This refers to the report in CCV about Bishop Murickan leaving his position to lead a life of an hermit. Bishop Murickan with Pope Francis. This frail figure of a bishop does not fit in with the image that one has of a bishop. When anyone thinks of a bishop, what comes to his mind is an image of a potbellied and over fed character. At least that is the image of a bishop that I have. He, on the contrary, looks very simple and pious almost to the point being himself unfit to be adorning all those regalia of a dress code that goes with the position. What hermit life for a clergyman will entail? I presume that he will go vegetarian unless he is already one. He does not have to celebrate Mass every day and preside over other rituals that go in the church? I am not sure.
His reasons for leaving the position is not very convincing. There appears to be more to it than meet the eyes. Was he disillusioned with the way the immensely rich Syro Malabar Church is being run? Did he feel himself a misfit among the cutthroat clergydom who are after money, wealth and position? Was he troubled by absence of genuine spirituality wafting out when these guys meet to discuss various issues concerning their faith? Did he find himself to live up to the adage that if you can't beat them, join them? Which ultimately led him to decide as he did? A lot more clarity is needed on these issues.
What is more surprising is the sequence of events. He gives a letter to his superior bishop at Pala in 2017 which ended up at Cardinal Alencherry's desk only in 2018. One can explain away this time lag as cooling off period in order to give an opportunity for bishop Murickan to re-think it over.
But, why Alencherry is still sitting on it when we are just notch away from ending second quarter of 2020? Alencherry hasn't having best of his time in the past couple of years with the land scam and sister's alleged rape by a bishop and his shoddy handling of it. Should one assume the bishop Murickan's case fell between the cracks in all these troubles with which Alencherry was fighting out?
At 54, bishop Murickan is too young to be thinking of retiring into an hermitage. But then it is his wish. I wish him well. I have heard stories that during the medieval times, best beer used (reportedly they still do in some places in Europe) to be made by Christian hermits. Hopefully, the bishop won't be tempted by any such thoughts.
Good luck bishop Murickan.
Note: “MAN IS NOT TO BE MEASURED BY FOOT RULE!” This saying struck me for the first time, when I was unexpectedly asked, nay forced to give a keynote speech, Aug.10 th last year in Chicago to a crowd about whom, I knew nothing at all and so was forced to pray frantically for light: “Lord that I may see!” Greatest wonder:YOU!
It was then, it suddenly dawned on me, that the greatest wonder in this world is YOU AND ME, each individual, none of whom we can comprehend, but only look at and wonder and try to learn from, not teach anyone any thing! I still continue to stick to that view! So I am forced not to judge Bishop Murickan, but just look at this wonder called MURICKAN and learn from him.
The only thing I can identify him with is the saying of Jesus you are all brothers only(Mt.23,8-12), which is in total conflict with the Episcopal class, each peacocking to show off and parade his individual peculiarities! So what is the lesson for each one of us?
In all instance the goal ought to be to put ourselves to be at the service of ALL and not to be served by ALL. For that what should one do? Flee Prelates!
First, avoid or ignore the company of ‘peacoking clergy!’; second, run away from Prelates as from Mortal sin (‘Fuge prelatum thamquam peccatum’ Louis Mathias, late Archbishop of Madras, who used to say it half in joke and half in earnest!
It is like Elton Johns’ description: “Miracle of humility in an era of Vanity” defining Pope Francis calling himself a SINNER! No different was Jesus washing the feet of unbelievers, doubters, deniers, betrayers; he placed himself as the servant of HIS servants.
Become wonder of Creation!
So it looks to me that Bishop Murickan is trying to do the same and it is for each one to apply it to the particular situation and possibility of different people among us. That alone would create the wonder of creation – Unity in diversity, a bouquet of different flowers in beauty and fragrance, all bound together by the common bond of humility, each competing to take the last place, not the top (as Climbers do) directed by individual lights, Murickan by his light, and you and I directed by ours! james kottoor, editor ccv