The democratically elected representatives to the various committees of the North Kerala Diocese are now confronting a situation where they have to deal with a bishop who is neither amenable to the constitution of the church nor to the democratic practices and structures. He even seems to lack the moral compulsions derived from the fear of God, as he would rather be a law unto himself.
On 2 August 2011, the Working Committee of the diocese met in the Diocesan Office in Shoranur to discuss certain vital matters concerning the life of the Church. Arbitrary and vindictive action by the bishop on pastors and pastorates and about 40 members of the laity remain sore issues affecting the life of the church. The elected representatives were keen to resolve these vexing issues. The construction of the bishop’s house had been progressing with no controls whatsoever. The bishop has arbitrarily deviated from the approved plan, estimate, structural specifications and contract causing an estimated embezzlement of Rs. 50 lakhs. The appointments already done in the four higher secondary schools recently sanctioned by the government also remain sticky issues. When the elected members and officers in the Working Committee raised these issues, the bishop WALKED OUT abusing the members and also the Moderator of the CSI, challenging what the Moderator would be able to do to him. His haughty and intemperate behavior does not have any rhyme or reason, and is bordering on what is characteristic of an unbalanced mind.
The Clergy Secretary is in a quandary as the bishop insists that the minutes of the last Executive Committee must be changed as per his dictates. The Treasurer and the Clergy Secretary are threatened with dire consequences if they do not follow his line. There was an instance of food poisoning in one of our orphanages in the diocese (Chembala, near Kozhikode) and 25 children had to be admitted in the hospital causing interference of the District Collector and other government officials. To deal with the exigencies of the situation and prevent further damage to our public image, the Treasurer required Rs. 1 lakh and the bishop refused to sign the check. He seems to have no responsibility to deal with such exigencies that vitally affect the life and witness of the diocese.
The bishop is bent on creating an administrative impasse. He refuses to submit to the constitution of CSI or the diocese or any democratic institutions or norms. He has no fear of God. He does not have the emotional maturity to settle the issues at hand rationally and congenially. In this situation, he should resign from his position as bishop of the diocese or go on a long leave. Or else, the Synod should act decisively and intervene to resolve this impasse. If no relief comes from these sources, the people of the diocese will be forced to resort to extra-constitutional means causing much damage to our Christian witness. The situation in the diocese is deteriorating day by day causing an erosion of morale at all levels of the church, for which the whole of CSI may have to pay a very costly price.
Till the last meeting of the present diocesan Council, the bishop has been dubbing the popular resentment against him as the handiwork of a few individuals with certain ulterior motives. This has been disproved and today, the situation is such that the entire Executive Committee and the Working Committee are against the bishop. There is no way he can sideline the elected officers and get things done as per his dictates. In this situation, we seek the urgent intervention of the Synod and the moderator in this matter and bring relief to the suffering believers of this diocese.
The General Secretary,
CSI NORTH KERALA LAITY FELLOWSHIP(CSINKLF).