India court affirms priests’ right to assets no matter poverty oath
KOCHI, India – An excessive court in southern India has dominated that Christian clergymen and nuns are entitled to their right to assets no matter their vows of poverty, signaling an end to a centuries-antique lifestyle that has left many in the clergy destitute.
In its order final week in prefer of a clergyman whose spouse and children cut him out of his proportion of ancestral assets, the court docket in Kerala state said a priest can give up his property if he needs to, however, there may be no “automated deprivation” due to the fact he’s in a non-secular order and has “renounced worldly pleasures.”
The ruling applies to all religions within the kingdom, and to girls in a spiritual order as nicely.
The excessive court, which overturned a lower court docket’s ruling against the priest, placed the Indian Succession Act – which ensures all citizens equal inheritance rights – above canon regulation, which calls for the surrender of any inheritance to the church, said Sabu George, a lawyer for the priest.
The verdict can help retired clergymen and nuns, as well as folks who give up the clergy, “lead the first-rate existence,” said K.P. Shibu Kalamparambil, secretary of an association of Catholic clergymen and nuns.
“Hundreds of former priests and retired priests are dwelling in penury in India, as maximum households refuse to take them lower back when they are vintage and don’t have any work,” said Kalamparambil, who end the priesthood after 27 years.
The Catholic monks’ affiliation has long demanded a national pension and compensation from the church for retired priests and people who leave the clergy. They are frequently forced to stay on a small stipend or rely on the largesse of the parish.
A spokesman for the Catholic church in the kingdom stated they had been disappointed with the ruling, and might attraction.
“It is unlucky that the law of the church has now not been favored,” stated Paul Thelakkat, a senior Catholic priest.
“Detachment from assets and worldly life is our lifestyle. This has now not been positively valued and upheld.”
Kerala contributes more than half of-of India’s clergy, with Catholic families long gazing a way of life of pledging one son or daughter to the church.
The church – like different nonsecular establishments in India – is considered rich, with significant land holdings and houses together with instructional establishments and hospitals, many received as gifts.
The church may additionally nevertheless pressure the clergy to surrender their belongings, and the ruling also does now not benefit the ones who’ve already given their residences to the church, stated Reji Njallani, Countrywide president of the clergymen’ affiliation.