Jose Paul (Delhi)
Are the Community of Catholics Slaves or the Real Church?
In the historic Joint Pastoral Letter sent to the faithful by the shepherds, it is mentioned that all those who are born as Syrians have to be a part of the new Syrian Eparchy and there is no choice.
We cannot understand who can take that decision. Who has given them this power? The Church is magnanimous towards non-Christians who come to its fold and we accept them unconditionally in any rite. You are coming up with so many conditions for the original faithful in sustaining their faith fundamentally within the catholic fold, all because some clergy suffer from a ‘congenital’ defect of the so called ‘rite’. This essentially implies that the true faithful have to bend backward to meet the idiosyncrasies of the bureaucratic clergy to sustain their faith in Lord Jesus.
If your own logic of “basically there is no choice about it” is extended to the larger society and even globally, the Church will have to stop all forms of evangelisation and conversion. Your own position categorically implies that those born in any other religion or in a particular community or ethnic group have no choice to leave their religion and can’t become Catholics (cannot be converted). They have to remain in the religion and community they are born into. If your own ancestors and your predecessors in the Church-hierarchy were to subscribe to such thinking, Christianity would have ended with Christ himself and we all wouldn’t have had to undergo the agony of the situation the new Shepherd’s have created today for us. Are you propagating a re-conversion programme by going to the roots? The communal forces in the country will be happy and congratulate the church hierarchy for their unsolicited help.
Again the statement about “no choice” is interesting. Is it only for the laity of the church? Or is it for all the Syrians? What about the Syrian born priests, Bishops, nuns, brothers who serve in the Latin dioceses in the North India and in several foreign and Indian congregations of Latin origin? The new Eparchy of the Faridabad should first get all these shepherds into their fold before they come to the lay people. The very fact that not a single Syrian born priest from any of the Latin churches are asked to join the new set up shows that the “no choice” clause is only for the gullible lay people. Who gave these Syrian born Bishops, fathers, sisters and brothers this freedom to remain in Latin dioceses? Who has the power to give that freedom?
A law cannot be discriminatory. Ours is a democratic country with equal rights and responsibilities for every citizen. You may say that these priests and nuns have given an agreement signed by them. It seems that they preserve their rite but can practice the religious and spiritual practices of the Latin Rite and remain a part of the any Latin congragation or Latin diocese. Please publish that agreement so that those lay people who may wish to give such an agreement can be free to decide what they want to be. A law whether it is cannon law or national law cannot be different for different people. Let us know who has got the right to accept such an agreement? Jesus or a priest, a Bishop or the Pope? Whoever it may be, they have to accept such agreements from the Lay people also. Who has the power to give such a “no choice” decision only for the laity? Which is the real church? The clergy or the community of faithful?
There are thousands of Syrian born priests and nuns across North India working within the North Indian dioceses. Has this kind of a circular gone from the Syrian Eparchy to all these congregations? Since this circular pertains to Delhi diocese, did you send a circular to all the congregations working in this diocese asking Syrian born Bishops, fathers, sisters and brothers to join the new set up starting with the Syrian born diocesan priests? This will give the new set up enough of priests and sisters to work for. You never did this. This shows your insincerity towards the laity. Are you not using laity as a fodder?
This is a challenge for the Syrian Eparchy. If they have the strength of conviction that the souls of Syrian born Catholics can be saved only by joining the Syrian Eparchy and there is no choice, ask all those Bishops, priests, nuns and brothers to come out of the Latin hold to join the Eparchy. Many of them are potential Saints for the Eparchy. What is the use of getting more members of lay people for the Syrian Church? Even after the spiritual and numerical growth of Syrian lay people in the church for the past two millennium and 13 years, there is not a single Syrian Lay person recognised as worthy of heavenly abode. They are not good enough to grow in spirituality. They can only provide some copper, silver and gold. Christ does not need these though the clergy needs it for their worldly royal life. We humbly and with all reverence request you the members of the Hierarchy to reflect with sincerity to see whether you are with the crucified Jesus or with the shine of the precious metals.