By CCV Staff Writer
An all-English Portal-CCV, Why?
Church Citizen’s Voice (CCV) is an all-English portal, officially announced on 15/06/2015 , to unite people of Goodwill around the world. It is inspired by the radiant image of a smiling Jesus triumphant over his cross. That is life, crushing pain followed by comforting victory. No crown without cross, is the message. Life’s challenge is to: Bear the cross and win the crown.
CCV is not a one-man show but a team work of a triumvir if you please, to emphasis the central truth of human life: “United we stand, divided we fall”. Secret of success in life is not independence, but interdependence to share and care and complement since no one is self-sufficient in today’s global village where no one is an island cut off from the rest of humanity. So take a look at CCV below that speaks through pictures and prose.
Office Bearers Of Church Citizen’s Voice (CCV)
Editor in Chief:
Introducing a new feather to CCV
Isaac Harold Gomes
Our New Associate Editor – By Our Staff Writer
Isaac Harold Gomes from Kolkata, is the new Associate Editor of Church Citizen’ Voice (CCV). All details about them can be found in the About us section of CCV, that is, the write-ups we published as and when they were introduced.
Office Bearers of Catholic Association of Bengal Unit of Auxilium Parish. Isaac Gomes (Secretary) is second from right after Fr Ajay Sardar, Asst. PP.
Officially, CCV started its baby steps on Nov.6th 2014 as a joint venture of the above-mentioned triumvir. Its goal is to unite people of goodwill around the globe in the spirit of Pope Francis’ famous utterance “Our God is not Catholic”, according to our editor in Chief, Dr James Kottoor. This is a Global Community (rather than a group representing any one Church) of people of goodwill without borders and divisions, with which CCV identifies itself. Today no church, among thousands of churches, can claim to be global de facto.
Only because it was originally started by Citizens belonging to the Syromalabar Church(SMC), it was called Church Citizens’ Voice. But SMC happens to be one of the narrowest and divisive churches, in which anyone with a global vision gets suffocated too easily. The reform-minded group of CCV could not suffer long to continue like frogs in the wells of SMC and Kerala. Theirs is the vision of Jesus which embraced the whole of humanity described best by Sri Narayana Guru who spoke of one God, one religion and one humanity. We are therefore Global Citizens striving to rise first above the oppressive and divisive narrow SMC ‘well’ and then above all divisions created by a multiplicity of Churches and religions.
Our new Global website; Church Citizens’ Voice is visited daily by over 3000 people. It is now made attractive with the image of the Risen Lord at the centre with smiling face exuding joy and peace and out-stretched hands blessing all, not any more hands nailed to the cross behind. The message it gives is that we, being His followers, are a Risen People, not dead but fully liberated and free.
Church Citizens’ Voice (Eph.2.19) + AlmayaSabdam
Catholic Reformation Movement, An open Forum for Church Citizens world over
“And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free”(Jn.8.32)
Meaning of Inscriptions on Masthead
The name: Church Citizens’ Voice is rooted in Eph.2.19: “So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household”. It also echoes the words of Pope Francis (Nov.2013) “Responsible citizenship is a virtue and participation in political life is a moral obligation” (so also participation in the religious activities and responsibilities in church as citizens with equal rights like any one else.).
Formerly the faithful used to be called and pejoratively branded as LAITY, put on the last rung in the hierarchical ladder like SUDRAS in the Caste ladder, a synonym for ignorance, incompetence, inequality, insignificance and disrespect. Even now they are kicked around like chattel or cattle. Recall Delhi inter-Rite explosion after creation of Faridabad Eparchy there.
Equality not Hierarchy
The hierarchical structure in the Church – Pope, bishop, priest to layman – is not God-made but man-made. It is a worldly rodent, virus and pest that infected the Apostolic Church after Constantine in the 4th century. This cancerous accretion must be operated out lock-stock-and-barrel. Equality of all alone, nay more, an honest attitude of readiness on the part of the First or Highly placed, to take the last place as Jesus washed the feet of disciples is to be the sole characteristic trait of all true followers of Jesus.
Hence Pope Francis’s oft repeated cry: “Inequality in church and society is the biggest sin crying to heaven for retribution.” Perfect equality of all was the bedrock on which the Apostolic Church was founded, functioned and flourished. It was truly a Domestic Church then. People gathered in families of one after another and the head of each family – man or woman – presided over the Table Fellowship, the breaking of the bread and wine. Where then is room today for certain imperial intruders to dress up their yes-men in gold and silver, purple and satin with other-worldly comic head gears and enthrone them as Pope, Cardinal, Archbishop, Bishop, Monsignor, priest etc? It is therefore a tectonic shift in thinking and restructuring of the present hierarchical church, that the Masthead of the new global website of Church Citizens high lights and calls for.
Four Years Old
Our online media was originally started as almaysabdam blogspot.com, in Malayalam, meaning: Voice of the Laity to promote and publicize the Christian goals and ideals of Kerala Catholic Reformation Society started in Palai, Kerala, to reform the Syro Malabar Church more than 4 years ago. It completed its fourth Anniversary Last November 6th and the organisers simultaneously launched its new Global version on 1st December 2014, which was being planned and got ready. So now with the global outreach it has become Catholic Reformation Movement, embracing all Catholic Churches.
