Peddlers of Pure Blood: Deadly Virus
The sprawling field hospital called the Catholic Church, as described by Pope Francis, its Chief Physician, the mortally wounded in the family ward in India are victims hit by the shrapnel called Endogamy which cuts in to scatter what God has united. Why do doctors resist treating these victims, nay even refuse to take note of them in this year of the Family?
What is that deadly virus, the terminator first and foremost, that destroys Catholic families in India? All know it, all see it, the affected laity alone cry for help, but none in the hierarchy dares to open its mouth to name it in public due to the shame and revulsion attached to it in this day and age. It is Endogamy, promoted in the Kottayam diocese by the triumvir in the Syro-Malabar Church (SMC) by their written approval and blessing. Proof? Please read in subdued voice, lest others hear and get scandalized, the instruction below in Mar Jacob Angadiath’s letter head:
Bishop. Angadiath’s Signed letter of Sept.19/14
Dear & Rev. Fathers & Knanaya Community Members,
Glory to God in the highest. Amen
I am glad to inform you that the membership in the personal parish/mission for Knanaya Catholics is settled through the discussion of the issue in the Synod of Syro Malabar Bishops and final agreement reached by His Beatitude Mar George Cardinal Alencharry, the Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Church, His Grace Mar Mathew Moolakatt, the Archbishop of Kottayam and Mar Jacob Angadiath, the Bishop of St.Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago.
A personal parish/mission for Knanaya Catholics will have only Knanaya Catholics as members. If a Knanaya Catholic belonging to a Knanaya parish/mission enters into marriage with a non-Knanaya partner, that non-Knanaya partner and children from that marriage will not become members of the Knanaya parish/mission but will remain members of the local non-Knanaya Syro Malabar parish/mission.
Please pray for our new Auxiliary Bishop-elect Mar Joy Alappat and for the blessing of his Episcopal ordination on September 27, 2014. Let us support and pray for our St. Thomas Syro Malabar Diocese of Chicago.
May the Lord bless you.
Your loving Pithavu
Mar Jacob Angadiath,
Fence Eating the Crop?
I leave you to judge the beatific and graceful content of the letter. If this is not equivalent to fence eating the crop what else is it? Wolves in sheep’s cloth devouring or scattering the flock? Who will guard the guards themselves (Qui custodiet ipsos custodes)? Aren’t the
SMC bishops doing just the opposite of what Jesus bluntly and forcefully commanded: “What God has united, let no man separate?”
But according to SMC’s understanding, non-Knananites married to Knananites can unite freely in their bed rooms to make love and multiply but neither they nor their children have any right to be together in parish activities and worship. Is this the marriage bond Jesus envisioned to promote? Is this what Pope Francis is trying to cultivate among Catholics with his two-year synod study on Christian families?
During the last one year of world-wide survey to identify unchristian hurdles that beak up Catholic families, no bishop in India raised this painfully pestering sinister Indian problem for public discussion and resolution, although they cited some very minor peripheral issues like inter-religious marriages, national birth control norms that do not gel with Christian ethics, dowry etc. But many right thinking lay people in Kottayam diocese itself highlighted this central sore issue, conducted seminars, sent several memorandums to bishops, even to Pope and made protest demonstrations against what is considered a callous, calculated silence to cover up the issue by SM Bishops and those belonging to Latin and Syro Malankara Churches for their connivance, complicity and silent approval of the deadly practice.
Lay Voice Ignored
In fact right thinking sections among the Knananites in Kottayam diocese started highlighting the issue in an organized manner already in 2013 when they conducted a Seminar in the Syro Malabar Cathedral Hall in Chicago on August 3rd 2013. Reports of it were published in Kerala Express, Chicago, Indian Currents, Delhi, Almayasabdam, Kerala and in many other Christian and secular outlets. Visit: http://sites.google.com/site/jameskottoorspeaking/ to read the Keynote address: Endogamy and Knananites.
It brought no response either from SMC or from the CBCI bishops. Then they sent memorandums and made a protest demonstration while the week long 31st CBCI meeting was held in Palai in February 2014 and sent another Memorandum to the Bishops. The SM bishops were contacted again when they held their synod in Kakkanad in August 16-30, 2014, and drafted the letter cited above, all to no avail. The latest is the letter: From: Knananaya Catholic Navikarana Society (KCNS), sent: To: The Secretary of Synod to be held on Oct.15th 20015, also in the above website. The bishops ignore even this to save their face (not their souls) in public.
