29 October, 2017

The Word Exposed - October 29, 2017 (Full Episode)

Syromalabar Church - A clarification of the situation

Dear John

As one of the ten Delhi-based lay Catholics of Syro-Malabar ancestry who, as you know well, had  a ringside seat on how this matter was finally settled in Delhi (and effectively in the world), I would like to explain and clarify to all members of the Forum what this really means. So here goes:
I came to know of the Pope’s Letter to the Bishops of India from Dr James Kottoor's article, "Any Rite is right ...". That all Rites of the Catholic Church are equal is indisputable. That the Catholic Church values its diversity is also most desirable (at this juncture, we wish our country would be as appreciative of its own!).

But Dr Kottoor had appended a UCAN report. This report, apparently on the basis of a webcast by Cardinal Allenchery, stated that the Pope had "authorized [the Eastern Churches] to have pastoral powers across India".  The headline and the by-line were, respectively (highlights mine):
"Eastern rite rejoices in right to administer across India"; and
"Pope gives Syro-Malabar Church powers to evangelize outside its base in southern India".
Whether these interpretations are of the SM Church or of UCAN is anyone's guess! But whoever UCAN is quoting has inadvertently given the game away - the key words are “right” and "powers". Indeed, as will be seen below, the Pope's extended the "pastoral area" of the SM Church.

This is what the LETTER OF THE HOLY FATHER POPE FRANCIS TO THE BISHOPS OF INDIA [“Papal Letter”] dated 9 October 2017 on the very same subject says (highlights mine):
(a) “in a world where large numbers of Christians are forced to migrate, overlapping jurisdictions have become customary … for ensuring the pastoral care” (Sec. 5);
(b) the pastoral area of the SM church has been extended;
(c) the purpose of such "ecclesiastical circumscription" (such as overlapping jurisdictions) is to enable the SM Church to "provide pastoral care for its faithful throughout the territory of India".
(d) the faithful should protect and preserve the diversity of traditions "while at the same time assuring that such differences do not hinder unity but rather contribute toward it (Lumen Gentium, 13)."

Interestingly, in the Pastoral Letter, the Holy Father uses the word "power" only once - in Section 9 - and that too in a disapproving sense: "May this extension of the pastoral area of the Syro-Malabar Church in no way be perceived as a growth in power and domination, but as a call to deeper communion, which should never be perceived as uniformity"... 

More significantly - but more likely to be missed, even by educated people giving the Papal Letter a cursory glance - is the caveat that the Papal Letter inserts with great deliberation at the end of Section 8 of the Papal letter: he cites an “Instruction” issued by the Holy See on 28 January 2016. I will explain in detail.

UCAN further "reports" that this effort [to grab more and more "powers?] "has been resisted by the majority Latin-rite bishops in the past". It goes on to repeat that "the Kerala-based church’s clergy [who] began working in several places outside Kerala... often faced resistance from Latin-rite bishops." [UCAN, like the media in general today, seems to have boxed itself into a world of "reporting" with neither application of mind nor verification of fact; and I believe UCAN needs to jump out of this box with alacrity, if it is to retain credibility.] 

The truth is that the actual resistance came, not so much from Latin Bishops (who, in fact, were often found too timid, apparently overawed by the wealth and political clout of the SM Church, both in the country and in the Holy See), but overwhelmingly from the thousands of lay Catholics who had emigrated from Kerala decades ago. These emigrants had found themselves warmly embraced by the Latin Churches in the various cities of India (and later abroad). They cherished their SM ancestry and seamlessly joined SM church services when visiting Kerala; but saw - and still see - no reason for themselves, their children and their grand-children to be ordered about or bullied by an arrogant SM bureaucracy, which seems to believe it has divine sanction to "rule" the laity. Things had come to a pass where the SM bureaucracy refused to accept status liber ("no objection") certificates for marriage [as in the case referred to by Astrid], if issued by Latin pastors of parishes to which these lay people had belonged for six or seven decades!

