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India 360: Are priests corrupt?

India 360: Are priests corrupt?

Author: CNN-IBN
Publication: IBNLive.com
Date: February 22, 2007
URL: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/india/02_2007/india-360-priests-turning-corrupt-34159.html

Baptism is a religious ceremony for purifying and initiating people into Christianity. Once converted, the devotee receives a Baptism certificate as proof of being Christian.

However, now a CNN-IBN-Cobrapost special investigation exposes that corruption has crept into religious institutions and some unscrupulous members of the Church are making money by selling Baptism certificates.

So the question that was discussed on CNN-IBN's show India 360 was - Are even the Priests taking to corruption?

On the panel of experts to discuss the issue were - Rev Walter David President, Baptist Union of North India, Sister Nirmalini Principal Carmel Convent School, Chanakyapuri (Delhi) and Aniruddha Bahal Editor-in-chief, Cobrapost.com.

Aniruddha Bahal was first asked what prompted him to do this investigation in Delhi? And whether there are reasons to believe that reasons to believe that

"We received prior information about the malpractice and so we decided to conduct this investigation to see the dimensions of this malpractise," Bahal said.

However, he added that the information did suggest that it might be prevalent outside of Delhi as well. But economic constraints held the reporters from travelling outside of Delhi to get information.

But there are also reports that suggest that it could be systematic. So isn't this a clear breach of faith?

"Yes. Firstly you are disrespecting your own community and secondly this whole thing of minority institutions are there to give a leg up to their own minority because they feel they aren't getting more opportunities in fact in the mainstream and by doing this, you are taking the legs off from your own community," Bahal said.

So does Rev Walter David think that one has really lost sight of the corruption that has crept in the system in the evangelical fervour?

"We have condemned this and suspended two people of the Baptists Union North India - Kripal Massey and Henrik James,' he said.

This is just one case that has been exposed through the investigation. But there are reasons to believe that it could be more systemic than across churches in India, and not just in Delhi. Does that mean we losing sight of what happens in these churches?

"We condemn this action. It wasn't expected and we have, for the first time, come to know about something like this. The guilty are going to be punished strongly. We have removed their names from the created listed of ministers," Rev David added.

When asked if there was a way in which he could ensure that this does not happen in other churches, he said, "Other people will get to know and will learn a lesson."

School Admissions

The procedure adopted by Christian minority schools for admissions is -

* A Bishop demarcates his area of authority into smaller units called parishes.
* The Christian minority schools give preference to Christian children within their respective parishes as per law.
* Normally, a child from a different parish is only considered for admission if he/she has a sibling in the school.
* A Baptism certificate is a must for admission in a Christian school.
* Apart from the Baptism certificate, during admission in a Christian minority school, some insist on a letter from the parish priest confirming that the child belongs to the respective parish.

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