knew the priests collected money illegally as donations but they kept quiet for awhile. In 1971, unknown to the sisters, the priest of St Mary’s church forged documents and transferred the management of the Little Flower School to the church. Then, after over 30 years, in 2007, the sisters were asked to shift their second school, St Joseph’s, to another location. They refused and filed a complaint with the department of education and were allowed to keep the school. But this riled the priests. Soon hoodlums, instigated by them, began harassing the sisters. They were not allowed into church, some of them were roughed up, and in one incident, were held hostage by over a hundred men. The sisters could not bear it anymore and sued the church. The lower court ruled in their favour but it has been appealed. Sister Annie Jaise says, “Traditionally, the CMC sisters, brides of Jesus, are quiet…but we had to stand up for the truth.”

– outlookindia

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