This was one of several supercilious and high-handed actions and orders by the SM hierarchy that resulted in a Petition, "Is Christ Divided?" sent to Rome in May 2014. The Petitioners were a group of ten SM laypersons from New Delhi, representing - and morally and financially supported by – hundreds of lay people who had settled for decades in Delhi and surrounds. In direct response to that Petition, the Holy See issued an “Instruction” (Prot. No. 197/2014 dated 28 January 2016) to the Archbishop of Delhi and the Eparch of the SM Diocese of Faridabad. This is the historic “Instruction” explicitly cited by the Holy Father in para 8 of the Papal Letter. It serves both as an affirmation of the Holy See’s understanding of the SM Laity situation, as represented by the Delhi Petitioners and as a caveat to explain the spirit of the Letter.

The Papal Letter reiterates the two substantial points of the “Instruction” of 28 January 2016: "No dispensation is required from the law currently in force for the faithful to practice their faith serenely."

I was one of the ten Petitioners and have been authorized by the others to explain to the world how this reference to the "Instruction" affects the context of the Papal Letter. So, what does the above sentence mean and why do I call the “Instruction” a caveat? 

First, no Indult ("dispensation" or “exception” to an existing Church law) needs to be sought by the SM faithful in Latin parishes. This is a huge step forward: a heroic struggle on an almost identical issue, two decades ago, by the SM laity of Mumbai - which the Holy Father also refers to in Section 6 – resulted in the issue of the “Kalyan Indult” at that time. The Papal Letter clearly lays down now that no Indult is needed at all, because the issue is “within the framework of existing law”. As the Pope explicitly states, "a member of the Syro-Malabar parish where he or she is domiciled ... can remain fully involved in the life and activities of the parish of the Latin Church." 

Second, these people, referred to above, should be able to practice their faith "serenely".

As a matter of fact, the cited Instruction (whether understood as a "Teaching" or an "Order"), in response to the Delhi Petition of 24 May 2016, spells things out much more elaborately and in no uncertain manner. The full text of the Instruction is attached. Judge for yourself (highlights mine):
Para 1:  ... The situation can be happily managed, even within the framework of existing law, if all concerned act with mutual understanding and respect. 

Para 3:   Some faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church ... do not wish to pass over the Latin Church: this is most understandable and even praiseworthy...  Such persons may exercise their right to participate in the liturgical functions of any church sui iuris. 

Para 4:   Both the pastors are called to understand the delicate situation of such persons and to facilitate the tranquil and serene prosecution of their life of faith. 

Para 5:   Such inner-ecclesial collaboration should take place with respect, solicitude and promptitude, having the spiritual good of the faithful as the final goal.

Para 6:   In sum, the faithful ascribed to the SM church residing in the territory of the Eparchy of Faridabad are subject to the Eparchial Bishop of that ecclesial Circumscription, even if, in practice, they frequent Latin parishes.  Nonetheless, let them rest assured that their situation is understandable and their motivations respected.  All should take care so that these persons do not feel excluded from full involvement in the Latin parish or slighted by the SM parish.  

Para 7:   This Congregation, ...  observing the current canonical norms, confident of the pastoral solicitude of the Pastors, both the Latin and Syro-Malabar, considers it neither necessary nor opportune to grant particular indults of a general character.
[Promptly on receipt of the above “Instruction”, the Archbishop of Delhi complied, issuing Pastoral instructions to all the Parish Priests in the Archdiocese on how to implement it.]

Further, although issued in response to the Delhi Petition, this is an “Instruction” whose meaning and implications are clearly universal
First, in such cases, no "Indult" (i.e. exception or dispensation) is required because what the SM Catholics are asking for is "within the framework of existing law".   
Second, every SM Catholic has a right to participate in the liturgical functions of any church sui iuris.  
Third, the SM Catholic’s desire to continue participating in the Latin parish (Church) and not pass it over (or be forced to pass it over) for the SM Church is "most understandable and even praiseworthy". 

Consequently, besides clearly laying down what is to be done, the "Instruction" unequivocally and explicitly lays down how it is to be done. Thus, pastors on both sides are enjoined to show "respect, solicitude and promptitude" as they "facilitate the tranquil and serene prosecution" of the people's "life of faith". Clearly, this “how” again is of universal application.

