Monday, 29 October 2012
This morning I received a copy of a public notice, issued by the Bishop of Nellore, Most Rev. Moses Prakasam, to "inform all the clergy, religious and people of God that Rev. Fr. Gali Arulraj was placed under suspension with effect from 06-09-12."
The full notice can be read clearly by clicking [right click and 'open link in new tab'] on the image above. Whereas a priest is sometimes given a partial suspension for offences that are less grave, it is to be noted that Arulraj's suspension is total: he is "prohibited from exercising all the acts of the power of Orders, power or governance and exercise of all the rights and functions attached to the office of the Priesthood." Arulraj "has no faculties and consequently he is not authorised to celebrate Holy Mass, hearing confessions or administration of any other sacraments or any other related ministries of Priesthood."
There remain serious concerns with regard to the amount of effort and the length of time it has taken to effect this suspension - a suspension which should have been declared many years ago. It is only with this suspension that a canonical process leading to Arulraj's dismissal from the clerical state - which must surely be the outcome of the process - can now take place. (That his dismissal remains necessary is indicated by the notice of suspension itself, which describes Arulraj respectfully- as a priest - as "Rev. Fr. Gali Arulraj." It is, however, clear even from the sanitised description of Arulraj's shameful activities, which date back some 15 years - 15 years! - that he does not merit this respectful title or any of the privileges attached to the clerical state.) While it is to be hoped that the canonical process now advances without unnecessary delays this blog will remain active in case there are further concerns to raise.
For now, though, there is much reason to be grateful for the imposition of the suspension. The scandal of Arulraj living a family life and fraudulently raising funds and then embezzling them from the poorest of the poor, and continuing to function as a Catholic priest, has now been addressed by the Bishop of Nellore's actions. May Bishop Prakasam now bring the scandal of Arulraj remaining a Catholic priest to its fitting conclusion.