Indian parish closed over bust of dead priest accused of murder

UCA News
April 26, 2016

Father Selvaraj had been charged with the 2013 killing of a seminary rector

Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore has closed down a parish after parishioners installed the bust of a dead priest who was accused of killing another priest three years ago.

The canonical decree of the archbishop, issued April 21, ordered the immediate closure of St. Paul the Hermit Church.

A bust of Father Chowrappa Selvaraj, who died in March, had been installed in the church by parishioners. He was one of six priests police accused of murdering seminary rector Father K.J. Thomas three years ago.

Father Anthony Swami, archdiocesan spokesman, said Archbishop Moras met with a delegation of parishioners and was willing to revoke the order but "closure was the only option as their action violated church teachings," said Father Anthony Swami, archdiocesan spokesman.

The archbishop had in a canonical warning asked the parishioners to desist from installing the bust and explained that church law allows only Servants of God to be publically venerated.

"No sacrament may be celebrated in the church until this sanction is lifted," the closure order read.



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