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Second Part: POWATHIL MODE OF HOLY MASS IS A DRAMA.



They ring the bell, raise the curtain, the priest runs up and down to pick up the Bible, he again runs left and right to prepare the host and wine, turns around several times to appeal for prayer, to bless the people. Many priests are disturbed by parish administration, and he is again disturbed on the Altar also by this dramatic Mass. Thousands of priests and I prefer to celebrate the Holy Mass looking at the Heavenly Father, keeping the Bible, wine, and water nearby the Altar without disturbance. That is our right. We have followed it now for 59 years. Nevertheless, here, in Coimbatore, Ramanathapuram Bishop Paul Alappat, imposed it months ahead of the controversial Synod. No consultation, No consensus. I obey the Bishop sacrificing my self-respect and spiritual aspirations. As a priest, I have been saying this Mass, turning to the people for 42 years of my life. As it is a mission area, the priests of this diocese cannot resist the Bishop like the priests of Kerala. They are so weak and vulnerable.

Secondly, they say the priest is leading the people. Well, it is partially true, but since very many priests have a lot of frailties, and many people know it, it is better to say the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit lead His people.


TURNING FACE AGAINST GOD’S PEOPLE FOR WHOM WE SAY THE MASS.

Thirdly, ‘Is not written in your Law, I said, “You are gods”? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, the scripture cannot be set aside’ Jn. 10:34, Ps.82:6.Each human-bear the nature of God as God has created them ‘in His own image and likeness’. Gen.1:26-27. As the whole Church is packed with gods (God’s children) in the form of human beings, shall we walk away from them turning to East for any reason? It is really a mental problem of certain Bishops who are undemocratic.


HUNGER FOR POWER

By denying an effective leadership in the Ernakulum archdiocese and concurrently appointing an Archbishop Mar Perumthottam, who will be readily obliging to him, Arch Bishop Powathil, managed everything to bring under his control for a very long period in the Syro Malabar Church, even after his retirement. When the whole world was attending the Holy Mass in Latin and Syriac, the common people without understanding anything, were worshiping a ‘God who is hiding’ Is.45:15. The freedom of worshiping the Father turning towards God’s people has been granted to the Church by Vatican II. Our Syro Malabar church also enjoyed this privilege for a long time. That freedom was throttled by Bishop Powathil, by his very much calculated, meticulous effort. Shall we continue to oblige to these kinds of malicious schemes of this man? God says “You have been purchased at a price. Do not become slaves to human beings.”1Cor.7:23.As Archbishop Perumthottam gave slavish obedience to retired Arch Bishop Powathil, no much spiritual fruits came from Archbishop Perumthottam so far. Retired Arch Bishop continued to stay in the Changanassery Arch Bishop’s House and managed things as he liked. Thus we have come to this sad situation where God’s people may resort to a survival fight inside the places of worship as the Orthodox and Jacobite Christians of Kerala do these days.


SHALL WE ALLOT A SPACE FOR SATAN TO ROAM AROUND OUR SACRED PLACES?

When Archbishop Andrews Thazathu of Trissur quarreled with the C.M.I priests of Thaloor, the CMI Bishops got offended. With their support, retired Archbishop Joseph Powathil could manage a sufficient majority to elect his own man Bishop George Allencherry as the first Major Archbishop to Ernakulum Angamaly Archdiocese. Shall he not stretch out a helping hand to retired Archbishop Joseph Powathil – (still very active and healthy to manipulate ecclesial elections) - who helped him be the new Major Archbishop? Bishop Allencherry began to irritate the priests of Ernakulum Archdiocese, who used to say the Holy Mass in a normal way. He began by banning the pronouncement of “IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER + SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT” at the Holy Mass's beginning. We were baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity; therefore, we are entitled to join the Holy Mass by the merits of our baptism. In Ernakulum, they have been saying it for 59 years. Not much investigation is required to discern which spirit dislikes the Holy Trinity. It is the very satanic spirit in action in the cause of Liturgy. Shall we yield to Satan or subdue him? To think about it, I write this article.


ARE BISHOPS KINGS OR SERVANTS OF GOD?

