Bengaluru: Christian Organisations Send Letter to Pope Francis to De-frock Two Priests

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Date : 20th June, 2015
His Holiness Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
Vatican City State, 00120

Your Holiness,

At the outset we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude in finding a permanent solution for a long pending issue in Karnataka through the issue of the Circular 131/2015, dated 12th April 2015 by the Arch Diocese of Bangalore, regarding the Promulgation of Particular Legislation based on the latest & final Directives issued by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Vatican – As a Language Policy for the Liturgy in the Archdiocese of Bangalore.

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SUB: De-frocking of two PERSONS (unfortunately) ordained as Catholic Priests, (Fr) Chalkere Chowrappa Selvaraj (Chasara) & (Fr) A Thomas, who are working for the Division and Downfall of Catholics by publicly Disgracing the Catholic Church in Karnataka, Demoralising & Driving several Catholics away to other protestant denominations.

We have already brought the issue to the notice of the Archbishop of Bangalore, his grace Most.Rev.Dr.Bernard Moras for action vide memorandum dated 12/04/2014 and His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias Archbishop of Bombay vide memorandum dated 03/05/2014. It is our belief that the Archbishop of Bangalore and Bombay have forwarded the same to your Holiness, BUT it appears that it has not been acted upon by the Papal Authority till date, hence we are compelled to draw your attention to the issue, which deserves to be taken up at the earliest in the interest of the Catholic church in Bangalore and Karnataka.

We, the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, wish to express our deep sense of regret and distress at having to submit this representation on some of the burning issues pertaining to the Archdiocese of Bangalore, especially the “Un-Christian” activities of some of our own consecrated priests, along with some lay Catholics and also unconcerned /unconnected people belonging to other religions and sincerely request that the points raised by us after serious thought and deliberations be given serious consideration and acted upon immediately in the interests of maintaining the Unity, Dignity and Sanctity of the Catholic Church, as-well-as to reinstall the faith and confidence in our faithful.

1) The cause for submitting this representation began as a fallout of the investigations by the Bangalore City Police in the gruesome and most brutal murder of a highly scholarly, erudite, peace-loving, well-respected and mild priest Rev Fr K J Thomas, the Rector of the St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary, Bangalore, on the midnight of March 31-April 1, 2013, within the precincts of the Seminary itself.

2) The ghastly murder of Fr K J Thomas, by the assailants and the ransacking of his room and other rooms in the Seminary by the attackers, and the inability of the police to crack the case and track the suspected murderers had shocked and saddened not only us but all peace-loving citizens in the city. On that occasion a large number of organizations had organized candle-light vigils and other forms of protests, offered prayers and Holy Eucharist for the successful completion of the investigation, amidst a strong suspension that some priests and other powerful persons within the Archdiocese and possibly in other Dioceses were either directly or indirectly involved in the ghastly murder of a Fr K J Thomas.

3) It was in these circumstances and almost a full year after the murder of Fr K J Thomas, the Karnataka Director General of Police and Bangalore City Police Commissioner and other top police officers announced at a widely publicized news conference on March 21, 2014, the arrest of three persons , including 2 priests – Fr William Patrick, Parish Priest of the Kengeri Church, and Fr Elias Daniel, belonging to the Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD) – and a lay-person Peter, for the murder of Fr K J Thomas.

4) With this the faithful as well as the clergy and religious brothers and sisters could heave a sigh of partial relief, with the assurance from the police that “the investigation would be completed soon and more arrests would be made in the due course.”

5) But, we have been deeply pained, shocked and angered by the action of some of our own priests and laypersons, who publicly took up the cause of those persons accused of murdering Fr.K.J.Thomas, through statements in the media that the arrested persons were innocent and started collecting/mobilising huge sums of money, on the pretext of engaging Senior Lawyers to fight the case of the arrested priests and also to give assistance to their families. The money so collected according to reliable sources till the month of May 2015 is around Rs.83,29,350/- (Eighty Three Lakhs, Twenty Nine thousand, three hundred and fifty rupees) Most or over 75% of which is alleged to have been swindled by the above mentioned persons (Fr)Chasara & (Fr)A Thomas.

