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Church adds poll tone to Palm Sunday, calls to defeat CPI(M)-led LDF

Church adds poll tone to Palm Sunday, calls to defeat CPI(M)-led LDF

Author: PNS
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 6, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/167536/Church-adds-poll-tone-to-Palm-Sunday-calls-to-defeat-CPI(M)-led-LDF.html

Catholic parish churches under several dioceses in Kerala observed Palm Sunday that marked the start of the Holy Week of Easter with calls to the believers to use their right to vote to defeat the CPI(M)-led LDF in the State in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
The special Palm Sunday mass at the churches under the Kothamangalam and Thamarassery dioceses witnessed Vicars' speeches that showered scathing criticisms on the LDF, especially the CPI(M). Priests in the churches of the Thamarassery diocese gave explicit calls to the faithful to use their franchise against those who tried to destroy faith.

A pastoral letter was read out during the Palm Sunday mass in the churches under the Kothamangalam diocese, unleasing an attack against the CPI(M). In what could be seen as the Catholic Church's bid to intervene directly in politics, the pastoral letter alleged that Kerala was moving towards the totalitarianism of a single party. It alleged that the Left front, which kept the poor and ignorant on its side by offering bread-crumbs of benefits, was giving the knowledgeable and unethical rich whatever they wanted.

The letter said that the secular concept of the CPI(M) in effect was meant for the creation of eunuchs without faith in God or involvement in religion. It asked the faithful to vote only for parties that had declared their adherence to Constitutional democracy, secularism and socialism. The pastoral letter was issued by the diocesan public relations wing for Bishop Mar George Punnakkottil.

The Thamarassery Diocese of the Catholic Church, meanwhile, alleged that the LDF Government was trying to destroy the Church using governmental power. It asked the believers to use their right to vote with "discretion". Speakers at a programme organised by the Kerala Catholic Youth Movement in Thamarassery attacked the LDF regime for its alleged anti-church moves.

The Thamarassery diocese and the CPI(M) had been foes bitter enemies even since a speech by Pinarayi Vijayan on October 13, 2007, in which he referred to Mar John Chittilappally as a "disgusting creature". The abuse to the Bishop had come from Vijayan when he was referring to his statement that (late) Thiruvambady MLA Mathai Chacko had received the anointment of the sick, a rite in the Catholic church, despite his declared policy of atheism.

The stand taken by the Thamarassery diocese now could affect the prospects of LDF candidate A Rahmatullah of the CPI in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, in which the Thiruvambady Assembly segment came. Thamarassery, where Catholics were a huge force, was under the Thiruvambady Assembly segment.

The churches under the total 29 dioceses of the Syro Malabar Church, which included the Roman Catholic, Latin Catholic, Knanaya Catholic and Syro Malankara rites, had on March 29 read out a pastoral letter asking the faithful to vote against the LDF in the coming election.

This letter was issued by the heads of the three Catholic rites, Syro Malabar church Major Archbishop Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, Latin Catholic Church's Varappuzha Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil and Syro Malankara Church head Baselios Climmis Catholicose, said the faithful should vote judiciously to ensure the formation of a "secular government" at Centre.

This letter had said that democratic secular framework of India was being threatened by forces which were inimical to the very Constitution of India. Certain parties and ideologies were threatening the very constitutional rights of individuals and communities, it had said.

According to the pastoral letter, there were certain tendencies in certain north Kerala districts to threaten the democratic framework. Voters should be vigilant about these unconstitutional and undemocratic tendencies, it said.

Meanwhile, the Christians of Kerala observed Palm Sunday commemorating the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. All the churches in the State witnesses special Palm Sunday prayers marking the start of the Holy Week of Sacrifice that would conclude with Easter on April 11. The faithful took out processions out of churches bearing tender coconut leaves to symbolise the Olive branches with which Jerusalem received Jesus Christ.

The main function in Thiruvananthapuram was held under Syro Malankara Church's Major Archbishop Mar Baselios Climmis Catholicose, while Archbisho Daniel Acharuparampil of Varappuzha Archdiocese led the customs at the St Francis Cathedral in Kochi.

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