Catholic Diocese offers Beer and Cigarrete to Jesus

published on July 13, 2008

Jesus Christ picture kicks up row

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In what seems like a big faux pas that may snowball into a controversy, the official journal of a Catholic diocese in Kerala carried a picture of Jesus Christ with a beer mug in one hand and a cigarette in the other on the cover page of its June issue.

The picture, which has invited strong reactions from the Christian community in the state, appeared in the June 5 edition of “Vachana Jyotis” — the magazine published by diocese of Neyyattinkara, on the outskirts of the state capital. Pushed on the back foot, the church has withdrawn the issue and stopped publication till further notice.

Vincent Samuel, secretary to the local bishop, said “the mistake” had crept into the magazine as an oversight. “It happened without the knowledge of the clergy. Both priests and laymen constitute the editorial board of the journal, but the former are concerned only with the content. Design and layout are done by laymen,” said Samuel. He added that no such error had ever occurred in the past 12 years of its existence.

“The picture in question seems to have been downloaded from the internet and blown up,” he said, adding that “the publication of the journal has been suspended indefinitely”. Asked if any action had been taken against any employee, he said since the magazine has stopped publishing, the employees are naturally out of job.

Fighting hard to hide the embarrassment, church officials refused to reveal the name of the magazine’s editor. As protests intensified, the diocese issued an apology and promised to look into the issue.

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