Bishop fined for refusing Christian burial to parishioner

 

Bishop fined for refusing Christian burial to parishioner

Author: 

George Conger

An Indian court has ordered the Bishop in East Kerala to pay damages to the family of a man refused the burial rites of the church on the orders of the bishop. Judge G. Hareesh of the Erattupetta Munsiff district court ordered the Rt. Rev. K.G. Daniel (pictured) and the vicar of St Mathias Church in Ellumpuram to pay Mrs. Mary Jacob 995,000 rupees, (approximately £10,000), for slandering the reputation of her late husband for refusing to give him Christian burial. Prof. Jacob had been elected a member of the diocesan synod for five terms and had served as diocesan secretary for 12 years and was a professor at a CSI affiliated college in Melukavu. However in 2006 he published a book objecting to infant baptism, arguing that baptism should not take place until an individual had made a mature commitment to Christ. Prof. Jacob was removed from his diocesan posts, and excommunicated by Bishop Daniel in 2008. He brought suit against the bishop in civil court and his excommunication was invalidated after the court ruled it was not done in conformance with canon law. After Prof. Jacob died in 2012 his family sought to bury him at the family crypt at his parish church, the bishop refused his permission. The church eventually agreed to allow him to be buried at another site in the churchyard, but refused to offer a service of Christian burial. Prof. Jacob’s widow sued the bishop and diocese for slander and the court last week ruled the church had violated its canon laws again, and awarded damages to the widow and ordered his reburial in the family crypt. The diocese is expected to appeal the decision.

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