Reaction to the interview of Most Rev. Mar Kuriakose BharaniKulamgara in Manoramma by Mithun KuriaKose on 24th Sept 2014. We wish that our catholic shepherds read our thoughts and help us to understand the teachings of Christ.
After reading the interview of the Eparchy of Faridabad, my respect for you increased in multiple folds. You are such a generous man who is willing to give complete religious freedom to the small group (Your words in the interview to Manoramma) and a significant group of Syrian faithful who were in Delhi Archdiocese (In your letter to the rite team). We have to give You the credit of taking such a stand in spite of the fact that you wrote in the JPL that all the Syrian born Catholics became automatically members of the Eparchy with retrospective effect and that they have no choice. This is a beautiful lesson that we have to learn from you the great shepherd. You even said that you did not mean any force except for baptism and marriage and that you had already given this freedom of choice in the JPL itself. You merely wanted a letter from the Syrian people who don’t want to join the Faridabad Diocese for you to know where your sheep are. Once in a way out of your Christian love for these people, you may want to know about their physical and spiritual health, may be even to wish them their birthday or Christmas for friendship sake.
If a mere letter to you can change Syrian birth (faith) to Latin birth (faith), what more these people need? Even though, you spoke of the pastoral exigencies in the JPL, now you are willing to change their rite by mere presentation of a letter addressed to any of the Bishops. What more are they excepting from a benevolent Shepherd? Every Catholic lay person and member of the clergy worth his name as a Catholic recite the Creed every day in any language stating that I believe in one and only Catholic and Apostolic Church. Hence it is no wonder that the Eparchy agreed to accept these people to become Catholics in any rite depending upon just their letter.
We have one doubt. I hope that the Eparchy will be good enough to answer. According to you, a Syrian catholic lay person has a right to become a Latin Catholic by mere presentation of a letter to you or the Latin Bishop. Is this freedom applicable to any Latin lay person for becoming a Syrian Catholic by mere presentation of a letter to you or the Archbishop of Delhi?. Is it applicable for all catholics? Or is it applicable only in Delhi? Or the whole church nationally and internationally? What the cannon Law has to say about this? Which cannon law? Is it cannon law of the Global Church? Or Oriental church or for Faridabad Eparchy only? Your spokesperson said to the people of the country through the media that the Syrian church in Kerala is aristocratic. We advise you not to spoil this purity and aristocracy of the Syrians by admitting the other backward class people (again your words in your explanation of the JPL and your spokesperson to the Media). If Latin people are admitted tothe Syro-Malabar Church the “Syro” will have no meaning.The “Syro” part of the Syro-Malabar should be protected at any cost.
You said that nobody can be member of two different varieties of faiths, one in Delhi and in Kerala. Your statement is absolutely correct. It is so clear to all of us that a person cannot be a catholic in one place and a non-catholic (Hindu, Muslim or any other faith) in another place. These faiths are different. Different faith implies different religion. From your statement, we understand that there is nothing known as one catholic faith or one Catholic Church. We have only Syro-Malabar faith (religion) and Latin faith (religion) and that these two faiths are different. If your statement is correct, we will advice you to delete the words “One and only Catholic Church” from the Creed. We the lay Catholics would like to know the areas of difference between the faiths of the Syrian and Latin Church. If there is difference in faiths of two sections of people, as you have stated, the Catholicity of the Church is questionable. The word Catholic Church must be replaced by Syrian Church in our Syrian Creed.
You also said that whatever concessions you give the Syrians in Delhi apply only to Delhi and that you are not responsible for the decisions of the Syrian Churches in Kerala. Whom are you representing as a bishop? Syro-Malabar Church? Or just the few Syro-Malabar Catholics in Delhi? You seem to be unsure of what happens to your own assurances in the Syro-Malabar church in Kerala. Does the Syro-Malabar Catholics in Delhi form a different faith than the Syro-Malabar faith in Kerala?
You told the Media that you already translated the liturgy and masses in Malayalam, English, and Hindi and in Punjabi. We appreciate your herculean effort to reach the laity in any part of the country by translating the liturgy of the church into all the Indian languages. The church is Apostolic and Evangelistic. Hence it is the duty of the Syro-Malabar Church to reach every part of the country and world to give the message of Christ to everyone. Our only fear is that even if people from different parts of the country and world want to join Christianity voluntarily, how can we accept them into Syro-Malabar Church? It will deface the “Malabar” part of the Syro-Malabar Church. Hence a Syro-Malabar Church cannot be apostolic and Evangelical. If we become apostolic, our identity as Syro-Malabar will have to be forfeited. Hence we have to delete from the creed the word “Apostolic” from the creed and remain as Church for Syrians from Malabar only. Hope that you will take the matter seriously and delete “One and only Catholic and apostolic Church” from the Syrian Creed and replace it by just Syro-Malabar Church.
We have one more request. We have many of our blood brothers and sisters who are working in the Latin Dioceses and congregations of North India as Bishops, priests, brothers and sisters. Please don’t leave them in the lurch. They will feel lonely there. Request them to come back to their mother church which is the Syro-Malabar Church. Make sure to send another JPL for them.
At the end, we would like to exhort to you that none of us should be pretending to be the followers of Christ. Let us be real followers of Christ and be one family and be part of the mystical body of Christ. Let us learn and live to “love one another as I loved you” Let us stop fighting for power and position only on earth. Our real power and position must be sought in Heaven. We want to see you Bishops as real saints in Heaven because of your pure, sincere and holy life and not because of the money and power that is to be used in higher levels of the hierarchy to attain sainthood.