UPDATE: The Eighth Open Letter on Fr. Pallath’s Case


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-23-2001

Dear Friends,

We would like to send you a copy of the eighth open letter sent by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to the Jesuit superior general in Rome regarding Fr. Pallath’s case. The Theme of the Eighth Letter: When Justice is Denied, Love (Charity) Is Ridiculed.

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


Thank you.


Urgent Appeals Desk

Asian Human Rights Commission


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


July 23, 2001


An Open Letter to:

Rev. Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach

Superior General

Curia Generalize

Compagnia di Gesu

C.P. 6139

00195 Roma Prati ITALY

FAX: 39-06-686-8214


EIGHTH 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

The Theme of the Eighth Letter: When Justice is Denied, Love (Charity) Is Ridiculed

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. Our third letter to you outlined in detail why we as a human rights organisation are concerned about Fr. Pallath’s case; and in the fourth letter, we questioned the manner in which the leaders of the Jesuit order have dealt with this issue. In our fifth letter to you, we raised the issue of racism in regards to the treatment of Fr. Pallath by the Jesuit order in this case. Our sixth letter to you dealt with the use of common sense to resolve Fr. Pallath’s case. In our most recent seventh letter, we compared the cases of Belgian Jesuit Jacques Dupuis and Fr. Pallath. 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, are 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.


Is justice some extraneous factor to love (charity) or an integral component without which love can exist? The question is very relevant to the dispute relating to Fr. Pallath. The religious order concernedthe Jesuitsis a Christian one and therefore swears that love is the first commandment that it observes.


However, the complaints in this case, as narrated above in this letter, are that some Jesuit superiors beat one of their colleagues, used a gutter magazine to slander him, refused him food, water and his livelihood after 33 years of service and have kept silent when complaints have been made about this treatment. That this is injustice no one will deny.


The question raised above, however, is very different. What the Jesuits by their silence are saying is, What does it matter if it is unjust? Is everyone bound to be just? As a Christian order, they have to love. This commandment they will not disown, but to be just?


The Crusaders, of course, believed that to love they must be willing to kill. Killing the infidel was thus a consequence of following the commandment of love. Today, however, we know that this interpretation was only a convenient excuse for acquiring material wealth that belonged to others. The manipulation of the concept of love had really nothing to do with love. It was, in fact, sick cynicism that was hiding behind the use of Christian jargon.


Is the present total disregard for the issue of justice in this case consistent with any other interpretation of love? The soldier concept of the Jesuits may have something to do with this. Even here, there is no uncertainty anymore that soldiers, and even commanders, who engage in injustice will no longer be absolved by their vows of love for their country or any other cause. The world has changed, and this change has been for the better.


Thus, there is here in Fr. Pallath’s case a very confusing theological position which really ridicules the whole idea of love.


In the modern secular conception of love, justice is an integral part. It would be considered ridiculous to claim, “Oh, we love him, but the way we treat him is our own business.?The entire development of human rights philosophy and human rights law is around this conception of human treatment. Will the religious conception of love fall short of the secular ideal of love as it has developed in modern times? We think that this is not so. We think it cannot be so. However, we cannot ignore the fact that there is some serious problem here.


Sincerely yours,


Basil Fernando

Executive Director

Asian Human Rights Commission

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-23-2001
Countries : Pakistan,