Sex abuse survivor astonished to learn her tormentor, Fr Joseph Jeyapaul, reinstated in Ooty – Michael O’Keeffe

Megan Peterson

Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul“Peterson, repeatedly raped by Fr Joseph Jeyapaul at 14, was stunned to learn he’s reinstated by the Catholic Church: ‘He’d tell me I would have to go to confess for making him impure'” – Michael O’Keeffe

When Megan Peterson was 14, she was raped and sexually assaulted—sometimes inside the church confessional booth—over the course of a year by her parish priest.

So the abuse survivor was astounded to learn her tormentor, the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul, was reinstated earlier this month by Catholic Church officials after a suspension of roughly the same duration of her time as a victim.

“It’s very clear what side the Church is on and it’s not about child protection or about morality,” said Peterson, a 26-year-old artist who now lives in Queens. “The bottom line is that the Church is not protecting children.”

Peterson, the New York City coordinator for the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), charges the Church gave a virtual green light for Jeyapaul to target children in his native India.

The reverend returned to his homeland late last year, when he also appealed for a return to his priestly duties. He was suspended for less than a full year.

Peterson, who grew up in Greenbush, Minn., says she was a devout 14-year-old altar server and church choir member when the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul first raped her in his parish office.

The abuse continued for a year and some of the attacks took place in the church confessional.

Peterson told a school counselor about the abuse, and the counselor notified law enforcement officials. Jeyapaul fled to India in 2010 after he was charged with assaulting Peterson and another girl. The priest was arrested in 2012 by Interpol and extradited to the United States.

The priest pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the second girl in a plea bargain deal. The charges stemming from his alleged abuse of Peterson were dropped.

Jeyapaul was sentenced to a year in prison but was released shortly after the plea deal was reached because of time served while awaiting trial. Peterson sued the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., and won a $750,000 settlement in 2011.

Jeyapaul returned to India late last year and appealed for a return to the ministry after serving a suspension of less than a year. The diocese lifted Jeyapaul’s ban after getting approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine in January.

The Vatican’s embassy in Washington did not return requests from comment and the diocese did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Peterson said the ruling by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith move is an insult to her and all other survivors of clergy abuse.

“I thought I had seen everything but I was clearly mistaken,” she said. “I’m very hurt and very angry. Actions speak louder than words and this is a slap in the face.”

The Vatican did not respond to a request for comment.

The decision to lift the priest’s suspension was particularly painful given its proximity to Pope Francis’ recent intimation of a special place in hell for bishops who enable rather than report child-molesting clergymen.

“A bishop who transfers a priest of a parish when a case of pedophilia is discovered is an unconscientious man and the best thing he can do is to present his resignation,” Francis said after his six-day trip to Mexico.

Jeyapaul pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a different underage girl in a plea bargain deal where the charges in his abuse of Peterson were dropped.

Peterson sued the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., and won a $750,000 settlement in 2011.

Peterson said she met first Jeyapaul in 2004 after his transfer to Blessed Sacrament Church, her parish in Greenbush, Minn., a small town near the Canadian border.

She was a deeply religious 14-year-old altar server and a singer in the church choir when Jeyapaul first raped her in his office, according to Peterson.

She had dreamed about becoming a nun before the abuse began, she said.

The abuse continued for almost a year, Peterson said, with Jeyapaul threatening “physical violence” if she told anybody about what happened.

Peterson, who was sexually abused when she was younger, believes she became a target because of her vulnerability. In a cruel twist, she had embraced her faith as a way to cope with the earlier abuse.

She described Jeyapaul as a predator whose first attack occurred just minutes after he invited her into his office to talk about books. – Daily News, 24 February 2016


Jeff Anderson & Mike Finnegan

Arulappan AmalrajLawsuit filed against Ooty bishop for reinstating child-raping priest – Michael O”Keeffe

A Catholic diocese in India has put children at risk by reinstating the priest who allegedly assaulted a sexual abuse survivor, according to an explosive lawsuit filed Tuesday in Minnesota federal court.

The suit filed by veteran sex abuse attorney Jeff Anderson on behalf of former New Yorker Megan Peterson, who recently moved to Wisconsin, names the Diocese of Ootacamund in southern India as the sole defendant.

