Our new Global website; Church Citizens’ Voice (Almayasabdam, in Malayalam) is visited daily by over 3000 people. It is now made attractive with the image of the Risen Lord at the centre with smiling face exuding joy and peace and out-stretched hands blessing all, not any more hands nailed to the cross behind.
The message it gives is that we, being His followers, are a Risen People, not dead but fully liberated and free.
Church Citizens’ Voice (Eph. 2.19) + AlmayaSabdam
Catholic Reformation Movement, An open Forum for Church Citizens world over
“And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free”(Jn. 8.32)
Meaning of Inscriptions on Masthead
The name: Church Citizens’ Voice is rooted in Eph. 2.19: "So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God's household". It also echoes the words of Pope Francis (Nov. 2013) “Responsible citizenship is a virtue and participation in political life is a moral obligation” (so also participation in the religious activities and responsibilities in church as citizens with equal rights like anyone else).
Formerly the faithful used to be called and pejoratively branded as LAITY, put on the last rung in the hierarchical ladder like SUDRAS in the Caste ladder, a synonym for ignorance, incompetence, inequality, insignificance and disrespect. Even now they are kicked around like chattel or cattle. Recall Delhi inter-Rite explosion after creation of Faridabad Eparchy there.
Equality not Hierarchy
The hierarchical structure in the Church – Pope, bishop, priest to layman – is not God-made but man-made. It is a worldly rodent, virus and pest that infected the Apostolic Church after Constantine in the 4th century. This cancerous accretion must be operated out lock-stock-and-barrel. Equality of all alone, nay more, an honest attitude of readiness on the part of the First or Highly placed, to take the last place as Jesus washed the feet of disciples is to be the sole characteristic trait of all true followers of Jesus.
Hence Pope Francis’ oft repeated cry: “Inequality in church and society is the biggest sin crying to heaven for retribution.” Perfect equality of all was the bedrock on which the Apostolic Church was founded, functioned and flourished. It was truly a Domestic Church then. People gathered in families of one after another and the head of each family – man or woman – presided over the Table Fellowship, the breaking of the bread and wine. Where then is room today for certain imperial intruders to dress up their yes-men in gold and silver, purple and satin with other-worldly comic head gears and enthrone them as Pope, Cardinal, Archbishop, Bishop, Monsignor, priest etc? It is therefore a tectonic shift in thinking and restructuring of the present hierarchical church, that the Masthead of the new global website of Church Citizens highlights and calls for.
Four Years Old
Our online media was originally started as almaysabdam blogspot.com, in Malayalam, meaning: Voice of the Laity to promote and publicize the Christian goals and ideals of Kerala Catholic Reformation Society started in Palai, Kerala, to reform the Syro Malabar Church more than 4 years ago. It completed its fourth Anniversary Last November 6th and the organisers simultaneously launched its new Global version on 1st December 2014, which was being planned and got ready. So now with the global outreach it has become Catholic Reformation Movement, embracing all Catholic Churches.
The last inscription on the Masthead is: “And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free”(Jn. 8.32) It was for this Jesus came into this world as the embodiment of truth “I am the truth..” He had also told Pilot “For this have I come into this world, to bear witness to truth.” The aim of the global website is to bear witness to the TRUTH Jesus speaks of. What He meant may be discussed and debated. But for us that truth is Jesus of history – with his words and deeds. He is the only role model for us to focus on, interpret and imitate. In doing this we do not intend to scandalize anyone while we cannot and do not promise no one will be scandalised.
Riddle of Jesus
Why? Because the person of Jesus is variously dressed up, shrouded or packaged in different colourful layers of mysteries, riddles, surprises, hard to crack words, deeds and hidden truths starting with the WORD made flesh (who understands that?) in a cattle shed; visited by shepherds and kings; that omnipotent child had to flee to Egypt to escape death from Herod’s sword; that carpenter boy played truant and got lost for three days causing angst and heart burns to his parents at 12; that Nazarene growing up in wisdom and grace chose to shut himself off from public view for a long stretch of 18 years for schooling? (Brahmacharya,) or amily life? (Grehasta), who knows for what; he then suddenly appears as an adult bearded young man on a public stage at Cana to produce wine out of water and to start his public life, as though to reveal a ludicrous truth: In Vino Veritas (Literally: Truth is in Vine, but figuratively meaning: Serve an extra peg too many and truth will come out? Or a drunk man blurts out truth without reflecting.)
The rest of the three-year long public life of Jesus story is enigmatic and unforgettable for all. Prosaically it can be summarised as: He went about doing good. Provocatively it can be summarised highlighting the two extremes of the swing of the pendulum of his life: First Extreme: Sweet Jesus, Meek and Mild, Second Extreme: Bitter Jesus Rough and wild. We can go on discussing where lies the whole truth. For us the Whole Truth in all Charity is not the extremes, but the raw Jesus from cradle to cross and his electrifying presence as the Risen Lord leading the way, as the WAY, TRUTH, LIGHT and LIFE ever lasting.
Join in this Open Forum
So we cordially invite all of you from the “sinner” Pope on top to the pauper “saint” in the church-periphery to join in this open forum of discussion and dialogue by writing your frank views for or against and sending in your articles or news reports to: firstname.lastname@example.org, for publication as well as to inform, enlighten, educate and entertain all visitors of this global website.
Our only humble request to all is to steer clear of “terrorism of gossip” as the Pope says, by using civilized, cultured language, avoiding all unparliamentary, abusive, offensive, hurting words and phrases forbidden by ethics of journalism, the principle being that one should become a contributor of light rather than heat, sense rather than sound, consensus rather than calculated conflict or character assassination. Sharp differences of views are bound to arise where there is open and free discussion.
But one can and should always try to disagree in an agreeable way. Because, it is to be abundantly clear, that writers alone are to be responsible and answerable for the views expressed and not the administrators and therefore no anonymous letters are permitted. We want to encourage all with courage of their convictions, not cowards who hide behind any anonymous fake names. So let many flowers bloom in this garden of the Lord, risen from the cross and inviting and blessing all with his outstretched hands.