Local Christians in India demand their own bishops Elected by people, not by Vatican
Bhopal: Mr. R.L. Francis is the National President of the Dalit Christians organization known as ‘Poor Christian Liberation Movement’ (PCLM). On May 2, 2009, in Bhopal, Mr. R.L. Francis along with his companions, Rev. Fr. William Premdass Chaudhary and Mr. P.B. Lomeo (Editor of the Church Restoration, Bhopal, Monthly) toured to the Christians colonies in Bhopal and listened and discussed local / Dalit Christians’ problems. Mr. Francis says that the churches are responsible for the pathetic condition for Dalit Christians in India.
Mr. Francis says that church authorities are spending cores of rupees in order to spread their kingdom through preaching. There are around two hundred (200) catholic dioceses, in India, which follow rules and regulation of Vatican and in the coming of fifty years (50) there will be more dioceses in India. Mr. Francis says that if Catholic Church spends more money for the development and enlistment rather than on preaching then the condition of Dalit Christians, who are wounded sheep of this fold, will improve their condition and they will have better opportunity in their lives.
Mr. France says that the church authorities have best educational institutions in India. There are about four to five per cent Christian population in India but churches have hold on around twenty two per cent (22%) of educational institutions and thirty per cent (30%) of health care. Next to government, the churches are the biggest land owners in India. In spite of having enough facilities with the church yet Dalit Christians’ condition is deteriorating. There are fifteen per cent (15%) Dalit Christians in the cities and forty per cent (40%) Dalit Christians in the rural areas are illiterate in spite of having best convent schools in the church. Thousand of Tribal girls are forced to do the work as Aaya in the rich families. These girls are coming from Tribal areas where there are no job opportunities. These girls (Aayas) are physically molested and mentally tortured.
Churches are not taking enough care of these girls. In Madhya Pradesh (M.P.) alone, in spite of less Christians population, catholic church have cores of rupees and enough means to provide better education and job to Dalit Christians. In Madhya Pradesh the church have more then one hundred and fifty (150) High schools and half of them are convent schools. In Bhopal alone catholic church have the property, movable and unmovable, worth of more than six hundred crores (600) yet Christians’ condition is not improved. The church property and money are being used by the authorities as they wish.
The members of Poor Christian Liberation Movement, Rev. Fr. William Predass Chaudhary and Mr. P.B. Lomio explained to the local Christians about Mr, Anand Benard’s, who is the only member of minority commission of Madhay Pradesh government, suggestion to the M.P. government to form like a Waqf bord. If the M. P. government forms such kind of bord then we must welcome the government’s step and the Christians will have no loss at all. On August 27, 2004, Poor Christian Liberation Movement had given a memorandum to the Honorable Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohon Singh to form such kind of committee to control the properties of churches. Last year June 6, 2008, Poor Christian Liberation Movement had organized a National Convention at India Islamic Cultural Centre, 87-88 Lodi Road, New Delhi-110003. From all over India there were three hundred (300) representatives who repeated the demand to form committees to look after church properties. The National President of PCLM, Mr. R.L. Frances says that if the Waqf board has no credibility or the Muslim community bearing any loss then the Muslim community will not allow such king of board. But they are benefiting from Waqf board. If such kind of board / committee is formed to safeguard the properties of churches then Christian community should not oppose it. There may be such kind of people who may oppose for their own sake. Such kind of people astray the Christian community from the main issue. The properties and money are being misused by leaders of churches and rich people The educational institutions are being run by the upper caste rather than Dalit Christians who are deprived from all the facilities in the churches. Thus upper caste people are enjoying both properties and educational facilities.
Poor Christian Liberation Movement regrets about the behavior of church authorities who are collecting money from national and international level in the name of poor Christians who are attacked by the miscreants. The money is not reaching fully to the effected people. Mr. R.L. Francis says that there are no problem between Christians and Hindus. The problems come only when we interfere in the lives of others and religions. We should follow sincerely our own religion without criticizing. We must honor all the religions because all religions give salvation. The National President of PCLM, Mr. R. L. Francis appeals to the local and Dalit Christians to fight for justice and equal right in churches and society. We need to struggle to have our own position in the churches. The struggle is the key for success.
The appointment of bishops by the Vatican must be opposed because when bishops are appointed by Vatican then they ignore the local Christians. The South Indian priests should not be appointed as bishops for North Indian dioceses. North Indian priests should be appointed as bishops for North Indian dioceses as other denominations do. Local priests know the culture and traditions better and thus local bishops will be more successful in evangelization in North India.