Why are you Bishops behaving like autocratic kings? A King is not bound by any law to confer with anybody for any decisions. He is the one who makes the laws and sees that it is executed. He is not restricted by the judiciary or legislature. He can hang a person with short notice or shoot at sight. That is what you have done with the imposition liturgy rubrics. You killed the aspirations of the majority of priests of the Syro Malabar rite. A vast number of people who were saying the Holy Mass as in the universal Church, facing the people, you without any consultation with priests, the religious, at least with the chosen men and women from the laity, decided to force it on the majority, by a slender majority you managed to get by an online Synod at the peak of Covid tragedy. Shall you not decide such a sensitive issue at least by a physical meeting of the Synod at a healthy time? I heard that out of the sixty Bishops, 16 Bishops actively opposed it, and there was threat and intimidation in the online synod between certain Bishops. That is not fair. Are you not the Bishops, the followers of the Apostles? Did you manifest any of the good qualities of the Apostles? By ignoring the signed appeal of 2000 priests to you, what were you telling? We are the Boss. Then what is a priesthood? Is he a peon? Are not the priest called by God like you? Are they not administering the six sacraments, except the ordination? They don’t have a family, except God’s family. They find joy in the Holy Eucharist. Come on Bishops…You are tampering without proper care.


THE WORDS OF ST. PAUL

St.Paul called together all Bishops, and elders ( the priests) and said: “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, in which you tend the Church of God that he acquired with His own blood” Acts.20:28.


THE EVIL SPIRIT THAT INFLUENCED BISHOP POWATHIL YEARS BACK NOW WORKS THROUGH ARCH BISHOP GEORGE ALLENCHERRY

I am now living now within the Syro Malabar Diocese of Ramanathapuram, Coimbatore. Here the people have been saying the Holy Mass since 1962 facing the people. In 2021 August, our Bishop Paul Alappat forcibly commanded us to turn from the people and to turn to Altar. It is a small diocese with some 42 priests. They, majority of them, who wanted to say the Holy Mass in a normal way of turning to the people, were helpless. They are like our seminarians who have to say “YES BOSS”. I who said the Holy Mass in a normal way facing the people for the last 42 years, had turn out of obedience to this dramatic Mass, in which a priest making a lot of turning around, running up and down. Initially I and my assistant priest refused to budge. Then we were forced. Either we have to quit this place or budge. I just read 1Sam.15:22. “Obedience to the command of the Lord is better than sacrifice”. For God’s sake, I just obey the Bishop. Otherwise, I have to throw away my God given ministry. I just believe that Jesus is the head of the Church and will manage it.


When I enquired about why Bishop Paul Alapat imposed it, I got the reply that the Major Archbishop Allencherry forced him! The Devil so far working through Powathil is now active through the Major Arch Bishop Allencherry. More than 2000 priests gave signed requests to the Synod to continue celebrating the Mass facing the people. Men led by the Holy Spirit cannot break the hearts of these majority priests of Syro Malabar dioceses. How long shall God’s people of Changanassrry bear with Powathil? I am writing this article for the people of God in the diocese of Pala, my home diocese Kothamangalam, and Changanassey. It is a feeble attempt to maintain the right to free worship of God for the coming generations.


DON’T MAKE THE HOLY MASS BORING


In the Holy Mass texts, making necessary changes after scrutiny by able bodies is not a problem. It has to be done according to the needs of the time. Saying a Mass for half an hour on weekdays and saying a Mass for one or a half-hour on Sundays is not a problem. It shall never be made dull. Here our problem is forcibly trying to turn a people who said the Holy Mass face to face, now to make them turn to the East, or altar which majority hate.


IN JERUSALEM SYNOD, NOBODY IMPOSED ANYTHING.


When a problem developed, the first Synod was convened in Jerusalem. They imposed nothing. The Synod decision is reported as follows: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities” Acts.15:28


MY REQUEST


What I appeal to my bishops is, if Ernakulam, Iringalakuda, Trissur,( these are the heartland of Kerala Syro Malabar church), Palaghat, Ramanthapuram, Thallassery, Thamarasserry, Manathavady, Mandya, Faridabad, if the priests and people of God want a Holy Mass facing each other, let them have it. Don’t impose anything against their wish and personality. Chaganassey , Pala, Kanjirapally, Kothamanglam, I don’t know the Bishops made any opinion poll prior to the liturgical imposition of turning to East. At least, I was aware of the pain and feelings of the priests of my home diocese Kothamangalam. It was pure autocratic decision of my former Bishop.


BISHOPS SHALL NEVER BE LIKE TALIBAN


After the brutal reign of Joseph Stalin, Nikita Krusheve came to power. As Krusheve was speaking accusing Stalin of cruelty, one from the audience asked loudly, ‘why didn't you say these things at that time?’. Nikita Krisheve stopped his speech and shouted loudly, ‘who said it?’ Everybody kept silent out of fear. Then Krusheve said, ‘I too feared Stalin for my life!