So, no more harassment or bullying; no more refusal of NOCs between Rites, no bureaucratic hurdles or subtle delays, no unreasonable or burdensome financial demands, and so on. In fact, for the sacrament of marriage [Astrid, your friend will be happy to hear this, albeit a trifle late] any SM candidate now has merely to apply to his or her local Parish Priest - even if it is a Latin parish - as any Latin parishioner would do. It is then the duty of this Parish Priest - on his own - to obtain the NOC from the local SM Eparchy. It doesn’t matter if the groom is in a Latin parish and the bride is in a SM parish, or vice versa. It doesn’t matter if one is in Kerala and the other somewhere else in the universe. [If someone outside Delhi wants to know how to implement this, take the Delhi Archdiocese Pastoral instructions as a guide.]

As one of my fellow Petitioners, Mr P J Antony, sums it up: "The very fact that, in conceding the seemingly justifiable demand of the SM, the Holy See has made a proper reference to the Instruction, clearly citing the No & date, is a message to the SM hierarchy that they better behave themselves, factoring in people like us across the world.”

So, every SM Catholic - whether in India or the UK or Europe or the US or Canada or Australia or New Zealand or anywhere else - needs to read and understand the “Instruction” carefully. The Holy Father and the Church have already laid down the principles. Clearly, any violation would be against the Holy Father's Letter and the “Instruction”. But Antony also points out the responsibility of the laity: “Now it is for the similarly placed people to invoke it as and when the situation so demands."

Dr Kottoor contends in his article that, "If there is to be a competition among followers of Jesus, it is competition to serve one another, not dominate or rule over." Unfortunately, he is so wrong!  And equally wrong, I guess, is the Holy Father. This worldly unwise Pope, in Dr Kottoor's words, places himself "one step below the laity to deserve the title: Servant of Servants".  Unfortunately, one would have to be very optimistic to hope that the SM hierarchy will ever subscribed to either of these fanciful notions.

Back then to the news that started this discussion. The Papal Letter uses the term “pastoral care” six times, and “unity” and “communion” five times each. It uses the term “power” only once and that too disapprovingly. It also explicitly states that the exercise of any authority must be in accordance with the cited “Instruction” of January 2016. It is tragic and deplorable, if predictable, that the Papal Letter "extending the pastoral area" of the SM Church is perceived and presented by the SM hierarchy (and/or UCAN!) primarily as an "extension of power”.
Kurien Joseph

On Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 3:34 AM, John Dayal <john.dayal@gmail.com> wrote:
Dear Astrid
Someone’s one-liner to your last question was “But we are not following Christ. We are following tradition.”
Will share my POV in a few days
God bless
John Dayal

On Oct 27, 2017, at 1:11 PM, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala <asklobog@gmail.com> wrote:

Attaching an article by James Kotoor. I'm adding him to this discussion. 

I find this rites issue very difficult to understand because it seems that people are given no choice. Is this correct? 

I know some Syro-malabar Catholics who are unhappy that they are not given a choice to worship how and where they want.  I think it's odd that consent which  is so important in the secular world  is discounted in this instance. A friend of mine who goes to a Latin rite church went through much stress when her husband died. They had problems with the SM church that they belonged to. Later the son had a problem with his marriage formalities and he was so angry he was ready to walk out of the church.   The mother was in tears and terribly stressed. I contacted some priest friends and fortunately everything was sorted out. 

Also I am told that the SM Catholics are the well to do, and now that they are moving out of Kerala for jobs etc. the Churches are also losing their revenue, and that this is a hidden motivation for the increase in dioceses.  Is this true?  

What I do know for a fact is that when i visited a seminary in Kerela, the Professors were sharing how formerly the seminarians all studied together, no matter the rite. Now everything has been split with a duplication of resources in the same campus. Personally I think it is a waste. Wonder what Christ would say. 

