dr. james kottoor
Church Citizens’ Voice (CCV) www.almayasabdam.com, heard for the first time on July 6th, of a Family Survey of the Latin Church in India. Then what about surveys in Syro Malabar and Malankara churches? Did the Pope ask for a rite-specific survey or a survey of the whole Church in India? Is it right for any Rite to go it alone like Cain saying: Am I my brother’s keeper? It raised these and other questions.
The news came like a bolt from the blue, because the news source said a survey was done, tabulated and results already packed off to Rome. So CCV, felt like a watchman caught napping and so started a frantic search to unearth the whole Truth in all Charity. That search is still on. CCV had been in the forefront talking about this survey and even offering itself as a possible forum for discussion to the Bishops, In spite of it, how could we have missed this news or were not informed of it?
In the meantime, CCV received a letter from Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay which it published and answered with great appreciation. Discussions are still going on as many things are not still clear. Bishop Lawrence Pius, Chairman of the Latin Church (CCBI) family commission also wrote on July 17th replying to our letter of July 6th which also was published in CCV and Laity Voice of Bombay and replied to collect facts from a wider public. CCV published another article: Family Survey: CCV still on Search!, seeking more facts from readers. So far CCV has received 16 reactions from UK, US, Canada and from various parts of India.
All except one from a member of the Family Commission, are supportive of what CCV has been doing so far. This can be verified from letters published below to draw one’s own conclusions. Unfortunately we have not received replies from the heads of Syro Malabar or the Malankara Church, who is the present head of the CBCI, which covers the whole church in India and therefore the final authority to say if a survey of the whole church in India was done.
Our sole purpose here is to unearth facts, not to sit in judgment on any but to promote unity and collaboration to help the Church in India act as one man. The happy outcome of this exercise must have been that CCV has helped to start a Vertical Dialogue in the Church in India for the first time, since the teaching church has also to listen humbly and learn diligently from the faithful and the learning church also has to do these two duties with added vigor, as the Pope says. He teaches what he preaches by example, by saying, “I have made a mistake” ever so many times now and the most striking of it, saying: “I am a sinner.” It is in this spirit we seek to continue this vertical dialogue in CCV.
Dear Respected Bishop Lawrence,
May I bring to your kind attention some of the amusing howlers, contradictions and confusions I happened to came across on second reading of the statements of the CCBI Family Commission members themselves.
For example in your letter to me of July 17th you wrote: “questions were sent to all the Latin dioceses. However only around 60 dioceses out of 125 dioceses responded. The answers were collated by a team headed by me and sent to Rome well ahead of the Extraordinary Synod….46 questions the summary of the Lineamenta were published in Catholic magazines like New Leader and Examiner…. get your facts correct before dashing off articles in periodicals. We have demanded an unconditional apology from the editor of Indian Currents for his irresponsible and populist kind of journalism”
Alan Doulton, of your Family Commission wrote addressing me (Kottoor) in Matters India on June 30: “CCBI Family Commission has conducted a survey where over 100 Latin dioceses in India returned more than 56000 responses…. with immediate effect you post a correction.” Alan wrote to me on July 4th “This questionnaire had an overwhelming response from over 50,000 respondents spreading across more than 80 of the 131 Latin dioceses in India…. It helps to do some R&D before you publish.”
Mumbai Laity of July 19 asks: “AS FAR AS MUMBAI IS CONCERNED, COULD ANYONE POINT OUT IN WHICH EXAMINER THE 46 QUESTIONS WERE PRINTED?”.
Marked in Red are the words and statements that sound confusing or don’t sound quite correct for me. Nay, to my idiotic reasoning, some of them are literally contradicting. You dear Bishop, speak of around 60 dioceses which responded and Alan of over 100 dioceses. Which is correct? You speak of 125 Latin dioceses in India and Alan of 131 dioceses. Who has the facts correct? You speak of the coming synod as Extraordinary. As far as I know the coming one is Ordinary and last year’s was extraordinary. Who is correct: you or me?
Alan Doulton of your Family commission writes in Matters India, June 30th, that over 100 Latin dioceses in India returned more than 56000 responses…But in his letter of July 4th to me he writes that more than 80 dioceses sent in over 50000 responses. Here the tug of war is between 100 dioceses and just 80 which responded in a scientifically conducted survey by a very responsible team, not a one-man battalion like mine. We make mistakes while talking from the top thoughtlessly. But how can a difference of 6000 come in a written statement for publication?
