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AN OPEN APPEAL MADE TO THE SYRO MALABAR BISHOPS: An investigative study on the problems.


PART - one


A conflict arose between the servants of Abraham and Lot. Abraham said to Lot: “Let there be no strife between you and me or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are kinsmen” (Gen.13:8).


When two groups of Catholics came to a conflict situation, the Thiruvananthapuram Latin Arch Bishop Susaipackiam reminded his people with the exact words of Abraham, ‘Let there be no strife between us, for we are brothers’.


I am a 71-year-old Vincentian priest. My late brother had been a priest of the Kothamangalam diocese and a classmate of Major Arch Bishop George Allen cherry. My brother loved to follow the Changanassery diocesan method of putting curtain facing the Altar in liturgical matters. I loved to follow the Ernakulum liturgical method of saying the Holy Mass facing people without any curtain. Conflict arose between my brother and me after we said the Holy Mass together at our home parish church. Thus quarreling and arguing, we continued our journey back home for one and a half kilometers. Thank God we never resorted to physical abuse!

This problem is still in our Syro Malabar Church. Finally, as we reached home, we called mother and asked her opinion about saying the Holy Mass turned towards the people or turned to the Altar. She said, Until 1962, we had the Holy Mass in the Syrian language, the priest turning towards the Altar, and we the common people were saying the rosary or saying some other prayers at that time. We were kept in darkness with what the priest was doing there. Now we can see all. I prefer to have the Holy Mass in which the priest turns towards the people.

My mother’s judgment didn’t help my brother to change his mind. Until death, he lived in his convictions. Some Syro Malabar historians like Fr. Placid, who spread Latin Rite hate, influenced him.


1. THE PROBLEM INITIATED BY ARCHBISHOP JOSEPH POWATHIL

On July 3rd, 1962, on the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, Holy Mass in our mother tongue Malayalam got inaugurated in Kerala. At that time, like the whole Universal Latin Rite churches, the whole Kerala Syro Malabar Churches were also saying the Mass turning towards the people. Then under the leadership of Bishop Joseph Powathil, then Arch Bishop of Changanassery, I do not know the exact date, he began to turn his people towards the Altar during the whole time of Holy Mass. The Arch Bishop of Ernakulum Cardinal Joseph Parekkattil didn’t actively oppose this unilateral decision of Arch Bishop Joseph Powathil, though it was done without the consensus opinion of the Syro Malabar Bishops.


Picture from public domain. Deceit of two bishops: Game of division materialized.

As we know the deceit of naming a lamb to be a dog, they are spreading false news by alleging that the Ernakulum priests are creating the problem. From 1962 to 2021, Archdiocese like Ernakulam (which has some 6 lakhs catholic population- the second biggest diocese in India.), Irinjalakuda, Archdiocese of Thrissur, Palghat, Ramanathapuram, Wayanad, Thamarassery were enjoying the Holy Masses, the celebrant facing the people. A custom of saying the Holy Masses for the last 59 years, now some Bishops are trying to force it on the majority people on the technical ground of a marginal majority, holding an online Synod at a wrong time of Covid 19 for such an important matter. I have been reported that some Bishops who opposed the online decision for a very important cause were abused and commanded to back down and sit down.


2. APPOINTMENTS OF NEW BISHOPS

When new appointments of Bishops come, though they are personally good people, it seems that they are too much loyal to the cause of Arch Bishop Powathil.


The Tellicherry Arch Bishop Valiamattam is a very soft person, though most of his priests wanted a Mass turning towards the people, he prevailed over them. I saw some priests of his own batch abusing him for this in front of me. My own diocese Kothmangalam, as I know the pain and anguish of the priests of my own diocese, they too were forced to say Holy Mass turning against the people without consultation.


The Syro Malabar Bishop Of Chicago, USA, Bishop Angadieth is a very good man; but too has what we call a ‘Powathil syndrome’. The Syro Malabar new Bishop of UK, Bishop Joseph Srampikal too is endowed with Powthil Syndrome. Thus whenever new Bishops are appointed, we find all new Bishops are people with ‘Powathil syndrome’. Vast majority of these Bishops do not have much people under them, and in matters of voting in the Synod, they don’t represent the vast majority and they impose their will on the majority on technical ground.


3 ELIMINATION of LEADERSHIP & BREAKING OF FINANCIAL CLOUT OF THE ERNAKULAM ARCHDIOCESE.


Ever since Cardinal Joseph Parekkattil’s demise, though Ernakulam has 450 diocesan priests, its leadership comes only from outside. Cardinal Padiyara from Chaganassery, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil is only a religious priest, now Major Arch Bishop George Allencheery from Chaganasserry. None of them had a heart-to-heart relation with the Ernakulum Diocesan Priests. Now they have the financial tragedy under the Major Arch Bishop Allencherry. Earlier Rome used to show fairness as they appointed the Bishops. Now the Syro Malabar Synod holds the authority to appoint new Bishops. For some 40 years, no Bishops have come from Ernakulum though they have more than 450 active priests, excluding the retired and the religious. Is there not a single priest from among the Ernakulum diocesan clergy suitable to become a Bishop from Ernakulam? Are they not making sure that no follower of Cardinal Joseph Parekkattil comes to lead the Grand Ernakulam Archdiocese?


Washing dirty linen in public, debating on Placing the stone towards EAST


4 NASTY CHURCH POLITICS

They are branding the diocesan priests of Ernakulum, Iringalakuda, and Trissur, who call for Holy Mass facing the people as rebels and defaming them as those who do not obey the Pope! In fact, the number of petitions, appeals sent to Rome and Oriental Congregation is a sign that they expect the intervention of the Pope as our last hope. Who are the priests of these three dioceses? They brand them to be rebels. But they are really prophets raising their voices to keep the Holy Mass facing the people for generations to come.


