New Delhi: A poem penned by an unidentified seminarian and published in a Capuchin magazine blasts Christian priests who wallow in comfort and luxury.
Titled “You deserve no pardon, oh priest,” the poem written in Malayalam language and published by the Assisi magazine, asks the men of God what answer they would give at the end of time after all the hustle and bustle of life.
“If the care and protection you have received were given to a tribal with tattered knickers or to a man facing gallows for a moment’s discretion it would have changed history by 180 degrees,” asserts the seminarian. “There is no forgiveness for you, priest; you do not deserve pardon.”
The Assisi magazine is published from Bharananganam in Kerala, the pilgrimage center associated with Saint Alphonsa, India’s first woman saint.
The poem, reproduced in Facebook by marunadanmalayalil.com, a website for people from Kerala living overseas, has been applauded by readers, who see it in line with the revolutionary challenges thrown by Pope Francis at the Church hierarchy and the Vatican Curia.
“Pope Francis has bugled revolution in the millennia-old Catholic Church. But the Church leadership in Kerala is refusing to hear the call,” remarks marunandanmalayali.com in its introduction to the poem.
The website noted a view among general public that the bishops of Kerala refuse to climb down from their high pedestal and often behave like feudal lords. “They dismiss those oppose them as rebels. Now the criticism has been raised through a poem that too in a Catholic publication,” it adds.
The poem also lambastes the Church leaders for their political and commercial interests. “Both legs of politics have become open sores after your constant scratching on them,” the poem says. The Church’s involvement in education and healthcare reeks of commercialization.
“Your psalms have become distasteful as they are without soul and truth,” it says in an indirect reference to priest’s preaching and practice.
The poem ask the priest and his breed to shave their heads, humble themselves and bend as low as to the level of the earth and plead for pardon. In an apparent criticism of the trends among priests to pull down old churches and new ones, the poem says, “Stop your attempt to build the Babel Church of pride and construct with your heart and hands God’s dwelling places.”