“This is about protecting children in India from the callous antics of the Bishop of Ootacamund,” said Peterson, a member of the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

Peterson, who grew up in Greenbush, Minn., says she was a devout 14-year-old altar server and church choir member when the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul first raped her in his parish office.

The abuse continued for a year and some of the attacks took place in the church confessional.

Peterson told a school counselor about the abuse, and the counselor notified law enforcement officials. Jeyapaul fled to India in 2010 after he was charged with assaulting Peterson and another girl. The priest was arrested in 2012 by Interpol and extradited to the United States.

The priest pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the second girl in a plea bargain deal. The charges stemming from his alleged abuse of Peterson were dropped.

Jeyapaul was sentenced to a year in prison but was released shortly after the plea deal was reached because of time served while awaiting trial. Peterson sued the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., and won a $750,000 settlement in 2011.

Jeyapaul returned to India late last year and appealed for a return to the ministry after serving a suspension of less than a year. The diocese lifted Jeyapaul’s ban after getting approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine in January.

The Vatican’s embassy in Washington did not return requests from comment and the diocese did not respond to an email seeking comment. – Daily News, 16 April 2016

» Michael O’Keeffe is a reporter with the New York Daily News Sports Investigative Team.

Pope Francis

Indian activists slam Vatican for revoking Fr Joseph Jeyapaul’s ban – Zee News

Joseph Jeyapaul

Indian priest pays $750,000.00

Dr Ranjana Kumari“The lifting of the suspension of Fr Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul amounts to the Church condoning his actions,” Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, an NGO working on women`s and girls` rights, told AFP. – Zee News

Children`s activists in India on Wednesday criticised the Vatican for revoking the suspension of a Catholic priest who was convicted by a US court of sexually abusing a minor.

Indian priest Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, 61, was suspended by his local diocese in India five years ago after being accused of sexually abusing two girls during a posting to Minnesota.

He was later convicted of assaulting one of them, a 16-year-old, and served time in jail.

But the Vatican lifted his suspension in January following a recommendation by an Indian bishop.

“The lifting of the suspension amounts to the Church condoning his actions,” Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, an NGO working on women`s and girls` rights, told AFP.

The decision was “totally unacceptable”, coming as the Vatican undertook to root out sexual abuse by the Church, she said.

Jeyapaul was accused of sexually abusing two girls while serving as a priest in Crookston Diocese in MinnesotaMegan Peterson between 2004 and 2005, but one victim dropped the charges against him.

The Diocese of Ooty in southern India`s Tamil Nadu state suspended him in 2010 before he was arrested by Interpol in 2012 and extradited to the US to face trial.

Following a plea deal, Roseau County district court sentenced him to a year in jail but he was released and deported to India in June 2015 on account of time served while awaiting trial.

Sebastian Selvanathan, a spokesman for Ooty diocese, said that while the Vatican had lifted Jeyapaul`s suspension, the priest would not return to service.

“We have provided him accommodation but he will not have any active role in the Church,” Selvanathan told AFP.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a US group, has urged the Church to warn the public about Jeyapaul`s past and expressed concern over his presence in India.

“We worry now about the safety of girls in India near Fr Jeyapaul,” the group said on its website.

Local police said they would collect more information on the disgraced priest but said he was not under watch. – Zee News, 17 February 2016

Jeff Anderson & Mike Finnegan

Dalit Christians accuse Catholic Church of caste discrimination – MISNA

Dalit Christians protest against discrimination in the ChurchMISNAA DCLM delegation asked the UN and other organizations to urge the Holy See to eradicate the caste discriminatory practices and to withdraw the Permanent Observer position of the Holy See in the UN if the Vatican does not take the necessary steps [to end untouchability]. – MISNA

Cardinal Archbishop Baselios CleemisThe Dalit Christian Liberation Movement (DCLM) accuses the Vatican and the Indian Catholic Church leadership of caste-based discrimination “by way of allowing it directly and indirectly in their spiritual, educational and administrative places”.

