We would like to lodge our strong protest against a blatantly false accusation levelled at the Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, in what is claimed to be an investigative story published in the Herald Review on Sunday, September 30, 2018 under the title, 'GOA'S BJP : the hand that rocked their cradle ruined their world.'
Citing some findings of “researchers and scholars” put together by VHP's All India Vice President, Team Herald states that the Catholic candidates of the BJP (in the General Assembly Elections in 2012) “were neither identified nor
suggested by the party but forced by Manohar Parrikar in consultation with Archbishop.”
Such a wild and baseless accusation could come only from elements whose main interest seems to be to mislead, induce suspicion and vitiate the communal harmony existing in this State. We would sincerely welcome any factual evidence about any such consultation(s) having ever taken place in post-Liberation Goa to decide on Catholic candidates for any political party at the time of elections. At such time, it has been a long-standing practice in this Archdiocese to issue an Advisory to the Catholic faithful, urging them, first and foremost, not to refrain from exercising their franchise and to do it with responsibility and according to one’s own conscience, but never even naming any political party or candidate. This Advisory is released after a consultation process, strictly in accordance with the social teachings of the Church and the prevailing civil laws of the land.
No one should entertain illusions that the Archbishop of Goa is in the business of deciding electoral politics in the State. The Catholic Church respects the individual freedom in the electoral choices of its faithful in civic and political affairs. In doing so, it draws exclusively from its own Code of Canon Law, the various exhortations and letters of the Popes and the statutory provisions of the Indian Constitution and other relevant prevailing laws in force.
In future, the Church view may please be taken before publication of such defamatory and malicious matter. The Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media will be most pleased to offer the view of the Church on such matters.
(Fr Olavo Caiado, is Director, Diocesan Centre for Social