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The diabolic strategy of power-hungry Administrator. Set back to Thazath in the EKM archdiocese.

Updated: Nov 6, 2022

Mr. Johny Chengalan

“An argument arose among the disciple about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts…For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest.” (Lk.9: 46-48)

The history of the Syro-Malabar Church in the 20th and the 21st century is the history of machinations and manipulations orchestrated by the Pre Vatican II lobby to establish who the dominant factor in it is! Those living in South Travancore always believed that Changanassery is the epicentre of Catholic faith in Kerala and hence claimed supremacy in the Syro-Malabar Church. They deceived Cardinal Parecattil and prevailed upon him to step down. In his place Archbishop Antony Padiyara was brought in and to secure his position the long-serving firebrand Auxiliary Bishop Sebastian Mankuzhikary was transferred (exiled!) to Thamarassery. When the Holy See appointed Mar Abraham Kattumana as the Apostolic Delegate to study and report on the Syro-Malabar liturgy, an issue that had been a festering for long, he was opposed by a group of priests in Changanassery led by its present prelate and a hard-core champion of Pre-Vatican II lobby in the Syro-Malabar Church, Mar Joseph Perumthottam. Mar Kattumana returned to Rome only to die under mysterious circumstances and the report that he wrote was never made public and subsequently it was presumed lost. They sidelined the capable senior bishop Jacob Manathodath and elevated the George Alancherry to the position of Major Archbishop whose only qualification for the post was that he was a favorite of Mar Joseph Powathil and an ardent votary of Pre-Vatican II traditions. He was commissioned to loot the wealth of the Archdiocese and weaken it from within with the help of a few disgruntled priests who were promised suitable rewards for their dubious loyalty. When the case against the Cardinal in the land scam gathered strength, the enquiry led by Mar Jacob Manathodath was scuttled by implicating him and other prominent priests of the Archdiocese in fabricated lawsuits. They were silenced once and for all. Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath and Mar Jose Puthenveetil were evicted overnight from the Archbishop’s House, without even giving them minimum human consideration. What Mar Joseph Parecattil handed over to us as a legacy, what the majority of the Catholic Church celebrates all over the world today – Eucharist versus Populum – is sought to be taken away from us. The Changanassery - based fanatic lobby wants the dispensation obtained by Mar Kariyil from Rome to continue with the Eucharist versus Populum to be rescinded and to this end the so-called lobby continues to cast aspersions on Mar Kariyil through the social media. Cardinal George fumed with anger at this turn of events and to give vent to it, he forbade anyone from Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese visiting Rome and seeking the intervention of the Holy Father on the matter. This rash decision all the more exposed his insecurity.

Mar Antony Kariyil, the amiable shepherd of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese, who courageously stood up for truth, justice and morality, was threatened by the Apostolic Administrator and the connivance of the Cardinal, the Congregation for Oriental Churches and the Apostolic Nuncio led to his eventual resignation under duress.

The Apostolic Nuncio overstepped his diplomatic authority in banning the entry of Mar Kariyil into the Archdiocese. Thus he was denied the basic human right of being served by his own relatives during his ailment. The Pre-Vatican II lobby headed by the Cardinal took forceful possession of St. Mary’s Basilica and allowed the police personnel to violate its sanctuary. They evicted the people of God from the Church and celebrated the Eucharist prescribed by the Synod. The Changanassery lobby went to the extent of locking up the Basilica with the help of the frenzied goons settled in Ernakulam. The priests of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese who vouch for Eucharist versus Populum are projected as renegades. The recent episode of the power-hungry and position-seeking Apostolic Administrator enlisting police support while meeting the Presbyteral Council members in the Archbishop’s House, simply vindicated our stand that he, the Cardinal and all those collude with them, are afraid of the might of the flock in Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese! It revealed that without the backing of civil authority they are simply powerless. A concerted move is afoot now to dismiss all those Vicars who are labelled as rebels by the Changanassery lobby.

"We will destroy and rip apart the archdiocese of Ernakulam" .

Divide and destroy is the policy of the Apostolic Administrator. The Chaldean lobby still believes that it can bring Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese to its knees and get its flock to implement the 50:50 formula in the Archdiocese. Even after witnessing the spirited opposition of the majority of the flock of the Archdiocese to the arm-twisting tactics of the Cardinal and the Apostolic Administrator, they still haven’t learnt that our unity is unbreakable.

The Synod is blind to see that the introduction of the uniform 50:50 formula aimed at ushering in unity in the Syro-Malabar Church has only accentuated division and mud-slinging among its members polarized into pro-Synod and anti-Synod groups. They continue to ignore the fact that throughout Syro-Malabar Church at no time in the past uniform Holy Eucharist was celebrated. Changanassery and Pala have their own unique way of celebrating the Eucharist. Kothamangalam follows a different pattern. The times when the faithful stand, sit or kneel vary from diocese to diocese. There is a pronounced difference in the recital of Psalms during the Eucharist. So what kind of unity are the votaries of the Changanassery lobby talking of or seeking to engender?

Deliberate manipulation of the history of the Syro-Malabar Church is underway to prove that Kuravilangad was the centre of the Syro-Malabar Church from time immemorial. Even as the Changanassery lobby tries to remove the Holy Rosary from the SMC, they are projecting Kuravilangad as the first place in the world where Our Lady appeared. This was at a time when Marian devotion had not started in a strong way in the Catholic Church. What a contradiction!

The scheme of dividing and destroying Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese received a severe jolt when the faithful of the Archdiocese stood as the bulwark against the repeated attempts to subdue it and implement the so-called pre-Vatican II traditions within the Archdiocese. All authoritarian tactics have crumbled before the solidarity of the flock here. They have now come to realize that they are ‘kicking against iron rods’. Against repeated failures to achieve their end, the Changanassery lobby led by the Apostolic Administrator, is resorting to another subtle tactic to ensure compliance to the Synodal 50:50 formula. This involves telephoning priests one by one and threatening to persecute and destroy them is his crooked strategy. The strategy is to project that the majority of the priests in the Archdiocese are in favour of the 50:50 formula but they are being prevailed upon by 'a few rebels’ to take a stand against the Synodal decision. The latter are of course pictured as having no guts to stand up to the rebels. The final aim of this diabolic strategy is to prevail upon the Vatican to take disciplinary action against such rebel priests.

To offset the novel scheme of the Apostolic Administrator we need to ask Mar Andrews the following three questions:

· After 2000, how many times the issue of uniform Holy Eucharist was discussed in the Synod or in how many Synods was the subject of uniform Holy Eucharist discussed?

· Who gave misleading information to the Holy Father?

· Why didn’t the Synod follow the procedure laid down in 2001 before the 50:50 formula was finalized?

We cannot expect answers to these questions from the myopic and power-hungry leaders of the Synod. Our position on the 50:50 Synodal Eucharist is that we oppose it tooth and nail. Whatever decision is to be taken in the future on this very vexing issue, it must be in consultation with the priests and the laity of the Archdiocese. The opinion of everyone in the Archdiocese does matter and therefore should be heard. Our tradition of loving, respecting and obeying the shepherds should not be exploited to impose on us a decision against our will. So long as we are united on the issue, no power on earth can deny us of our right to have the Eucharist facing the congregation of believers.

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