“We have submitted seven copies of the complaint to Rajeev Chandran, assistant director of the UN Center in New Delhi addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and different human rights organizations”, Mary John, president of the DCLM, told ucanews.com.

A DCLM delegation asked the UN and other organizations to urge the Holy See to eradicate the caste discriminatory practices and to withdraw the Permanent Observer position of the Holy See in the UN if the Vatican does not take the necessary steps. Dalits, or untouchables, are the lowest caste within Hindu society. Huge numbers of Gregory XV (9 January 1554 – 8 July 1623)Dalits have converted to Christianity and Islam over the decades, though in reality the religions offer limited protection from societal prejudice.

“The discrimination against Dalit Christians in the Catholic Church* is a human rights issue and it would be right if we approach the UN to find a solution to it,” Mary John said.

“There are separate cemeteries for Dalit Christians. Even in the church there are separate seating arrangements for those from the Dalit community and others. The festival choir processions do not enter the streets where Dalit Christians live”, said Kudanthai Arasan, president of the Viduthalai Tamil Puligal Katchi, adding that in some churches even the dead body of a Dalit Christian is not allowed inside for funeral Mass. While Dalit Christians form 70 percent of the total Catholic population in India, said John, their representation in the Church leadership is only 4-5 percent. Out of about 200 Salvatore Pennacchio is Papal Nuncio to Indiaactive bishops in India, only nine are from the Dalit community.

“We have raised our voice time and again to end this practice in the Indian Church, but our pleas have been falling on deaf ears. … They do not take our case seriously to the Vatican”, John said.

Father Joseph Chinnayyan, deputy secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), said that as far as the Dalit Christians’ complaint about the issue to the UN is concerned, “we are not aware of any such complaint and will only respond once we receive any communication about it”. – Euroasia Review, 30 June 2015

Reference

St. Thomas and Caste – Ishwar Sharan: “Scheduled Caste Christians demonstrated against the untouchability practiced in the Church when Pope John Paul II visited India in 1986. They probably did not know that Pope Gregory XV (1621-1623) had sanctioned caste within the Indian Church and that his edict has never been rescinded. Earlier in 1599 the Council of Diamper and again in 1606 the Council of Goa had sanctioned the same. These sanctions have governed Catholic practice ever since — though Christians piously maintain that caste is contrary to Christ’s teachings.”

» MISNA, or the Missionary International Service News Agency, provides daily news ‘from, about and for’ the ‘world’s Souths’, not just in the geographical sense, since December 1997.

Dalits for Equal Rights in Churches

Caste-segregated Christian graveyard in Tamil Nadu: Dalits are buried on the left side of the wall, caste Christians on the right.

Catholic Church in India: Sex, sex, and more sex – G. Pramod Kumar

Sister Mary ChandySister Mary Chandy, sixty-seven years old, walked out of the Congregation of the Daughters of Presentation of Mary in the Temple 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 the book are below. – Editor

Barely two years after it was slammed by An Autobiography of a Nun that catalogued the lurid details of bullying, sexual abuse and homosexuality, the Catholic Church in Kerala is again attacked by a former nun.

Sixty-eight-year-old Sister Mary, who left her Catholic congregation in Kerala 13 years ago in disgust after 40 years of nunhood, is ready with her exposé. In a biographical sketch titled Nanma Niranjavare Swasthi, she heaps more ignominy on the Church.

Sister Mary talks in vivid detail about the extreme pain she had to endure during her tenure with the congregation: physical and psychological oppression, the sexual permissiveness and abuse prevalent among some of the nuns and priests, and the harassment she faced for sticking to her values and commitment to service.

She also talks about the miserable sense of abandonment, rather than sacrifice or service, that some of the nuns feel.

For the Catholic Church in Kerala which is already under attack with a wide range of allegations ranging from oppression of its nuns, abuse, suicides and inappropriate sexual behaviour, the book will certainly be further bad publicity.

Ex-Priest K.P. ShibuTwo biographical accounts; one by Jesme Raphael who gave up the nun’s robes after 26 years of service (2009) and another by a male priest, K.P. Shibu Kalaparambil who left after 24 years in white (2010); had in the recent past, dented the reputation and order of the Catholic Church. Both of them had explosive revelations including sexual exploitation of women and men.

