A few days ago, Dr. James Kottoor posted in this blog the letter of Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara to Fr. Jacob and the Knanaya community in Faridabad-Delhi. Today I received an e-mail from Mr. George Poozikala an original Knanaya praising the Archbishop for his stand on the endogamy issue to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the tradition of the Catholic Church. I am posting his e-mail here for Almayasabdam readers. Last year, about this time, I published an article on this endogamy issue and I got positive as well as negative reactions from the readers. A few people published articles ridiculing me but failed to answer the nagging question that how can a catholic diocese practice endogamy and expel her faithful from the diocese just because he/she married a non-Knanaya catholic. Now it is very clear that the Universal Church, C.B.C.I., K.C.B.C, and S.M.C. are all on the same page, an inclusive Church. And therefore nowhere in India separate parishes will be allowed for the Knanaya community.
In my article I mentioned that the Chicago diocesan authorities made a huge blunder when they established offices for separate Vicar Generals for Northists and Southists. It might have been a political move by the diocesan authorities but it back fired and lost unity as well as inclusive nature of the S.M.C. in North America. Even in Kalyan diocese which established 25 years ago and where there is a huge Knanaya community doesn’t have two Vicar Generals and Knanaya parishes.
Given below is Mr. Poozhikala’s e-mail.
Hats off to you, Your Excellency Bharanikulangara. Your Excellency proved to be worthy to be addressed 'EXCELLENCY'. And also true to Jesus Christ by, being, what He was in the dilemmas which confronted Him. You have been bold as He was. You have been honest as He was. You identify the 'white washed tombs' as He did. Your message has been liberation from fundamentalism as His was. You shelter the untouchable as He sheltered the condemned. You tell the truth that hurts the guilty, as He did. Your words insult the perpetrators, as His did. And they get the 'mob' against you, as they did against Him.
The world today, after two thousand years, is too sophisticated to crucify you but not idealistic enough to admire you.
You have risen above the sophistication of power politics and its diplomatic dishonesty and cherished in spirituality with your rejection of endogamous congregations.
Approval of an endogamous congregation within the Catholic church, irrespective of where, when, what, who and why, is an embarrassing failure of the church hierarchy in understanding the spirit of Christ's message. (The earth didn't stop revolving the sun because a Pontiff's approval was a 'geocentric' universe).
The Church and the Syro Malabar hierarchy, as well as, the spirit of Christianity do recognize the moral violation in the practice of endogamy. Obviously, that is why the Church disapproves and disallows endogamous congregations. To disapprove and to tolerate is hypocrisy. That is politically motivated diplomacy which squeezes honesty out. Without honesty religious spirituality is an empty shell. Materialistic- consequence controlled decision making is political strategy, not religious idealism. Christ's life testifies that; also Bhagavat Geetha, as well.
Preaching endogamy fatally threatens Christianity in its idealism. So it is a heresy.
The 'ugly' who preaches untouchability and rektha sudhi due to racial origin should be the first ones to be excommunicated not the 'bad' who commits adultery as the former conceals human hatred.
There is no statutory law in the decree of 1911 or in any of the ecclesiastical legal system which mandate a Catholic congregation to absorb the expelled victim of the endogamy violation. Therefore such an expulsion abandons the faithful without a facility that guarantees an uninterrupted fulfillment of the victim's spiritual needs such as sacraments. Which the Church rules mandatory for the salvation of ones soul . Does this suggest that the above ruling is a joke and the Church is not all that serious about the sacraments!? A close look at the decree in question establishes that the Vatican did not mean the endogamy expulsion which was a twist perpetrated by Mar Makil and continued by his successors.
The decree doesn't state 'racial purity' or protection and honor of the tradition of endogamy practice of the community in its preamble (objectives). Also the decree is absolutely silent on the penalty for the violation of the endogamy tradition. The exogamy expulsion practice of Kottayam Diocese is not legitimate as the decree doesn't positively instruct such a penalty for the violation. A positive identity of the consequence of violation is an integral part of a 'decree' of instruction-ruling. On top of all, inter- rite and exogamous marriages have been common in the Catholic Church always. But expulsion from the community for such a marriage is non- existent in the church.
If the Vatican presumed expulsion of the violators of endogamy which as the said decree fails to stipulate, the decree deems to be incomplete and so invalid which also implies the incompetency and naivety of the Vatican in law making. The invalidity of the decree also invalidate the diocese of Kottayam as well.
To argue that the 'expulsion' is inherent and implied in the decree is naive which falls apart because of the following three solid reasons;(1) Prevalence of the acceptance of the exogamous marriages in the church without a single exception (2) Consistent precedence of acceptance of the exogamous marriages and (3) To top it all, absence of a statutory arrangement for the uninterrupted fulfillment of the spiritual needs of the expelled believers, in the said decree or anywhere else in the church's legal system.
The practice of expulsion of the endogamy violators in Kottayam diocese is a vicious use of the loophole derived from the above mentioned negligence of the Vatican. This negligence from the church is an embarrassing paradox, because the fulfillment of the sacramental obligation of a catholic is mandatory as per the Catholic doctrine. And belonging to a congregation presided by a catholic priest is obligatory to receive and fulfill the above obligation. Without such belonging the sacraments are categorically denied to the devotees of the church. What surfaces here is the inherent legitimacy in excommunicating an innocent believer for an exogamous marriage which is absolutely consistent with the guide lines and teachings of the Church. The endogamy violation is not a sin of any kind as per the moral code of the Catholic Church. So, consequently the endogamy expulsion is potentially an irresponsible violation which condemn the innocent. This means the expulsion should turn into a 'divine boomerang which bounces back and hits the Bishop of Kottayam with an excommunication penalty for the violation of the divine law.
If a child becomes unacceptable for a father, for a reason, right or wrong, the father's only choice is to throw him on the street; not to dump on the neighbor. It would take a god damn jerk to do that. (It reminds one of the well known saying in Malayalam " arante vayattile amedyam kandonde panniye valrtthunna pichavathi")
This endogamy movement is an ado about nothing in terms of community well being. It is a demographic blunder. It is a cultural hypocrisy. The legacy it claims is the left over (echil) left for street dogs and rats thrown into a ditch behind a restaurant.
More than anything else, it is a Trojan horse with politicians, under cover, as it consolidates leadership which always precipitate from spicy issues of sensationalism. This evil gets reinforced from the 'class consciousness' (varga bodham) a legacy of trade unionism of Kerala which prevails on the modern value system of Malayalies crippling their sense of fairness.
The survival of the Knanaya endogamy within the church is absolutely dependent on the congregations outside the Knanaya diocese (i.e.arante vayattile amedyam...). Its survival without the church will be possible with the 'premium drinks and pork' which 'purifie any blood' during the rat race for the community leadership. ha ha ha...
George J. Poozhikala
Not only I am a Kna; I am not an endogamy victim either.