India    VIOLENCE DISRUPTS BISHOP'S ORDINATION
Three priests and several laypeople were injured in police action after some 500 people disrupted an episcopal ordination on Sunday in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
   Police arrested a number of protestors, including 18 priests, who went onto the altar at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Shimoga and prevented Archbishop Ignatius Pinto of Bangalore from giving the opening message.
   Shimoga Vicar General Father Abraham Kadaplackal, one of the 300 concelebrants, said that the Mass was delayed for 30 minutes and that police charged the mob protesting the appointment of Konkani-speaking Monsignor Gerald Isaac Lobo from Mangalore as the new bishop of Shimoga diocese.
   The protesters "took over the altar immediately after the Mass was started and disrupted the service by shouting anti-Konkani slogans and exerting physical violence," Father Kadaplackal told UCA News.
   Bishop Lobo's appointment had upset some Kannadiga Catholics, who speak Kannada, the main language in Karnataka, and wanted a Kannadiga bishop.
   Describing the incident as "a shame for the Catholic Church in Karnataka," Father Kadaplackal said that police protection had been arranged in view of the Kannadiga threat to disrupt the ceremony, but none expected "such open violence by the cassock-wearing priests."
   Father Selva Raj, leader of the Karnataka Kannada Priests Association that led the protest, told UCA News: "What we wanted was a chance to air our views, but that was denied. Instead, we were chucked out like cats and pigs."
   
UCAN
22/3/00

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