Saturday, 25 August 2012

Still waiting for the Bishop of Nellore

In recent weeks several people have contacted me inquring whether Bishop Moses Prakasam of the Diocese of Nellore responded to the email I sent him on 16 April in reply to his email of 2 April.  More importantly, they have asked whether he has at last taken action against his rogue priests, epseically against Gali Arulraj. 

In emails to me, dated 22 and 28 April, Bishop Prakasam said that he had not intended to cause offence by his email of 2 April.  He said that he was unable to reply to individuals who were writing to him, but wished to correspond directly with me and work on this directly with me. Bishop Prakasam asked me not to publish on this blog his correspondence with me. Although he did not answer the many points I made in my email of 16 April I assumed good will and sincerity on his part, and so (in spite of my previous experience with him) I accepted what he said at face value. Recognising that some things have to be said and done privately I told him I was willing not to publish our correspondence so long as it was clear that progress was being made.  The indications I received were that at long last Bishop Prakasam would deal properly with the scandal caused by allowing Arulraj to continue functioning as a priest.

Correspondence between us continued until 26 May, when Bishop Prakasam sent me an email in which he asked me to clarify a preposterous allegation made by Gali Arulraj. He also informed me that Arulraj denies being married or living in concubinage with a woman.  The way the email was written it almost seemed as though Arulraj's denial was enough to settle the matter!

In that email of 26 May, Bishop Prakasam said I could place a few lines from him on the website, reading:
"Gali Arulraj is not in communion with his Bishop and the Diocese of Nellore. None of his appeals for soliciting funds have neither the endorsement of his Bishop nor are part of the mission and works of the Diocese."

In my reply to Bishop Prakasam, dated 30 May, I said I would not publish his statement immediately because I thought he might wish to revise it.  I said to him: "You may choose to revise it for two main reasons: a) it does not provide any new information but repeats what you have said in the past, and b) what it says about Arulraj being "not in communion" is inaccurate and inevitably raises further questions, notably why Arulraj still has not been suspended."

I also responded to what the Bishop had said about Arulraj's preposterous allegation, and provided documentation from four separate public sources - one of which includes information given under affidavit -  as evidence that Gali Arulraj is publicly regarded as being the husband of Gangada Sujatha and the father of her two children.

I have received no response - not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement - from Bishop Prakasam.  Since then there has been silence from him

The evidence I gave to Bishop Prakasam was sufficient for him to suspend Arulraj immediately from functioning as a priest in any way.  More than that, given that Arulraj was denying being married when there was public evidence to the contrary, it required Bishop Prakasam to suspend him from all priestly activities. (See a previous post  which gives details of canon law on this.)

Indeed, Bishop Prakasam received sufficient information to suspend Arulraj  more than five and a half years ago, and the process to dismiss him from priestly ministry should have been concluded long ago. Instead, he is willing to let this scandalous situation with a priest of his diocese continue.

And the persistent question remains:  Why?

It is now three months since Bishop Prakasam's last email, and it seems clear to me that he has reverted to his policy of inaction. For the coming weeks I will be busy and will be unable to deal with queries about Arulraj.  This matter is not, however, forgotten.  And it will not be forgotten.  It will be resolved.

In the meantime, Bishop Prakasam has a final opportunity to demonstrate whether the emails he sent me in April and May were truly sincere and whether he is genuinely concerned to take action to put an end to the ongoing scandal of Gali Arulraj remaining a priest of the Diocese of Nellore. He could show his sincerity today by issuing a decree that Arulraj is suspended from all priestly ministry.  In the absence of concrete action there is only one conclusion to be drawn as to whether the Bishop of Nellore is sincere.

It seems to me that Bishop Prakasam has abused the good will of myself and others in Enable, and is taking us for a ride. There are several reasons why Bishop Prakasam might want to spin out this 'waiting game'  and they do no credit to him or the Diocese of Nellore. He should know by now that the scandal of Arulraj - and the additional scandal of  his own inaction - will be pursued to its fitting conclusion.