Thrissur, India, Oct 4, 2023 / 13:45 pm
An elderly Catholic priest in India’s Kerala state was suspended from priestly duties for joining India’s ruling BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party or Indian People’s Party), which is known for pursuing a Hindu nationalist agenda.
The BJP is the party of Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi. The priest’s action took place at a time of rising persecution of Christians in India. According to the United Christians Forum (UCF), in the first eight months of 2023, 525 incidents of violence against Christians have been reported in 23 states of India.
“There was no option but to act, as it has become a scandal to the faithful,” Bishop John Nellikunnel of the Diocese of Idukki told CNA about the Oct. 2 suspension of Father Kuriakose Mattam, vicar of St. Thomas Parish of Mankua.
“His action violated the canon law, which prohibits priests from joining political parties without permission,” Nellikunnel said.