As for equality among the rites I don't know  how the SM Church has any credibility to ask for this when it promotes endogamy. I refer to Dr, Kotoor's article : http://mattersindia.com/2015/09/pope-asked-to-stop-endogamous-marriages-among-indian-catholics/  I find the support of the hierarchy for this absolutely scandalous. 
Isn't it also true that the Knanaya Catholics (Kottayam eparchy) are  completely closed to any converts? How does one understand evangelisation in this context? . 


On Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 11:23 AM, Alan Doulton <adoulton@gmail.com> wrote:
The Pope has turned a blind eye to the building of a 50 crore church in a poverty stricken country
This double speak does not look good – when they proclaim blessed are the poor ………
And spend more money on monuments. Also these rites are Malayalam rites and there is little or no inculturation visible or it is varied
Some notice that there appears that the oriental churches are to take care of the Keralites in different location.
Just sharing what I have observed.

From: indian-synod@googlegroups.com [mailto:indian-synod@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Ralph Coelho
Sent: Friday, October 27, 2017 6:41 AM
To: John Dayal <john.dayal@gmail.com>
Cc: Fr Vincent Chinnadurai Cbci Laity Commission <chinnaduraivincent@gmail.com>
; UCFHR India Google Group <ucfhr@googlegroups.com>; A communicating Indian Church <communicating-church@googlegroups.com>; indian-synod@googlegroups.com; christians-for-a-democratic-india@googlegroups.com; UCAN Delhi <ucandelhi@gmail.com>; Jose Kavi <kaviyil@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Pope letter

Dear John,

You have touched a nerve. I am personally far less involved with the hierarchy than you but the little that I have had as a member of one CCBI Commission has not been edifying. While I find a great deal of competence in the shape of knowledge there is a sort of effeteness in actual implementation that is reflected in their public pronouncements and programs regarding pastoral programs for family, institutions other than Churches, participation in public debate. The last is particularly apparent with regard to the moral issues regarding contraception, abortion, homosexuality, divorce, interfaith marriages. They seem almost apologetic that the moral law for Catholics is stricter than the democratic public desires. The option for the poor seems to be invoked as much for the poor as to avoid speaking to the middle class about rejecting the pleasures availed of by their peers practice other religions.

The Catholic clergy belonging to other non-Latin Rites embrace the rich and possibly extract donations that fund not only Churches and clergy premises but seminaries and educational institutions. They are openly involved with public agencies and have their share of scandals that hit the headlines which possibly is the cost of close association with the rich. 

I look forward to your longer article. Hopefully the concerned Bishops will recognise the continuing alienation of affluent Catholics due to what they experience as weak pastoral care of families.

This should instigate Educated Catholics to inform themselves and offer their services to the clergy for an active family apostolate providing marriage preparation and enrichment and those who are in irregular situations. It should not be seen as an instigation to reform but to increase evangelical participation. Not only to be light fellow faithful but to the non-Catholics who dominate the world around us.


On 27-Oct-2017, at 12:02 AM, John Dayal <john.dayal@gmail.com> wrote:

Please see my note published in Smart Companion, if the kerala church
This is the first known public comment on the Pope’s letter to the bishops of india 
Am expanding this soon 
God Bless 
John Dayal
Unity, Diversity, Opportunity?


