KOCHI: In a clear departure from the last Lok Sabha poll, Bishop of Idukki Diocese Mar John Nellikunnel has urged priests to refrain from taking part in any election meetings or campaigns. Last time, the Church had sided with Left-backed Joice George after he opposed the Gadgil Committee recommendations.
“As Parliament election approaches there are anxieties; taking side sometimes leads to inappropriate verbal exchanges. As spiritual leaders, we should not take any position favouring any side. Our people do not want us to be actively involved in electoral politics in the present context. Our people are intelligent enough to decide in elections,” he said in a circular issued on Saturday.
“Therefore, I appeal to you all to abstain from election-related propaganda, statements, and meetings. By our words and activities, we should not give any scandals to the faithful and to the public. General guidelines will be given by Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC),” the circular said.
During the 2014 Parliament elections, then Bishop had openly come out against former Idukki MP P T Thomas, who supported the Gadgil report on the Western Ghats. The Congress later denied the ticket to Thomas in Idukki constituency and gave it instead to Dean Kuriakose, the State President of the Youth Congress.
Our people do not want us (bishops and priests) to be actively involved in election politics
As spiritual leaders, we should not take any position favouring any side.