Catholic reformist defies tradition, cremates wife

February 23rd, 2008 - 8:29 pm ICT by admin  

Kottayam (Kerala), Feb 23 (IANS) Catholic reformist and an outspoken critic of the church Joseph Pulikunnel Saturday defied tradition and cremated the body of his wife instead of burying it. Pulikunnel, a former lecturer in economics, belongs to the Syro Malabar Catholic community and has been a darling of the media for his outbursts against the Catholic Church and its traditions.

Kochrani, 74, breathed her last Friday. “Grandmother’s body was placed on a pyre and was burnt today (Saturday) morning at our home itself,” Akhil, grandson of Pulikunnel, told IANS.

“This was one of her last wishes and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are followed. The church had no opposition and the parish priests had come to pray for the departed soul,” he said.

Recently, Pulikunnel was in the news for conducting funeral prayer service of a person excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

Speaking to IANS, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar Church Paul Thelekkat said that according to Canon Law, cremation is allowed.

“I myself have done cremation services in Germany. I called up Pulikunnel to offer my condolences, but I did not ask him if his wife was cremated,” he said.

Pulikunnel is currently director of the Indian Institute of Christian Studies set up here to spread his views. He alleges that the church at present is western in its outlook and administration and is completely clergy-centred.

Through studies and publications, his institute tries to “expose” what it calls as the “unchristian” character of the Indian church.

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