Christians being taken for a ride by clergy: Pulikunnel

via HK Correspondent published on January 29, 2006

In a clarion call, Mr Joseph Pulikunnel, Director, Indian Institute of Christian Studies, has asked Christians all over Kerala to dump the outdated teachings being preached by a section of the bishops in the state. Quoting profusely from the Bible, Mr Pulikunnel, a scholar respected all over the state, reminded the laity that they were specially chosen by Jesus Christ for praising the one who led them from darkness to light. “The verse 9 from 1Peter Chapter 2 says that  â€œye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light,” Mr Pulikunnel writes in the editorial  of “Hosanna”, a magazine which highlights the highhandedness of the Christian clergy in Kerala.


He also reminds the Christians in the state that they need not give undue importance to the clergy. “There were not clergies around when the early Christians built churches and chapels with their own sweat and blood. The so called religious leaders were brought in by the colonial powers which conquered India for political reasons,” Mr Pulikunnel says in the editorial titled “Whom should we listen to”.  


Mr Pulikunnel points out that the Christens all over the country belong to the Bharata Christian Sabha. “The bishops deputed by Vatican England and the Antioch landed in India only to enlist more and more people to their respective churches. They were not at all interested in propagating the teachings of Jesus Christ. Their mission was to build spiritual god owns and warehouses all over India,” Mr Pulikunnel blasted the clergy. He also ridiculed the Christian religious leaders for propagating falsehoods like only those who seek the blessings from the spiritual warehouses were eligible to get passports to the Heaven.


He pointed out that it was the servility to the bishops and other clergy that led to the aberration in Christianity. Quoting again from 1 Peter, Mr Pulikunnel said that Jesus did not appoint any priest or bishops. “None of the twelve disciples of Jesus were priests. They were asked by Jesus to be role models for the laity,” Mr Pulikunnel said quoting 1 Peter 5.


He also lambasted the clergy for treating the laity like slaves. “The entire clergy have succeeded in usurping the properties of the Church leaving the laity as slaves. More than that of the servants of the Church, they behave like masters,” Mr Pulikunnel charged.


Taking potshots at the ongoing controversy about the celebration of Mass to be followed in churches by various rites in the Roman Catholic Church, Mr Pulikunnel said the believers are left at the mercy of the bishops who call the shots. “For most of the bishops and the Catholic publications, it is the system of saying the Mass which is more important than the Jesus. The laity has no freedom to say his /her prayers. The bishops distribute leaflets indicating how the Mass  should be said. This is ridiculous,” pointed out Mr Pulikunnel.


He writes that the believers are caught between the bishops and the God. “The question is whom should we believe. The bishop or the God? The laity should understand the fact that the bishops are trying to consolidate their power and position by dividing the  ordinary people on the basis of saying of Mass,” Pulikunnel said.


This venerated scholar has also criticized the attempt by Church authorities to dissuade the laity from interacting with various factions of Christians. “The bishops are against any social interaction between various factions. The Syro Malabar sect has been asked not to marry from the Chaldean Church,” Mr Pulikunnel pointed out. He concludes the editorial by pointing out that all these attempts by the clergy is to divide the people on non-issues and to consolidate the power of the church.               

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