Kerala Cardinal Prefers BJP to Marxist “Brothers”

Response of Dr John Dayal, immediate past president of the All India Catholic Union, and Member, National Integration Council, to remarks of the CBCI President. Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, the Major Archbishop of Angamaly-Ernakulam diocese, head of the Syro Malabar Catholic church of Kerala and current president of the Catholic Bishops Conference, is a highly respected religious leader. He is not the political leader of the Christian community either in Kerala or in the rest of India. In fact, the Canon law and the codes of the Catholic Church make it clear that Bishops can guide the flock on issues of faith, but active politics is in the realm of the Laity or the ordinary Christians. The church leadership does protest when there are atrocities on the community, and approaches governments and political leaders. But that does not amount to political activity.
The Cardinal’s views of the Bharatiya Janata party being better in any way than the Marxists, are therefore strictly his own as a citizen of India. One does understand that the Church in Kerala, specially the Syrian Churches, have their angst as far as the Marxists are concerned, dating back to 1958 when the first Marxist chief minister of Kerala, EMS Namboodirpad, sought to intervene in the management of Christian educational institutions. I see the Cardinal’s comments in this perspec tive, arising from his life experience in the State.
The Marxists too have their own compulsions in Kerala and see the Church – Hindu, Muslim or Christian – in an adversarial light. In the rest of the country, the Left in general and the Marxists in particular have been on the forefront of the common fight against communalism and fundamentalism, though their sudden love for Naveen Patnaik after his severing of ties with the Bharatiya Janata party has left us all rather breathless.
The Bharatiya Janata party, the political face of the poisonous Sangh Parivar, has soiled its hands with the blood of innocents – be they Muslims or Christians or others. And it remains unapologetic. How can anyone be worse than them in the Indian situation? I personally hope there will be a time in Kerala when the Church and the Marxists will be able to mend their fences and work for the common good. After all, even Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil in his autobiography calls the Marxists “Brothers.” Even in Kerala, Christians, and among them Catholics, exercise their Constitutional freedom to vote for parties and ideologies they like.–
Source: John Dayal –


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