In an eight-paged tabloid-sized newspaper distributed on Sunday, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church has asked its members in the southwest state of Kerala to keep away from the state's ruling Communist Party of India.
The newspaper, titled 'Malabar Vision,' was published jointly by the dioceses of Thalassery, Thamarasseri, and Mananthavadi. Copies were distributed after Mass in all the churches of the dioceses.
The warnings were prompted by both the Communist Party's efforts to implement its education policy and a party leader's insult of a bishop.
At a meeting memorializing a legislator the state secretary of the Communist Party of India, Pinaryi Vijayan, referred to the Bishop of Thamarasseri, without naming him, as a "despicable creature."
The state secretary had been provoked by a comment from the bishop critical of Vijayan.
The editorial of the tabloid said, ''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 also said the Catholic Church had made a mistake by adopting a soft stance towards the 'atheistic' Communist Party of India.
The three Catholic dioceses that published the newspaper include 1.5 million Catholics. The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one of many eastern churches in communion with Rome.