Though I grew up in the Latin church of the Himalayan ranges of north India, I rejoice in the new empowerment of the Oriental Rites by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his October 2017 Letter to the Bishops of India. The Papal letter “authorized the Congregation for the Oriental Churches to provide for the pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar faithful throughout India by the erection of two Eparchies and by the extension of the boundaries of the two already in existence.”
There is, of course, no murmur of dissent. That is proper in a national church known for its fidelity and loyalty to the hierarchical pyramid. Church bells in the Latin geography are however not pealing for joy; there is a suppressed glee in the two Oriental churches. In individual dioceses, Bishop’s house to Parish, the reality of the denouement, or final settling, of the Rites controversy, is a fait accompli. The people, however, can be said to be still grappling with questions even as the information sinks in.
It has always been clear to observers that the importance of Rites has not been fully understood outside Kerala in all its multifarious, and often intangible, dimensions. Only those born in the Syrian church can claim to understand it. This understanding is not always in any depth. The last decade saw much acrimony, and some instances of violence as the Oriental Rites carved out their identity in the existing dioceses. There have been confrontations, and unconcealed disdain. The dust will settle.
My own concern is about how it plays out in the arena of human rights, civil liberties and identity as a citizen living under a governance system loyal to the Constitution and assuring the rule of law.
In terms of the Church’s traditional image as a service provider, an institution builder with specialisation in education and health, three socially competitive units, two financially in a happier situation than even in the past, will shortly lead to many more hospitals, schools, colleges, even universities, serving both the Christian community and the people at large. The footprint on the ground, so to say, will increase. Presumably those in authority will ensure that there is enough vocation to keep ownership within the church.
But the challenge today is in the public arena, in political affairs, the economy and overarching issues of morality and ethics in governance. The Holy Father sees this nuanced landscape. The Church in Kerala, and in fact in the other states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and the Telugu twins Telangana and Andhra have had a very difference experience in the politics of demography. As populations of a certain critical mass, they have could define a political role for themselves, for the Hierarchy at least if not for the laity, though it has been a secondary beneficiary anyway. But in the north, the situation has been very different. The church has been seen mostly as a service provider with absolutely no political clout or ability to influence governance. The ego of a few hierarchs may not accept this reality, but this is how the dice rolls.
Much  depends on how the politically powerful churches of Kerala works closely with the Latin church, its religious leaders and its laity, in engaging hostile union and state governments in the prickly discourse of freedom of religion and belief, and in the struggle for equity.
The potential to influence polity, and persuade both friendly and hostile administrations from the panchayat level to Parliament requires the three to work as one well-oiled machine. They need to work to train the laity to work closely in facing emerging challenges, and in working with civil society on broader issues.
The Holy Father has called for joint action in things such as retreats. This needs to be seen more strategically as empowering the faithful in their rights and struggles as citizens. New national policies in education and human resource, the retraining of an older generation to cope with modern technology and therefore to avoid redundancy r unemployment is as important as to motivated a young generation so they can survive in thereon sharp competitive work. The list is long. The time, alas, short. The leadership of the three Rites is on test.

John Dayal
skype johndayalindia

On 17 October 2017 at 15:49, Editor Companion <chiefeditorcompanion@gmail.com> wrote:
Dear John Dayal,

just to remind you to send the piece and limit it less than 700 words

Jaymon Varghese Mulappancherril mcbs
Editor, Smart Companion
Kalpaka bangalow, Perumanoor PO
Thevara, Kochi 686 015 kerala
Mob: 00918157852304

Libre de virus. www.avg.com


Kurien Joseph

18 October, 2017

RIP Fr Lawrence Lobo sj



We are sad to inform you that Fr. Lawrence  Lobo SJ (GUJ ) 79 years old /  56 years in the Society of Jesus, passed away on 18 October, 2017 around 06.30 AM in Lady Pillar Hospital, Vadodara, Gujarat.

Funeral will be held on Friday, 20 October, at 11.00 AM in Rosary Cathedral, Vadodara.

All the members of the Province are to offer One Mass and members of the community are to offer two masses for the repose of Fr Lawrence  Lobo SJ.

May the good Lord grant Fr. Lawrence Lobo eternal rest and may his soul rest in peace.

Peace,Shekhar Manickam sj

23 January, 2017

Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro
India:  Pope Francis on Jan 21has appointed a new Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal. Italian Archbishop ‎Giambattista Diquattro, the Apostolic Nuncio to Bolivia, will now be the Holy See’s ambassador to ‎India and Nepal.

The 62-year-old prelate takes over from Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, whom ‎Pope Francis transferred to Poland as Apostolic Nuncio in August last year. The Apostolic Nunciature‎to India and Nepal is based in the Indian capital New Delhi.

Born in Bologna 1954, Archbishop Diquattro was ordained a priest for Ragusa Diocese in 1981. He was ‎appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Panama in April, 2005 and was ordained a bishop two months later. He ‎was transferred to Bolivia as Apostolic Nuncio in November, 2008, where he has served until now.‎