Aattached is a copy of a fax/email we sent to the Nuncio a few weeks back. I think you may find it interesting to publish, as the Joint Pastoral Letter of Delhi, instigated by the SM church, was supposedly issued 'under the guidance of the Nuncio'. Warm regards, Kurien Joseph (Team Rite, Delhi)
Syro Malabar faithful of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese
Coordinating Group: C/o AFPRO 25/1A Institutional Area,
Pankha Road, D-Block Janakpuri, New Delhi 110058
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: +91-11-28520343
Sub: Apostolic Nuncio’s Urgent Intervention Sough
A. We refer to our letter dated 12 December 2014 on “The Syro Malabar issue in Delhi – a crisis of faith”. We deeply regret to note that, more than three months later, we have not received any reply to it from Your Excellency.
B. It is now one year and five months since the Joint Pastoral Letter (JPL) was issued, in its own language, “under the guidance of the Apostolic Nuncio to India, Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio”.
C. As we have pointed out in our Petition to the Holy Father and in our correspondence with Your Excellency, this JPL was issued:
1. without any prior information or consultation with the affected faithful, and indeed against their wishes, as expressedunequivocally in the Delhi Synod 2002;
2. against the wishes, advice and warnings of both the current and the previous Archbishops of Delhi;
3. on the basis of false statistical data about the Syro Malabar faithful of Delhi;
4. in unthinking surrender to the Syro Malabar church’s sense of “entitlement” to greater territory because of the large numbers of clergy of Syro Malabar origin;
5. in contravention of several canons of the Code of Canons of Eastern Churches;
6. in defiance of the express and repeated Papal condemnations of the “scandal” of divisions among Christians;
7. in utter disdain for the spirit of the Kalyan Indult issued by St John Paul II in 1983; and
8. in utter violation of both ecclesiastical and national principles, in its assertion that ‘basically there is no choice in the matter’.
D. Subsequent to the issue of the JPL, we pointed out to Your Excellency several problems and evils that emanated from it:
1. the utter disenchantment and scandalising of our youth;
2. the reprehensible separation of children on the basis of Rite for faith formation and sacraments;
3. the orchestration of deep divisions within our families and the community;
4. the denial of opportunity to the Syro Malabar faithful of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese to render voluntary services on Parish
Councils, Diocesan Pastoral Council and other parish and archdiocesan bodies.
5. the misuse of holy sacraments as weapons of coercion against the faithful;
6. the blatantly un-canonical and anti-Catholic decree of the Syro Malabar Synod forbidding its priests from accepting status liber certificates for marriage from “Latin” parishes;
7. the self-aggrandisement of the Eparch of Faridabad, who presumed to give himself the title of “Archbishop of Delhi-Faridabad”;
8. his misuse of this self-given title to gather funds for a gala entertainment programme from an unsuspecting general public;
9. the upholding of church apartheid through official assertions of “elite” superiority over “Latins” (who were clearly not “elite” in Syro Malabar Church perception); and
10. the irony of several bishops pontificating against the Government of India for allegedly dividing the country, while themselveseither overlooking or condoning some of their own colleagues’ determined efforts at dividing the Church.
E. It is amply clear now that the Church did not exercise due diligence when the Syro Malabar Church made its plea for an Eparchy in Delhi. We understand of course that Your Excellency’s “guidance” on the JPL was subtly and perversely influenced by the Syro Malabar Church, which deliberately fed you with figures it unscrupulously cooked up.
F. But once all this was brought to the Church’s notice, surely Your Excellency could have initiated corrective measures. Your Excellency met us once to understand our plea; sadly thereafter, no “dialogue” ever took place as Your Excellency had indicated, no “committee” was ever formed and none of our communications were ever responded to. The faithful rightly expect Your Excellency, as the Representative of the Holy Father in India, to protect and safeguard our spiritual, sacramental and Catholic community life, which have been severely damaged by the JPL.
G. The Church comprises all the faithful; it is not and cannot be a refuge or a sinecure for a handful of self-centred and ambitious prelates, who single-mindedly pursue “territory” to “control”. In sharp contrast, it is the laity that is anxious to safeguard and protect its own faith from medieval-style church politics, scandals and heresies. It is the laity that seems truly to understand the idea of “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church”. Thanks to the wordly and political machinations of such “shepherds:, we are seeing the steady erosion of the moral authority of our bishops. An economically resurgent India is not insulated from the rest of the world; and we can only hope that the tragedy of indifference to the Church, so widely manifested in most of Europe, is not repeated in India. Clearly, the Church has to respond to not just to its clergy but also – and especially – the Indian laity.
H. Our patriarch Abraham became a migrant, on God’s orders, and was still a migrant when God entered into a covenant with him. Migration is thus sacred to our faith; yet the Church in India seems to care little or nothing for the genuine difficulties of several generations of Kerala migrants. Unfortunately, the ordinary Catholic migrant, irrespective of Rite, and particularly the youth of this migrant community, view the JPL as yet another example of church politics for power and position, with nothing remotely pastoral about it.
I. We appeal to Your Excellency once again, to exercise urgency and paternal authority to quash this JPL, which is now clearly established as having been issued on fraudulent, divisiveand harmful bases. Since the JPL is officially stated to have been issued under your “guidance”, Your Excellency is in the best possible position to “guide” its complete, unambiguous and prompt withdrawal. The faith of the faithful must take much higher priority over the territorial and authoritarian ambitions of a few “shepherds”. Otherwise history could tragically be rewritten, as the seeds of yet another Indian schism are sown, this time on Your Excellency’s watch.
Yours in Our Lord,
On behalf of and as authorised by Team Rite
D K Manavalan
Antony P J,