The Kerala Catholics living in Delhi see a threat to their unity. The bone of contention is a Joint Pastoral Letter issued by two Archbishops over their membership in the newly-created Faridabad eparchy. Jose Kalathil explains why
A group of Catholics belonging to the Syro-Malabar (SM) Rite of Kerala, who have made Delhi their home, are agitated over the 1 November, 2013 Joint Pastoral Letter (JPL) issued by the Delhi Archbishop Anil J Couto and Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara of the newly-created Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Faridabad, declaring that "from the day the Eparchy of Faridabad was created in 2012 all the SM faithful once pastorally cared for by the Archdiocese of Delhi have automatically become part of the Eparchy, which has been exclusively created for them. Basically, there is no choice in this matter. Consequently, the faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church cease to be members of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Delhi".
The faithful say this decision was taken arbitrarily without consulting them. "Does it mean that I have to leave the parish that I belonged to and the choir that we built up?" asked George Pulinkala, 70, composer-director of musicals. "How can you expect my wife, Jannette, who is an Anglo-Indian, to go to one parish and me to another?" Janette also cautioned about the differences existing in Bangalore Archdiocese over language.
Interrupted Rajan George, executive vice-president of a company, "Look, both me and Rose Mary were born outside Kerala, in Chennai and Kolkata, respectively, and after marriage, we moved here. We are part of the community." "Then what about the sacraments that our children received in the churches here. Will they become invalid?" asked an angry Mariamma Sebastian, a government official. According to Francis Kuruvilla, an exporter, his two children, who grew up in the Capital, want to be in the present parish. He asked: "If so, will all the SM Rite priests, who are serving in the Archdiocese join the Faridabad Eparchy?"
Immediately after the JPL was read out in the churches, within three days 6,000 SM faithful of the first, second and third generation migrants, in a signed letter petitioned to Archbishop Anil that they have been thrown out of the church that nurtured them during all these years and overlooked the immense contribution, both material and otherwise, they had made in building this diocese into what it is today. Respecting their sentiments, Archbishop Anil immediately kept the JPL in abeyance for two months and again till further notice.
Please see the latest press report in The Statesman for more details: