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The Procrustean mindset of Indian Cardinal- Alencherry and Archbishop Gujerotti-new Theseus of Rome

Wimal Mary Das


The tale of the Procrustean bed of Greek Mythology may not be familiar to many Kerala Christians but the inside stories of a few Syro Malabar bishops apparently threatening to divide and destroy the archdiocese of Ernakulum, in the southern province of Kerala, India, is the talk of the town.

Procrustes- a Greek mythological character, considered a cruel robber who was an innkeeper in Greek, who ruthlessly administered a gruesome act of chopping the legs to align to the bed at the inn. The cruelty continued as he forcefully laid the visitors on the bed, made them fit onto the iron bed, and chopped their legs so as to fit into the size of the bed. According to the legends, Procrustes was a madman with a really nasty habit of forcing things in his own way. Procrustes would hammer the body until it filled the bed’s length. Procrustes was someone who cut off the limps to make them the correct size of the bed! Today the expression of “Procrustes bed” assumed a proverbial expression for the arbitrary standard, especially the one that is forced upon people for conformity and uniformity.


Cardinal Alencherry and Archbishop Thazath.



The liturgical crisis in the Syro Malabar Church is still taking its nasty turn as the permanent synod of the Syro-Malabar Church is in Rome. Accused Indian Cardinal George Alencherry led the entourage to Rome. Before departing for Rome, He released a press note claiming that he would find a lasting solution to the liturgical crisis in Kerala. A man of controversy and corruption from land scams to money laundering to liturgical conflicts are the recent achievements of the Indian cardinal as he is facing trial in seven criminal cases in India. The Vatican administration seems to be hiding the dirtiness under the red carpet as he belongs to the autonomous church in the Catholic communion of churches.

Another drastic move from a group of bishops before their departure to Rome was leaked out through their proponents that a hidden strategy was shaping up to implement forceful bifurcation of the Archdiocese of Ernakulum. It is confirmed from reliable sources that bishops have met and discussed hidden- procrustean strategies to win the game plan of a few bishops in Kerala. The accused cardinal Alencherry proposes this strategy to implement his tyrannical move to impose liturgical uniformity in the Church. The faithful have expressed their strong reservations and protests against the new liturgical reforms. Archbishop Thazath, an arrogant and supercilious personality, and current apostolic administrator plotted to close the Basilica of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam to hatch the division in the archdiocese. It is more than 150 days since the closure of the Basilica, which has turned into a matter of dismay for the Indian Christians.


Archbishop Gugerotti and head of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches



The current meeting has pivotal significance as the new head of the Dicastery of Eastern Churches will make an intervention in the perennial problem of the administration of Cardinal Alencherry. The former prefect Cardinal Sandri was under suspicion of corruption. The allegation is still in the air that Cardinal Alencherry offered a huge chunk of land scam profit to whitewash his criminal deeds in the land deal in India where he is facing 8 criminal trials in the notorious land scam. Archbishop Gugerotti is watching the liturgical war initiated by Cardinal Alencherry triggered from the land scam scandle. It is learned that Archbishop Gugerotti disagrees with the proposal to divide the archdiocese of Ernakulam and he holds the view that it is akin to procrustean strategy. It would be a testing ground for Archbishop Gugerotti for his leadership to become a peacemaker in the Syro Malabar Church and his future leadership in the Catholic Church.


Rumours about Catholic Assyrian Church in India


It has been learned that Rome is thinking of regrouping three dioceses of Syro Malabar church namely Archdiocese of Chaganassery, Pala and Kajirappilly as the Catholic Assyrian Church and forming another sui iuris church in the Catholic communion. The root cause of all divisions and unrest in the syro Malabar church has been due to the intervention of the late Archbishop Joseph Powathil and the has been operated as the epicentre of all problems that stemmed from the Archdiocese of Chaganassery. Many scholars hold the view that separating them from the main body of the Syro Malabar Church will bring lasting solutions to the problems in Syro Malabar Church. Chaganassery lobby was bargaining for the patriarchal status of the Church in India to dominate the Latin hierarchy in India, which triggered tension in the Catholic Church in India. Cardinal Parolin’s presence in the meeting shows the paramount importance of problem-solving and enforcing a potential resignation of Cardinal Alencherry for his corrupted deeds in the Catholic Church. There has been mounting pressure from inside the Catholic Church against prolonging the resignation of a corrupted cardinal in India and the lack of action from Pope Francis.



Archbishop Gujerotti- new Theseus of Rome.


In the Greek legend- Procrustes, a robber and cruel innkeeper was slain by Theseus according to Geek mythology. Innkeeper of the Syro Malabar Church overtly plays the role of Procrustes and everyone is waiting to see who will take the role of Truth-driven ‘Theseus’ to fix the moral damages in the Syro Malabar Church.

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