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The array of factual errors in the video message of Pope Francis: A critical review

By Wimal MaryDas

The array of factual errors in the video message of Pope Francis: A critical review.  

It is very unconventional in the Vatican circles that Pope Francis consented to give a video message to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, urging clergy and the faithful to conform to the decision of the Holy Synod or risk being declared outside of communion.  What is the real crux of the issue in the simmering liturgical tension in Kerala?

Is it the Liturgy that is the problem, or are the decision-makers of the Synod the problem? The Oriental congregation has failed to analyze the factual realities of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam — one of the prominent archdioceses of Kerala — and why more than 60 years of liturgical custom has been forcefully changed for a compromise formula, which has become a matter of confrontation and the root cause of conflict in the Syro Malabar Church.

The Archdiocese of Ernakulam is the second largest in India, with a whopping population of more than 600,000 faithful and 479 clergy. Beyond any doubt, this archdiocese is the heart of the Syro Malabar Church, where the renewal and ecclesiastical reawakening of the 19th century took place.  The spirit of the renewal conforming to the second Vatican Council’s vision and mission brought phenomenal changes in the religious landscape of Kerala, and the archdiocese of Ernakulam is the pioneer under the leadership of the late Cardinal Joseph Parecattil, an illustrious spiritual leader of the time.

The legacy of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam has been the pride of many. However, the Vatican was not pleased to endorse the incredible achievements of the archdiocese.  The nodal agency to overview the functions of Eastern churches is the dicastery of Oriental congregation.  The follies of the Oriental congregation (currently the dicastery of the Eastern churches) perpetually sidelined the renewal spirit of the archdiocese of Ernakulam. Pope Francis's video message is one among them. 

Some of the inconsistencies of the Pope’s letter are exposed below:

1.    Background of Holy Mass issue: The Pope asks the faithful not to follow the priests — Pope has misconstrued the realities of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam as he slams the lack of Communion. He failed to ask who destroyed the Communion — it was the bishops who destroyed it as they imposed the Holy Mass formula established without proper canonical procedure. It was the priests of the archdiocese, exemplary and erudite clergy, who kept the unity of the archdiocese despite those wrongdoings. The Pope asking the faithful not to follow the clergy of the archdiocese is an abysmal mistake.

2.    Archbishop Cyril Vasil — the best expression is a blind man sees the elephant. The Pope

writes “How can there be the Eucharist, if communion is broken, if the Most Blessed Sacrament is disrespected, with fighting and brawls?” 

It refers to the notorious emissary of Pope Francis, who orchestrated the invasion of the Basilica under the guidance of Archbishop Andrews Thazhath.  Amid thousands of faithful, despite officers' plea not to continue with his invasion, holding the Eucharist in his hands was insane. A man of sensible character will not dare to do it.  It was widely criticized and proved that it was a plot by Archbishop Thazath.

3.    Unsubstantiated accusations.  The Pope writes “I know there are reasons for the opposition that have nothing to do with celebrating the Eucharist… they are worldly reasons” 

 A man of the highest authority speaks with misconceived notions of reality. What is the worldly reason? A hypothetical and  intriguing question.  It proves that the Pope has become someone’s puppet. He laments that his pastoral letters were not read out to everyone — it is quintessential of misinformed reality endorsed by the highest authority of the Catholic Church.

4.    The Pope is pleading to the laity to re-establish the lost communion. Archbishop Vasil succeeded in swaying the mind of the Pope with wrong information about the archdiocese, saying that they are not in communion with the Catholic Church because they are celebrating Holy Mass the way the Pope celebrates. If this rationale prevails, he is not in communion with the universal church.  

He writes, “ Do not force the competent ecclesiastic authority to acknowledge you as having left the church because you are no longer in communion with your Pastors and with the successor of the Apostle Peter… Sanctions will be incurred. I do not want to reach that stage.” 

From lack of communion to sect, then to sanctions by the Pope himself. The elephant in the room! A corrupted dicastery misled Pope Francis, who also fell pitfall of the racial discrimination of colonial mindset where Indians are considered second-class citizens while the Pope did not want to incur sanctions on the German Church where they endorsed blessings for same-sex relationships.  

Though the video was released after the resignation of Cardinal George Alencherry — the Pope is erratically asking to remember the Major Archbishop  in the Holy Mass.

5.    At the end of the video, the Pope asks the clergy and faithful to brush their grievances under the carpet and forgive the perpetrators — while choosing not to name them. 

This is the consolation to the Archdiocese of Ernakulam that the Pope accepts that the archdiocese has been unjustly discriminated against and harassed.  “Some grievances against you, forgive them with generosity” is an acknowledgement from the supreme authority of the Church that it happened against the archdiocese and bishops. This would be the only positive remark of the Pope despite his reluctance to interfere and rectify it. 

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2 commenti

14 dic 2023

The Pope's video message makes an important point - this fight is about "Qurbana" which means sacrifice. I.e the sacrament which honours Jesus's sacrifice of his own Will. If these 10% of priests cannot sacrifice their will for Synod and Pope (when 90% can) then what "Qurbana" are they going offer?

Mi piace

14 dic 2023

I read this to understand the objections. This argument is so weak and without basis that it confirms my earlier understanding that this is just a petty ego fight.

Remember that these rebel priests are just 10% of the total. 90% don't have a problem obeying the synod and Pope.

Mi piace
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