The recent sermon delivered by the Priest of Raia Church targeting the BJP party and its senior party leaders such as late Manohar Parrikar and Amit Shah went viral on the social media. The circulation of the video went so much viral that the Goa Church was forced to intervene and tender their apology for the same.

According to the report published by the Times of India In a video that went viral on Sunday, Fr Conceicao, priest of Raia Church is seen asking followers at Our Lady of Snows Church in Raia to reject BJP, while calling its national president Amit Shah a demon and Parrikar’s affliction of “cancer as a wrath of God”.

The Church tendered its apology on Monday saying that they are sincerely regretting the objectionable comments made by the parish priest of Raia against a specific political party and individuals of that party.          

“We sincerely regret any pain or hurt that these statements may have caused,” director of Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media (DCSCM) Fr Olavo Caiado said in a statement on Monday.

According to the sources, this is not the first time that Fr. Conceicao, a parish priest of Raia church tried campaigning for the candidate or political party. The sources have revealed that Fr Conceicao had found involved in the political promotions while he was the parish priest of Taleigao church during 2017. He had directed the parishioners to vote for Congress candidate during the state assembly elections in 2017.      

Before elections to the assembly or Parliament, the Church in Goa issue guidelines to its priests to encourage their parishioners to fulfill their duty to vote for the candidate or party that will better safeguard the interests of our state and nation.    

“General principles are also given on what to look for in the candidates and in their manifestos. While doing so, priests are advised not to mention in public any names of candidates or of political parties. It is a matter of regret that, nonetheless, there are a few instances when this particular advice is not followed,” the Church said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Bishops of Catholic church also condemned the act of Fr Conceicao saying that the Church remains aloof from the political parties and candidates.

“The Church, both at the national level and in Goa, has made it clear that the Catholic Church does not identify itself or side with any political party. It only gives general guidance to our people for the good of our country,” secretary general of CBCI, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, tweeted on Sunday.    

Bishop Mascarenhas said that temples, churches, mosques or gurdwaras cannot be used for electoral purposes and that using a place of worship for electoral propaganda was unacceptable and improper.     

“We repeat what we have always said, that religion should not be used in any way to polarise or divide people, and definitely votes cannot be sought in the name of religion. This principle must be followed by all,” Bishop Mascarenhas said.

It may be recalled that the video of Fr Conceicao delivering the sermon went viral on social media platforms such as WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms and lot of people had supported the statements of the priest but now since the matter has become serious Church decided to intervene. What are your views? Do you agree with the Parish Priest or not??    

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