By DCD Desk
Dalit Christian Liberation Movement (DCLM), one of the pioneer Dalit lay organizations, held a protest in Chennai, near the Collector’s Office.
The demonstration condemns the continuing caste domination, caste oppression, and caste atrocity in the Catholic Church.
Dalit Christians held a protest demonstration in Chennai on March 29, against the appointment of the non-Dalit archbishop Francis Kalist in the Pondicherry-Cuddalore archdiocese.
The members of DCLM demanded the Apostolic Nuncio in India revoke the appointment and appoint a Dalit archbishop there. Otherwise, Dalit Christians will protest to stop the installation of Kalist there on April 29, 2022.
The DCLM leaders are disappointed with the move of the Catholic Church for not heeding attention to the voice of the Dalit Christians in Tamil Nadu, south India.
No Dalit Archbishop has been appointed so far in the Pondicherry-Cuddalore archdiocese. Though Dalit Christians have been protesting to stop this injustice by appointing a Dalit archbishop, a caste archbishop only is appointed again there, says Dr. Mary John, president of DCLM.
In the Indian Catholic Church, 64% are Dalit Christians. In Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry Catholic Church 75% are Dalit Christians. But out of 180 Catholic bishops in India, only 11 are Dalits, and only 2 out of 31 Archbishops are Dalits.
Only one of the 17 bishops in Tamil Nadu-Pondicherry is a Dalit. The same scam continues in the positions of authority, in institutions, education, employment, and financial resources.
But according to the Dalit Policy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), Dalit Catholics should be given 64% representation in all these.
Dalit people in India have seen the dawn of the day ever since the adoption of the Constitution. But the Dalit Christian people are yet to see the dawn of the day in the Catholic Church in India. Bishops and archbishops from higher castes are deceiving the Constitution, the government, and these people, adds John
Pope Francis is giving a clarion call for equality and equal rights to the historically oppressed and marginalized peoples.
But the bishops and authorities in the Indian Catholic Church are ignoring this. The Pope’s Indian Ambassador is also acting in support of them, says John.
The following demands and resolutions are put forth:
- It is resolved to strongly condemn the appointment of an Archbishop-elect Kalist, for the 5th time again to the Pondicherry-Cuddalore archdiocese. And also resolved to stop his installation there scheduled on April 29.
- Archbishop George Anthonysamy, Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council (TNBC), should take responsibility for this and resign immediately.
- The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) should immediately grant 64% of the rights to the majority of Dalit Christians as per its Dalit policy.
- The Apostolic Nuncio in India (Pope’s Ambassador to India), Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, should immediately revoke the appointment of a dominant caste Archbishop-elect Kalist to the Pondicherry-Cuddalore Archdiocese.
He should stop promoting caste domination in the Indian Catholic Church by immediately appointing Dalit bishops and archbishops. Otherwise, he should quit India immediately.
- We appeal to Pope Francis to stop appointing only bishops and archbishops from higher castes in India, and first appoint Dalit bishops and archbishops, respecting the Constitution of India and social justice.
- Appeal to the Union and State Governments:
- To enact suitable laws and intervene to end the continued caste discrimination of the Dalits in the Catholic Church, which is against the very Constitution of India.
- To ban the Apostolic Nunciature in India if it continues to promote untouchability and caste discrimination in the Catholic Church.