“No compulsion” statement By Archbishop of Faridabad Eparchy.
Jose paul (Delhi)
The statement by Faridabad bishop in the homily during concluding mass of Santhom Bible convention 2014 regarding the freedom of choice to be a Syro-malabar rite is very crucial if there is a change of mind in sync with the Synod of Rome.
My parents are born in Syro-Malabar Church. I was born and baptized and brought up as a Syrian catholic. I lived in the north of India for the past 54 years and lived as a Syrian catholic though I practiced the religious practice in a Latin parish. The Latin parish church accepted me as a full-fledged member of the church without asking me to join the Latin rite. I came to the north in search of my livelihood. No Syro-Malabar priest or bishop was there to take care of my spiritual needs. No syro-Malabar priest or bishop ever asked the Latin Bishop or the parish priest to look my spiritual needs. The Latin parish took care of me and family including my children’s’ spiritual needs meticulously.
After 54 years of my life as a Syrian catholic here, a group of people calling themselves laborers of the vineyard of Jesus Christ come to Delhi proclaiming themselves as they are the custodians the Syro-Malabar Catholics in Delhi and its surroundings.
Their first statement (the official statement) through the Joint pastoral letter dated Nov 2013 was that the Syro-Malabar Catholics have already became the members of the Faridabad Diocese with retrospective date from March 2012 ( the date of establishing themselves as the custodians of the innocent Syro-Malabar Catholics) and that they have no choice in this respect . What power on earth or heaven gave them the authority to take away the freedom of the Syrian Catholics in Delhi as if they are not people but some movable property? They know that these human beings are the source of movable and immovable property and power for them.
Instead of building unity among the faithful, to complete the division of the church, (though a lot of loose words are used about the love and unity in the universal catholic church in the Joint pastoral letter) the Syrian Catholics are allowed to continue their good works such as members of Catholic Association, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Youth Movements, Charismatic Renewal etc through a corresponding group in their new Syro-Malabar Parish. (Not with the Catholics with whom they worked charitable and spiritual activities for many years. Any exception to this norm will have to be addressed to the Bishop of Eparchy of Faridabad and he will take the decision for the lay person’desire.
This is the sign of unity and cooperation of the new Catholic Church. Again another quote,”The syro-Malabar Catholics has a right and duty to avail of the ministry of this new Eparchy for all the sacraments, in particular for Baptism and Marriage. It appears that they possesses the judicial and the spiritual power on earth to control the life of the Syrian Catholics anywhere in the world just because they came to the place as intruders pretending to be saviors.
Lately we see the Eparchy proclaiming freedom to the Syrian Catholics in Delhi to join or not to join Syrian rite through press interviews and homilies. He Proclaims “Stay where you are comfortable. No one is compelled to Join Syro-Malabar Rite”. These people are already of syro-Malabar rite. They do not need any body’s permission to be syro-Malabar rite. Nobody can take away their right or rite. It is not the property of some bishop. The Syrian church does not mean only the hierarchy. The lay people of the church also are part of the Syrian Church. If these Syrian people could survive as Syrians without a special hierarchy, they can still survive. What they don’t want is not to join Faridabad diocese. To remain as Syro-Malabar catholic or Latin, Why should they apply to anybody?
All these statements are only gimmicks and have no meaning. If one is sincere and he wants the people to believe him, he has to show it officially. If people have to believe him, he has to officially withdraw the Joint Pastoral Letter unconditionally either unilaterally or along with the Archbishop of Delhi. The newspaper interviews and the homily in a Faridabad diocese group do not reach the people who need these assurances.
Fr. Jose Philip, the principal of St. Xavier’s School Delhi said in his words of Appreciation to the change of heart of the Eparchy. About the declaration of the Archbishop of Faridabad “A right steps in the right time against fundamentalism”. He added “very much needed when there is so much rigidity in matters of religion all around us” He was very positive “A big change of mind in sync with the synod in Rome.” “The declaration might have huge witness value”
Dear Father Philip, We all pray that each of the words you said may become a reality and bring unity in the mystical body of Christ.