Nowadays, now that I have left the order, I am angry when I see priests and nuns. Until I actually entered the convent, I truly did not understand their approach nor any of their procedures. It was only after my sojourn with them that I understood the lack of humanity in their piety. They speak in an empty way of devotion, renunciation, the Holy Spirit, God's vocation, poverty, chastity and obedience; they lead lives which remind me only of Pharisees, Sadducees and High Priests who appear in the Bible. If Jesus were to appear today he would question them much more sharply and severely than he did before. And even if he were to do so, I am not sure whether they will understand.
When I look at the Church today, it seems to be a Church made up of the priests and nuns and their kith and kin. And when you consider who they are, it is clear that they are all from upper castes. They are the ones who are in the positions of power. Yet when you consider the Christian people as a whole, most of them are lowly people, and Dalits. These few assume power, control the dispossessed and the poor by thrusting a blind belief and devotion upon them by turning them into slaves in the name of God, while they themselves live in comfort. […..]
What kind of piety can this be? They make themselves into gods so that they can exploit others. So where has God gone? The so-called gods walking about here are the priests and nuns and their relations; no other.
How long will they deceive us, as if we are innocent children, with their Pusai and their Holy Communion, their rosary and their novena? Children, growing up, will no longer listen to everything they are told, open mouthed, nodding their heads. Dalits have begun to realize the truth. [….]
Dalits have learnt that these others have never respected them as human beings, but bent the religion to their benefit, to maintain their own falsehoods. But Dalits have also understood that God is not like this, has not spoken like this. They have become aware that they too were created in the likeness of God. There is a new strength within them, urging them to reclaim that likeness which has been so far repressed, ruined, obliterated; and to begin to live again with honour, self-respect and with love towards all humankind. To my mind, this alone is true devotion.
Source: Karukku. Translated from the Tamil original by Lakshmi Holmstrom. Karukku is the autobiography of the Tamil writer, Bama.