All this lends weight to the saying:”There is something rotten in the State of Denmark.” It’s stink is suffocating, not only in the SM Church but in the whole church in India divided on three-fold Rite-lines (but wrong) and pulling in different directions. All know it and say, it is the worst curse of the Church in India. It prevents it from acting as one united body, as one family. Also it prevents any of the three Rites, all called Catholic, to utter anything uncomplimentary in public against their “brotherly” Rites, just to appear in public, they are all united in thought, word and deed. They are not. A house divided against itself cannot stand except for the pursuit of power, position and pelf, as do ever so many conflicting political parties. They support each other for survival and stop short of destroying each other by making comments causing displeasure or disapproval to fellow competitors in the musical chair for Episcopal thrones by any means.
The question is, whether this rotten, stinking issue in the Indian Church will again be swept under the carpet even during this second year focused on family, to prevent it from hogging the lime light and cause utter shame and ridicule for themselves before a civilized world. Like the ostrich burying its head in the sand how long can they go on pretending they haven’t seen it, while it is clear like day light to people at home and abroad? “Hypocrisy” what else is your name for pretending not to see and admit a self-evident wrong and refusing to say “Mea Culpa”, sorry, and take corrective steps?
Coming Concluding Synod
The concluding second session of the two year mammoth study launched by Pope Francis on the Family of man is due to begin in Rome, coming October, in another five months.The extraordinary Synod which concluded last October stood out for its
transparency and open discussion without mincing words — vertical targeting even papal statements and horizontal between bishops on all accepted and controversial issues affecting family life starting from the ideal union of love in the service of life, to broken families, divorced and remarried, one-parent families, cohabitation and lesbian unions.
The standing instruction from that Synod was that Bishops all over the world should duplicate similar discussions and dialogues in their respective dioceses with their priests, religious and faithful at specially convened forums to search and find out problems peculiar to their region, culture and local customs to promote what is good and weed out what is harmful to family well being.
Has anything happened in this area in India in the last six months? None to my knowledge. So is it going to be a repeat like last year of not doing anything to study ground realities? Already in 2013 Pope had sent the first set of 39 questions to be distributed and answered by the faithful for study at the Extraordinary Synod in October 2014, but not done in India. To remedy that shameful failure on the part of the hierarchy, some lay initiative led by Sri Chottebhai did their best to conduct an ad hoc survey and consultation last year in Pune with the support of Catholic Church Reform International (CCRInt’l). Due to their limitations, survey was limited to one diocese and the much publicized meet reportedly was attended by some 30 people only.
CCRI’s Valuable Report
What remains to be done is to get the whole church, both pastors and faithful around the world to discuss and study the Lineamenta (the final basic preparatory draft) sent from Rome for study, and to be reported back to the Synod with suggestions. This in turn will be taken up at the coming Ordinary Synod for final discussion, modification and approval. We do not know at what stage it is in India. The latest news is, that at least the CCRI has been doing a non-stop in depth study of this Lineamenta, in the light of the data it collected from a global network of 100+ reform groups in some 60 countries
The result is a thought provoking 30 page suggestions and recommendations titled: “Response of Catholic Church Reform International to Questions Aimed at a Response to and an In-Depth Examination of the Relatio Synodi” for the Synod Fathers. It is wroth reading and meditating by all, especially by the Hierarchical Church in India which has done pretty little in this regard, as it happened last year. This CCRI response is already dispatched to Rome and is available for study at: http://www.CatholicChurchReformIntl.org.
Commenting on it writes one: “This is a very, very good document. The people who put it together need our heartiest congratulations and support. I hold my hands up in frustration though wondering how many people will even wade through the very discerning and carefully framed arguments they have put together. Partly the problem is simply time: people don’t have the time in their lives. They want — even need and crave — simple, one, two or three line answers. There are so many questions about life that simply cannot be answered in one, two or three lines….. How many progressively-oriented people might read it and, even more so, how many bishops might read any of it?”
The writers therefore urge Catholics who believe that Church teachings do have to be interpreted in new ways need to “seek dialogue with those in the Church who are opposed to change. I think it is literally impossible. You cannot dialogue with these people. Even the Son of God himself couldn’t dialogue with the equivalent elements in his own time who believed they alone were the arbiters and interpreters of “the mind of God” — they bloody well crucified him.”
