It appears that a "committee" was set up (2012-13?) when the SM Eparchy was surreptitiously being established in Delhi. We are informed that this "committee" was formed essentially to deal with practical matters like the sharing of existing Delhi churches facilities (owned by the Latin archdiocese) by the Latin and the SM congregations. Of the five members nominated by the then (Latin) Archdiocese of Delhi (who were to work with five members nominated by the SM Eparchy-to-be) of that "committee", only one or two were of SM ancestry. Given the limited scope of work of this "committee", the fundamental issue of compulsory expulsion of SM Catholics from the Delhi archdiocese into the SM Eparchy never came up – or was envisaged to come up.
Yet from the time we met the Nuncio (June 2014) he has always insisted that the "committee" should meet. We asked the Nunciature several times about the terms of reference of the "committee"; we never received a response.
Appreciating that the old "committee" was not intended or equipped to deal with this fundamental issue, the current Archbishop of Delhi sent fresh nominations for such a "committee" to the Nuncio; these nominations included four of our Laity4Unity members. Interestingly, even the Archbishop of Delhi was not favoured with a response by the Nunciature.
Yet a meeting of the "committee" was indeed called in Archbishop's House; and, at the Archbishop's invitation, was chaired by the Eparch of Faridabad. Three of our four representatives were present, having been called for an unspecified "meeting", which we understood was to be with our (Latin) Archbishop. When the three representatives turned up, they were told it was for such a "committee" meeting.
Being present, however, and not wishing to reject any attempt at dialogue, our three members participated in this meeting, clearly questioning at the outset the validity, authority and terms of reference of such a "committee". Shortly after the meeting, they duly reported the proceedings to the Nuncio, with CCs to the Archbishop of Delhi and the Eparch of Faridabad.
This report was recently uploaded on this site.
No reply was received from the Nunciature to this report.
We then sent a reminder to the Nuncio. To this reminder, we received a very formally phrased intimation that our report had been forwarded to the two Bishops as "they are the competent authorities in this matter".
It would be amply clear to our readers that this is pure bureaucratic buck-passing, uncaring of the serious issues raised by, and the repercussions of, the Joint Pastoral Letter of November 2013. This is completely alien to the spirit in which our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has been guiding the Church.
We have therefore sent a rejoinder to the Nuncio, protesting about this buck-passing.
Both the Nuncio's formal email and our rejoinder are reproduced below.
Perhaps it is time now for more and more people to flood the Nuncio's office with your individual protests in support of our Rejoinder. Send CCs to the Archbishop of Delhi and the Eparch of Faridabad, whose email IDs are also seen in our rejoinder.
1. Nuncio's response to our reminder
This Apostolic Nunciature has duly received your email of 17 September last and has taken note of its contents.
The email has been forwarded to Their Graces the Archbishop of Delhi and the Archbishop-Bishop of Faridabad, as they are the competent authorities in this matter.
New Delhi, 18 September 2015
Secretariat of the Apostolic Nunciature
2. Our Rejoinder to Nuncio
From: Rite Issue <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 9:49 AM
Subject: Re: Syro Malabar Issue
To: Apostolic Nunciature <email@example.com>
Cc: Abp Anil JT Couto <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Faridabad Diocese Eparch <Tharuba@yahoo.com>
Syro Malabar faithful of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese
Coordinating Group: C/o AFPRO 25/1A Institutional Area,
Pankha Road, D-Block Janakpuri, New Delhi 110058
Email: email@example.com Fax: +91-11-28520343
To HE Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio Apostolic Nuncio, New Delhi
We are quite perplexed about the contents of your email of 18 September.
The whole idea of a "committee" meeting emanated from the Nunciature. Right from the moment this idea was mooted by Your Excellency, we asked for clarity on the purpose, the terms of reference and the relevance of such a "committee" in the present situation. No clarification ever came from the Nunciature.
Now that the "committee" has indeed met (purely in the spirit of dialogue and in spite of all our reservations), Your Excellency has passed it right back to the Archbishop of Delhi and the Eparch of Faridabad on the grounds that "they are the competent authorities in this matter". If this were indeed so, why did Your Excellency insist on such a "committee" meeting at all?
Also, as we have pointed out, the Joint Pastoral Letter, which was the communication that started this entire controversy, clearly states that it has been issued under Your Excellency's "guidance".
It is tragic that such a serious issue in the Indian church is being treated with such lack of concern by the Church hierarchy. While the Holy Father tries to bring people together all over the world, it would appear that the Hierarchy in India is not in the least concerned about the "scandal" of divisions among us.
We would be grateful if Your Excellency would kindly reconsider the matter and take a proactive role in settling this issue once and for all, for the sake of the entire Indian Church.
Yours in Our Lord,
Laity4Unity, formerly Team Rite
(names listed in the Signature space below