You have nothing to lose
except your Chains
Dr. James kottoor
The following thoughts were prompted by
Sr Berneice Loch
A year to find new ways to meet the Spirit of Dec.28 in Almaya.
I fully agree with the Australian “Sr Berneice Loch’s observation that the “Pope’s invitation to a Year of Consecrated Life is very timely”. It is finding enthusiastic response from the religious-clerical-Episcopal community all around the world from the very moment it was announced, as I could notice.
But more timely and urgent was the Pope’s lionised roar to uplift the crumbling human families the corner stone of church and society, sent out a year ago. That roar is still resounding urging all, laity, religious, clerics and especially Episcopal conferences around the globe to duplicate locally the transparent, open, noisy and critical Rome Synod of last October. But sadly and miserably no voices – enthusiastic or feeble — are heard especially from our Indian religious-clerical-Episcopal fraternity — about the work being done or steps planned or initiated, even two months after the Rome Synod and its repeated call at the concluding session.
Glaring Conflict Howling
Nor are we aware of news worthy headlines on such happenings from around the globe either. Yet what is it that makes up the backbone of the Church, its main strength? The laity – now presented in glorious, dignified vocabulary as Church Citizens (not by the hierarchy but the laity themselves) or the religious-clerical-Episcopal fraternity, which the vast majority in the Church considers, either as the Church or as a vested interest group? To which group do you belong? You can’t hold both the views at once. This is the glaring conflict and a howling example of lopsided priorities especially in the Catholic Church.
For example recall some of the historical facts. From Pope Pious XII onwards it is an accepted and publicly declared truth and principle that the laity(Church citizens) are not only on the front lines of the Church, but “they are the Church”, not the clerical or religious class which is just a microscopic minuscule in the Church. Won’t it be ludicrous to think of the Church without the laity asked Cardinal Newman of old and insisted to think of an army with a few generals only, to realize the stupidity of it. Where then are our priorities even today as far as thinking and reacting in the church are concerned?
I am simply shocked to despair at the kind of theologizing by the religious and clerics. Religious life “is not, as was often taught before Vatican II, a higher form of life than lay membership of the Church. “ Such thinking will per force continue to persist as long as the man-made clergy-laity divide is not wiped out and as long as the simple gullible folk is made to believe that Jesus instituted priesthood, ordained priests and bishops etc. He did nothing of the sort. He came to burry priesthood and priestly class of his time.
He Came to Bury Priesthood
Read Mathew 23 never read and explained by the priestly class. Why? The reason is same as why Endogamy in Kottayam Diocese, Rite Rivalry and Religious Colonization is not allowed to be discussed in Catholic papers. It is because they have no answers to it besides being self-destructive. Won’t it be foolish to expect the Indian Hierarchy to commit suicide? Jesus came to burry priesthood of His times. Therefore they got him buried and he broke open the sealed tomb and came out to vindicate his stand, least expected by them. So they made him High priest to survive at His expense, as his branches. The principle is: If you can’t beat some one, join him. They did it and they are surviving at His expense whether He likes it or not. The question is for how long?
The answer is: as long as the present hierarchical structure is not buried once and for all. But which of the Episcopal fraternity will ever open their mouth in support of it. To do that there must be some on as self-effacing as Jesus. To my mind, there is not a single Bishop in India and there will not be as long as there are any number of sheepish, slavish, blind believers among the so-called Church citizens, ever ready to sing Hosanna to the clerical class, most of the time for the sake of the fancied crumbs that may fall to their lap from their tables.
Unless and until that mind-set changes, no reform is possible in the Churches, Catholic or otherwise, in India because haven’t we instances of persons who reportedly paid crores to get the title of a Bishop for himself?. The mission of every Church Citizen in India is to become an agent of change by becoming that change himself/herself, thus conscientizing others by example, yes, transforming one’s own community from within like a potent leaven. You may get isolated. But then was not Jesus isolated?
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