Bishops of Christ shall not be like Stalin or Taliban, threatening and spreading fear. They shall manifest their nobility. They shall become real servants of God. Autocrats are those who never mind the opinions of others. Here no faith and moral issues are involved. Only rubrics. Jesus had to fight with the rubrics of the Jewish religion. Are we anyway better than the Jewish rabbis. If the majority of people want a Mass turning towards the people of God, let them go forward like that. If some love to turn to East, or Altar, let them be given a choice. Let there be no rancor between us Bishops and priests, and people of God by this Synodal imposition. In Afghanistan, we saw the women who freely lived there being forcefully covered by purdah. Our Bishops shall never stoop to the standard of Taliban. Then what they shall become? “But you, the man of God,” avoid all these” (1Tim.6:11). Avoid what? Avoid the sin of imposing the mode of worship, which is the fundamental right of a human being. The Lord Jesus Christ, still being the King of the Universe, never imposed anything. He just said: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” Rev.3:20. He never ripped it open. He allowed Himself to be ripped open.


WHY WASTE OUR ENERGY ON UNIMPORTANT MATTERS?

What is of great importance? Even if our present lovely Pope Francis is a very simple humble man, I still doubt if he got the real insight of what is most important for the Church. As One Italian journalist asked him, of what is the most important task of the Catholic Church, he said, ‘care for the poor. That is not a bad task. We care for the less fortunate people. That’s our Christian character. That’s well and fine. But what is the most important task of both Syro Malabar and the Universal Church? The Lord God, Jesus Christ, who founded the Church, as He called its leaders, the apostles, said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” Mat.4:19. Then again, in Jn.21:22 He commanded Peter, “You follow me”. That is the point. 1. Follow Jesus 2. The Church shall be engaged in works of evangelization. I didn’t invent any new idea. It is the God-given target. Do you think God will be changing his mind like the humans? What he said to Adam 4000 years back is still standing. It will never be changed. Man cannot change it. He said, “The heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” Mat.24:35.


DEVIATION FROM THE GOD-GIVEN TARGET.

Please bear in mind that the task of God’s Church is not to make medical colleges. When Archbishop Allencherry, went forward for a task, not entrusted by God, all insurmountable problems started. Satan will always be tempting us to take up tasks not entrusted by God. For what? To see that our God-given time and resources, and energy may be wasted for a wrong cause. For that, we need the gift of the Holy Spirit- discernment. The Holy Spirit from within us speaks to us Rom.8:14. Only after hearing from God, we shall go forward with an important new mission. Where there are no schools, churches can start schools so that kids will be able to read the Bible. As there are many rich ready to make many medical colleges, why should Church go there? And if a priest or a sister who does not encounter Christ in his or her life becomes its head, he or she will be so greedy to make money so that many Catholic young will lose their faith and close the door of God’s kingdom for many gentiles.


POWATHIL SYNDROME IS A BAIT PUT BY THE SHREWD DEVIL TO DESTROY SYRO MALABAR CHURCH - ONE OF THE MOST VIBRANT CHURCHES IN THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH


What is the real work of the Bishops? “Follow me, I will make you fishers of men” Mt.4:19. Bishops think that they are the Church. In his diocese, 98 percent of works of caring for the souls are done by the priests. It is a simple rule of management that we shall take into confidence those men working under him. The armed men under him shall respect an army captain. If he is brutal, the men under him may turn their very guns against the captain! That’s exactly what is happening in the Syro Malabr church, in Ernakulam, Irinjalakuda, and Trissur. Our Bishops have been very cruel. More than 2000 priests gave them signed request not to tamper with present Liturgy, Bishops have been so arrogant to discard their request. This arrogance is not from God. Then from whom? Why doubt? The Devil. I will give a piece of advice. The Devil is so proud. As men of God, if the Bishops are ready to be humble, Devil will run for his life. We are brothers in Christ. Both Changanassery and Ernakulum. We have already caused many wounds. If the decision you have taken, if you feel that it caused many wounds already, we need not make the Holy mass be fighting ground for the Devil. Let us respect the sensitivity of all and find an amicable solution when you join again physically for another synod.


LET US TURN TO OUR GOD-GIVEN TASKS- WORKS OF EVANGELIZATION OF THE WHOLE WORLD.

1 For almost two years, people are God are going without proper spiritual care due to Covid 19. Their spiritual care and not the rubrics are the most important issue.

