Rome refuses to soften stand on endogamy – Dr. J kottoor

Kottayam diocese is the home of Endogamy 

Kerala: Rome refuses to soften stand on endogamy
DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ABHISH K BOSE, Published, Feb 16, 2018,

Knanaya Church can’t excommunicate for marrying outside the community! 

James kottoor(Note: This news report was published in the Deccan Chronicle of Feb.16, 2018. Endogamy means the practice of excommunicating members of the Catholic diocese of Kottayam in Kerala, who marry from outside the diocese ever since it was set up long ago. The community claims to be the descendants of the Jewish trader Knanayil Thomman and through him ultimately bearers of the superior precious blood of Jesus the Jew.

The tragic comedy is that even Jesus did not have and could not claim pure Jewish blood since some in his genealogy were married to heathens. The worst part of it is that they claim to be Catholic which is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. Catholic ought to mean universal accepting, embracing and welcoming the whole of humanity without distinctions of class, caste, creed, colour or community.
Accepting only those they think have pure Jewish blood as partners in marriage is racism pure and simple. Yet the wonder and shame of it is that this unchristian practice went on for so long and that with the blessing and patronage of bishops in Kottayam and Syromalabar Church. This is yet another reason why people ridicule Syromalabar Church as “Zero” so far as Catholicity is concerned.
To give a heavenly halo to Knanayil Thomman the staunch advocates of pure blood marriage in Kottayam diocese claim that this Thomman was a missionary, not a trader from the middle East, who came to spread Christianity in Kerala. Yet he married a washer woman from outside the community and had children in her according to historical reports.

This scribe, though not from Knanaya community, but from Palai diocese, wrote very many articles against this despicable pure blood marriage practice, not to support any faction in the Kottayam diocese but to defend the cause of Jesus who presented himself as the “Son of Man” that is, the ideal man for all seasons, places and people. If ever Jesus identified with any class, it was not with the pharisaic superior priestly comfortable class of his times, but with the outcastes, the down-trodden, the poor, the last, least and lost, the wounded, the Samaritans and the Godforsaken.
That is the one reason why the CCV editor declared his preferential option to belong only to the CATTLE CLASS (meaning the last one in the company of the ONE born in a CATTLE SHED) and not to the self-styled Brahminic community of the ‘Zero-malabarians’ or any of thousands of organized Churches trying to prove their sanctity and superiority like the Pharisee praying in the temple extoling himself and despising the publican. The sole exception to all this divisive mentality seems to be the reigning Pope Francis.
Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Oriental Congregation, Rome,  has spoken. It is clear as daylight from the Deccan Chronicle report and correspondence between Oriental Congregation, Rome and Bishops Angadiath of Chicago and Archbishop Moolekattu of Kottayam. Now what remains is no further discussion but action on the part of Bishop Angadiath of Chicago and Archbishop Moolakattu of Kottayam.
They have to become ‘Christians First’, in the words of Prefect Sandri, to execute the order from Rome, both in India and USA. In practice it should first mean taking back over a Lakh of Knanaya community excommunicated from the fold. The Chronicle report concludes, Archbishop Moolakattu was not available for comment. CCV hopes better sense will prevail with all Bishops of the Syromalabar Hierarchy. james kottoor, editor ccv.

KOTTAYAM: Rome has refused to budge from its stand on ending the practice of endogamy among the members of the Knanaya community. This has been made clear to a Church team from the Kottayam archdiocese which met the Prefect of the Oriental Congregation in Rome recently. It may be recalled that the congregation had directed the Chicago bishop to take back those who were excommunicated for marrying from outside the community.
The five-member team led by the bishops and laity urged the congregation to withdraw the direction. However, Prefect Leonardo Sandri told the team to be "Christians first" and then take up other matters, as per the version given by Jaimon Nandikkattu, a team member, in a video. "Excommunicating someone from the Church is against the basic tenets of Christianity." 

The Church should withdraw the decision to oust those who marry from outside their ethnic background. The cardinal's words point to the need to practise Christian principles first,  said Mr T.O. Joseph, President of the Knanaya Catholic Naveekara Samithi. 