5 THE TALIBAN STYLE OF THE SYRO MALABAR BISHOPS

Democracy comes from the Gospels. We find democracy only in Christian countries. This Holy Mass facing the Altar has been stealthily imposed in dioceses. No consultations with anybody. When we execute Karl Max's teachings, we have the communist regimes. When they execute the teachings of Mohammed, we have the Taliban. They, the Bishops just dictate like the Taliban.


6 DIVISION OF THE VINCENTIAN CONGREGATION INTO TWO PROVINCES.

When the Vincentian congregation was divided into two provinces in Kerala, those priests from Changanassery, Pala, Kothamangalam who loved to say Mass turning to the people remained in Ernakulam Province. They didn’t’ join the Kottayan Province, which comes under Changanassery.


7 KOTHAMANGALAM DIOCESE

For a long time, the Holy Mass issue has created a problem here in the Kothamangalam diocese. As a man coming from Kothamangalam Diocese, I knew the feelings of the priests of my home diocese personally. However, our former Bishop George Punnakkottil was dictatorial in his actions; he never held an opinion poll among the people or priests to sense what they wanted. Years back, he made this compromise formula of 50:50.

8. ARCHBISHOP JOSEPH POWTHIL IS OUR MODERN TIPPU. HE PUT A TARGET TO STIFLE AND SUFFOCATE THE ERNAKULAM ANGAMALLY ARCHDIOCESE SO THAT HIS ARCHDIOCESE MAY GET THE UPPER HAND. FEELING GREAT ENVY AT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE GO FOR PILGRIMAGE AT MALAYATTOR HILLS WHICH COME UNDER THE ERNAKULAM DIOCESE, HE ARRANGED A CROSS TO COME UP FROM THE GROUND IN NILAKKAL, WHICH IS VERY CLOSE TO SABARIMALA HINDU TEMPLE. IT CAME COLSE ALMOST TO A CHRISTIAN HINDU CONFLICT.


In Calicut and Malappuram we find a very big Muslim population. How did they come? A ferocious Muslim ruler Sultan Tippu by name from Mysore, camped eight and half years in that part of Kerala to forcibly convert the Hindus and Christians from their original religion. Archbishop Joseph Powthil is our modern Christian Tippu; ever since he became a Bishop, he has been campaigning for the Holy Mass, which has been said all over Kerala turning to the people into a Mass turning to the Altar. He calls it, “it is the real Chaldean tradition.” We are St. Thomas Christians. The Chaldean Church may have helped us. They brought the Syrian language. They came only in the fourth century. Before that, also Church was there in Kerala. That is why they call us St. Thomas Christians.


The Muslims of Calicut, Malappuram, were Hindus once. Now they have forgotten their former religion. In the same way, the Holy Mass has been said all over Kerala, turning to the people, now they have become a rare species requiring protection. Ernakulum diocese is leading the campaign to say the Mass turning to the people. So at any cost, Ernakulum is to be made powerless. So first, clipping of Ernakulam leadership, second, bringing on them a financial tragedy. Now both these have happened. Will the Synod Bishops take notice of it? None knows where the money has gone in the land deal.


9 IS THE RUBRICS OF HOLY MASS SOMETHING TO BE IMPOSED, OR IS IT SOMETHING TO BE DECIDED BY CONSULTATION AND CONSENSUS?

The covid period is a nightmare of our time. All were suffering spiritually and financially. At this tragic time, our Bishops have chosen a wrong time to take a crucial decision on a controversial subject by an online Synod and pushed our people to fight in the churches. They could have waited until the Covid is over to be physically present, debate, and come to a consensus decision.


10 HOW JESUS SAID HIS HOLY MASS?

We find Him saying the Holy Masses two times. One, in the Upper Room, as he had his Pascal supper. Second, he partially did it on the way to Emmaus and finally concluded it in an Inn. In both cases, He faced his disciples and never thought of turning to the east.

We never find St. Paul gives an elaborate explanation about Holy Mass in 1 Cor. 11, mentioning turning to the east. It reads, “ He hanged on the cross facing the executioners, His Mother, and devoted women, and his disciple John. Even after His resurrection, He appeared in the midst of His Apostles.” ”Jesus came and stood among them” Jn.20:19. When he is standing in the middle of living humans, why turn to East and Altar? Jesus looked at the disciples and said, “Take, eat, and drink my body and blood.” Now we priests are forced, say to the wall or the East? The Lord in Eucharist told us, “Take and eat.” Shall we not say this to God’s people? It is really a comedy by ArchBishop Powathil.


Fr. Kuriakose Punnolil V.C is an outstanding retreat preacher in India. He has been in ministry for more than 40 years. He is a pioneer in the Vincentian Charismatic Ministry in India. he can be reached by the email frkpvc@gmail.com


Upcoming article

Second part : POWATHIL MODE OF HOLY MASS IS A DRAMA.

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alexgeorgepala
2022年12月27日

ഒരു വിമതന്റെ രോദനം.


കത്തനാർ അനുസരണ എന്ന വൃതം ചൊല്ലിയതല്ലേ. ആദ്യം സഭയെയും പോപ്പിനെയും അനുസരിക്കുക.


എന്നിട്ട് ഞങ്ങളെ പഠിപ്പിക്കാൻ വാ

いいね!
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