In her memoirs Sister Mary, born in the Palai area of eastern Kerala, describes how she wanted to be a nun at the age of 13 and ran away from home to a Catholic congregation. Although she “found her path of service at the altar of the god”, what awaited her was four decades of hardship, betrayal and absolute disappointment.

Unable to take it anymore, she abandoned her robes in 1999 but continued her service to humanity by establishing a modest orphanage at Wayanad in north Kerala. According to Jose Pazhukaran, the writer who helped Mary put together the memoir, she literally begs door-to-door to raise the resources for her orphanage. “She is now doing what she couldn’t accomplish as a nun – to serve humanity and be a mother to abandoned children,” says Pazhukaran.

“There was a lot of unbearable pain and humiliation. Some ran away, some committed suicide. I endured all the pain because of the priest’s words at my first communion as a nun – you should be ready to follow the path of Jesus Christ. These words are still throbbing in my heart and that is why I am a mother of orphans,” says Sister Mary.

Translations of two chapters of the book are given below :

A Catholic NunTHOSE WHO READ SEX MAGAZINES

Some of the nuns used to read books with filthy pictures. I used to wonder how they laid their hands on them. Once I noticed that one of the nuns mostly stayed in her room with the doors bolted.

She was very good-looking and otherwise active, but I didn’t clearly understand the “clandestine things” she was up to.

One day, I found out that she was reading a filthy magazine. A magazine that had pictures of naked men and women. I was very upset. Once you pledge yourself to be a nun, such temptations can compel you to give in. Privately, I admonished her and warned her that she should not repeat it, lest I should tell the matron of the provinciate. I also promised her that I wouldn’t tell anybody. I used to wonder who got them those magazines.

I also resented the male priests coming to the convent without any reason. I really didn’t like how some nuns spent so much time with them and flirted with them. I thought that it could lead them to wrongdoings that could bring disrepute to the congregation. I complained to the mother, but she kept evading it.

Most of the time, what you saw if you accidentally walked into a room of the nuns was shameful. I haven’t seen even a handful of them who were chaste. I just told myself that what comes from flesh has to be flesh.

There was this church hospital at one of the convents when I spent my time there. The hospital was adjacent to the church. I came to know that a doctor at the hospital and a nun had an affair. Once when a patient was brought to the hospital in a critical condition, the doctor was found missing. We, the nuns, frantically searched Medieval Monk with Nun: Mediaeval convents in Europe were high class brothels.for him; but he was nowhere to be seen.

Knowing their closeness to each other, I somehow felt that he would be closeted with the nun somewhere. Finally, my search led to a room from which I heard hushed voices. I brought them out of the room and angrily told them that such behaviour wouldn’t work.

I didn’t know what they were doing in the room, but I am sure it wasn’t something good. I told him that a doctor is worthless if he cannot attend to a patient in an emergency.

Many others also advised the nun that she could get out of the robe and marry so that the congregation’s name is not sullied. The mother, an Italian named Luccia, was informed too. I told her in Italian that those two had been carrying on for a while and they should be thrown out.

The issue simmered for some time and both the doctor and the nun went back to their old ways. Subsequently, the doctor even threatened to kill me. But, almost everyone seemed to side with them and I felt isolated. I just had to ignore what was happening.

They got married later and the nun left the congregation.

I was really disgusted with the way the convent worked and was really reluctant to continue there. It even affected my taking the communion and my confessions. I felt disgusted the way some uncommitted priests conducted the church rituals. They were plain perfunctory.

There was a practice of assigning daily duty for everyone in the convent. To avoid work that they didn’t like, such as farming, some nuns stayed in their rooms. They mostly seemed to feel that they had lost something in life.

40 years of my life as a nun went through such contradictions.

Right from my childhood, I handled the difficulties I faced without letting my family and others know. Therefore, this sense of aloofness was growing in me. In fact, I realise only now that on such situations Mother Mary was giving me the mental strength.

Pope Francis 'the Humble': This pope is not what he appears to be!RAPING FATHERS

Those who didn’t oblige the priests were always in trouble. They get pained in some way or the other. Some think that the oath of discipline that you take while accepting the nun’s robe is to be subservient to such men.

