Mangalore, November 16: Chief Trustee of the Christian Reforms Foundation P B D’Sa announced in a press conference the celebration of Reformation Sunday on December 11, 2011.
Treating it like a follow up measure, he said, the Foundation will hold a simple awareness group meeting in front of the churches like Milagres, Kulshekar, Puttur, Sastan, Udupi and Kudapur.
Mr D’Sa highlighted the importance of this day by giving background and motive behind the Reformation Sunday. “World over, all organised religions, though started by their founders with noble ethical motives, slowly become corrupt and the priestly class have become the owners of huge assets in movable and immovable properties,” he said.
“Priests are living like princes and criminals. Various laymen’s organisations have been trying to expose the corruption, misuse of power and properties by these priests. They live by double standards”, he alleged.
He also recalled the claim that Christian Church is the biggest single land lord in India and though all their assets are built out of contributions and donations, the entire ownership lies with the Diocesan Bishop. This is the best kept secret and biggest fraud and breach of trust committed by religious men on laymen, he said.
The educated class among Christian has questioned the Church constitution and canon law, and demanded democratisation of Christian Church on regular basis, but clergy does not want to surrender power nor share it with Laity, he explained.
He said that United Christian Association had moved to court for quashing the validity of the constitution of Mangalore Diocese and the case is still pending. Associations in Mumbai, Bangalore and Goa have started a network on an All India basis to create awareness amongst laymen about the happenings in the church administration. Thus an All India Association of concerned catholic Christians has been formed in Mumbai, he said.
He said, the Mangalore Christian Reforms Foundation, after a day’s deliberation has passed ten resolutions in this regard. Even though the resolutions were sent to the Bishop of Mangalore and Pope it has not sought their attention. Some of the clergy are also threatening and blackmailing the people saying that they will not baptize children and not bury the dead. In the bargain, laymen gave up this reformation agenda and have compromised with the clergy and surrendered to their whims and fancies. These groups will continue to meet before other Diocesan Churches depending on the availability of time and it would be a regular feature till the clergy see reason and co-operate with the Laity. Failing to reform would mean bringing all Churches under government control, he said.
Explaining the reasons behind this reformation Mr D’Sa said, the Christian cemeteries which were allotted to Christians to bury the dead are being sold or leased out by the priests. Mangalore has thousands of Mulgeni tenants. The Bishop has deprived them of Varga rights and also has opposed the government’s bill on Mulgeni. The halls, Churches, schools and hospitals are meant to be used by the laymen but if a Christian Layman’s organisation needs to use them they are not given, while the priests conduct events free of cost, he said.
Mr D’Sa said that there is also no transparency about how much money is collected by way of rents, fees and annual membership. This amounts to around 48 crores. There have been demands made to the clergy to convert schools, colleges, halls, hospitals and farms as co-operative societies to regulate the income but the clergy is not willing. Instead they are amounting to breach of trust, cheating and misappropriation, he said.
He also said that ‘Manuvad’ is rampant in the Churches as most of Bishops, priests and nuns are white skinned so called Brahmins. Admissions to Dalit are denied in schools and colleges even after spending so much money on conversions. Once the job of conversion is done Dalit Christians are not entertained in schools and colleges, he said. Since conversions are a constitutional right, talking against it is anti – national, he added.
Trouble is given to laymen who silently pray in their houses, he said.
He also said that a fraud of Rs 8 crores is suspected in the name of celebrations.
Members of Christian Reform Foundation Walter Mascarenhas, Roshan Lobo and Augustin were present at the press meet.