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Pope Francis and colonial mindset... 'the carrot and the stick' policy of Pope Francis...

Mr. Johny Chengalan, Kochin, India.

During the Indian freedom struggle, the British government used a policy of "carrot and stick" in an attempt to suppress the movement and maintain control over India. Modern politicians use it - they offer people rewards in order to persuade them to do something and punish them if they refuse to do it. The mafia leaders and gang leaders are not different, employing these corrupt tactics to woo their members.    

The policy of 'the carrot and the stick' is evident in the latest initiative from the Vatican in attempting to resolve the crisis in the Syro Malabar Church. While it removed two obstinate prelates from the helm of affairs in SMC by way of seeking the resignation of Cardinal Alancherry and Mar Andrews Thazhath, the Vatican has ensured that the issues plaguing this once-vibrant Oriental Church would remain indefinitely unresolved for the sole reason that in his video the Pontiff fixed a deadline for Ernakulam -Angamaly Archdiocese to accept the Synodal 50:50 formula or face excommunication. That the Pope who exhorted the Catholic Church to embrace a new form of Synodality where everyone is listened to, is himself wielding the sword to effect compliance to a controversial decision taken by the Syro-Malabar Synod of Bishops, without listening to the aggrieved majority in the Archdiocese, simply reveals that he himself is governed by the outdated colonial mindset. By speaking the language of rigid orthodoxy, the Pope has simply let down more than half a million believers who had pinned their hope on him. The Catholic Church is yet to learn a lesson from its past: that it has become an irrelevant factor for many in the Western world on account of its obstinacy and unwillingness to listen.

Bishop Bosco Puthur will be totally ineffective in resolving the issue, given the stand taken by the Vatican. For the video address by the Pope rules out the possibility of dialogue. Archbishop Cyril Vasil, the papal delegate, who became the spokesman for the strategy designed by Mar Andrews Thazhath, beat an ignominious and hasty retreat after witnessing the depth of attachment that the faithful of Ernakulam Angamaly had to the Eucharist versus Populum.


Archbishop Vaisl , a festering wound.

By sending him again as a papal emissary, the Vatican is letting the wounds fester. A permanent solution to the impasse would have been in sight, had the Archdiocese's request to accept the Eucharist versus Populum as a variant in the Syro Malabar Church been granted. The Syro-Malabar bishops are too stiff-necked to accept such a request because they seem to have appropriated the papal privilege of infallibility. Hence they don't seem to have any qualms of conscience in chastising the faithful of Ernakulam Angamaly whose only fault was that they loved the Eucharist offered by Jesus Christ and they wish to continue partaking of the Eucharist versus Populum celebrated by 99 percent of Catholics the world over.

After Vasil's controversial visit, we had expected the Pope to stand by us. Now that he has shown his true colours, we can only pray: God save the Syro Malabar Church.


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