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The circular of archbishop Thazath is a diabolic conspiracy

Circular has no ethical value and therefore should be discarded forthwith.

Why the Circular of Archbishop Andrews Thazhath shouldn’t be read in the churches of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese

By Mr.Johny Chengalan

On assuming charge as the Apostolic Administrator of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese, Mar Andrews Thazhath had given the assurance that he would issue a circular on Eucharist Ad Orientum only after reconstituting the Canonical Committees and consulting them. However, he has gone back on his word. Prior to issuing the circular he should have reconstituted the priest’s Council and listened to them. Although he formed a new Presbyteral Council, he neither listened to them nor gave credence to their opinions, and he walked out of the Council meeting after stating what he wanted. That, of course, was not suited to the office he is holding. Priests of the Archdiocese stated that “ we are not obliged to read the circular issued by one in whose lexicon the word ‘dialogue’ is missing. Moreover, why he kept mum over the letter he received on 20th September, 2022, from Cardinal Sandri and after sitting over it for more than a week, convened the Presbyteral Council on 29th September, 2022, is not reasonable.. He rode roughshod over our right to be heard. Therefore, the circular of Mar Andrews who does not abide by his word, is irrelevant for the faithful of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese”.

“Archbishop Thazath violated the sanctity of the office of the Curia of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese, presided over by saintly Prelates in the past, by unnecessarily engaging the police force in a blatant political and authoritarian style to suppress dissent in the Archdiocese in the most un-Christian way. Naturally, no member of the Archdiocese can acknowledge this sort of administration” A senior priest of the Presbyteral council expressed in the statement to the media .

Archbishop Thazath said that he had collated and sent to the Congregation for Oriental Churches petitions signed by more than two hundred Parish Priests, Trustees and Vice-Chairmen of the parishes in the Archdiocese but the letter that he claimed to have received from Cardinal Sandri in response to the petitions, was dated 20th September, 2022. The above mentioned petitions from 16 Foranes were handed over to Mar Thazhath only on the 19th and 20th of September, 2022. So how could Cardinal Sandri respond to these petitions on 20th September itself? Therefore, his claim that he had presented these petitions in Rome is a blatant lie. It is clear that the letter he ascribes to Cardinal Sandri was purportedly dictated by him and the signature of Cardinal Sandri was obtained on it. By duping the representatives of the parishes in the Archdiocese by giving them false promises and by wilful perjury before the Canonical Committees like the Presbyteral Council, the Archbishop has proven that his circular has no ethical value and therefore should be discarded forthwith.

Falsehood is evident in the very beginning of the letter sent by Cardinal Sandri to Mar Andrews on 20th September, 2022. It reads: On the issue of implementation of the uniform mode of celebration of the Eucharist in the Syro-Malabar Church as decided by its Synod, this Dicastery continues to receive representations from the priest and lay members of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese.” This is simply a lie. For whom is the Congregation for the Oriental Churches uttering such falsehood, when it had not had the goodwill to see or read the representations signed by four hundred and fifty priests and the faithful of about three hundred and twenty parishes? This is a clear proof of conspiracy between the Syro-Malabar Synod and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. The priests and the faithful of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese are the innocent victims of this diabolic conspiracy.

The Oriental Congregation and its Prefect, Cardinal Sandri, have by now become the laughing stock in the Syro-Malabar Church by issuing mutually contradictory orders. Therefore, even the Chaldean lobby does not recognize the Dicastery as having a sense of moral rectitude. For these reasons, the people of God in Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese do not take Cardinal Sandri’s letter with due seriousness. The circular of Mar Andrews which is a sequel to Cardinal Sandri’s letter should be regarded with as much disdain.

After reconstituting the Presbyteral Council with much undue fanfare, its first meeting was convened on 29th September, 2022. At this meeting from 11.00 am to 01.45 pm the members who met Mar Andrews individually and as a Canonical body requested him to obtain approval from Rome for continuing the Eucharist Versus Populum as a variant of the revised Syro-Malabar liturgy in Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese. He refused to entertain such requests all the while having with him the letter issued by Cardinal Sandri on 20th September, 2022. It was when he revealed that he had in his hand the letter of Cardinal Sandri that the members of the Presbyteral Council realized that they were being duped by the Archbishop. It was clearly with the intention of mocking all the members of the Presbyteral Council that the Archbishop refused to divulge anything about Cardinal Sandri’s letter earlier. By taking the members of the Presbyteral Council, elected by the priests of the Archdiocese, for a ride, the Apostolic Administrator showed his unbridled disrespect for them. “ We cannot accept Archbishop Andrews as the Apostolic Administrator, as he has little regard for us, refuses to listen to us, lacks any sense of justice, and above all, because he is the personification of authoritarian obstinacy. We do not want him to step into our Archdiocese again” Priest told the reporter under the condition of anonymity.

The mode of celebration of the Eucharist as prescribed by the Synod is neither canonical nor in tune with the teachings of the Church. Therefore, the faithful of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese would reject outright any circular insisting on the Synodal Mass. On the issue of uniform mode of celebration of the Eucharist, the Synod of August, 2021, had not followed the procedure laid down by it (Synodal News, December, 2001, p.17-18). Unfortunately, the letter of the Pope (dated July 3, 2021: “1999 Synodal decision was repeatedly endorsed in subsequent synods) which contained matters contrary to facts was used to malign the pastoral reality within the Archdiocese. Without allowing room for discussion and dialogue, the Synod arrived at a decision and to implement the same, it resorted to methods contrary to the Christian approach and hence the people of God in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam Angamaly refuse to accept the 50:50 formula of celebrating the Holy Eucharist.

When this circular is rejected by the Archdiocese, the Chaldean lobby will accuse us of being disobedient. The answer to that charge is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church No.1567 that reads thus: “The promise of obedience that they (the priests) make to the Bishop at the time of their ordination and the loving kiss that the Bishop plants on them at the end of the ordination liturgy, mean that the bishop considers them co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends and that they in return owe him love and obedience” The Second Vatican Council in its Decree on Bishops says: “They (the bishops) should regard the priests as sons and friends and be ready to listen to them. Through their trusting familiarity with their priests they should strive to promote the whole pastoral work of the entire diocese.” We do not see in the people in authority like Archbishop Andrews any of the qualities that should embody a bishop. This is the reason behind our present crisis in the area of obedience.

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