UPDATE: The Ninth Open Letter on the Issues Regarding Fr. Pallath’s Case


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-24-2001
ISSUES: Military, Police violence,

Dear Friends,

We would like to send you a copy of the ninth 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 ninth 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 30, 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


NINTH 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 Ninth Letter: When Bevel Ist Bevel! An Order Is an Order! An Ideal or an Evil Doctrine?


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 seventh letter, we compared the cases of Belgian Jesuit Jacques Dupuis and Fr. Pallath; and in our last letter – our eighth – we noted the lack of justice that has transpired in dealing with Fr. Pallath’s case and questioned whether this conformed with the central place of love in Jesuit teaching and Christian theology. 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.


The German discussions about the Second World War have led to an interesting discourse on the common German saying Bevel ist bevel. That discussion is very relevant to Fr. Pallath’s case. Germans living in the post-World War II period who have sought reasons why a whole nation obeyed the illegal, immoral and irrational orders of fascists discovered that their own long-standing cultural habits had much to do in ensuring such obedience, that the attitudes expressed in the common saying Bevel ist bevel had much to do in creating the nation’s subservience to fascism.


Bevel ist bevel manifested a national habit which treated unquestioning obedience to orders as an ideal. A good person will respect and obey orders simply because they are orders. Consequently, one who does not respect and obey was treated as a bad person. The expression Bevel ist bevel thus represented a very important aspect of Germans?moral attitudes.


In re-examining the Second World War, the postwar Germans found that the growth of fascism was not just a product created by bad Germans like Hitler and his colleagues but a product also of some Germanic ideals.


The whole way in which Fr. Pallath’s case has been handled raises a question as to whether Bevel ist bevel also represents a Jesuit ideal. Whether the founder of the order meant it or not, the concept of obedience seems to be interpreted in this same fashion.


Such an accusation cannot be made lightly. However, after following all of the details of this case from its inception until now, it is not possible to avoid the conclusion that the attitude Bevel ist bevel has had quite a lot to do in the making of this episode and in the inability of the Jesuit authorities to even attempt to resolve it.


I am also happy to announce to you that my previous letters to you have been printed now as a booklet under the title To Deny Justice Is to Ridicule Love, which was the theme of my last letter to you. Though you are unwilling to discuss the matters we have raised, many others have welcomed this discussion. This discussion helps to expose the attitude that Bevel ist bevel is an evil doctrine and not an ideal. Thus, it is hoped that this discussion will help to make fascism and fascist-like attitudes a thing of the past. It is further hoped that Bevel ist bevel will not be taught to children any longer as an ideal but that instead they will be taught to despise this doctrine.


Sincerely yours,



Basil Fernando

Executive Director

Asian Human Rights Commission

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-24-2001
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Military, Police violence,