Inhuman, Unchristian behavior Bishop Yvon Ambroise of Tuticorin
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Dalit Christian Welfare Society (DCWS) is an organization in Tamil Nadu working for the emancipation of the Dalits. It has been working for the empowerment of the Dalits within the Church and in the society. Though Dalits form 70% of the Indian Christians they are discriminated in the church and suffer untouchability. This petition is calling for action on Bishop Yvon Ambrose of Tuticorin who is alleged to have hostile attitude toward the Dalit Christians.
The context is that Bro. Michael Raj was studying to become a Priest in Sivagangai diocese, Tamil Nadu. He hails from Devendra Caste which forms 25.23% of the Christians in that diocese but having no priest so far. He was dismissed from the seminary on 13.07.2011 for which, so far, no valid explanation is given by the diocese. The Devendra people along with the civil society organizations, have been demanding that Michael Raj should be ordained a Priest. There were public agitations, hunger strikes, closing of the Churches etc. A Pubic hearing was conducted on the caste discrimination in the diocese of Sivagangai, on 16.3.2017 headed by Mr.D. Hariparanthaman, a retired Judge of Madras High Court. The finding say that there are 20 types untouchability practiced against the Dalit Christians.
A Delegation, along with Mr. Samuelraj, the General secretary of Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front have been meeting the Tamil Nadu Bishops related to these issues. On 8.11. 2018, they met Bishop Yvon Ambrose of Tuticorin . According to the report by the Delegation, the Bishop met them ‘unwillingly and in a hurried manner. Mr. Samuelraj tried to brief the issue and requested the Bishop to read the report of the Public hearing. The Bishop said that he had no time to read. The Bishop said, “If you, the Dalit Christians don’t want to remain in the Catholic Church you can go out of the Church. We have many institutions. If the Dalit Christians go out of the Church we are not going to lose anything.” In this meeting Fr. Kirubakaran, the Vicar General of the diocese and Fr. Norbert Thomas were also present.
Obviously, this attitude of the Bishop is inhuman, unchristian and unbecoming of a catholic Bishop. We call for action by The Nuncio of Vatican to India and by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India in its meeting on January 7 to 14 at Chennai.
(State General Secretary, DCWS)
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