(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Idukki: Hours after joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday (Oct 2), a Catholic priest serving in the Syro-Malabar church's Idukki diocese was relieved of his role as vicar. K S Aji, the BJP's Idukki district president, gave Fr Kuriakose Mattam
his primary membership yesterday. The Idukki diocese took action against him within hours.
According to the church, Fr. Mattam has been temporarily relieved of his parish responsibilities at the Mankuva St. Thomas church near Adimali.
A priest of the church is not permitted to join or actively participate in any political party, as per Canon Law. In a few months, the 74-year-old priest will retire, according to a source in the church. At a time when the Catholic church was criticising the BJP for the violence in Manipur, the priest decided to join the party.
Aji posted pictures of the priest on Facebook and claimed that Fr. Mattam had joined the BJP after "observing the current condition" in the nation. The BJP leadership explained that the membership was given 15 days ago. BJP local leaders also explained that the pictures were released with the permission of the priest. The saffron party said that this is the first time in Idukki that a priest has joined the BJP.
According to Aji, the BJP's decision to accept the Christian priest is a response to those who have criticised the party over the Manipur issue.
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