03/12/2021, 14.19
INDIA
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Kolkata priest leaves priesthood to run for BJP

by Nirmala Carvalho

Rodney Borneo, former principal at Loyola High School, joined the Hindu nationalist party to stand in local legislative elections. The Archdiocese of Calcutta suspended him from the ministry with immediate effect. For Archbishop Thomas D'Souza, it is “a very sad fact”.

 

Calcutta (AsiaNews) – A priest from the Archdiocese of Calcutta has decided to become a candidate in local legislative elections in West Bengal scheduled for the end of this month.

He will run under the banner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As a result of this decision, Father Rodney Borneo, who until now was the principal at Loyola High School, a diocesan educational establishment, resigned from his post and the Archdiocese of Calcutta suspended him from the priestly ministry with immediate effect.

Borneo made his announcement last Tuesday at a meeting attended by BJP National Vice-President Mukul Roy, local party secretary Sabyasachi Dutta and spokesman Shamik Bhattacharya.

The now ex-priest described his decision to join the BJP as “a new trajectory” in his life. “I have served the Church and the people for 22 years, now I will go on doing it outside the Church,” he said.

A video shows him walking onto a stage, receiving the BJP flag and singing “Bharat Mata ki jai” (victory to his mother India).

The Archbishop of Calcutta Thomas D'Souza confirmed that he had received a letter from Father Borneo asking to leave the priesthood.

The archdiocese appointed an interim principal for Loyola High School, Prof Clive Joseph.

“Father Rodney, was a good priest,” said Archbishop D'Souza, speaking to AsiaNews. He “did his job very well as school principal for five years. I don’t know the reasons for his decision.”

“It is his choice. In the interview he says that he wants to do something more in the service of humanity. I do not know what he means. Was there not enough scope to serve in the Church?

“Outside a political party he could have done more. It is a sad fact that he preferred a political party, any party, over the priesthood. We continue to pray for him because he is very dear to us.  But it remains a sad fact for us,” noted the Archbishop of Calcutta.

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