12/11/2018, 09.31
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India, Pope Francis accepts the resignation of the bishop of Cuddapah

by Nirmala Carvalho

Msgr. Prasad Gallela is accused of being married and having a child, also of appropriating funds destined for poor Dalit children in the diocese to allow his wife and son "live in luxury". For years the story was known to the Vatican, which had sent an apostolic visitor to investigate.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Msgr. Prasad Gallela, bishop of Cuddapah, in Andhra Pradesh. In its place, the pontiff appointed Msgr. Gali Bali, bishop emeritus of Guntur, as administrator sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis  of the diocese. The resignation is due to the civil investigation into Msgr. Gallela, accused of being married and with a son.

The news of the resignation was released yesterday. Local sources told AsiaNews that allegations against the bishop had been circulating for some time. Several years ago the Vatican sent an apostolic visitor to investigate the case. The story, however, ended without any further action. Later the same faithful of the diocese filed a complaint against him, presenting irrefutable documents and evidence. Since last July, the bishop has been prevented from celebrating mass in the Cathedral of St. Mary of Mariyapuram, because he is guilty of "having destroyed holiness with marriage".

Mesa Ravi, leader of the Dalit Christian Forum, claims to have presented acts and certificates that prove the bishop's marriage with Mrs. Gallela Sujatha. Gallela Prasad Junior, 19, was born from their relationship. Mesa Ravi also denounces that Msgr. Gallela, of Dalit origin, would have "abused and exploited us poor Dalit Christians, married in secret, cheated the faithful and misappropriated funds for poor children to allow his secret wife and his secret son live in luxury, while thousands of poor Dalits Christians were without even the means to survive".

Despite his complaint, underlines Ravi, "the ecclesiastical authorities remained silent on the serious episode of corruption, illicit relationships, violation of canon law and causing scandal among the faithful. Some hierarchies covered the secrets and lack spiritual integrity and honesty ".

He addressed the State of Andhra Pradesh and the Government of India, which have ascertained the violations of civil and canon law. "It is a disgrace - he concludes - that the Holy Catholic Church tolerates and silences truth and justice, even though there are those who humbly remind them of it. It is a huge scandal for the faith of the simple and humble faithful like you and me ".

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