THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the Government has made clear that it has no plans to implement the Church Act, a movement is shaping up demanding the implementation of the Act. The Open Church Movement, a break-away church faction wants the Act to be implemented and is all set to field its candidates at three constituencies in central Kerala - Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam - raising the demand.
The Church Act proposes various forums to manage the Church properties. There are widespread concerns that this would lead to the Church losing its control over properties. “As of now, Bishops have total control over the Church properties. The Church Act proposes to ensure that the laity too have control over the properties. Contrary to the propaganda, when the Church Act is implemented a joint council of the Church leadership and the laity will have the control over the properties,” pointed out the Open Church Movement chairman Reji Njallani.
He said the Church leadership is trying to turn believers against the government. “Many issues related to Bishops, priests and nuns have come to light recently. Following this, believers are gradually moving away from the priests. Realising this danger, an attempt is being made to bring them back,” he said. The Open Church movement has also raised the issue of farmers’ crisis. Referring to the back-to-back incidents of farmers’ suicides across the state, the Open Church Movement alleged the political and religious organisations have been taking an anti-farmer stance.
A majority of the Church leadership in the state does not want the government to implement the Church Act and recently met the Chief Minister with the same demand. With elections round the corner, both the CPM and the Congress have made it categorically clear that they are not in favour of implementing the Act.
Chief Minister’s statement
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan recently stated his government has no plan to implement the Church Act. It’s in this backdrop that the Open Church Movement, an initiative of priests, ex-priests and nuns, have come out openly raising the demand to implement it.