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Our Syro Malabar Synod is great! Christ seems to have abandoned it. Inquisition of Syro Malabar.

Mr.Johny Chengalan.

Our Syro Malabar Synod is great! Christ seems to have abandoned it.

The spit-fire Apostolic Administrator of Ernakulum Angamaly Archdiocese has gone public again spitting venom against all those standing up for Eucharist versus Populum with his usual array of threats, especially targeting the Vicar of St. Mary’s Basilica and its kaikkars and the parish council. He has deliberately omitted the word trustees and used the hitherto unheard-of terminology: kaikkars. Use of the word trustees would give leverage to the claim that a parish is managed by the trustees as in the Jacobite, Orthodox, and Chaldean Churches whose other unreasonable traditions are sought to be imposed on the Syro-Malabar Church. The use of the term trustees would perhaps weaken the hold of the bishop on parishes. He claims to have had no role in the indefinite closure of the Basilica and makes the law-enforcing agencies and the two opposing factions solely responsible for the unfortunate turn of events. He says that the Synod that met between 12th and 16th June, 2023, “sought a permanent solution to the issues and divisions in the Archeparchy of Ernakulam”. He likes to ignore the reality that divisions exist in all the dioceses of the Syro-Malabar Church over the Synod-dictated Qurbana, although such dissensions are suppressed in other dioceses, especially in Thrissur Archdiocese. What is ridiculous about the statement is that the very Synod that sowed the seeds of discord and disunity in the Archeparchy is itself trying to find a permanent solution to the volatile issues, without taking into confidence half a million faithful of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese. He says that the Synod is the sole custodian of Syro-Malabar liturgy and the parish councils (the laity implied here) have no role in decision-making. Even in the 21st century, the idea that the Church matters should be decided democratically seems to be totally alien to this Prelate who went public saying that 50000 youth left the Thrissur Archdiocese after he took charge of it.

He accuses the Vicar of the Basilica of rejecting the Synodal proposal for uniform Holy Eucharist and publishing the same in the media, thereby causing great harm to the unity of the Church and scandal to the people. The Synod has been a scandal to the faithful of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese and it has brought more disrepute to the Syro-Malabar Church by its insistence on the unreasonable 50:50 formula which was sought to be thrust upon the faithful of Ernakulam. When objections were raised against the implementation of the clandestinely conceived formula without obtaining papal approval, no hierarch (Archbishop) came forward to discuss the issue with the faithful concerned.

It is reiterated that the parish council is only an advisory body and the local hierarch may prohibit the convening of such a body. It is a subtle threat that the Synod and its spokesperson may order the closure of a parish if its deliberations are not in tune with the ideas of the local hierarch. The Basilica Administrator was obstructed from celebrating Holy Eucharist from 20-24 December, 2022. The circular is silent on the sacrilege committed by the Basilica administrator by obstructing a Mass in progress by facing the altar, in contravention of the Synodal diktat that the first part of the Synodal Mass (not the Eucharist instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper) should be celebrated facing the congregation.

“Since Parish Council has decided to disobey the laws of the Church…disciplinary action will have to be taken, if the members do not retract from their stand and continue in indiscipline and disobedience leading themselves away from Catholic Communion.” This is the language of the Inquisition and the threat is of a substantial nature: ex-communication! The poor Basilica Vicar is in an unusual predicament, trapped between the Synod and his own conscience.

The circular makes no mention of the dubious land deals entered into by the ecclesiastical authorities. The word restitution is not seen anywhere even though the Pope had asked the Synod to make restitution for the losses suffered by the Archeparchy of Ernakulam. The faithful, the Vicar of the Basilica and its parish council are guilty of grave disobedience, whereas the Synod is without an iota of blemish in spite of its utter disregard for the Papal directive to make restitution. The Synod seems to be not transparent in its dealings and procedures. I wish it had the courtesy to publish the expenses incurred for the five-day extravaganza!

In the end, the guidance of the Holy Spirit is implored to restore communion and peace in the Eparchy, all the while compounding problems by issuing threats, instead of hinting upon a more conciliatory approach to solving them. Our Synod is great! Christ seems to have abandoned it.

Mr.Johny Chengalan.

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