A group, called Gabriel Sena, has been formed by the Catholic Church in Kerala comprising of retired military and paramilitary men to help with crowd control, reported Indian Express.
The Gabriel Sena, the name a Biblical reference to angel Gabriel, who is considered God’s messenger and one of the seven guardian angels, launched in the archdiocese of Thalassery in Kannur last month, will hold its first meeting at Taliparamba in Kannur district on 15 November.
Reportedly the Sena has been established for “crowd control” amidst people questioning members of clergy on numerous issues, from sex scandals to land rows.
Recently, Christian members belonging to the archdiocese of Ernakulam had marched to the Cardinal House in Kochi demanding the resignation of Cardinal George Alencherry, who is embroiled in a land row.
Last year, the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Jalandhar diocese, who was accused of raping a nun, came after sustained pressure from a group of nuns. The nuns who supported the victim came under sustained pressure from the Church, were removed and transferred.
Gabriel Sena director Fr Mathew Ashariparambil was reported saying that the retired military and paramilitary men should become “guardians of faith and warriors of ideals”, added that their services would be used mostly for crowd control.
“More than a group, the Sena will be a fellowship of ex-uniformed personnel. We are expecting around 150 people to turn up for our first meeting on 15 November, he added.
He also said that there is no communal agenda for the Sena and any Catholic was free to join the group.
George Joseph, secretary of Joint Christian Council, a body representing laymen, said, “In the present situation, where churches have been fighting among themselves for supremacy and to gain control of properties and churches, the formation of such a Sena is an alarming trend, especially if their services are used to intimidate the faithful who oppose the clergy.”
Notably, in an intra-religious conflict, two faction of Christian faith, the Jacobite and the Orthodox Church in Kerala are locked in a dispute over ownership of at Kothamangalam in Ernakulam. The Jacobites were condemned by the Kerala State Child Welfare Commission for forcing children to write political messages in their own blood.
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