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DCLM comes out against appointment of non- Dalit as new archbishop

- March 23, 2022

Chennai, March 23 (BPNS)

The Dalit Christian liberation movement, an organization working against the discrimination of Dalits in the Catholic church hierarchy has come out strongly against the appointment of a non –Dalit as the Archbishop of Puducherry and Cuddalore.

It may be noted that Francis Kallat, Archbishop of Meerut was recently appointed by the Pope as the Archbishop of the two regions.

Mary John state president of Dalit Christian Liberation Movement (DCLM) said that even though Archbishop Francis Kallat was born in Kanniyakumari district, it was rare for a Bishop serving in North India to be moved into this region. He said that the move was to prevent the appointment of a Dalit Archbishop.

The organization has been spearheading the appointment of a Dalit as Archbishop in the two regions of Puducherry and Cuddalore and the post was lying vacant for the past year.

The DCLM leader while speaking to IANS said, “Even though the Dalit population is three–fourth of the Catholic population in the region, never in the history of the diocese since its formation in 1955 has a Dalit been made the Archbishop of the region.”

He said that only one of the 17 Catholic dioceses in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry had a Dalit as Archbishop even though the Dalit community accounts for 75 percent of the Catholic population of the state.

Mary John said, “The Dalit population constitutes 64% of the total Catholic population in the country and still the percentage of Dalit Bishops in the country is less than 10% of the total strength.”

He said that the office-bearers of DCLM had met the Vatican representative in India, Apostolic Nuncio to India , Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli last month to highlight the issue.

It may be noted that the Apostolic Nunciature had following the meeting of the DCLM leaders in a statement said,” The Apostolic Nuncio does not discriminate in the episcopal selection of candidates and in the appointment of Bishops.  The responsibility of the Apostolic Nuncio is to verify the priestly integrity of the candidates in order to establish their suitability for the office of the Arch Bishop and makes no distinction based on ethnicity, caste, language or social status.”