Priests, religious have no right to amass: Justice Joseph

Light of truth

A retired Supreme Court judge known for his compassion for the downtrodden has urged Christian priests and religious to refrain from amassing material goods but serve their people. “Priests and religious have to collect only what is left out after feeding the people. They have no right to amass without giving to the people,” Justice Kurian Joseph told a seminar on socially-oriented seminary formation, referring to the biblical account of Jesus multiplying loaves to feed the hungry.

The February 8-10 seminar was organized by Dharmaram College, Bengaluru, capital of Karnataka state. As many as 92 people, including rectors of major seminaries and seminary professors participated in the seminar on “Socially Oriented Formation in Major Seminaries.”

Justice Joseph was among several lay leaders who attended the seminar.

Addressing the opening session on February 8, Justice Joseph asked the seminary rectors and professors, “Are we concentrating on the “sheep without shepherd?”

He said the role of priests is to contribute to build the Kingdom of God. The core values of Indian Constitution: justice, liberty, equality and fraternity, are the values of the Kingdom of God, he clarified.

“You be the change that you want to see in others,” he said and asserted that priest and religious have to become the Bible in the context they live and work. “In order to become Bible the seminarians have to imbibe during the formation the qualities of conviction, commitment and zeal.”

Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India who addressed the valedictory session, urged seminary rectors and formators to train their students to become persons of compassion after the model of Jesus.

Ram Puniyani, former professor of IIT Bombay, who spoke on “Quest for a Civilized Society in the Context of Growing Religious Polarization, noted that the current fight is between democracy and Hindutva.

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