Mumbai

Sena members’ visit to church upsets parishioners

Picture of contention: Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik (second from left) and MP Rajan Vichare (second from right) being felicitated at Our Lady of Mercy Church.

Picture of contention: Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik (second from left) and MP Rajan Vichare (second from right) being felicitated at Our Lady of Mercy Church.  

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They oppose allowing the politicians to speak and be felicitated, complain to Archdiocese of Bombay

Mumbai: A visit by Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare and MLA Pratap Sarnaik to a church in Thane on Christmas has not gone down well with some parishioners.

Soon after the morning mass was concluded at Our Lady of Mercy Church on Tuesday, the politicians addressed the crowd and were later felicitated with shawls and bouquets by parish priest Fr. Rudolph Andrade. The parishioners have now taken up the matter with the Archdiocese of Bombay.

“The church is a place of worship. Why should politicians be allowed to speak and be felicitated there,” Melwyn Fernandes, a community member from Thane, said. Mr. Fernandes, who is also the secretary of the Association of Concerned Catholics, said the politicians assured to resolve the issue of burial ground in Thane when they addressed the crowd. “Church is not the place where such political speeches are given,” he said.

Other parishioners pointed that the church does not discriminate against anyone and politicians can definitely be part of the gathering. “But they cannot be given space in the church to promote any agenda or be felicitated. Church has to be apolitical,” another community member said.

The member also said if the politicians simply wanted to wish the community for Christmas, they should have done it outside the church, preferably in the ground.

Fr. Nigel Barrett, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Bombay, confirmed that the parishioners have written a letter to the Cardinal. “The Cardinal has said he will look into the matter,” Fr. Barrett said. “The church is a place of liturgical purpose and worship. The parishioners have taken objection that the politicians were allowed in that space,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 4:10:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/sena-members-visit-to-church-upsets-parishioners/article25855025.ece

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