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Abp. Cyril Vasil’s mandate: Bitter truth- the dirty plot hatched by the Oriental Congregation.

Photo Credit to EKAM news

Papal Delegate Archbishop Cyril Vasil’s mandate : several unanswered questions

After arriving in Kerala, the Papal Delegate to the Syro-Malabar Church, Archbishop Cyril Vasil, met several groups of people in his place of stay. Among them were a group of priests from the Archdiocese of Ernakulam Angamaly who desired to know the mandate given to the Papal Delegate. The Papal Delegate is the Pope’s personal confidante sent with a specific mission. Such delegates are given a written mandate specifying his terms of reference. Generally, on arrival the Delegate lays before the public his credentials. This is how the common people come to know of the delegate’s mission. Unfortunately, Archbishop Vasil was not able to produce the relevant document and after persistent questioning, revealed that he was appointed as a delegate by the dicastery for Oriental Churches, whose Prefect seems to have had obtained the consent of the Pope for taking this step. When even a document to this effect could not be produced, the Apostolic Nuncio to India came to his rescue by publishing a Note dated New Delhi, 31st July, 2023, (Ref.No.Prot.N.5572/23/IN) which said:

“The Apostolic Nunciature in India communicates that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has named His Excellency Cyril Vasil, S.J., Archbishop-Bishop of the Eparchy of Kosice of the Byzantines (Slovakia), as his Pontifical Delegate for the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly. In order to carry out his mission, His Excellency will travel to India on 4th August 2023.”

The note again is vague about the mandate. It simply speaks of his mission, without clarifying what the mission is all about. We are not contesting his appointment as Papal Delegate.

The Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church had an elaborate discussion on the question of requesting the Pope for a Delegate to resolve the crisis in the Syro-Malabar Church. After a lengthy debate, the resolution framed read thus: ‘The Synod decided to invite a Papal Delegate to facilitate the administration of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese and to settle all the problems of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese.’ Of the 51 bishops who participated in the debate, 50 voted in favour of the resolution. The resolution makes it amply clear that the Synod had not requested a delegate to implement the Synodal Mass. Neither the Pope nor the Oriental Congregation nor the Vatican is aware of such explicit direction being issued to the Delegate. The move by the Synod to enlist the help of the Holy Father to settle the disputes within the Syro-Malabar Church itself shows how utterly helpless it is. The step also undermined the autonomy it had secured after long years of patiently petitioning and often grovelling before the potentates of the Vatican.

When the Papal Delegate arrived in Ernakulam, he made his mission public. His appeal to the faithful of the Archdiocese surprised one and all, especially the Synod fathers, with the exception of Mar Andrews Thazhath, the Apostolic Administrator of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese. He claimed to have come to implement the Synodal Mass, whereas the Synod had resolved ‘to invite a Papal Delegate to facilitate the administration of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese and to settle all the problems of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese.’ The Papal Delegate was clearly undermining the position of the Synod. No, it is more correct to say that Mar Andrews Thazhath undermined the Synodal decision by pulling the strings in the Vatican, to get a classmate of his in Rome, to carry out his agenda – to bring the Archdiocese of Ernakulam Angamaly to its knees and thus secure its compliance to the Synodal Mass. He also appointed Father George Thekkekara, the Secretary, Media Commission of the Syro Malabar Church, as the personal assistant to Archbishop Cyril Vasil during his stay here. All this reveals one bitter piece of truth: the dirty plot hatched by the Oriental Congregation in collusion with Mar Thazhath with the intent to befool the priests, religious and laity of the Archdiocese.

The staunch votaries of Chaldeanization in the Syro-Malabar Church and those who are notorious for adding insult to injury are saying that the Papal Delegate has not come for dialogue and discussion with anyone, neither to sanction the celebration of Eucharist versus Populum in the Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese but to implement the Synodal Mass. This is not what the Synod itself wanted. Contrary to his expectations, after Cyril Vasil left the Basilica under police escort on 14th August, 2023, about 280 priests of the Archdiocese came together to concelebrate the Eucharist versus Populum. The message to the Papal Delegate is clear: ‘Eucharist versus Populum is in our blood. We will defend this right of ours at all costs.’ The Delegate was probably heart-broken to receive representations from priests and laity of other dioceses of the Syro-Malabar Church requesting the restoration of Eucharist versus Populum in their dioceses, thus exposing the hollowness of the Synod’s claim that 34 of the 35 dioceses have unanimously accepted the 50:50 formula. The truth is that the pro-Chaldean lobby within the Synod hijacked it and imposed its will on others. They simply ignored the Papal exhortation that uniformity should not be sought at the cost of unity. When they claim that 34 dioceses have implemented the Synodal formula, they willfully hide the reality that the Syro-Malabar dioceses in Central and Northern India together do not have form even one per cent of the Syro-Malabar adherents. Statistics can be very misleading. Cardinal Karol Józef Wojtyła (later Pope St.John Paul II) humorously said that 50% of Poland’s Cardinals go skiing when there were only two Cardinals in Poland then. I request the Synod fathers to examine how many of the faithful have truly accepted the 50:50 formula freely, without it being imposed on them from above. If some have accepted the formula without raising objections, did they have some ulterior motive in doing so, given the fact that Christ who instituted the Eucharist did it facing his apostles.

I call upon the Synod fathers and the Papal Delegate to enter into a dialogue with the priests and laity of the Archdiocese. Without that, you would be instrumental in causing a schism in the Syro-Malabar Church. Do we need such a disaster to fall on us?

Mr. Johny Chengalan


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