As per a report by Shaju Philip of The Indian Express, Church in Kerala has set up a Sena of ex-military men. The Sena is named after Gabriel, who is described as a guardian angel in the Old Testament of Bible. The first meeting of Sena will be held at Taliparamba in Kannur district on November 15.
So far, no other religions group of the country has set up a ‘Sena’ of ex-military men for ‘religious cause’. According to Gabriel Sena director Fr Mathew Ashariparambil, ex-military men should become “guardians of faith and warriors of ideals.” He said that the group has no ‘communal agenda’ but only Catholics are free to join it.
Some Catholics ex-servicemen have enthusiastically supported the idea and joined the Sena. “We ex-servicemen are a pool of skills. We can work as volunteers for functions and manage church events,” said Alexander T, an ex-serviceman from Madras Engineer who retired in 2015 and is now a member of the Sena.
While there is enthusiasm among ex-servicemen of the faith, Victims of clergy see the Gabriel Sena as an alarming trend. “In the present situation, where churches have been fighting among themselves for supremacy and to gain control of properties and churches, the formation of such a Sena is an alarming trend, especially if their services are used to intimidate the faithful who oppose the clergy,” said George Joseph, secretary of Joint Christian Council, a body representing laymen Christians.
In last few years, the clergies have been alleged to be involved in various criminal conducts, from sex scandals to land rows. Last year, Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Jalandhar diocese was accused of raping a nun. Common Christians protested against him, but, the Vatican refused to take any action against him. In fact, the religious masters in Rome decided to promote him in hierarchy of clergies.
The Roman Catholic Sena of ex-servicemen can be used to harass and intimidate the non-Catholic churches which are making claims on Church property. The Church Sena could also be used by Catholic groups to forcefully end any rebellion by common Christians, who are not happy with the clergy class. The exploitation of Common Christians by the clergy class, which has been found to be involved heinous crimes many times in last few years, is the reason behind resentment among layman. They are also opposed to constant backing of corrupt clergy class by Vatican.
Exasperated with corruption and exploitation by Roman Catholic priests, in the last few years, many Christians left the Roman Catholic denomination to join other groupings. The Roman Catholic militia will be used to quell the rise of other denominations, as done pre-Renaissance Europe by Roman Catholic Church.
Central Kerala- the epicenter of interdenominational fights is dominated by Christian population. Kottayam and Idukki have above 43 percent Christian population while they constitute 38 percent of Pathanamthitta and Ernakulum. Overall, as per 2011 census, Christians constitute 18.38 percent of the state population.
In the state of Kerala, Roman Catholics constitute 61 percent of total Christian population. But, traditionally, Syrian Orthodox and Jacobite Syrians, who are reformed/independent group, unaffiliated from Roman Catholics, have been representative of state’s Christianity. But, the Roman Catholic groups came to dominate other groupings in terms of numbers and influence, due to their conversion zeal and, backing by the church.
As per the report, “Recently, the Orthodox and Jacobite churches, both non-Catholic segments, have been fighting for control of several churches in Central Kerala.” The Roman Catholics also want to take advantage of this fight and bring more people and property to their denomination.
Formation of Gabriel Sena – an extra constitutional armed militia is not only illegal but, also, threat to internal security of the country. The history of Christianity is packed with religious violence-killing in the name of faith.
The Church stated that the Gabriel Sena is primarily aimed to ‘control mob’ but for that there is already state machinery for the purpose. In a secular state like India, there is no need a militia to control mob because the law enforcement agencies already take of care of the matter.
The militia could be used to intimidate the people of other religion as well as those belonging to other ‘denomination’. Given the bloody history of Roman Catholic church, which formed Inquisition to control heresy (denial or doubt of core doctrine of Christian faith), killed lakhs of people in ‘counter reformation measures’, forcibly converted millions of people around the globe, an Christian militia is definitely dangerous for the country.