Kochi: The Catholic Church in Kerala on Monday took exception to CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury's remarks directed at it by asserting that it would continue to intervene in politics to "uphold" democratic values. The reaction came after Yechury, earlier in the day, said in Vijayawada that his party wants the Church "not to take its position in politics".
Syro Malabar Church spokesperson Father Paul Thelekat charged that the CPI-M does not want anyone to criticise it.
"This is a democratic country and any person belonging to any religion has the right to criticise the government in a democratic system. Yechury's statement is undemocratic." Kerala Catholic Bishop's Council (KCBC) spokesperson, Father Stephen Althara, said the Church does not indulge in any party politics.
"We are not in favour of any particular front-- the Marxist party led Left Democratic front (LDF) or Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) (in Kerala). But we have a clear cut political vision to uphold democratic values to promote patriotism and secularism and to fight terrorism, fundamentalism and violence. To maintain an equilibrium in the society and to protect values, the Church would intervene through its political vision, he said, adding in the past also, the Church had intervened in Kerala's socio-political situation whenever democracy was challenged."
Father Paul said the Church throughout its history had intervened in politics in an ethical way.
"Wherever human rights have been suppressed, whether it was during Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany or dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in Philippines or apartheid of South Africa or Marxist party's dictatorship in Poland, the Church has raised its concern on human rights and criticised the suppressing regimes," he said.
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