At one point the CCRI’s response states: Opposition to any change and “Conversion most needed is on the part of the hierarchical church.” Does it not apply doubly or trebly (we in India stand on the tripod of three Rites, each tolerating the other two) to bishops in India who did practically nothing last year and are not seen doing anything special this year either, as of now?
The moot question therefore, is whether the SMC which produced and cultivates the Endogamy virus (some label it as “Racism” of Pure blood promotion), will ever dare to discuss the issue publicly and take drastic steps to stop the rot forthwith, instead of being
seen as destroyers of Christ-willed Unity in Knanaya Christian families where Endogamy is cultivated and allowed to spread both in India and abroad?
If this can’t be done the least the Triumvir who produced the beatific Letter, cited above, to bless and promote the practice should do is to boldly imitate the glorious example of Pope Benedict XVI who quit, instead of sitting tight on his throne like dead road block – emasculated morally and blind spiritually — in the WAY of the Lord, in order to usher in a fertile, clear sighted and courageous Pope Francis. There should be no dearth of such prelates in SMC. What is important is to make straight the WAY of the Lord into the heart of every Christian home.
Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Tharu BA, April 25/15,
Dear Mr. Kottoor,
I am so pleased to see that you have noted the cancer of endogamy in certain corners of the Church.On whatever grounds – justifiable or not – in a country like India with hundreds of tribes and castes, how can one promote endogamoy? This is not only regarding families. There are tendancies to have priests, bishops, etc only from the same tribe and caste. Then we should have created so many dioceses as these tribes and castes count. In the case of Kottayam Archdiocese, there are two rellgious congregations, that recruit only “Knanaya” candidates. Where are we?
I have strongly prohibited exclujsive parishes in my diocese based on endogamy. If such parishes are created, they start dividing families, outsting members, even from the ecclesial community!!! As long as they are in the “Catholic” parish open to all, that problem can be avoided. I have opposition here bec of that.+Kuriakose, Faridabad,
Dear James,Excellent piece; what you say is very true; it is racism of the worst kind. It should be opposed; the bishop’s letter is very objectionable.Hope some sense gets into their dull heads.God bless you. Keep well,Joe
3.. Thomas Koovalloor,
Dear Dr. Kottoor, Happy to know that still at your golden age your mind is active like the mind of a young Turk. Hope and pray that you could do more. Thank you for sharing the latest article. People like you could change the world.God Bless you. Thomas koovalloor, NY
4.John Dayal, April 26/16
Dear friend James,Thanks for that hard hitting truth-telling. That is your trademark. Has always taken courage.My own experience has been that the Lay faithful have been more hardbound in these matters than the clergy. That makes reform an uphill struggle.
And secondly, once we accept other divisions, Caste, Tribe, Rite, we lose the moral high ground to challenge some one seeking a micro niche in the guise of nurturing culture, tradition, and heritage.But struggle we must for a genuinely catholic Catholic church in India.God bless, John Dayal
5. Larry Carney, April 26/15
James, I’m complete sympathetic with you and your views. Unfortunately, I also experience a bit of a cultural barrier in communications back and forth, & have trouble fully understanding the complexities of the problem. Meanwhile, I pray and wait and trust in the Lord to fill in for what I miss or can’t do.’Larry Carney
6. Sr, Johanna Brandstaetter, April 26/15
Dear Sr.Regis.Kindly note that I have given your ID to Dr.James Kottoor without having asked your prior permission,so he requested me to inform you.I know him from the internet since long. What he communicates is of utmost importance for our Church and Society.He used to write in various periodicals ,including the Indian Currents.Thank you for your patience with me.
7.John Kunthara April 27/15
This is joke what these bishops have settled on the issue of Knanaya and non Knanaya Catholics? In Angadiathes’s letter there is nothing new he simply agreed with the old practice. I don’t think Pope Francis is aware about this letter and he got more important matters to attend other than this silly issue of Knanaya pure blood based on mythical and unproven stories.John K
8.Antony Moonnupeedikkal, April 28/15
My dear James, I hope that peace ill be widely read. According to me every cultural entity is the extension of deep rooted self love in man and diminishes freedom and holiness.
for which Jesus died on the Cross. Hope you are keeping fine, All of a sudden I am in active ministry, as a young priest of 60 had a severe heart attack, Love to you all, Tony Moonnu ,
9.Kirit Mahida, April, 27 2015
Dear Mr. JamesI can only say my prayers that O ! God let this deadly virus not spread and contaminate. Striking at root of Jesus’ message of all are equally the children of God. What more satanic there can be?? If these heedless bishops are allowed to head the people of God where shall we end up?
