Nation Current Affairs 28 Dec 2016 Father Thomas Uzhunn ...

Father Thomas Uzhunnalil abduction: Church denies inaction charges

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ABHISH K BOSE
Published Dec 28, 2016, 2:00 am IST
Updated Dec 28, 2016, 6:42 am IST
The Church had taken concrete steps along with both international and local diplomatic channels for his safety.
Father Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kerala, was abducted in March. (YouTube screengrab)
 Father Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kerala, was abducted in March. (YouTube screengrab)

KOTTAYAM: The Salesian congregation  in Bangalore has refuted the charge that the Church had not taken  steps for the safe release of Fr  Tom Uzhunnalil whose latest video has appeared on the YouTube.    The congregation told DC that  they and  the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India had  been in touch with government channels for Fr Tom’s release. The Church had  taken concrete steps along with both international and local diplomatic channels for his safety. Bishop Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, has led  calls for prayer throughout the churches in the Vicariate for Fr. Tom and the few handful of remaining Christians in the country.

During the Christmas Mass on the midnight of  December 25, the bishop and the gathering at the Cathedral Parish of St. Joseph’s in Abu Dhabi  prayed in silence for  Fr. Tom, the congregation said. The family members of Fr.  Tom alleged that the Church had not effectively intervened in the matter. “Till now the head of the congregation has not contacted us.  The External Affairs Minister is also keeping quiet,”  Mr Thomas Uzhunnalil,  second cousin of Fr.  Tom,  told DC.   “We have communicated our anxieties to the Bangalore province of the Salesian congregation where he is a member.  However,  they are yet to take any concrete action,”  he added.

 

“The Salesians are the second biggest  Catholic congregation in the world.  Is this the way the Church deals  with a person who has dedicated his life for the congregation for the past 28 years?” he asked. Father Tom had joined the Salesian congregation’s Bangalore province in 1988.  His father’s younger brother too was a member of the congregation and served in Yemen for 15 years. Two of the younger brothers of Father Tom, David Uzhunnalil and Joshy Uzhunnalil,  who were working in the USA,  returned  to the state a few days ago.   Mathew Uzhunnalil, the priest’s elder brother,  is now in Bangalore.

 

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Location: India, Kerala




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