The Tragicomedy of an Erred Bishop

Bishop K P Kuruvilla
One does not know whether to laugh or cry at the turn of events in the North Kerala Diocese. The diocese has a bishop who has no qualms subverting democratic processes through blatant lies and subterfuges, and making a joke of himself. Here we try to unravel the mystery of that bishop in not constituting the diocesan council after the election held on 14 July 2010, which had forced the Synod to appoint an officiating committee with effect from 25 January 2011.

Subsequent to the election, as early as the end of July, pastorate committees in almost all parishes in the North Kerala Diocese were confirmed and by 8 August 2010, they were all installed. The Vicars, while announcing the confirmation of the newly elected pastorate committees, informed the congregations that the diocesan council members cannot be confirmed due to some complaints about the election and a court injunction. But the reality was that there was no court injunction for about 46 days from the date of election, till 30 August 2010, when one Mr. Bhagyaraj filed a case in the Devikulam Munsiff court and got an ex-parte injunction restraining the bishop from “declaring the final result of the election conducted to the Diocesan Council… till the disposal of the appeal filed before the respondent” (the bishop). What had prevented the bishop from confirming and declaring the election results to the diocesan council during this long period of 46 days from the date of election? Was he not perpetuating a lie through the Vicars, the established systems of communication in the diocese?

It is clear from the injunction application of Mr. Bhagyaraj, the complainant, that he had filed an election petition to the bishop on the same day of the election, 14 July 2010, under the provision 89c of the North Kerala Diocesan Constitution. The court was forced to intervene with an injunction owing to the fact that the bishop failed to act on this appeal and did not care to take any measure to settle the dispute as late as 30 August 2010. While that was the cause for the injunction, despite the fact that the injunction has validity only till the appeal is settled by the bishop, he did not care to settle the dispute nor did he file a counter affidavit to defend himself in the court of law. This amply proves that the bishop colluded with Mr. Bhagyaraj to subvert the formation of the new diocesan council and that Mr. Bhagyaraj was acting on behalf of the bishop. This is nothing but gross neglect of his responsibility as a bishop, cheating and misleading the flocks and subverting the democratic process laid down in the constitution.

Grieved by this inaction of the bishop, Mrs. Latha John, the diocesan council member from the Holy Trinity Church, Aluva, impleaded in this case and as per her appeal, the court modified the order on November 3rd limiting the jurisdiction of the order only to Munnar pastorate. If the bishop had initiated steps to convene the diocesan council immediately after this court order, the necessity for an officiating administration would not have been necessary. The bishop again chose the path of denial and falsification of facts, unbecoming of his noble office.

To make the facts more clear, the term of the existing administration expired on 24 October 2010. As per the CSI constitution chapter 8-12, the present administration can continue in office only for another three months, which expires on 24 January 2011. Since the bishop cannot hold the diocesan council before 24 January and elect a new administration, it is incumbent upon the CSI synod to appoint an officiating administration from that date. The bishop, in his worldly wisdom, did not care to report the fact of the expiry of the date of the present administration to the synod as required by the constitution. The constitution states: “In case the new Council cannot be convened within 3 months from the expiry of the term of the old council, the Bishop/officers shall report the matter to the Synod which shall take steps for the proper administration of the diocese.” The synod came to know of the date of the expiry of the old diocesan council from the CSI North Kerala Laity Fellowship and the synod had to confront the bishop with these facts. This was a serious dereliction of duty on the part of the bishop.

It is learnt from reliable sources that the bishop is now explaining his present initiative to call the diocesan council as being caused by the withdrawal of the case in the Devikulam Munsiff Court. The fact of the matter is that the case has not been withdrawn and it cannot be withdrawn without intimating Mrs. Latha John, the 6th respondent in the case. The bishop is touting one lie after another and getting himself into a quagmire from which he would now find it difficult to escape. Can a bishop be more discredited than this? It is further learned that he would move the court against the synod to get an ex-parte injunction against the officiating administration from taking charge on 25 January 2011. The unfolding drama will be very tragic for the church, but would be something that could be also watched with much comic relief.


sharlet said...

everything was a comedy during his regime.

Kuruvilla mathew said...

He has lost the faith in God, he has lost the Christian character. Its a shame that we elected him as the Bishop. Let everything be like Gods will.

I heard that, last week he had called the clergy to his office and told everyone to sign on blank papers and 9 of the did it. Rest of them disagreed and to those who did not sign, he abused them with third rate language which some of them have not even heard of. I feel ashamed to address him as the Bishop of CSINKD.

Sunny said...

The bishop does not even know what he is doing. His left Hand Ronnie (Jacob Mathew) and his right hand Hary (Earnest eddapally) runs the show. Much of Mr. Ronnie is not known. Hary is a 10th Pass who became the manager of Christian college, a suspended govt. servent (sole rice grains), And has an FIR filed against him for street fights in police records. Actually with such a combination a super comedy is expected. What else to say?

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