10,, Dear Sri James Kottoor,
It is crystal clear that words like justice, fair play, humanity equality etc. are anathema to our bishops. From the shameful letter of Mar Alenchery etc. is an attempt to practice tactics of divide and rule among the faithful of Catholic Church. I fully support the heroic fight of the aggrieved faithful in the matter.Regards,
10.Joy Paul Puthussery. April 18/15
Dear Sri James Kottoor,
It is crystal clear that words like justice, fair play, humanity equality etc. are anathema to our bishops. From the shameful letter of Mar Alenchery etc. is an attempt to practice tactics of divide and rule among the faithful of Catholic Church. I fully support the heroic fight of the aggrieved faithful in the matter. Regards, Joy Paul Puthussery.
11. Sr.Carol MSA wrote:
I am from Kerala. Before I came to the North I never heard about this Kottayam business of Christianity history. Some 35 years back I had one Sister from Kottayam in my Community. While discussing one day this Kottayam Christianity topic came up. It was beyond my understanding ‘ why such closed Christian community exist in Indian Catholic Church. I kept on questioning that Sister in order to understand this mystery. But that Sister kept on arguing with me with such pride that she belong to this sect of original Christians; and in no way they want themselves to be polluted, and so they keep themselves pure blood relations without getting married with outside Kottayam community. It is absurd as for me I still cannot understand this. How can we call ourselves as one Body in Christ Jesus
12. Dr Mathew April 25, 2015
If a Knanaya Catholic belonging to a Knanaya parish/mission enters into marriage with a non-Knanaya partner, that non-Knanaya partner and children from that marriage will not become members of the Knanaya parish/mission but will remain members of the local non-Knanaya Syro Malabar parish/mission.
This is not acceptable.The Pope should interfere immediately.It has to be decided by the laity and not by few Bishops. Dr Kottoor is right.When we think of ecumenism in the light of Vatican why the kottayam people are resisting change? There are more burning issues in this group like Sr Abaya case and the murder of Fr K J Thomas in Bangalore.The community should express its solidarity in seeking justice in these cases. 13. Rite Issue, aprill 29/15 I compliment you for your excellent piece “Peddlers …”. But one reaction to it – while intended to be complimentary- is the height of hypocrisy. That is the reaction of Eparch Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, who promotes and gladly presides over another equally deadly “cancer” (to use his own word) in Faridabad. He accuses the Knanayas of “tendancies (sic) to have priests, bishops, etc only from the same tribe and caste” and of “[creating] so many dioceses as these tribes and castes”. Is he speaking of the Knanayas or of his own Syro Malabar church? Purely to create dioceses for so many ambitious prelates, SM bishops go where they are not wanted: force congregations in the US, Canada, Europe, the UK and Australia (the SM church is rarely seen rushing off to Sierra Leone or Yemen!) to accept their “services”. In so doing they create an apartheidwithin these congregations; and repel the youth that has grown up and assimilated (as they should) into the new homes in which they live. How is the SM apartheid essentially different from the Knanaya apartheid? What teaching of Christ justifies the SM church considering itself as “aristocratic” and “the elite” (to use the phrases its own spokesmen used in the media) as against the “Latins” (whom they consider inferior)? The Eparch laments that “if such parishes are created, they start dividing families, ousting members, even from the ecclesial community!!! As long as they are in the ‘Catholic’ parish open to all, that problem can be avoided.” So why is his SM Church “dividing families [and] ousting members” in the Church in Delhi, which has existed for more than a century? Why does it not respect his own declared concept of a “Catholic parish open to all”? Besides still officially preventing marriages between Catholics (with absolutely no spiritual, pastoral or canonical support) by forcing parents to come and bow to SM priests, the SM church has even divided children in Catechism classes! The Eparch bemoans “opposition here bec of that”. Could the real opposition be because
