Allegations of moral turpitude, financial irregularities
Mysuru: High drama prevailed at the Bishop House on the Mother Teresa Road (Bengaluru-Nilgiri Road) near Sub-urban Bus Stand yesterday when Mysuru Diocese Bishop Most Rev. K.A. William’s supporters entered into a verbal spat with media personnel who had gone there to seek his response against the allegations levelled against him by Mumbai-based Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC).
The AOCC alleged that the Bishop is involved in various irregularities and has diverted the funds of the churches. Advocate Joseph Sodder, a member of AOCC, said, 37 Priests of Mysuru district have written a letter against the Bishop to the Pope seeking his removal from the Bishop’s position.
The AOCC wanted to address the media at the Mysuru District Journalists’ Association (Pathrakarthara Bhavan) in city yesterday but was denied permission by the MDJA authorities on the grounds that the allegations lacked evidence and there were no supporting documents to prove the allegations.
But the complainants including Robert Rosario, who accompanied Joseph Sodder, managed to speak to television channels outside the MDJA premises and the allegations were subsequently flashed in television channels.
Vilifying the Bishop
When the media personnel reached the Bishop House, Rev. William’s supporters took exception to the telecast of the allegations which they claimed were false and vilified the Bishop who has streamlined the financial administration of the churches. This transparency of funds and administration had irked some people who were now tarnishing the Bishop’s image, they claimed. The Police intervened and diffused the tense situation.
Demand for new Bishop
The AOCC has claimed that Bishop is involved in various irregularities and has diverted the funds of the churches. “A new Bishop should be appointed,” Joseph Sodder demanded. “When we complained to Archbishop Peter Machado, he advised us to speak to the Bishop directly. We called the Bishop and asked him to fix a schedule for a meeting. However, he did not agree,” he claimed. AOCC activists have accused Rev. William of what they called “sexual misconduct” and “financial fraud.”
Reaching the Pope
AOCC activist Robert Rosario claimed they have come from Mumbai, Bengaluru and Mangaluru after they learnt about the alleged misdeeds of the Bishop. “The AOCC is the highest Association and Catholics regard AOCC with high respect and it intervenes wherever the church or a diocese is in trouble. We were following up a claim about the transfer of the Bishop’s car within a few months of purchase. Later, we heard about other wrongdoings.” He claimed the matter has also been brought to the notice of Pope Francis.
This morning too, the AOCC held a press conference at a private hotel where they claimed that their scheduled press conference at MDJA was disrupted by Bishop William’s supporters.
Bishop denies charges
The Bishop, on the other hand, has clarified that the allegations of moral turpitude and financial irregularities levelled against him were false. “I am aware of the vilification campaign against me through unsigned letters and WhatsApp messages. I was hurt and had invited the persons behind the allegations to meet me so that the same could be clarified. But they have not come and met me so far,” Rev. Williams said.
“There is a motive behind the campaigners as the allegations had suddenly come up after I took up financial reforms in the affairs of the church after taking over as the Mysuru Diocese Bishop two-and-a-half years ago,” Rev. Williams stated.
“I have not occupied the Bishop’s post suddenly. I have been a priest for the last 25 years, serving various Christian institutions, including St. Philomena’s Church before becoming the Bishop,” he said. “Some miscreants have joined hands with a Mumbai-based organisation to tarnish my image. There is no truth in their statements. Their action will only bring disrepute to the Christian community and the Mysuru Diocese,” he added.
The Bishop said he had convened a meeting of the Mysuru Diocese’s administrative body on Nov. 7 to seek suggestions on the matter. He also said efforts will be made through the administrative body to invite the complainants for a dialogue to resolve their grievances.