Senior priest differs with Bishop on jihad remark

A senior priest of the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Father Paul Thelekkat, is of the opinion that Pala Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt said in his homily in a parish church on September 8 was “unfortunately used emotionally charged words such as love jihad and narcotic jihad”, which could wound Muslims.

“We are living in a very communal society where there is communal spite”, said Fr. Thelekkat, who also expressed the opinion in an article published in the Malayalam daily Mangalam on Wednesday. He said that the Bishop deviated from the stand of the Catholic Church and Pope Francis in the attitude of dialogue towards other believers. The Pope clearly spoke in his recent encyclical Frattelli Tutti (Brothers All) that the Catholic Church’s leaders had the lofty tradition of keeping away from communal statements.

Fr. Thelekkat, chief editor of Sathyadeepam, a Catholic publication from the archdiocese, said that Pope Francis had repeatedly refused to attribute the crime of terror to the Muslim community.

He said that the Bishop was not leading his flock but following the general perception expressed by the community even as there was a rising tide of enmity between communities.

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