Church tells Christians to shun CPI-M


Kozhikode : The war of words between Kerala’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Catholic Syrian Church has worsened, with the Church asking Christians to keep away from the party.

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The appeal to the believers has been made in eight-page tabloid-sized newsletter brought out Sunday.

The tabloid, ‘Malabar Vision’, brought out jointly by the dioceses of Thalassery, Thamarasseri and Mananthavadi, was distributed after the Holy Mass in all the churches under these dioceses.

The church and the CPI-M have been on a collision course over differences on issues in the education sector.

The church, which has a major stake in education in the state, has been opposing the CPI-M-led government’s policy on self-financing colleges and the proposed reforms in school education.

Talking to IANS, the Vicar General of Thamarasseri diocese, Fr. Thomas Nagapparambil, said the newsletter was brought out to address topics related to religious beliefs.

“The church has not decided on the periodicity of ‘Malabar Vision’. It will be brought out when the church feels the need,” Fr. Thomas said.

“The newsletter was not brought out to answer the CPI-M campaign alone. It commented on this issue because the topic is live now. In the next edition it will be covering some other topic of interest,” he said.

The ‘Malabar Vision’, which devotes almost all pages to attack the CPI-M and its state secretary Pinaryi Vijayan, exhorts the believers not to associate with the party any more. It also seeks to keep alive Vijayan’s controversial remark in October against the bishop of Thamarasseri.

At a meeting organised at Thiruvambadi, 30 km east from here, to observe the death anniversary of former legislator Mathai Chacko, Vijayan referred to the Bishop of Thamarasseri, without naming him, as a “despicable creature”.

What provoked the CPI-M state secretary was a comment by the bishop critical of Vijayan.

Delving on the matter, the editorial of the tabloid says: “The reverberations created by the comment on the political landscape of Kerala are yet to die down. Though the issue was discussed repeatedly in the media, it could not bring out the whole truth.”

The editorial says the Catholic Church had made a mistake by adopting a soft stance towards the ‘atheistic’ CPI-M in recent decades. The newsletter also has a number of articles that exhort the Catholics not to support the CPI-M.

The north Malabar area, which comes under the three dioceses, has around 1.5 million Catholics. Most strongholds of the CPI-M in Kerala are also located in this region.