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The Impasse in the Syro-Malabar Church. Coercion and suppression of Andrews Thazhath- unacceptable

Mr. Johny Chengalan



“What comparison can I use for the behaviour of this people? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace, complaining to one another: “We played the flute for you and you would not dance; we sang dirges and you would not cry.” (Lk 7: 31-32)


The above Biblical verses are perfectly applicable to the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church. How its members have made the Syro-Malabar Church a despicable entity before the public. Thank you, bishops, for being so stubborn; thank you, bishops, for believing that you are the Syro-Malabar Church; thank you, bishops, for being deaf to the cries of the priests and laity of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese for so long; thank you, bishops, for being unchristian in thought, word and deed. Your impudence and proverbial inaction have helped to aggravate the crisis in the Syro-Malabar Church!


I had written in my first article about the imminent need for dialogue with the faithful of the Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese but no action was taken. When the impasse assumed uncontrollable proportions, you took the step of appointing a Commission to discuss the issue with the representatives of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese. The step came too late, and your intentions were suspect from the outset. What was the need of appointing a Commission if it was not vested with authority to resolve the impasse? That the decision to appoint a Commission was taken at an online meeting of the self-declared guardians of the Syro-Malabar Church made it suspect in the eyes of the faithful. For a very long period you could take cover behind the pandemic. What excuse do you have now for not having a face-to-face meeting? Why are your lordships taking steps that you all know are a mere eye-wash?




The Apostolic Administrator went to the Vatican and stood in the queue for several minutes and then spent 38 seconds before the Holy Father who seems to have given a panacea for all the problems created by the Synod in the Syro-Malabar Church in four words: ‘tell them to obey’ This seems to have been repeated three times during the fleeting audience with the Pope. He triumphantly posted a video of several minutes’ duration to repeat the words of the Pontiff. He thought those four words uttered by the Pope would solve the crisis facing the Syro-Malabar Church. Unfortunately, the people of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese did not turn out to be credulous and timid like the flock of Thrissur and hence they took his statement at face value. For poor Archbishop Thazhath it was another strategy that went awry. I still have doubts whether the Pope was asking the faithful of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese to obey. The Pontiff was probably reminding Mar Thazhath and the Synod to obey his earlier order: to make restitution for the losses suffered by the Archdiocese in the murky real estate deals entered into at the behest of Cardinal Alancherry. How long can the Synod and the Chaldean ideologues of Changanassery go on harping on obedience to the Synod when the Synod Fathers are themselves glaring examples of stubborn disobedience to the Pope’s commands?



That the faithful of the Archdiocese are determined to defend their right to Eucharist versus Populum was proved repeatedly. Wasn’t it then foolish on the part of the Apostolic Administrator to test their patience by trying to force his way into celebrating the Synodal Mass? Why does he still say that the 50:50 formula thrust upon the people of God in other dioceses of the Syro Malabar Church was a decision taken unanimously, although proofs to the contrary exist? Why didn’t the Synod ignore the procedure stipulated in the Synod of 2001 before it’s/ their ‘unanimous’ decision? Why have the bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church become bluff masters having thrown to the winds all norms of morality and probity while deciding on a vital issue like the Holy Eucharist? In the process, the Syro Malabar Church has lost its total credibility. Unfortunately, Rome’s credibility has been compromised too. It was forced to appoint an unscrupulous prelate as the Apostolic Administrator of the largest diocese in the Syro Malabar Church. Mar Thazhath is yet to learn the lesson that the strategy employed in suppressing dissenting voices in Thrissur Archdiocese may not find fruit in Ernakulam. Mar Thazhath’s unbridled ambition to be the next Major Archbishop makes him do things that he wouldn’t ordinarily do. Perhaps St.Paul was referring to this tendency in man when he wrote: “Therefore, if I do what I do not want to do, I am not the one striving towards evil, but sin which is in me.” (Rom 7:20)



The Apostolic Administrator was clearly told that in the event of the volatile situation prevailing in the premises of the Basilica, it would be imprudent on his part to attempt at celebrating the Synodal Mass. And yet he showed utmost disdain towards sane counsel and in the process was forced to make a shameful retreat on 27th November, 2022, thereby further lowering the dignity of his office. He had to rely on the police and the pro-Synodal goons to escape unhurt from the scene. Ernakulam has become too hot for him to handle. I hope now he will have the humility to confess before the Pope and the Synod that his modus operanti, that of coercion and suppression, will not be accepted by the faithful of Ernakulam. I hope he submits his resignation to the Pope soon, thus paving the way for a holy prelate to replace him and thereafter seek an amiable solution to the present impasse. Commissions may come and go. Chaldean culprits may insist on obedience. The Pope and the Congregation for Oriental Churches may become accomplices in the crime of the Synod controlled by insane Chaldean fundamentalists. Whatever the step such unholy groups may contemplate to destroy Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese, the people of this Archdiocese sworn to protect it, will forestall it. They will stand up to any sinister strategy to thrust upon the despicable 50:50 formula on them. We are one in our resolve to stand by our mother: the Archdiocese of Ernakulam Angamaly.


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