You say 46 questions were published in NL and Examiner but Mumbai Laity asks: ”In which Examiner were 46 questions published? I can’t answer it, because I didn’t say it. Will the one who said it, please answer?
Now you respectful Bishop, “demand” not ask or request, an “unconditional apology” and Alan my younger brother asks for a “correction” to be posted “with immediate effect”. Honestly I am at a loss to see from the above conflicting statements, who has done wrong: me? the bishop? Alan? Or Indian Currents? And what wrong has anyone of us done which warrants an unconditional apology? Even so, who has been “irresponsible” in making the statements quoted above: Me? the bishop? Alan? Or IC?
So you readers of the CCV, I want to be the first to say “I have goofed”, “I made a blunder” “I have made a mistake” etc. But please point out to me without mincing words – a guy very slow to understand – where I have failed in doing the service of a devil’s advocate. Kindly think it over slowly without jumping to conclusions and please give this fallible me some sane advice without being judgmental of course, because “judge not and you shall not be judged” is what my Lord tells me. Then how can I or you say NO to Him, of all people? james kottoor.
PS: See below also some 16 reactions I received which may be considered as (Vox Populi), voice of the general public.
Reactions from Readers
Mumbai Laity writes:
Many people tried to get forms but the site would just not open. The forms were distributed to persons whose views were in line with what the church wanted them to think. Mumbailaity
These are all cock and bull stories and claims that are made. Like you said none of your contacts have recd the same, this in itself shows their concocted story.
Here in Lonavla — a day or two, before the last date — we were given the forms after 7.00 AM Mass and asked to complete the forms in Church – and return them right away — there was really no time/chance to either really understand/ponder over the forms — most parishioners — like sheep in the flock filled them up with the ticks in the allocated boxes — I happened to take a bit of time — and was asked to ”hurry up” — What use/purpose such a survey will serve, I cannot understand!!!!
Also shows that Bishops of the various dioceses care two hoots about a sincere request for information by Pope Francis —
As I have always said this wily bunch of senior clergy are too immersed / drowned in the luxuries of their positions — they CAN NEVER CHANGE !!!!
Let us really pray that Pope Francis succeeds in bringing about the change of the dirty mindset of these ROGUES / WOLVES
Looks like The Pharisees and Sadducees still exist today, but, in a different format. We need to be witnesses to Our Lord in whatever way possible. “Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe”. It’s sad to see so many divisions in thought, word and deed, by the Church, The Body of Christ, being Crucified again.
From Kolkata comes another reaction
Dear Mr Zacharias Nedunkanal, you are absolutely correct. The Cardinal just made a statement – he did not give any proof of the filled up questionnaires which he claims was done in Mumbai Archdiocese. At least he could have sent a few scanned copies of the questionnaires signed by respondents.
The matter needs to be probed further. Why is the Editor of Indian Currents keeping quiet. Just because he happens to be a priest? What about carrying out his primary job of searching for Truth and reporting the Truth?
6. Kerala Naadu ·
I can understand how you feel about these happenings as a follower of Jesus Christ. Are these priests trying to repeat the history?
Three persons respond to Kottoor’s
article in Matters India
7. chhotebhai , June 27, 2015 from Kanpoor
Last year a few of us lay Catholics in India undertook our own study and initiative and even got some bishops on board. We gave our report to the delegates from India attending the Synod. It found no mention in the Synod lineamenta. For the final round there is no information about what the bishops are doing. IT IS A HUGE BETRAYAL, nothing less. The bishops only seem to want our donations in cash or personnel (vocations)! The rest be damned.
8. Denis Daniel June 27, 2015
Congratulations to both, Dr. Kottoor and Chhotebhai. It’s really tragic and shameful for the Indian hierarchy to keep the faithful in the dark, ill informed and in a sense illiterate.
9. Alan Doulton, June 30, 2015, from Family Commission
Kottoor, I am shocked at the level of misinformation that you are propagating. For your information, the CCBI Family Commission has conducted a survey where over 100 Latin dioceses in India returned more than 56000 responses. The questionnaire was made available in 9 languages.
You may contact Fr. Milton, the Executive Secretary of CCBI Family Commission for a report. Also, you may like to know that I have personally sent preview reports to various reform groups across the world including CCRI where you are an advisor. My request is that with immediate effect you post a correction.
