Wed, 26 Jun, 2019

Archdiocese denounces, regrets priest's controversial speech

Story: The | Goan | 16th April 2019, 02:52 Hrs

Priest cautioned
against making
such statements

>> The priest concerned in this case has been cautioned to refrain from making such statements, says the Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media
>> We sincerely regret any pain or hurt that these statements may have caused, it added
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EMBARRASSMENT
A senior priest in the Bishop's House said Fr D'Silva's controversial address had placed the Church in an embarrassing position
PANAJI: Expressing regret over Raia Parish Priest Fr Conceicao D'Silva's objectionable statements about a specific political party as well as individuals of that party, the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman has said the priest concerned has been cautioned to refrain from making such statements.
This was announced in a statement by the Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media (DCSCM) on Monday, after video clips of Fr D'Silva's controversial address recently to his parishioners in the church had gone viral on social media, evoking outrage across communities.
Fr D'Silva's controversial speech not only earned strong disapproval from the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India (CBCI), it had also led the BJP to file a complaint over the video before the Election Commission, seeking a probe in the matter.
“It is regretted that the Parish Priest of Raia, while addressing his parishioners recently, has made some objectionable statements about a specific political party as well as individuals of that party,” stated the DCSCM on behalf of the archdiocese.
“Before elections to the Assembly or Parliament, the Church in Goa issues guidelines to its priests to encourage their parishioners to fulfil their duty to vote for the candidate or party that will better safeguard the interests of our State and Nation.”
The DCSCM added that general principles are also given on what to look for in the candidates and in their manifestos.
“While doing so, priests are advised not to mention in public any names of candidates or of political parties. It is a matter of regret that, nonetheless, there are a few instances when this particular advice is not followed.”
“The priest concerned in this case has been cautioned to refrain from making such statements. We sincerely regret any pain or hurt that these statements may have caused,” the DCSCM added.
Meanwhile, a number of priests have voiced unhappiness over Fr D'Silva's controversial address to his parishioners, which had gone viral on social media.
A senior priest in the Bishop's House said Fr D'Silva's controversial address had placed the Church in an embarrassing position.
“Like in the past, Parish Priests in this Archdiocese have been advised to encourage their faithful to exercise their franchise at the elections and to do it with conscience, after weighing the merits and demerits of the candidates and the parties in the fray,” said the priest.
“They are not to mention the names of the candidates or parties nor to publicly express their personal views on them. (They could do it in private, but not from the church microphone).”
“The priest in question has certainly not followed the church directive and, by doing so, has placed the Church in an embarrassment,” the senior priest added.
Added another senior priest in the diocese: “It is a clear norm of the Church not to side any particular party or candidate from the pulpit. This is flouting the standing policy of the Church and if this video is proved to be true, there should be some corrective action taken on him.”
The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India (CBCI) is the permanent association of the Catholic Bishops of India and serves 174 dioceses, comprising Latin dioceses (132), Syro-Malabar (31) and Syro-Malankara (11) dioceses.
The 132 Latin Dioceses in the country form part of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), a national episcopal body which is presently headed by Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao as its president.
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South Goa Collector to
probe priest's address
PANAJI: Goa's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Kunal, IAS, on Monday directed the South Goa Collector Ajit Roy, IAS, to conduct a probe into the video of Fr Conceicao D'Silva's address, purportedly delivered at the Raia Church and which went viral on social media.
In the video, Fr D'Silva accuses the BJP of being against the minorities while preaching to a congregation and exhorts them not to vote for the party.
Roy, who besides being the South Goa District Magistrate also doubles up as the Returning Officer for the South Goa Lok Sabha seat which goes to the polls on April 23, will probe whether the contents of D'Silva's sermon in the video violate the Model Code of Conduct, an official from the CEO's office said.
The probe was ordered after the BJP on Sunday formally filed a complaint quoting the viral video.