Knanayas (like SM Catholics settled in Delhi) refuse to bow to his dictates? Bishop Angadiath’s rightly denounced Announcement – supported whole heartedly by the SM Cardinal – reads: “If a Knanaya Catholic belonging to a K parish/mission enters into marriage with a non-K partner, that non-K partner and children from that marriage will not become members of the K parish/mission but will remain members of the local parish/mission.” Pray, tell how is this in any way different from Eparch Kuriakose’s own “clarification” to The Statesman: “Our intention was to foster more unity and communion. Those who want to stay in the present parish, let them be. [But] One cannot think of being a “Latin” as long as one is in Delhi and an “oriental” when they are in another place. Either be an Indian or an American, you cannot be both.” Never mind that there is nothing in Canon law that the Eparch has been able to cite to support these “principles”. More importantly, however, Bishop Angadiath is saying the same thing in essence as Eparch Kuriakose: You can be what you want but you have to be out from “our” community (as though each community belongs to its bishops!). Everything you state in your candid article, and particularly the following, applies equally to the Knanayas and the SM Church. 1) Aren’t the SMC bishops doing just the opposite of what Jesus bluntly and forcefully commanded: “What God has united, let no man separate?” 2) Its stink is suffocating, not only in the SM Church but in the whole church in India divided on three-fold Rite-lines (but wrong) and pulling in different directions. All know it and say, it is the worst curse of the Church in India. It prevents it from acting as one united body, as one family. Here we have the Eparch of Faridabad suddenly taking on his own leader Cardinal Allenchery about Knanayas on their absurd stance. That might have been admired as an example of moral courage, were it were not for the fact that he himself is guilty of resolutely holding on to his own version of racism. Unfortunately, at a time of external crisis for the Church in India, it faces a (perhaps far greater) internal crisis of leadership within. The SM church for instance has opened itself to public ridicule by threatening to ban marriages between Catholics and others. Do they think our youth is going to quietly fall in line? Or are they in danger of making their entire church and the sacraments redundant to the next generation? On a larger scale, in what you rightly term “the musical chair for Episcopal thrones by any means”, the so called shepherds of the church have failed the community badly. They will publicly castigate the Govt for dividing the nation, while they themselves collude in dividing the Church. A fit illustration of Mathew 7:5: “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” With warm regards, Kurien Joseph, Delhi 14, Sales Kalayil, April 29/15 Dear Mr. Kottoor, Thank you very much for the well written article:”Who Destroys Indian Christian Families?” to the main stream Catholics. I am pleased to let you know that you were very candid in stating the truth with proof: “It is Endogamy promoted in the Kottayam diocese by the triumvir in the Syro-Malabar Church(SMC) by written approval and blessing.”With such leaders on the helm it has lost its credibility. Rome must stop exclusive parishes on the basis of “Pure Blood” in the Syro-Malabar Church. Trough baptism all become equal members without considerations of class, caste, race or creed. There are to be no distinctions between Jew and Gentiles, slave or free, male or female. We are all one in Christ Jesus.The practice of expulsion from Church membership is not only unchristian but also inconsistent with Gospel values. It is a human right violation and per your proof the head of Syro-Malabar hierarchy headed by Cardinal Alencherry supports this sin. Thanks much for taking the aaction to save the family humiliation where in a Christian marriage in a Chrisian marriage the bride and groom are consecrated and they build the body of Christ and are a domestic Church, namely the family
16.Alex Esthapan, May 1st 2015
Dear James Kottoor, I sent your article to all the Kna priests in America, Kottayam bishops, Chicago SM bishops, Mar Alenchery and other supporters and promoters of Knanaya purity just to show how others “appreciate their noble and heroic acts” for Christian ideals in this year of family. Bishop Mar Angadiath’s circular letter of September 19, 2014 is a blatant violation of divine law, canon law, court decisions in Kerala, decisions of the Supreme court of India, scientific evidences, historical evidences and physical evidences. A policy of exclusion to protect non-existing racial purity of Knanaya is unfit to the mainstream social values of our time, immoral and destructive to Knanaya families and community.