2 Just as the Muslims who destroyed many churches of the world, they too are waiting to destroy our Churches, and foolishly we are going on with infighting.

3 A war which we have to fight jointly, knowingly or unknowing the Bishops stand in the front for the infighting.

4 What is Evangelization? Millions are flowing into hell every day. We who stand with Jesus, with His Holy Spirit power, intercept them and turn them to heaven by our fasting, prayer, living a life of testimony, preaching the gospel, trying to reach the unreached. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord” Zac.6:6.


IF ANY TRIES TO IMPOSE THE RULES OF RUBRICS AGAINST THE GREAT LAW OF LOVE OF THE LORD, THEY WILL FACE REPROVAL FROM THE LORD, WHO IS THE INVISIBLE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, FOR THEIR MISMANAGEMENT.


1 Even in the Catholic Church, many are on their way to hell. To lead them into repentance

2 Those who are in grace, to lead them to more grace.

3 “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one Shepherd” Jn.10:16. The Lord is the real unchanging head of the Church. “And He has put all things under His feet and has made Him the head over all things for the Church”. Eph.1:22.We have aim to reach unreached- non believers, the Muslims, the Hindus etc.

4 Actually, the Lord God does not require humans as shepherds. “nor He is served by human hands, as though He needed anything since He himself gives to all men life and breath and everything” Act.17:25. By making us to be Bishops and Priests, God just manifested His generosity! As human shepherds we shall not do any harm to His Church. “Give no offence to Jews or Greeks or to the Church of God” 1Cor.10:32.

if you do continue doing damage to Church by arbitrarily imposing the rubrics, the those that takes it leadership may by reproved by the Lord. “There will be tribulation

and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jews first, and also the Greek” Rom.2:9. It is not a time for infighting for a cause like Holy Mass, as the very head of Syro Malabar is going to stand in trial in a civil court. It

is time pray for Peter. ”but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church”Act.12:5b.


PRAY FOR AN HEAVENLY INTERVENTION

For the last two years the whole humanity had been reeling under the threat of Kovid 19. I expected the Bishops and some priests at least joined together to lift up their hands like Mosses and his aids towards the Heavenly Father who can control the plague, but unfortunately, I have never found any prayer.


A CONSENSUS HAS TO BE REACHED AND NOT FORCE


I am an old priest who preached the gospel for the last 42 years of my life. I know much the Lord honors the Bishops. If there is the presence of the Bishop in any Bible convention, the grace poured is threefold. The late Bishop of Bareilly Anthony, the Bishop of Thiruvalla, the Pala Bishop Joseph Kallaraghat,I have seen all these Bishops join the Bible convention till the end. There God’s Church is present. The Lord honors it. The Bishops who do not honor their priests also make a mistake thinking that they are the Church. We find in Act.15:22, “then it seemed good to the Apostles and the elders (the priests), with the whole Church” “The whole church” includes, of course, the Bishops first… Then who? The parish priests, the heads of religious congregations of both men and women, chosen representatives from God’s people. Please don’t force or threaten them.


RESISTING SATAN, LET US GO FORWARD WITH OUR GOD-GIVEN WORKS.

Our Church is very vibrant. On the one side, it is growing in many ways. Infighting and the resultant rancor will help only the Devil.

“Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth” Gal 4:16.

Archbishop Powathil is a learned man and a great thinker. He personally loved me. I am very sorry that I have to write like this in a bit rather sharp language. I only try to highlight the wrong ideas I felt he pursued for a long period. Like my brother priest, he too may be convinced in his standing. I have one request to Archbishop Joseph Powathil: You have a great leadership capacity. If you feel that we shall never be fighting over Mass, you may use your leadership capacity to settle this problem amicably before your death. I am forced to turn around the Altar many times during Mass in Coimbatore. Please bring back the status quo before the synod. Let each diocese make their own deliberation among the priests, religious, laypeople and come to a final conclusion in a just and democratic manner. Don’t threaten them or frighten them. Let the Holy Spirit lead us to a consensus. Don’t give our mother Church to be scattered by the Devil. Already much damage has been done. As a man who worked 42 years of life for the renewal of the Church, I feel pained to see the new generation losing their faith by the cruel negligence and hunger for power of its shepherds. Jesus said, “When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth” Lk.18:8.

Let Mother Mary help us, Thanks a lot

FR KURIAKOSE PUNNOLIL VC.

VINCENTION HOUSE, CHINTHAMANIPUDUR,

COIMBATORE, 64103, TAMILNADU, INDIA

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