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Episcopacy for Sale : All-India Jurisdiction – A Full Flop and Failure.

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Investigative Report on Syro Malabar Church: Episode I

Mr. Stephen George, Bangalore based Freelance Reporter, India

Episcopacy for Sale in Syro Malabar Church: All-India Jurisdiction – A Full Flop and Failure.

5 Years in Review

Photo Credit to Public domain,( modified) . Major Archbishop Alencherry and Bishop Thattil, bishop of Shamsabad, diocese located in Hyderabad, India.

The Syro-Malabar Church has been clamouring for all-India jurisdiction since decades. Some Oriental Pandits claimed it as a birth right, while others accused the Latin Church as dominators, oppressors and exploiters hindering the expansion of Syro Malabar Church. The restricted all-India jurisdiction of the Syro-Malabar Church has been depicted as discrimination towards the Oriental Church, even though in all oriental churches that was the practice. Finally, a diocese was granted to cover the “rest of the remaining territory,” which was celebrated as “all-India jurisdiction”. In principle,it is not but it was more about the spreading feud and infight among the Catholics based on rites and rituals. Some claimed it as the victory of the Major Archbishop, while others attributed it to the intrigue and conspiracy of the ‘all-India bishop” and his game plan wielding power over India. There will not be any place in the world that a Bishop and Eparchy claim that ‘any place that does not cover as the boundaries of Syro Malabar Diocese in India, he would say.. “well that comes under my diocese! Eparchy of Shamshabad claims all India diocese and Bishop Raphael as All India Bishop!

"Indian Catholic Church, in its long year of history, never witnessed this much toxic and unbridled power game and distorted messages by this so-called “All India Bishop”. He has indoctrinated among the faithful extreme divisions and rifts between the Latin Church and Oriental Churches. The Latin Church and its respected bishops were ruthlessly portrayed as dominators and oppressors. This dirty power games applied in his eparchy to woo ordinary faithful that spread across different regions of India is alarming. It is not about the zeal of evangelization but all about domination and power-mongering. We were peacefully lived until this new set up of eparchy, now we have lost our peaceful spiritual life " Mr.Varghese Thomas reacts.

“He could be a businessman but today, unfortunately, the lucrative business of selling his boundaries “All Indian Jurisdiction” is the dominant trait of his Episcopacy. Layperson reacts in anonymity from a Syro Malabar diocese centered in Hyderabad, India.

All India Jurisdiction: Southern Territories

All India Jurisdiction. Land for sale and Episcopate for sale.

Five years in Review: Full Flop and Failure, Creating divisions and conflicts among Christians in India.

As this new arrangement of “ All India Diocese” completes five years, it has proved itself a full flop and failure. From the manner it has been functioning it is evident that the ultimate objective of this claim was not at all evangelization but a colonial master mindedness and power mongering. The “all-India bishop” given such a vast territory and noble task has proved himself a total failure. He has not even visited the whole or part of that territory. Instead, he has been busy preparing a crooked business plan of distributing or selling off the territory part by part to the neighbouring dioceses, but for a precious price of crores with a deal. If you have cores of money, you will be able to become a bishop in these regions as he is ready to trade-off for future positions and money. if you are a Syro Malabar Faithful in these regions you are counted for a lucrative deal !

Episcopacy for Sale

" We have conquered all India"

It is not a secret that some of the diocese of Kerala supporting Major Archbishop and his lobby group and dioceses are “offered” future bishops or at least Auxiliary bishops from dioceses. The rumours go around is that huge amounts, up to 5 million ( 25 crores), are involved in this trade-off. Thus episcopacy is for sale in the all-India jurisdiction under the “ All India Bishop”. Who pays more will get it. It is true the new “all-India bishop” is in need of financial resources. Yes indeed..desperate need of money to run the day-today affairs of the unwanted eparchy of the Church. In the future, shocking news will soon emerge on Public media that some dioceses of Changanassery centered faction will get bishops creating new dioceses or auxiliaries in the” All India Jurisdiction diocese. Yes, Episcopate is for sale. One will not be surprised if bishops nominations are made not from the priests served in those areas but from outside, as it is sold to the dioceses of Palai and Changanassery. However, some of the interested parties withdrew from the deal and gave up the project. it is learned from the trustworthy resources that many deals are on the way.

All India Jurisdiction is all about the ruling mindset of the Bishop. Terrible fiasco .

The last decade of Syro Malabar Church in India witnessed domineering power games of bishops under the leadership of Major Archbishop. They have deviated from the primary motive of the Church, the missionary zeal but animated by power and money. They have destroyed the harmonious relationship between Latin Catholics and Oriental Churches. Instead of evangelization, Major Archbishop of Syro Malabar Church is obsessed with expansion of his kingdom and power, erupting the tensions between Christians in India.

Was it ( All India-Jurisdiction) necessary? Know the Tree from its fruits. Conquering mindset “ We have conquered all India ”

When one objectively analyses the after effects of the much celebrated all-India jurisdiction, taking into account seriously the developments in each area or diocese, one will come to the conclusion that this was absolutely not necessary. Let us start with Tamil Nadu. The territories of three dioceses were extended jut to say that we have “conquered” the whole of Tamil Nadu. But what difference in pastoral care has been made or what has been achieved “new” in these territories? "There are bishops who are guided by the spirit of evangelization confess that, the pastoral care is the primary motive of establishing a diocese. They are the true pastors who follow Pope Francis and his examples" A priest in anonymity responded . One Bishop who was “granted” the territories of adjacent “promised land” seems to have rejected saying “I am not even able to manage what I have already; I do not have enough priests and religious to take up the new areas, joined to this diocese”. Could this extension gain any souls to the Church or could anything be done on the front of evangelization in Tamil Nadu?. Even in the field of pastoral care in these areas, anything new could be done with this all-India jurisdiction? "In their power mongering tactics is hurting true missionaries of Latin bishops and brunt of conflicts and irreparable damages are beyond the words to explain" The tension in the Shamshabad diocese speaks volumes in this regard.

Karnataka is another spotlight. The traditional territory of Mandya was extended and the whole of Karnataka was declared under the flag of all-India jurisdiction. It will be interesting to assess the “additional activities” of pastoral care of Mandya bishop in the “added territories” after declaring the all-India jurisdiction. Did the “all-India bishop” do anything in these areas of his diocese during these years or at least made a study of the feasibility of pastoral care? Then move on to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Under the able leadership of Mar Prince, evangelization is in full swing in that area. The question is “has the all-India jurisdiction declaration add anything on to his evangelization ventures? Or has “all-India bishop” contribute anything at all to strengthen the already existing evangelization programmes there? Nothing! The all-India jurisdiction was fully ineffective there. Like this take each State, up to the North East. The utter failure scenario is in the North East. With much fight with local Latin bishops the “all-India bishop’s” agents entered the North East. That area was “offered” to Thalassery and Irinjalakuda. The priests from Thalassery Archdiocese returned prematurely and those from Irinjalakuda are packing their luggage, at least one continues there.

No wonder if the Master himself does not have any idea and simply send his messengers to a “foreign” land, who do not know the place, what else can you expect? If you ask whether this one-man army could gain something, the answer will be much in the negative. The same or more could have been achieved even without all-India jurisdiction. If the area could have been part of the Latin diocese, he could have taken pastoral care of the Orientals who are there. I can imagine the hue and cry against this possibility.

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