This Circular has the effect of practically nullifying the 1986 Rescript of the Congregation for Eastern Churches. I do not understand why Mar Alenchery and Mar Angadiath surrendered Christian ideals to the racist ideology of Knas. I do not understand why them approving and participating in the lawless behavior of Kottayam diocese. Why they are participating in the humiliation of their own brethren by the Kottayam diocese. Why the Supreme Pontiff and Congregations hesitate to tell Kottayam bishop and others to stop this non-sense in the Church. As an endogamous Knanaya Catholic, I would like to know, if anybody is listening.
Regards, Alex Kavumpurath 16. Sri Jose Paul,1st/15 Dear. Dr.James, Your article on “Peddlers of Pure blood” brings out certain important doubts about the existence of a Catholic Church in our country as envisaged by the teachings of Jesus. Do we, the Catholics, belong to any church at all? The happenings in the so called official church are all in contradiction to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught us that love, unity and equality as the main theme of his teachings. He taught us that all human beings are God’s own children and that he created each one of us in His own image. The prelates of the official church teaches us to hate one another. We are divided into groups such as people having pure blood, people with high traditions of culture and heritage, people who are backward classes, dalits and so on. We are taught to look at each group of people as separate group of Christians without having any relationships to each other. We are being taught to consider the other groups of Catholics as untouchables . Some persons in the church call themselves shepherds and behave like butchers. The latest butchering of Jesus Christ is done by the decision taken by the three such shepherds about the pure blood of the Knanaya Syrian Catholics. These three wise kings took the decision for the people of their kingdom as dictators. They think that they are the Church. They presume that they can do anything that they feel like for preserving their power and position. They are not in touch with either Jesus, his teachings or his followers. In their anxiety to cling to power, they have forgotten not only the basic tenets of Christianity, and its divine sanctity, but also human ethics, secular morality, natural Justice, human rights, illegality of their actions and the constitution of the nation they are living in. The three prelates who cannot understand what family life is, who cannot understand the relationship between the husband, wife and the children in a family, took the most heinous decision to separate them into two different social and spiritual groups because these prelates discovered that the blood of one of the members is pure and that of the spouse and children is impure. Their Syrian Theology taught them that God, while creating people, had blood of various qualities in store the and He consciously supplied the purest blood to Knanaya Syrian families and asked them to preserve its purity. We are sure that with these kind of prelates inleading positions, there will come a time that the Catholic Church will be divided and new dioceses will be formed according to the blood groups of the Bishops. Did they not find any other poisonous thing to inject into the Catholic Church to destroy it? The most shameful part is that when three shepherds are going ahead with these kind of venom to destroy the teachings of Jesus while all the other shepherds of the Catholics Church, whether they belong to Syro Malabar, Latin or Malankara, keep solemn silence giving approval to this kind of break up of Catholic families. Are we the lay people to believe that all of these prelates are unaware of the intentions of Jesus? We the lay people have a right to know this. We would like to know whether a Church of Jesus exists or not. Otherwise it means that the clergy has nothing to do with Jesus or us. As far as we can
judge, if there is Jesus in our country, it is only in the hearts and minds of the lay people. Those who cannot live with Christ Jesus and His basic teachings, should leave the church and lead a worldly secular life. At least there is dignity in such a life. This is a call not only to those who do these crimes. Those who are silent are aslo committing a crime of omission. Shame on you who put on the cassock and habit pretending to live in the service of Jesus but have no courage to speak for Christ. This is our sincere request to the clergy and the shepherds. Please stop the Sunday sermons as you all speak words of Jesus without any substance in the personal life, congregational life or church hierarchy. We find these sermons are phony as your actions are just the opposite of what Jesus taught us. There is a small silver lining in the Horizon. We would like to congratulate Mar Kuriakose Baranikulangara for jis letter to Mr. James Kotoor disagreeing with the decisions of the three Shepard’s including the cardinal, since realization has come to him about the injustice and inhumaneness of the pure blood. We are sure that he has realized about the folly of dividing the people of the so called high culture and heritage from the one catholic and apostolic Church. Let us hope, that He will get up like St Paul and distance himself from the theory of pure blood, high culture and heritage and be a soldier of Jesus fighting for the one and only Catholic Church. He does not have to be frightened of anyone in the country as he is directly answerable only to Pope. We the lay people are hoping for a day when the Catholic, whatever may be their rite, to sit together and learn their Catechism, when the Catholic matrimonial services are not being restricted by unnecessary bits of paper from this rite and that rite. Jose Paul, Delhi. 17. Benjamin Chinnappan, May 4/15