The last inscription on the Masthead is: “And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free”(Jn. 32) It was for this Jesus came into this world as the embodiment of truth “I am the truth..” He had also told Pilot “For this have I come into this world, to bear witness to truth.” The aim of the global website is to bear witness to the TRUTH Jesus speaks of. What He meant may be discussed and debated. But for us that truth is Jesus of history – with his words and deeds. He is the only role model for us to focus on, interpret and imitate. In doing this we do not intend to scandalize any one while we cannot and do not promise no one will be scandalised.
Riddle of Jesus
Why? Because the person of Jesus is variously dressed up, shrouded or packaged in different colourful layers of mysteries, riddles, surprises, hard to crack words, deeds and hidden truths starting with the WORD made flesh (who understands that?) in a cattle shed; visited by shepherds and kings; that omnipotent child had to flee to Egypt to escape death from Herod’s sword; that carpenter boy played truant and got lost for three days causing angst and heart burns to his parents at 12; that Nazareen growing up in wisdom and grace chose to shut himself off from public view for a long stretch of 18 years for schooling? (Bremachariya,) or Family Life? (Grehasta), who knows for what; he then suddenly appears as an adult bearded young man on a public stage at Cana to produce wine out of water and to start his public life, as though to reveal a ludicrous truth: In Vino Veritas (Litrerally: Truth is in Vine, but figuratively meaning: Serve an extra peg too many and truth will come out? Or a drunk man blurts out truth without reflecting.)
The rest of the three-year long public life of Jesus story is enigmatic and unforgettable for all. Prosaically it can be summarised as: He went about doing good. Provocatively it can be summarised highlighting the two extremes of the swing of the pendulum of his life: First Extreme: Sweet Jesus, Meek and Mild, Second Extreme: Bitter Jesus Rough and wild. We can go on discussing where lies the whole truth. For us the Whole Truth in all Charity is not the extremes, but the raw Jesus from cradle to cross and his electrifying presence as the Risen Lord leading the way, as the WAY, TRUTH, LIGHT and LIFE ever lasting.
Join in this Open Forum
So we cordially invite all of you from the “sinner” Pope on top to the pauper “saint” in the church-periphery to join in this open forum of discussion and dialogue by writing your frank views for or against and sending in your articles or news reports to: firstname.lastname@example.org, for publication as well as to inform, enlighten, educate and entertain all visitors of this global website.
Our only humble request to all is to steer clear of “terrorism of gossip” as the Pope says, by using civilized, cultured language, avoiding all unparlimentary, abusive, offensive, hurting words and phrases forbidden by ethics of journalism, the principle being that one should become a contributor of light rather than heat, sense rather than sound, consensus rather than calculated conflict or character assassination. Sharp differences of views are bound to arise where there is open and free discussion.
But one can and should always try to disagree in an agreeable way. Because, it is to be abundantly clear, that writers alone are to be responsible and answerable for the views expressed and not the administrators and therefore no anonymous letters are permitted. We want to encourage all with courage of their convictions, not cowards who hide behind any anonymous fake names. So let many flowers bloom in this garden of the Lord, risen from the cross and inviting and blessing all with his outstretched hands.
Church Citizens’ Voice (CCV) is not a one-man show, but the result of a team work for service, not profit, propelled by a vision for unity, fraternity, equality and liberty in an environment of total transparency called for by Jesus, Pope Francis and philosopher Voltaire.
A three-member team has been planning and working together for long. They launched the CCV project seven months ago without much ado, on Nov.6th 2014. There was always the belief, there still is, that anything started by Church Citizens (laity) without the active support and blessing of the clergy will never succeed. Team CCV instead believes that nothing started with divisive mentalities like, Clergy, Laity, Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, religious, agnostic, atheistic can never ever succeed for the simple reason: none of them has the substance of permanence due to internal feuds and competition for supremacy.
That may be why Pope Francis said: ‘My God is not a Catholic God.’ Only a humanely human and all embracing “Son of Man” vision of Jesus eloquently expressed also by Sri Narayana Guru: “One God, one religion, for one all-embracing humanity” alone can sail gloriously and peacefully above all man-made divisions. Recall here also Vayalar Rama Varma’s prophetic poem: “Man created religions and religions created Gods. Then humans, religions and Gods held the marathon conference and divided this sweet mother earth, divided the fertile minds of humans among themselves.”
These divisions should be wiped out of the face of the earth. With this conviction in mind the team worked silently and anonymously for the last seven months as a testing time to see how readers respond, that is, to see how many daily visitors (or ‘daily hits’ technically) the new website could attract. Of course CCV started very low, as low as 100, then it shot up to 200, 500 etc and to the organizers surprise daily hits touched 1350 on Nov.14th,2014 according to our technical expert, Sri Joseph Mattappally. That was a day of jubilation and James Kottoor announced it in one of his articles.
That was the time when the organizers decided to go public and announced the names in the Triumvir in CCV on 15-6-’15, as Zach, Jose and James, imitating distantly in their own way, the mysterious Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all equal but purposely reversing the order here, imitating Peter who got crucified head down and legs up to register his unworthiness to be like Jesus even in death. Thus team CCV also is registering its inability to grasp both the hierarchy and equality in a mysterious Godhead, but at the same time trying to stress and proclaim their equality in CCV team, even when one is called the Chief (or cheap) Editor and the other two as Associate editors.
However readers of CCV must now know who is who in the CCV. The first rung operators are the three already announced. Its second rung workers are the Contributors, Collaborators, Counselors and Correspondents (CCCC) around the world. We shall introduce them one by one as we go, for easy digestion.