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Vatican challenges India's sovereignty. Arrogance and feudal mindset of the Syro Malabar bishops

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

Pope Francis, Secretary of state of Vatican Cardinal Parolin and Indian nuncio Leopoldo Girelli. (Photos from the Public domain)

Framing of India’s Constitution: Lessons for the Syro-Malabar Synod

Paulose Vareed

India is celebrating 74th Republic Day on 26th January 2023. Republic Day commemorates the coming into force of India’s Constitution. On that day in 1950, India declared itself a Sovereign Democratic Republic.

Going by the actions of the Vatican Nuncio, it is doubtful whether Vatican knows that India is a sovereign republic. Nothing else explains the atrocious act of the Nuncio banishing Archbishop Antony Kariyil from the territory of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese. Be that as it may, Indian Constitution is unique in many respects. Drafted without any external help, western scholars gave it a life of less than a decade. Though the Constitution of Ceylon, drafted by a British Constitutional lawyer failed in less than ten years, Indian Constitution continues to unite a diverse country like India. What is the reason behind the durability of India’s Constitution? The answer lies in the decision-making process in the Constituent Assembly.

Consensus and Accommodation

Granville Austin, famous American Political Scientist in his magnum opus, Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of a Nation describes the decision-making process as based on consensus and accommodation. Consensus is a process through dialogue where people holding conflicting viewpoints arrive at a common decision agreeable to everyone. But consensus may not be possible in every situation. It is here that the process of accommodation sets in. Accommodation is when two contrary viewpoints are accepted and find mention in the same document. Examples are aplenty for accommodation in the Indian Constitution. We find provisions constituting a strong central government as well as panchayats at the grassroot level in the Indian Constitution. Hindi along with English is the official language of the Union. It may be clarified here that Hindi is the official language and not national language of India, at least according to the Constitution. But the Syro-Malabar synod calls Hindi as the National language of India. As the Syro-Malabar Synod can never be wrong, it may be so. But that aside, there are umpteen number of conflicting provisions in the Indian Constitution. It is this spirit of accommodation displayed by the Constitution-makers that has kept India a unified nation. Let us not forget that Congress party had a brute majority in the Constituent Assembly for taking any decision as it liked. But they chose not to impose their decision unilaterally on others.

Syro-Malabar Synod

The Syro-Malabar synod might introspect whether the unilateral decisions that emanate only from the arrogance and feudal mindset of the bishops have actually brought about unity in the Church? If great leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Ambedkar had the humility and vision to listen to others and accommodate conflicting ideas, would it be so demeaning for the bishops to listen to the voice of the faithful. Please do understand that majority of the youth are fed up with you. The path for the Zero-Jesus Church to become the Church of Jesus is through the spirit of accommodation.

(Paulose Vareed is a constitutional expert and scholar)

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1 Kommentar

26. Jan. 2023

Vatican ambassador banned Bp. Antony Kariyil's freedom of speech and mobility. It is almost an year now. By his church power he threatened bp Kariyil. Don't allow these forieners to see Indians as they collies and colony.

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