6) It is these priests, ring leaders (Fr)Chalkere Chowrappa Selvaraj (Chasara), Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Church in Chamarajpet and (Fr)A Thomas, Parish Priest of Kristha Karunalaya Church Jaraganahalli, Kanakapura Road, who is also the Principal/trustee of Christ School, Marianapalya Road, Kaglipura, privately owned and run by his own Carmel Seva Sangam Trust, Mariapura, who are currently the main trouble-makers in the Archdiocese of Bangalore, for their own selfish reasons and ulterior motives of gaining positions for themselves and their supporters, including some of the behind-the-scene kingpins, who are angling for key Ecclesiastical positions in the Archdiocese, who have been spearheading the Anti-Catholic trouble in our diocese. These are leaders of the so-called self-style Kannada Catholicara Yajakara Balaga (Association of Kannada Catholic Priests), who have been causing trouble in the Archdiocese for the last several years and noteworthy is that 2 of the three arrested persons – Fr William Patrick, was the Secretary of this Balaga or Association, and Fr Elias Daniel, a key activist of the Balaga or Association.

7) These persons have been for years masquerading as crusaders of Kannada in Churches and have been misguiding people by shamelessly causing violent protests, law and order problems, all in the name of getting primacy for the Kannada language in the liturgical celebrations in our Catholic Church. It is no secret that their violence was actually a Mask for making money because, their violent actions have not spared even genuine Kannada Speaking Priests from becoming victims, for example in the Christ the King Church, Yeshwanthpur, which is adjoining the St Peter’s Pontifical Seminary, these people have gone to the extent of pouring acid on the then Parish Priest, Fr Lawrence Noronha, obstructing Holy Eucharist at St John the Baptist Church, Vijayanagar, and physically assaulting and attacking Fr.C.Jacob, a Kannadiga priest, while conducting a service in Kannada, in the St.Mary’s Church at Hegde Nagar and several other churches over the past several years, especially and intentionally during the Holy Week Liturgical celebrations preceding Easter or Christmas celebrations. Will anyone fighting for the cause of Kannadigas attack Kannadiga Priests while celebrating a Mass in Kannada?

8) These priests with their anti-social supporters, including those from the self-processed communal forces and anti-minorities organisations, especially Non-Christians such as Kannada writer Chidananda Murthy, Pramila Nesargi, Pundalika Halambi and other busy-bodies like Kannada Rakshana Vedike President Narayana Gowda, etc, have been threatening of holding protests and demonstrations on the streets even after the release of the Circular 131/2015, dated 12th April 2015 by the Arch Diocese of Bangalore, regarding the Promulgation of Particular Legislation based on the latest & final Directives issued by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Vatican – As a Language Policy for the Liturgy in the Archdiocese of Bangalore, which has actually given absolute supremacy and prominence to Kannada in the Churches of the Arch diocese of Bangalore.

9) This has clearly exposed their motive as Not Kannada BUT a deliberate ploy of fomenting Disturbance aimed at Driving Catholics away to Other Protestant denominations.

10) We have authentic and credible information obtained from various sources regarding the so-called widespread fund collections carried out by these priests through several fraudulent means and organizations, which according to our reliable information, runs into several crores of rupees to finance and sustain their sectarian and selfish agenda. It is reliably learnt that it is a conspiracy to intentionally create an unhealthy atmosphere in the Catholic Church, AND to also to divert the attention away from the actual issue only to save the culprits in the murder case.

11) These persons have been unnecessarily creating trouble in the Church and are opposing the latest Circular on the Language policy also, instead of appreciating and welcoming it, (if they were genuinely interested in upholding the cause of Kannada), which has addressed the issue in the best ever possible way, because of the fear that they would also be in jail one day along with their colleagues, Secretary of the Balaga or Association Fr William Patrick, and Fr Elias Daniel, a key activist of the Balaga or Association, for actively Conspiring, Abetting and Aiding the Murder of Fr.K.J.Thomas. They know the truth has to come out one day and this explain their frustration and desperation.