Such an incident happened to me as well. As somebody who had thought of Jesus Christ as the only savior since the age of six, this experience pained me immensely.

This incident, in which a priest tried to molest me and I hit him with a wooden stool in self-defence, became a big issue at the congregation. Although I was the one outraged, in their eyes, I was the culprit. The unwritten rule was: whatever the priests did, nobody could question them.

I was only twenty then.

The incident happened at the Chevayaoor convent. There was this practice of serving breakfast to the priests after the morning communion. Sometimes, it was sent to the church. The nuns needed to take turns to cook for them and serve them.

I used to get nervous whenever my turn came because I wasn’t good with cooking and would certainly be criticised for that. Nobody used to help me or advise me. Instead, they seemed to get some vicarious pleasure by pointing out the mistakes. I used to find it very painful.

Okay, let’s get into the incident. Once, I was assigned to cook and serve a priest who finished the communion (I don’t want to name him though). I went to the dining hall with egg curry and ‘appam’. He came in, washed Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias lives in a Church-owned building in Rome which also houses Europe's largest gay club.his hands and bolted the door before taking his seat.

He asked me to serve; but sensing some mischief, I stayed away. When he persisted, I started shivering with fear. At that moment, I deeply hated the rule that one should obey whatever the priests orders.

The priest got up, came to me and grabbed my hands.

Don’t you know all this, Sister Mary?, he asked.

When I cried, he tried to pull me close to his chest. I relieved myself and ran, but he chased me around the table. I really got wild as I used to do when I was a child on such situations. I got hold of a wooden stool in front of me and hit him hard.

It fell on his head and he started bleeding profusely. I got both sad and scared although I did it in self-defence – he was a priest. I screamed in fear and rushed out of the room and told everyone what happened. But most of them appeared indifferent and started scolding me.

“What did you do, are you out to shame the congregation?”

When they went into the room , the priest was on his chair, speechless and drenched in blood. He was taken to the Kozhikode medical college hospital where it was reported that he fell in the bathroom.

JesusI was the target of tremendous ire after that incident. When everybody walked away from me as if I was a proclaimed offender I prayed hard. But when I realised that it was the way things worked, I really got scared that I was trapped in serious danger. Since then, I was marked; a thorn in the flesh for the congregation.

Opposing wrongdoing was my character and that was the reason for all the conflicts that I faced in life as a nun. I wasn’t ready to blindly accept the priests and the church without looking at their deeds.

Sensing the situation I was in, Father Peter called for me one day. I told him every thing. I cried a lot in front of him. He consoled me and advised me to handle the Church and people with restraint.

But, the other nuns by then had branded me as a rogue. Nobody pointed out what was the ground for my disobedience. Since then, I was a nuisance for them. Sister Betty was the only consolation.

Since I was termed disobedient right from my stay at the novitiate, my nunhood had to wait for six months. The priests believe that they had the complete control of the nuns. They believe that they are the ultimate owners of the Church, its properties and the believers.

When people get sexually exploited, their belief gets affected; that is what is happening now. Some people commit suicide when they are unable to cope with this reality.

The priest who was hit by me is a good friend now and calls me often to enquire about my well-being. He also tells me that my response has reformed him. – Firstpost, 5 April 2012

» Nanma Niranjavare Swasthi, Malayalam, 106 pages, Rs. 85, Kairali Books, Kannur, Kerala 

Priests and nuns being married during the French Revolution.

Indian Catholic Church properties valued at rupees several lakh crores — D. P. Satish

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, PuducherryImmaculate Conception Cathedral: This Puducherry church replaces the Vedapuri Ishwaran Temple destroyed by the Jesuits and the French Governor’s wife Madame Dupleix (as attested by Ananda Ranga Pillai) . The Puducherry bishopric is one of the wealthiest in India and even operates an unofficial money lending business.

