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Deconstructing Cardinal Sandri’s letter to the Syro Malabar Church - Know the Truth, Live the Truth.

By Wimal Mary Das.

Cardinal Sandri and Cardinal Alencherry ( Photo credit to public domain)

Know Truth, Stand for Truth, Fight for Truth and Live the Truth Deconstructing Cardinal Leonardo Sandri’s letter to the Syro Malabar Church In a letter dated Feb. 28 to Cardinal George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Church, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri — the prefect of the Oriental Congregation — stood by the ploy of Cardinal Alencherry to adopt the synodal form of the Holy Mass, a long-standing contentious issue in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam.

The Archdiocese of Ernakulam has been attacked by synod members, who used toxic power struggles to rip apart its legacy of celebrating the Mass facing people. Much time, energy and resources of the clergy and the laity were wasted for this trivial cause.

The resilience of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, the largest archdiocese of the Syro Malabar Church, and its robust presbyterate have become the source of truth and transparency where more than half a million faithful stand united to fight the tyrannical power game of the Syro Malabar synod. The unity of the clergy and the laity of the archdiocese speaks a different gospel that many power-driven episcopacies of the Syro Malabar Church fear to preach.

“The synod of the Syro Malabar Church is a corrupted system where deliberations regarding the Holy Mass and uniformity do not reflect the will of the people of God. Instead, the synod became the vested interest group to attack the largest archdiocese by any hook and crook,” a senior clergy of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam commented.

“They used all ecclesiastical machinery against it, and Cardinal Sandri's letter is the last resort of this strategy. The cardinal has become the prey of this nasty lobby group of the Syro Malabar Church. His letter is the perfect example of these dirty games of the lobby group that has gripped the Oriental Congregation. It is akin to a thief asking the help of a nearby police station to conduct burglary at a nearby residence — unknowingly, the legitimate system of the Church is used to comply with the illicit and immoral act of Cardinal Alencherry. This is the trap that the Major Archbishop crookedly used where Cardinal Sandri and his associate Archbishop Gallero got involved,” the clergy added. What is the content of Cardinal Sandri’s letter? Read the letter

The letter states that the liturgical prescription passed in the Synod has the force of law according to the CCEO Canon 150. It sounds legitimate as the argument of Satan that Jesus has the legitimacy to use the power to turn stones into loaves of bread, the inherent power to command that these stones become bread (Mathew 4:3).

No one is talking about how this Synod executed the strategy of this rule. A corrupted system that had been employed to escalate the Synod’s ruling is a matter of concern. Another grave issue is that the pro-restoration lobby group used the ecclesiastical system to misguide and misinform the Oriental Congregation. Wicked means never justify any Christian goals, indeed.

The Synod's decision is not morally right due to the following reasons:

a. Why did the decision of the uniform mode of Holy Mass deliberation take place in an online Synod during the COVID-19 pandemic? It echoes a hidden agenda of Cardinal Alencherry to divert the attention of his criminal deeds behind the land scandal. b. Why were the dissenting voices of 16 bishops not recorded in the minutes of the Synod? The statement released by the Major Archbishop deliberately deceived the faithful, by saying that the “decision was unanimous.” c. How was Pope Francis's letter of exhortation collected by the Major Archbishop and used as the weapon to misguide the faithful, saying that the Pope demanded this decision? It was not the mind of Pope Francis, but the goodwill of Pope Francis that was manipulated for a corrupt Major Archbishop. The Oriental congregation became the puppet in the hands of a corrupt Synod. d. The Synod had deliberated in 2001 that “no decision on liturgical matters should be taken without the consultation of the faithful.” The same Synod violated this decision in 2021. e. The cries of the larger population of the people of God was intentionally disowned by the Synod and executed for the vested interest of a few bishops. f. A power structure of injustice, that is Synod itself, is used to thwart the legitimate legacy of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, which is none other than celebrating Holy Mass facing the people. g. All measures of injustice used by the Syro Malabar Synod seem to be failed strategies before the uncompromising integrity of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. Thus a corrupted Synod reached the Oriental Congregation to subdue the truth. Alas, the papal office of Oriental Congregation has been trapped by this lobby group. Though the Canon claims that the prescriptions passed by the Synod have the forces of law, but legitimacy does not warrant the immoral deeds of the Synod. The Synod membership has been handpicked and manipulated for vested interests, which do not necessarily endorse the law's implementation. It is like a Parliament-passed law is licit and must be executed, but the corrupt procedure used to form a Parliament is ethically wrong. This is the crux of the problem.

Moreover, the silence of a few bishops from the Archdiocese of Ernakulam in the Synod resonates with their sin of omission and betrayal of legacy under the influence of power and prestige. Archbishop Antony Kariyil is the only exception in these struggles of truth and transparency.

What is the way out?

The corrupted system of the Synod is not acceptable to the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, and it has been a weapon to beat the goodwill of the faithful. There is the allegation that the office of the Oriental Congregation has been used to manipulate the corrupted system and legitimize it. The backlash is the outcome of this disintegration, and the Papal office has been dragged into the mess. This dysfunctionality must be fixed before the enforcement of the Synodal prescription.

The Archdiocese of Ernakulam has more than a million Catholics geographically spread in the middle of Kerala, the intellectual capital of India. The clergy and laity of the archdiocese are acclaimed for the fairness and sagacity, which will defeat any corrupted system of the Syro Malabar Church. Its faithful are often conscious of legality and ludicrous power games and reject any injustice with profound integrity.

A gentle request to Cardinal Sandri: It won't be a bad idea to travel to India and take a working vacation to know the exuberance of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam’s clergy and faithful.

Cardinal Sandri is invited to Kerala for a working vacation to know the reality, instead of being part of Cardinal Alencherry's ploy, who is accused of criminal deeds in the land scam.

They have the guts to say, “Your Eminence, you are wrong, and you are mistaken.” These words come from the dignity and respect for you, and not for the corrupt system of the Synod. Your wisdom will guide you to the right path embracing the diversity and openness to the Holy Spirit’s demands. A house built on sand will not stand as this letter is not sensible and is likely to fail to achieve its purpose.

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