12) It is in public knowledge that the Carmel Seva Sangam-trust which is run by the president of the Catholic Karnataka Kannada Priests Association/Balaga (Fr) A Thomas, receives funds from foreign agencies called FODERVEREIN BEDEN, and ANNAPURNA FOUNDATION Germany. What is interesting is that these funding agencies are according to sources also recipients of funds from amongst others, Billy Graham Evangelist Association, P.O.Box.1270, Charlotte, 28201, 1270 USA (having an Indian Bank Account No.911010024922852 in Axis Bank, Sahakaranagar Branch) and LIVING WORD FELLOWSHIP. 512, Beach Pond Road, Voluntown, CT 06381, Box, 36, USA, who directly take care of AGAPE Ministries India (having an Indian Bank Account No.15334 in Canara Bank, D’Costa Square, Branch) and also PARTNER IN ASIAN MISSION, Box 531011, Birmingham, AL-35253, USA financing AGAPE Bible Fellowship(having an Indian Bank Account No.21638 in Canara Bank, D’Costa Square, Branch).

13) The most shocking/coincidental aspect is that the purpose for all these funding agencies in sending money to India is the same: “Maintenance of Priests/other religious functionaries”. Crores and crores of rupees are flowing for the maintenance of Priests? Which Priests? The Priests of the Catholic Karnataka Kannada Priests Association/Balaga? The usage of the foreign funds for any purpose other than what it was got/sent would amount to a violation under 3.6.1 of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010(FCRA 2010) earlier Act of 1976 (FCRA 1976). We have already complained to the concerned authorities in this regard for a thorough investigation and necessary legal action.

14) We also have documentary evidences of police complaints regarding the some of the shameful & unlawful activities, violent incidents and other illegal activities involving most of these priests in different police stations, which would be furnished in due course.

15) The latest bout of creating disturbance in the Catholic Church has been that of bringing in busy bodies again such as Mr.Pundalika Halambi and Mr.Narayana Gowda to oppose the latest circular which has been released by the Arch diocese of Bangalore. These are ‘Hindus’ who have never had the nerve to demand the usage of Kannada in their own places of worship ‘Temples’ or the Guts to utter a word demanding the Muslims to use Kannada in the Mosques, Yet have the courage to speak about the language used in our Churches, because these corrupt and criminal priests have shamelessly brought them to only serve their selfish motive, for causing disturbances amongst a section of Catholics in Karnataka.

We humbly hope and have no objection in these Catholic priests, if they want to form any associations for their private/personal purposes, do so after they first voluntarily relinquish their priesthood (give up the holy dress/attire they are wearing) before behaving in a manner unbecoming of any Catholic Priest.

In view of all these points and facts that we have been mentioned above, we strongly feel that the arrested priests as well as their main supporters, especially the ring leaders and the others whose names are mentioned above, must be Excommunicated from the Catholic Church, under the provisions of the Canon Law forthwith, as they are guilty of willfully violating and deliberately flouting their solemn religious vows of obedience and loyalty to the Ecclesial superiors.

In addition to the points and facts mentioned above, some of the above-mentioned priests are guilty of violating the Sixth and Ninth Commandments that forbid killing or bearing false witness, which are consequently sufficient grounds for their automatic excommunication.
We assure you that we shall be furnishing more details about the activities and additional grounds in support of our demands, for seeking the Excommunication of the Priests, if required.
Abraham T.J
President- ICUF
Indian Christian United Forum

Edward D’Souza
Chairman -FKCA
Federation of Konkani Catholic Associations
Silvial Noronha
Vice-President- ICUF
Indian Christian United Forum

Dolphy D’Cunha
Vice- Chairman-FKCA
Federation of Konkani Catholic Associations

Mrs.Aida Margaret
Secretary – ICUF
Indian Christian United Forum

Arun Fernandes
Secretary – FKCA
Federation of Konkani Catholic Associations

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1 Comment

  1. Interesting!! In other words, there is no authority in India to handle these cases and decisions regarding remote places in Karnataka will be made in distant Vatican by some folks who are not even Indians ?

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