In a development fraught with huge significance for the Church of Kerala, priests representing the only two organisations of of priests and religious in India, the CPCI (Catholic Priests Conference of India) and the FORUM (the counter part of CPCI for those in the religious orders) today blockaded Christ Hall, the seat of Jesuit Power at Calicut, Kerala. The Priests started in a silent procession( with their mouth covered with a black cloth) from the gates of the Bishop's House in Calicut and reached Christ Hall about a quarter kilometer away. The already fortress like Christ Hall (incidentally a prison during second world war - the highwall errected then being still maintained intact by the Jesuits) was further reinforced with a large posse of police, to deal with a dozen men in robes. But the huge symbolic significance of the event outstood the numbers. Though only the leadership of the organisations took part in this first of public actions, the representational character of the priests involved in the blockade was significant.
None other than Fr. Joseph Thomas Therakam, All India President of the CPCI inaugurated and led the blockade. The President of the Kerala unit of CPCI, Fr. Joseph Kochu Thazham and its state secreatary Fr. Sebastian Perunilam were at his side. The state President of the Forum. Fr. Mani Parambet was joined by the secretary Fr. George Valiyapadam. Representing the social action ministries of the various religious orders and Dioceses of Kerala were Fr.(Adv) Stephen Mathew, Fr. Joseph Memana, Fr.(Adv) Geroge Pulikuthiyil, Fr. Jacob Thacharattil and Fr. Jose Manippara. And as the procession wound its way to Christ Hall, a septugenarian priest standing unconspicously by the way side joined them. It was none other than Fr. Joseph Kottukappilly, a Jesuit priest, who has all along been raising his voice aginst his own society's unjust treatment of Fr. Pallath. Apparently, he had gone in the morning to Christ Hall and pleaded with his superiors to show a spirit of Christian equity and charity in dealing with Fr. Pallath. This was met with angry retorts and the priest announced that he would have to do the most unpleasanat act of joining in the protest action against his own society. Later in an emotional address to the priests sitting in blocakade, he asked to be counted as representing the large number of Jesuits who are pained and angry on the Pallath matter. The blocakade lasted for about 3 hours.
An update from EE services calicut.
Posted on 2002-06-22