By Alex Esthappan Kavumpurath
(Note: No one wishes to beat a dead horse. Syromalabar faithful all over the world have great sympathy for their supreme spiritual leader in Ernakulam. At the same time they cannot turn a blind eye to the enormous varieties of corruption – moral and financial – the Syro(or the more telling Zero)Malabar church is involved in. As a result many writers refer to it as “Zero-Malabar” rather than Syromalabar to highlight the emptiness of moral content they are capable of exhibiting.
The Latin proverb says: “Ridendo corrigere” (correct by ridiculing, laughing at, or shaming them in public). This is also one of the tools journalists use to correct political incorrigibles. Shaming them in public is the medicine they often use. Its equivalent in Church parlance is: “These corrupt leaders will never change to save their souls, but they sure will to save their face from appearing dirty, ugly and stinking to the public.”
Cardinal Alancherry could be going through this agony and the many, including this writer, who are enamoured of his simplicity can’t joyfully revel in it. They all wish and pray, this dirty episode is brought to a happy end with the application of the “medicine of mercy” to quote Pope John XXIII or to imitate the action of the Prodigal Father in the Bible, who celebrated the return of his contrite son. All is well that ends well! Shouldn’t this be the goal of all of us? Didn’t he already say: “I have sinned”, I have made a mistake, like the prodigal son?
Whether we like it or not, per force we have to tread the footsteps of the God the merciful Father of the Prodigal son! Don’t we? Otherwise how can we call ourselves, followers of Jesus, rather than followers of empire building, Rite spreading, colonizing forces led by Emperor Constantine? Has not the Cardinal already said: “Mea Culpa” to his accusing priestly fraternity of the Archdiocsis? james kottoor, editor, ccv.
Read below the column of Alex Esthappan, a member of the Kottayam diocese, now in New York.
Against the objection of the Muslim orthodoxy, Loksabha passed a bill recently to ban Instant Triple Talaq as a result of the Supreme Court verdict. This bill is to protect the dignity and civil rights of Muslim women, and to empower them.
As you know a similar situation exists in Knanaya community in the Kottayam Diocese of Kerala. Non-endogamous Knanaya families are being humiliated and their civil rights are being violated by Knanaya orthodoxy with the support of Syro-Malabar hierarchy headed by respected Mar Alancherry, now drowning in the hot waters of land mismanagement. My heartfelt sympathies to him, as I hate to see him drowned.
Domestic Church divide issue
Mar Alencherry is in deep waters now due to various backroom deals he entered into recently to sell the church property. What is more painful is that he had earlier entered into a more profoundly wrong and morally deplorable backroom deal in 2014 in which he approved to divide the basic unit of the church, "the domestic church", to implement policies practised by David Duke and his hate group in America.
Mar Alancherry still continues to approve exclusion of non-endogamous families in Kottayam to protect racial purity of Knanaya group instead of taking action against Kottayam bishop going to the Supreme Court to get legal support. What is more shocking is, Mar Angadiath Bishop of Chicago, US, also is hand-in-glove with the Cardinal, refusing to revoke his pastoral letter issued in September 2014 to implement David Duke's policies in his diocese instead of following the command of Jesus to live as one united family.
Why this moral decay?
Why do our spiritual leaders get involved in backroom deals that violate laws, sacrifice ideals and tarnish the good name of the church? It may be because they are power- hungry and money-crazy, worshipping the mammon of iniquity.
They should voluntarily give up their craze for power and domination and come under the control of the people, the true church, to save the church from moral decay. If they don't, reform movements and courts should forcefully prevent them from further eroding their credibility and moral standing.
Rise up Syromalabarians world over, if you don’t want to be reduced to ZERO; you have nothing to lose except your chains. Church is the people of God, the LAITY! Haven’t you heard Francis Pappa saying repeatedly: it is now the Hour of the Laity, not of the clergy who are to listen to you and serve you as their Masters!