Dear Father Kottoor, thanks for your article and discussion on Kananya community. This is Father Ben, Hines VA hospital, Chicago. All these groups are not based on rites but caste divisions which are very visible in our Indian society. It is unfortunate situation. That’s why Christianity never took deep root in our country. There is no witness value. We, Christians are not different from others in abiding with Christ. Unfortunately our bishops do not take tough stand on this issue and enforce justice and equality. Ben 18, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, 5 May 2015 <email@example.com> wrote: Dear James, Thank you for circulating the attached letter of Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath. I received it before I left for an ITA (Indian Theological Association) meeting in Kottayam. The meeting was on the Family and so I brought up the issue of the Knanaya Diocese and it was discussed on the floor. Many, like me, condemned the Church’s sanction of this endogamy which differentiates between one human being and another on the basis of “blood”, and promotes a “purity of race”. I had asked that we condemn this in our Statement. To my mind this is a form of eugenics. There is an implied superiority in the selective breeding. Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific ethnic group, class, or social group, rejecting others on such a basis as being unsuitable for marriage or for other close personal relationships. Eugenics, claims to improve the genetic features of human populations through selective breeding and sterilization, based on the idea that it is possible to distinguish between superior and inferior elements of society. What is even more shocking is that according to Bishop Kuriakose of Faridabad there are “two religious congregations, that recruit only “Knanaya” candidates”. How can we fight the caste system when the bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church support such divisions
based on “blood”? Just curious. Is the Knanaya tribe financially rich and high caste? Has Pope Francis given his stamp of approval? I have read this letter over and over again and I am asking myself: “What would Jesus have said?” I really admire the response of Bishop Kuriakose of Faridabad. He has the courage to stand up and condemn what is counter to the Gospels. He has rightly pointed out that “If such parishes are created, they start dividing families, ousting members, even from the ecclesial community!!!” Where are all the other “Shepherds”? Their silence is deafening. Since the Church is preparing for a Synod on the family this issue needs to be brought up. I doubt though that any bishop will bring it up, so it will be left to the Faithful to publicize what is happening in the Indian Church. We can use our international networks to do this. Astrid 19. Jothi SJ, May 8/15 Dear Dr. James, I am Jothi SJ, working in Kolkata.I read your article with pain that the Caste system so deep in our Indian society manifested in different forms in the Church. When we see this deep rooted superiority complex being well played by members of this community, be it lay faithful or Religious and Clergy, it is painful. I don’t see any solution from outside, like this pure blooded group there are other caste catholics silently working for their group’s well-being is not unknown to all of us! it is not certainly Christianity..!we should pray for the conversion of hearts of this and other so called high caste Catholics in Indian Church. Perhaps, CBCI, with an official circular declare, “A week of prayer and action for IndianChurch to root out caste” ..since most of the church leaders are from Higher castes, they would consider this as trivial for such a holy body to waste time on! Thanks, Jothi SJ 20.Kurian MJ, May 13/15
IT is very unethical and unchristan to expel a knanaya catholic from his or her paish merely because he or she has married a non=knanaya .Since the practice has been in vogue in the Kottayam diocese for long it is logical that it is not denied to knanaya catholics in USA if they are members of a parish. They have been of an embarrassing confrontation with syro-malabar bishop on this score. Ultimately the diocese gave in to pressure . One really cannot imagine the reasons that weighed with Holy see in allowing such a cruel practice totally unchristain and opposed to christain principles. Legally it is denial of human rights guaranteed under Indian constitution or UN charter.Even American Law prohibits such discrimination.Rather than a method of confrontation there should be a continuing dialogue between the faction opposed to endogamy .A formulae could be: Each parish of knanaya should have a knanaya assosiation.Those who marry for outside may be expelled from the Association but not the parish. Ushavoor knanaya parish reported dozens of expulsions due to marriage from other community. The local Syro-malabar parish in Monippally used to accommodate all such evictees form Uzhavoor. When a friend of mine so expelled from uzhavoor approached Monippalli church the parish priest reluctantly accommodated him with a caution that Monippally cannot accommodate such continuing inflow for Uahvoor. When that happens expelled knanayas face the ordeal of having no parish compelling them to migrate to
other religions or faiths. m.J.Kurian. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++