UPDATE: The fourth open letter on the issues regarding Fr. Pallath’s case


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-17-2001

UPDATE: The fourth open letter on the issues regarding Fr. Pallath’s case 
Dear Friends, 

We would like to send you a copy of a fourth open letter sent by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to the Jesuit Superior General in Rome regarding Fr. Pallath’s case. 

For further information including this letter, please visit http://jjpallath.ahrchk.net 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission 


(This is the fourth of a series of letters on the issues regarding the treatment of Fr. Pallath J. Joseph of the Kerala Province of Jesuits in India.) 

An Open Letter to: 

Rev. Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach 
Superior General 
Curia Generalize 
Compagnia di Gesu 
C.P. 6139 
00195 Roma Prati 
Fax: 39-06-686-8214 

FOURTH OPEN LETTER RE: Physical Assault, Slander through the Gutter Press, Filing of Fabricated Criminal Cases, Denial of Right to Livelihood and Other Matters Relating to Fr. Pallath J. Joseph Request for an Inquiry 

June 22, 2001 

THEME OF THE FOURTH LETTER: How to Correct Wrong in a Good Way 

Dear Rev. Fr. General, 

In the first and second open letters to you, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) raised some concerns from a moral and human rights point of view regarding all of the episodes relating to the case of Fr. Pallath J. Joseph of which you are aware. While it is not our intention to interfere with the affairs of your order, there are matters of public interest about which many people, including our commission, is quite concerned. They are as follows: 

(1) The physical assault of Fr. Pallath J. Joseph by two members of your order, together with several other hired thugs; 

(2) The throwing of the body of Fr. Pallath over the wall of the Jesuit’s premises and onto the road while he was in an unconscious or semiconscious state; 

(3) Slandering Fr. Pallath by some members of your order using a gutter magazine called Crime Star; 

(4) The filing of fabricated criminal complaints against Fr. Pallath with the view to have him arrested as a way to prevent him from entering a Jesuit house; 

(5) The failure of the Jesuit superiors to respect an agreement entered into between Fr. Pallath and the Jesuits in Kerala through the mediation of the bishop of Calicut; and 

(6) The failure to provide for the livelihood of Fr. Pallath after 33 years of service. 

This is my fourth open letter to you. Our third letter to you outlined in detail why we as a human rights organisation are concerned about Fr. Pallath’s case. Your silence is no deterrence to us, though your words may have made matters easier. In this letter, we question the manner in which the leaders of the Jesuit order have dealt with this issue. 

The facts narrated above have never been denied despite the enormous publicity these facts have received. There is no way to deny these either as incidents are well-known and have been well-recorded from the beginning. 

What did the superiors of the Jesuit order do regarding these complaints? Did they ask for an explanation from the culprits who happened to be superiors of the Kerala Province of Jesuits? Did they inquire into the matter? Did they take any action? 

If there was any such reaction, they would have called the complainant, Fr. Pallath. This though has not happened. Consequently, there is no other conclusion we can draw except that Jesuit leaders are ignoring these valid complaints. 

The next question then is, On what ethical, moral or religious base has a decision been made to ignore the complaints? Is it that the higher ranks of the Jesuit order are not bound by any moral or ethical code? If so, is discipline then a matter for the lower ranks only? Is it also that the highest superiors in the Jesuit order are bound to protect their provincial superiors irrespective of whatever wrong they have done, or is it that there is complicity on both sides in which higher superiors and provincial ones require that each must defend the other? Is this what Ignatius Loyola, the founder, meant by the military style of the organisation? 

However, in the secular world, such a military style is no longer permitted. If a top officer learns of acts that his provincial delegate has done for example, like those narrated above it is his legal duty to act and correct the wrong. If he does not, he himself becomes liable before the law and can be punished. Of course, there are still many countries where primitive Idi Amin-like practices continue, but these contradict international laws relating to these matters. 

Even the secular world accepts the ideal that no one can violate human rights and that those who do violate these rights must be held accountable. Thus, there is now a good model that the religious leaders also must support rather than contradict. 

In the case of Fr. Pallath, the first good act would have been to provide for the physical well-being of the colleague who had worked for the order and who was sent out without even a cent with which to continue his life. This horrible neglect must be corrected. Other allegations of physical assaults and fabricated cases must be dealt with as well. That is what any good organisation, including the State, is expected to do to be considered good by modern standards. This too is the path to reconciliation. It is human to do wrong, and it is possible for the human to correct the wrongs by open admission of what went wrong. The South African Truth Commission has taught the world about morality that combines justice and mercy. Do not all of these considerations apply to the Jesuit order? 

Thank you. 

Sincerely yours, 

Basil Fernando 
Executive Director 
Asian Human Rights Commission 


(You may write to the Jesuit Superior General yourself) 

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear Rev. Fr. General, 

Silence over Fr. Pallath J. Joseph’s Case! 

Although complaints of very serious rights violations have been made by Fr. Pallath J. Joseph and although many people have shown their concern that these issues must be addressed by your order, I understand that your order is keeping silent over this issue. I urge you to create a disciplinary inquiry into the actions of the superiors of the Kerala Province of the Jesuit order on this matter and to take all actions necessary to correct the wrong. I also request you to provide for the psychical well-being of Fr. Pallath, who has been dismissed after 33 years of service, even without any consideration for his food, lodging and basic needs. 

Thank you. 


***Please send a copy of your letter to AHRC Urgent Appeals: 
E-mail: ua@ahrchk.org 
Fax: +852 2698 6367 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-17-2001
Countries : Pakistan,