D.P. SatishThis report by D.P. Satish was made in August 2009. We are reprinting it here with reference to the RBI’s interest in obtaining gold from Hindu temples to shore up the rupee. The Catholic Church is the largest landowner in India and a conservative estimate of its holdings is Rs 7000 crores plus (2009). Much of its land and wealth was appropriated from Hindu temples during colonial times. Yet there is no government over-site of Church administration, and no interference from the government in the appointment of bishops who are the wealth administrators. This must change. The Indian Church acts like a state within a state in the Indian Union yet gives its feudal allegiance to the Pope in Rome. In a secular democratic republic, there is no reason why Hindu deities must give up their wealth to the state when Christian bishops and their vast, tax-free properties go scot-free. — Editor

Cardinal Oswald Gracias is the de facto head of the Catholic Church in India.A debate in whether church properties in India should be governed by the government. Some leading figures from the community demanded a law at the recently held All India Catholic Union Conclave [in Goa]. But, the bishops are not ready.

The Catholic Church in India owns the largest chunk of non-agricultural land, and is known as the second largest employer after the Government of India. It’s annual budget equals that of the Indian Navy but the Catholic community has been asking where is the money and where is the transparency?

Their conclave in Goa discussed the tangle. “All over the world churches are subjected to the law of the state. There cannot be a state within a state. Religious organisations cannot form a state within a state,” says Catholic leader and former Union minister Eduardo Faleiro.

Eduardo FaleiroBut, the shocked clergy are not in a mood to change their system. They claim that the demand is absurd and allows government interference.

“If you have a Waqf Board you are giving too much control to the government. That will add to large-scale corruption as we have seen where ever government has been in control of religious properties and institutions either in Islam or even in Hindu temples,” claims Catholic community leader Dr John Dayal.

The Catholic Church in India is over 500 years old and has total control over its assets across the country. Some Catholics feel the bishops are not the right people to handle properties worth several lakh crores. But so far, the government has kept quite on the row. — IBN Live, 9 August 2009

See also

Notorious Kandhamal missionary gets UPA’s Minority Commission prize – R.L. Francis

Fr. Ajay Kumar Singh receives award from UPA's Minority Commission

R.L. Francis“By influencing the minority commission to give the award to Ajay Singh, Church has been successful in providing government stamp to Ajay Singh’s alleged conversion activities in Kandhamal area. It has also sent a message that the Congress led UPA government is behind him and he can accelerate his conversion activities as usual.” — R.L. Francis

Fr. Ajay SinghThe Minority Commission of the Congress led UPA government has given Minority Man award to Father Ajay Singh, a Catholic priest, on July 5, 2013 in New Delhi who is known for playing a dubious role in the Kandhamal violence that took place in the year 2008. Ajay Singh was heading Jana Vikas [of the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Archdiocese] at that time which was allegedly responsible for inciting riots in Kandhamal area.

The Minority Commission has given award to Ajay Singh inspite of a stiff opposition from the district and senior police officials of Odisha. The officials categorically conveyed to the Minority Commission that if the award was given to Ajay Singh, then it will hurt the sentiments of not only the tribals of Kandhamal, but the entire state because the tribals consider him responsible for dividing them into Hindu and Christian groups. He is known for converting the innocent people of Kandhamal through proselytisation.

According to the reports which appeared in a section of media, two names were cropped up for the award. One was Teesta Setalvad who has fought for justice for the victims of Gujarat riots in 2002 and another was Ajay Singh, recommended by the Church leaders, who are also members of the Minority Commission.  After lot of discussions, the Catholic Church lobby within the Minority Commission prevailed over others and finally Ajay Singh’s name was finalized and Teesta’s name was dropped.

Chairman of the Minority Commission Wajahat HabibullahDefending the decision of the Minority Commission, Wajahat Habibullah, chairman of Minority Commission said that the district administration and senior officials of Odisha have expressed their opinion on Ajay Singh. But, he does not have any criminal record again him.

By influencing the minority commission to give the award to Ajay Singh, Church has been successful in providing government stamp to Ajay Singh’s alleged conversion activities in Kandhamal area. It has also sent a message that the Congress led UPA government is behind him and he can accelerate his conversion activities as usual.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had already opposed the Minority Commission’s decision to give award to the Catholic priest.  In a letter to the Commission, VHP has stated that it was against the decision of Minority Commission to give award to Ajay Singh.

