GoaChronicle.com caught up with Fr Pedro (last name withheld to protect identity of the priest) who was miffed that people are mooting selling of gold in Hindu temples to raise money to reenergise the Indian economy without even considering any contribution that can be sought from Christian Churches:
GoaChronicle: You appear to be annoyed with the statement of Congress leaders mooting the idea of selling gold in temples to raise money to boost Indian economy? Why are you annoyed?
Fr Pedro: This is discrimination against us Christians. Every government wants to prove that it is more for the Hindu people than the other government. Congress is currently trying to woo the Hindu voters, therefore it is focussing on Hindu temples. The Catholic Church and other Christian denomination Churches are also wealthy. We have huge land parcels mostly donated for our religious activities. We should also be allowed in a nation building exercise. I am sure the senior leaders of the Catholic Church would not mind selling their Church land or offering some of their donations towards rebuilding India.
GC: But will the Church leaders agree to selling large land parcels. Does not the Church use it for Church-related activities?
FP: You are too innocent Savio, like most Christians. Of course we use most of the land for Church-related activities but some of the land that we get through Christian donations, some of the Church leaders sell that land. I cannot tell you what they do with the money because of our secrecy code but all I can say is that not only the Vatican bank but also the Church leaders’ bank adds a few more zeroes in their account.
In Goa, itself the lead shepherd of the Catholic Church was instrumental in selling an island to a realtor from Goa, who then sold it to a big developer from Bangalore. They were planning an exotic golf resort Island. Villagers have now objected to the project.
Like that most land-parcels in Goa belonging to the Catholic Church or donated to the Catholic Church are being sold-off. But it is hush-hush matter. I am certain this is happening all over India. Therefore I am confident we have the Church land to be put for the use of reenergising the Indian economy. We should sell the Church land and raise money for India.
GC: Why do you think it is a discrimination against the Christians?
FP: We have been taught by our senior Church leaders that anything under the present Modi-led government will be against the Christian minorities. Most of the Archbishops have been writing letters to the Christians in India, international human rights and religious rights bodies, and foreign media that Christians are in danger in our country, Indian constitution is in danger and democracy is being trampled upon.
I do not see Christians being in danger in India but when such suggestions of temple gold come up or when media only covers crimes of Hindu priests, then I feel we Christians are discriminated against. Indian media never gives airtime to the crimes of rape, pedophilia and murky financial dealings by Christian priests, pastors or bishops. Only Bishop Franco Mulakkal manage to get some quality airtime. I suppose he had some friends in the media.
Nobody cares for us Christians. Even this selling of temple gold India is driven by Hindutva. BJP and Congress want to show the world that it is the Hindus through their temples that have come to save India during the economic crisis; not the Indian-Christians and their Vatican-controlled Churches.
GC: Are you saying this a ploy of Hindutva?
FP: I am saying everyone wants to please the Hindus. Sonia Gandhi was a strong supporter of the Christian churches in India. She was always there to support the Catholic Church when we usurped land or when questions were raised in our financial dealings or when we indulged in conversions.
But now her religiously confused son Rahul Gandhi is seen acting like thread-wearing (Janeu Dhari Brahmin) Hindu during elections just to get Hindu votes. He does not care for the Christians anymore. If he did, he would have advised his Congress leaders to suggest the selling of Church land to raise money for the Indian economy, than temple gold. He does not want any credit to go to us Christians but the Hindus.
GC: Are Church leaders personally wealthy?
FP: Now that’s a good question. You must be aware of Bishop Franco Mulakkal. The Bishop who put Indian priests on a global map of accused rapists.This Bishop forgot his priestly duties and acted in a demonic manner with the now 45-year old nun, thirteen times. His associate was caught with 16.5 crores in cash by the police. His defence was that the money was raised by selling school-related stationary items in their diocese. In fact the total amount in cash that accrued from sale of stationary was Rs 30 crores.
Now this is just one senior Church leader who could not keep his cassock down but has loads of money. So I am certain that there are many priests in Goa and in India that personally have a lot of wealth. Some will have houses on their names, cars and some land. Like a case of a Bishop in Mangaluru, he has money to even support an alleged wife and child in a sprawling house with a car and driver.
So priests have money to cover-up their sexual abuse crimes by paying-off police officers, reaching a settlement with the family of sexual abuse victim or even paying the family to take the blame of the rape of their own daughter on them, like in the case of Fr Robin Arockiaraj.
Some even work with the naxals for money in remote areas in Jharkhand were they allow girls to go with kidnapers by telling them not worry but the girls end up coming back brutally raped like in the case of the Jesuit priest Fr Alphonse Aind.
Or some earn money like the allegations on a Mother Theresa run-shelter home for orphans that became international news, when babies were sold for a price.
This is all fine, as long as they do the work of God. Therefore in a time of a national crisis, I believe most Church leaders should and will agree to sell Church land and give some from donations they receive towards reenergising the Indian economy.
GC: Are you speaking only for the Catholic Church or all Christian Churches?
FP: First my appeal is that the Catholic Church must be approached. Then my appeal is for all the ‘Church Planting Evangelical Mission’ in India who receive funds for US, Germany, UK and other nations to use that money towards nation building. Church of South India, Church of North India, Gospel For Asia are known to have huge money chests and land parcels running into crores of rupees.
Since they have already spread their plantations of Christianity all around India; it is time they are also approached to contribute towards nation building. Instead of spending money on converting people, they could use thy money is doing Nation ‘Seva’, which will please God more.
I am aware that to convert one Indian to Christianity on average a Church-planting mission get about Rs 50,000. Now think if that money is used towards nation building, helping the poor, instead of converting them to Christianity.
Also crores are spent on building Churches, cutting hills to build Churches all over India, if that money can be spent in nation building and helping the poor, we would be doing Jesus’s work.
More importantly today, we do not need physical Churches. The coronavirus has forced us to close all Church and, to spread the message of Jesus through video-conferencing and ZOOM calls. We can celebrate mass online.
We are a secular nation. It is time all religions are treated equally. Sell the Church land and raise money for India.
P.S: This is a Satire. But it sends it out the message to whom the message needs to go out too.