KOCHI: Various denominations of the Church have come down heavily on SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan for his controversial statement that the government should ban Mass wine also if it aims at complete liquor ban.
The clergy said that Vellappally made an ‘immature’ statement by equating Mass wine to alcohol. Verapoly Diocese Archbishop Francis Kallarackal said that Christians would not be able to think of the Holy Mass without bread and wine, which symbolise the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
“It will remain unchanged until the world ends,” he said. Thomas K Oommen, bishop of the Central Kerala diocese of the Church of South India (CSI) said it was not a proper way of interpreting a decision that could contribute to the cultural advancement of society.
“It is unfortunate that the person at the helm of the SNDP Yogam, an institution that always stood against alcohol, came up with such a statement. The people have the common sense to discern what is right and what is wrong. There are many medicines that have alcohol content in them. Could we ban them also in the name of implementing total ban on alcohol. Vellappally, at least, should show the audacity to interpret the significance of the government’s decision,” he said. Bishop Mathews Mar Severios, Synod secretary of the Orthodox Church, said that wine, which is made out of raisins, could not be compared to liquor. “It will not leave anyone intoxicated. Even if you drink a full bottle of Mass wine it will not intoxicate you,” he said.
Jacobite Church spokesperson Fr Varghese Kallappara said that he could not believe that Natesan made such a statement. “I thought he had some sense. If he has made such a statement it is entirely wrong. How could he compare Mass wine with alcohol?” he asked.
Syro-Malabar Church spokesperson Fr Paul Thelakkat said Vellappally Natesan’s remarks implied his opposition to the decision to ban liquor. “As an individual, he can oppose the liquor ban, but not as the SNDP Yogam general secretary, where he sits under the shadow of the venerable Sree Narayana Guru who exhorted neither to tap, nor to drink toddy. Here, Vellappally lowers himself to the ghetto of self-interest. We believe that the new liquor policy is for the welfare of the people, irrespective of community and religion,” he said.
NSS Chief Warns of Dire Consequences
Kottayam: Joining part with the ongoing controversies over the liquor policy, Nair Service Society (NSS) general secretary G Sukumaran Nair has warned of dire consequences for government decision. Speaking to Express at NSS headquarters at Perunna, he stated that what the state needed is temperance in a phased manner. “Total prohibition of liquor would not be practical in a state like Kerala. Hence, the government should take the initiative for a temperance movement,” he said. He said the decision lacks good intention and termed it a futile attempt for image building. Nair also criticised a section in the Congress and the coalition partners. “Each of them is competing to boost their images by claiming credit of the decision,” he said. In the mean time, Nair also came in support of the CM, saying Oommen Chandy was forced to opt for an extreme decision on the issue, when the coalition partners and those, who stand for ‘idealism’ turned against him.