Bishop Michael Mulhall  of the Pembroke diocese, who conducted a study of the practice in 2015, had sent a report to the prefect demanding to do away with endogamy and take back those who were excommunicated, whose number comes to at least one lakh. Mr Stephen George, President of the Knanaya Catholic Congress, told DC that the team led by Kottayam archbishop
Mathew Moolakattu, auxiliary bishop Joseph Pandarakkalam and other members of the community had met the Prefect in Rome. Arch Bishop Mathew Moolakattu was unavailable for comments.


In addition please see below the correspondence between Oriental congregation and Bishop Angadiath of Chicago, CCV received from Sri Biju Udup, spokesperson for the Knanaya Group. james kottoor CCV editor Correspondence between Oriental Congregation and Bishop Angadiath of Chicago on Endogamy.

ORIENTALIBUS 00193 Roma December 18, 2017 Via della Conciliazione,
34 Indirizzo postale: 00120 Cit-ta del Vaticano Prot. N. 76/2011

Dear Mr. Ritty, I am pleased to acknowledge your Letter of 1 November 2017 (Prot. No. 76/2011), by which you requested an update on the situation of the Knanaya in the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago in light of the Apostolic Visitation of H.E. Msgr. Michael Mulhall, Bishop of Pembroke (Canada).

I trust that the Letter addressed to H.E. Msgr. Jacob Angadiath, here enclosed in copy, will serve this purpose. With cordial best regards and prayerful best wishes, I am Sincerely yours in Christ,
Cy – it Vasil, S.J. Archbishop Secretary Undersecretary Mr. J. Michael
RITTY, J.C.L., Ph.D. Canonical Counsel 29 Lower Copeland Hill Road


1 Congr, Chiese Oriental; Ailegato IT al Foglio Prot. N° 16 /2-11 00193
Roma December 18, 2017 Via della Conciliazione, 34 CONGREGATIO
Indirizzo postale: 00120 Citta del Vatican° PRO ECCLESIIS ORIENTALIBUS
Prot. N. 76/2011

Your Excellency,
On 3 November 2015, this Congregation appointed an Apostolic Visitor ad referendum, in the person of H.E. Msgr. Michael Mulhall, Bishop of Pembroke (Canada), to study the situation of the Knanaya community throughout the world. Bishop Mulhall submitted his report on 15 March 2017, and it was subsequently presented to the Members of this Dicastery, meeting in Plenary Session from 9-12 October 2017.
In a Letter of 15 November 2017, addressed to the Archbishop of Kottayam, H.E. Msgr. Mathew Moolakkatt, I observed: "While the study of Bishop Mulhall offered hopeful avenues to explore in the years ahead, the basic position of this Congregation remains unchanged.  Specifically, while the link, which has developed between the practice of endogamy and ecclesial life, has been tolerated de facto in the territorium proprium, it is not to be permitted elsewhere. "
This position is consistent with that found in the Instructions given by this Congregation to Your Excellency at the outset of your episcopal ministry in the United States: pastoral care [should not] "make any allowance for endogamy to play a role in defining the membership of faithful in any mission or parish established by the Eparchy" (Instructions of 21 November 2001).


While this Congregation appreciates the motives with which Your Excellency adopted a policy, by Letter of 19 September 2014, regarding certain parishes in your circumscription, it is clear that this policy conflicts with the position reaffirmed above.

The intent of allowing so-called Knanaya parishes in the diaspora is to have a place where the social and cultural bonds of this community can be specially fostered without, however, limiting either membership or participation in the parish only to persons of Knanayan lineage. You are, therefore, kindly requested to remind your people that no parish or mission is to be considered endogamous in any sense (please note that the adverb "strictly" used in your Letter of 20 December 2012 should be avoided in the interests of clarity).

His Excellency the Most Reverend Mar Jacob ANGADIATH Bishop of
St. Thomas the Apostle of Chicago of Syro-Malabars 372 S. Prairie
As Your Excellency knows, a group of the faithful belonging to Saint Mary's Knanaya Catholic Parish and Sacred Heart Knanaya Catholic Parish has complained about the directive of 19 September 2014. A copy of the present Letter has been sent to their canonical counsel,

Mr. J. Michael Ritty,
as well as to the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church and the Archbishop of Kottayam.

Thanking Your Excellency for your understanding, I wish you every grace
and blessing. Sincerely yours in Christ, Leonardo Card. Sandri Prefect
Cyril Vasil – 39; S.J. Archbishop Secretary

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