As apprehended by the senior officials of Odisha government, this may lead to resurfacing of disturbance in Kandhamal and the peace process may get disturbed.  And, the communal forces may take advantage of this situation and they may politically polarise the voters before Lok Sabha and Odisha Assembly poll due next year.

UPA Chairperson Sonia-G with Christian Vice-Chairman of the Minority Commission Dr. H.T. SanglianaThis kind of situation may also help the Christians organizations to mobiles more funds from the international agencies in the name of persecution of the minority communities.

To conclusion, the Minority Commission has committed a big mistake by giving award to a controversial Christian priest. It has reopened the Pandora box and there is a great threat to the reversal of peace process and the secular fabric is in danger in Kandhamal. There appears to be national and international conspiracy once again to disturb peace and communal harmony in Kandhamal.  And, all need to be vigilant from these forces in the larger interest of India. – Global Free Press, 20 August 2013

 » R. L. Francis is president of Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM).  

See also

  1. Kandhamal: The Real Challenges – R.L. Francis
  2. Kandhamal: Challenging A.P. Shah’s ex-parte verdict – Prasanna Parida
  3. Catholic Church in Kandhamal: Was the alleged rape an ecclesiastical afterthought? – Sandhya Jain
  4. EU Inspection Team To Visit Kandhamal – P.K. Thomas
  5. WORLD VISION: Christian NGO engaged in culture murder not social service – V.K. Shashikumar

Africa, Asia see boom in Catholic priests as numbers fall in Europe – Nicole Winfield

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of MumbaiThe number of Catholic priests in Africa and Asia has shot up over the past decade while decreasing in Europe, mirroring trends in the numbers of Catholic faithful that helped lead to the election of Pope Francis as the first non-European pope in over a millennium.

The Vatican on Monday released statistics on the state of the Catholic Church in the world, showing a 39.5 percent increase in the number of priests in Africa and a 32 percent hike in Asia from 2001 to 2011. The number of priests in Europe fell by 9 percent, while remaining stable in the Americas. Worldwide, priest numbers were up 2.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of Catholics overall — or those who have been baptized — rose from 1.196 billion in 2010 to 1.214 billion in 2011. Given the world’s population increase, though, the overall proportion of Catholics remained essentially unchanged at 17.5 percent. 

For years, the Vatican has been battling a drop-off in vocations and baptisms in Europe and North America, while seeing a boom in the developing world. Retired Pope Benedict XVI spent most of his eight-year pontificate trying to revive the Catholic faith in these once-traditionally Christian lands.

Francis was elected the first pope from the Americas in part riding a wave of demands that the Catholic Church hierarchy better reflect the demographics of today’s church, where two-thirds of the world’s Catholics live in the southern hemisphere. Yet while the pope hails from Argentina, most of the Vatican leadership is European, Francis SJthe majority of cardinals who elected him are European and the bulk of the world’s bishops — 70 percent — continue to hail from Europe and the Americas, not Africa or Asia.

One bright growth spot for the Church in Europe and the Americas is the increase in so-called permanent deacons, who can be married men who can preach: Their numbers shot up 43 percent in Europe over the decade, and in the Americas went from 19,100 in 2001 to 26,000 in 2011.

While the number of nuns rose in Africa and Asia over the past decade, their numbers couldn’t offset the steep, 10 percent global drop in sisters of religious orders, with Europe registering a 22 percent decline, Oceania a 21 percent drop and the Americas down 17 percent.The situation of religious sisters in the United States is particularly dramatic: The Vatican in recent years has launched two investigations into their plight, one focusing on their quality of life to determine how to reverse their decline, and one into doctrinal problems in the main umbrella group of women’s religious congregations. – Star Tribune, 13 May 2013

Benedict returns secretly to his Vatican hideout, hoping to avoid arrest in child abuse cases.

Pope Emeritus Benedict returns secretly to his Vatican hideout from the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo by air, hoping to avoid arrest in the many pending child abuse cases. Pope Francis, who walks to work in boots, has decided to stay in the Vatican’s guest house and not move into the Apostolic Palace.

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