10. Dear Jim,
Your reply to Cardinal Gracias is full of overenthusiastic praise and unnecessary humility as if he has done some great act of benevolence and heavenly sympathy towards some miserable creatures! All this is baseless exaggeration of a sentiment that the ignorant and slavish faithful are expected to show towards bishops.
What he has done is just give a short reply to innumerable letters you had sent to many bishops seeking clarity about an urgent question that concerns the entire church. There is no word of excuse in his letter for keeping us waiting for so long, nor any details about the questionnaires he speaks of. Let us be cautious about taking his words on their face value. We have to have proof of what he claims to have done either from his own office or from elsewhere. There too he has given you no hint as to where to look for this proof. I'm hesitant to believe him.
If any survey had been done, how come that even Laititude or individuals we have approached had had no idea about it at all? And he doesn't mention at all about the measure of participation of the Lay people in the survey. He should at least have given you a place or person for further contact and inquiry about the matter. Even if such a survey took place, it was dominated by the clergy, according to his own words. And what kind of farce that must have been!
Zacharias Nedunkanal, from Kerala
According to the archbishop of Bombay: "It (family survey) was discussed by the Priests’ Council, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, all Parish Councils, groups of priests, and some of the Commissions in the Archdiocese."
This survey was supposed to be conducted among the Catholic families. The intention of the questionnaire was to get a feed back from those who live family life, not for a discussion among the councils, the Archbishop referrers to in his letter. Not only that, he is claiming that the archdiocese of Bombay did an extensive study. Who did that study? Not the lay people/Catholic families? What a pity! That means the archdiocese didn't send the questionnaires to the lay faithful to get their response and so he must have sent the response of Bombay priests to Rome.
It is plain and simple. As an archbishop he should be ashamed of cheating the Catholic families and I think he should not have sent such an email to Dr. Kottoor. And Dr. Kottoor, you are doing an excellent job but you were in too much of a hurry to praise the archbishop. Chacko Kalarickal.
12. Gordon Jacobs, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mumbai, July 18/15
As far as the survey goes, we too have asked for results as the majority of us Catholics were never part of the inputs of the survey. We believe that the laity has been taken for a ride by the clergy for far too long. and this must end. Sole trusteeship is the main cause and we have a copy of the judgement from the Kerela high court stating this sole trusteeship must end. This has never been implemented. GordonJacobs
13. Varghese Mathew from UK writes,July 18/15
This is in response to the discussions on the conspiracy to deny the right of opinion for the general members of the Catholic Church in Kerala on a matter of vital interest to them. It is truism to repeat that the Church does not believe in informed discussion and dialogue within their view the “goats’ in any matter concerning its’ teachings.
In this context permit me to quote from the autobiography of Hans Kung….. “We rightly wanted to set a counterpoint to the Church’s cultural pessimism and the self righteous moralism of past centuries. No, the weakness of the Constitution is that on topics like marriage and family – beyond doubt the focal point of interest also among a wide public – it speaks very sweepingly on general aspects like holiness, love and fertility, but at the decisive point, namely responsible parenthood, and especially birth control and contraception, it remains deeply ambiguous. …. Varghese
14. Mumbai Laity asks, July19/15
AS FAR AS MUMBAI IS CONCERNED, COULD ANYONE POINT OUT IN WHICH EXAMINER THE 46 QUESTIONS WERE PRINTED?
Congratulations! You have done a lot of hard, important work. Thank you. I think this is the general direction that we, the bottom but a huge part of the Church and the Body of “Christ, have to take. Unfortunately, I have a hard time fully understanding the situation in India from my position in North America; I see better now the huge cultural differences.
But I trust that the Lord is somehow using us all, as we move on toward the complete reign of God. (and I was surprised to find your age, more or less the same as mine. I’m not sure how long the Lord will keep us here and try to use us, but so far He (She?) seems to want to do this.
Peace, Love & Best Wishes…
Larry Carney, Canada
16. Joseph Chacko <email@example.com> wrote, 21 July 2015
Dear Dr. Kottoor, Our archbishop came to kilpauk parish in March and asked Synod questions to a selected audience. Each question got six or more different answers. I do not know how the archbishop completed the questionnaire.
The Syro Malabar Rite branch here is in full action collecting funds for constructing new churches. Our archbishop has not given his consent for a diocese within the diocese. The SMR activists appears to be lying low for the arrival of a new archbishop. Regards, P.C.Joseph