Mary John Akhouri, a Christian Catholic lady died the other day in Mumbai, India. She was 94. Her last wish was to be buried in the premises of a church in which she was baptised at her native place in Kerala next to her father’s grave.
But when her body was brought for burial the church authorities refused permission. Their objection was she had married a Hindu man. They said that those who do not follow the Christian way of life will not get buried in the church.
Normally this issue might not have got much publicity,,but for the fact that the lady was the grandmother of a celebrity, the Bollywood film star Priyanka Chopra.
Church trustee Abraham PV told NDTV, “We could not bury her because after her marriage she lived like a non Christian – like a Hindu. After that she never came back to join us again. If she had given us a petition while she was alive, we would have done everything we could.”
The family was shocked. They insisted she was always a Christian.
They insist that she was a regular church-goer and had even gone for confession and partaken of the Holy Eucharist just a couple of years ago in the very same church which refused to bury her next to her father, as per her last wish.
No amount of pleading could change the heart of the clergy. The family was about to go back to Mumbai with the body. Hearing their sorry plight, a Bishop arranged for burial at another church some distance away. Thus the funeral happened, not as per the wish of the deceased , but still in a church premise.
But then came a shocker. The kind hearted Bishop was suspended from his duties, allegedly for facilitating the burial.
Then the final twist. Fearing a backlash of bad publicity the church head reinstated the Bishop the very next day.
And still some people will say religions are humane !