(Note: All reactions are about Edapally Church built at the cost of around Rs.50 crores. For full article see: Edappally St.George Church in: http://sites.google.com/site/jameskottoorspeaking/
Great indeed is the Light House Marvel, I too must have a share in the loot of money. (Deepastambam Mahashchariyam Namukkum kittanam panam) So said Kerala’s wit and poet of the Royal Court, and got away with the price for the best one-liner about Maharaja’s fond seashore construction.
What shall this puny mind now say about Edappally Church consecrated by Cardinal Alancherry on his 70th Birthday? “Mammon of Iniquity Worship?” to do justice also to the scriptural saying: “You can’t serve God and Mammon at once?” But “what do people say” about the Son of Man, Jesus had asked his disciples about himself since Voice of the people is Voice of God (Vox populi vox Dei!)? Edappally Church is the living example of precious Widow’s Mite squandered by His Excellencies, His Graces and His Beatitudes on luxurious worldly extravaganza in brick and mortar called Churches.
So just read-on the sample of global views expressed below to draw your own conclusions and don’t ever fail to speak them out because every honest Word conceived must become Flesh (Verbum Caro factum est). Word (in the case of incarnation) was made Flesh, had to become flesh and appear as Jesus. In our case, refusing to open the mouth to say what we honestly think (conceive) is called the “Sin of Silence”. It is equivalent to “terminating physical conception in the womb” in medical parlance.
Both, a good idea conceived in the mind and a true life conceived in the womb clamour for delivery. They should not be snuffed out.. So dare to speak out, dare to let every salvific thought you conceive to become flesh. That is the only way to be “like Jesus”, Word made flesh, and spoke out what he thought without fear or favour, even when he knew the Cross was hanging over his head like a Damocle’s sword. James kottoor)
1.From: Joseph Mattam sj, May 15/5/15
As usual, an excellent piece and much needed; I too saw some extravagant churches all over; they spend crores now for a church. In your article, perhaps you could also have mentioned that many people, for whom Jesus cared, have no roof over their heads; it is more urgent to build houses for the people than expensive churches for God. Glad you continue writing. Keep going. God bless, Joe
Denis Daniel, May 16th 2015, Heartiest congratulations!
Dear Dr. Kottoor,
I have just read Asia’s largest church: A Cardinal Sin. All your writings have been brilliant. At 78 when physically I feel quite incapable the only possibility remains that I employ somebody to read to me all that flows out of your pen. I have been reading your writings when I was around 28 years of age. The freshness is still there, in fact with greater depth and inspirational qualities. You are doing immense good to an ordinary reader like me. Thanks! Denis Daniel.
3.From: Jose Kallidukil, May, 22/15
Dear James Chettan,
It is an excellent article with exact facts and information. I still have doubts about the honesty of Cardinal Alencherry. However his open criticism against such wasteful extravaganza will certainly make our Priests and parishioners rethink before venturing into similar architectural adventures.
Look at the Guruvayur and Sabirimala temples. Both are among the richest temples in India attracting many lakhs of devotees each year from all over India and even abroad. In spite of that the original structure of those centuries old temples remain same. They don’t attempt any expensive remodeling or renovations, but just maintain its old glory. Hope our Catholic Bishops and Priests will learn something from their Hindu counterparts. Jose, Chicago,USA
4.From: Larry Carney, May 23/2015
I agree. I also see a similar secular problem of over-concern for historical structures, as in Syria and Iraq right now. Our Western Media (U.S.?) constantly plays up the destruction there by ISIS. While I hate to see all that happening, I never see them expressing concern over the millions of people killed by our desire for Empire and control everyone and everything. (and I’m an American!) Thanks for insights from India.
Larry Carney, usa
5.From: Mathew N.J. May 23/15
Dear Mr. James,
As I see it is the consumerism culture behind it which should be objected first. But India being an under-developed country it is just entering that phase and Kerala with all the Money Order monies is bound to lead that phase and Syro Malabarees are showing that.
True follower, in any part of the world, should learn to be above that. Then there is the vested interest of parishioners who are contractors, materiel suppliers etc. who will lobby for such wasteful expenditure by the Churches. Overcoming all these is a tough task for the ‘Parish Committee’/good priest. With best wishes and prayers. Mathew N J (from USA)
- Philo Thomas, May 23/15
The Cardinal is too late to comment on this edifice. I am sure this church is under his jurisdiction so he must have been aware of the plan of construction. He should have stalled the plan earlier. Now let this white elephant be the perennial eye sour for him as a reminder of his delayed decisions and interventions. Sr. Philo
7.Al D’Costa, May 23/15
Dear James,Very well written. Its so obvious that we have deviated from the original – but too blind to see the difference.
While no one denies that believers need a place for fellowship and prayer, we have joined the mad race and compete with others to build a ‘more gorgeous’ House of God. St Stephen said in Acts 7 : 48-50, “The Most High God does not live in temples made with hands!” and quoted Isaiah 66: 1-2 “For Heaven is My throne and Earth itself is My footstool! Therefore what house will you build Me, says the Lord…”.
The meaning of “Ekklesia” as used in the Acts of the Apostles, translated as “Church” means “a body of believers”. Going to Church passes of as a Spiritual activity and gives one the satisfaction of ‘fulfilling one’s obligation’. This is not what it was meant to be.
- Sr. Regis Kocherry, May 23/15
Dear Fr Kottoor
Very well written. I fully agree with you and cardinal Alencherry.
Are we going to church for worship or for recreational programme?
Yes we need to build THE CHURCH of flesh and blood. Many priests have no time for that. People are very eagerly waiting to talk and listen to priests about Christ and Bible.
I hope and pray for that, it may happen in Catholic church. Sr Regis Kocherry
- Chancellor of Kottar, May 25th 2015
Dear Fr. James,I acknowledge your e-mail regarding the architectural building of Edapalli Church and thank you for the same. Certainly, the temples of the Holy Spirit are more important than the temple of bricks and mortar. The poor are always with us and they need care. Mt. 25 gives a better spirit to the importance of living temples.
Fr. G. Felix.Chancellor, Kottar Diocese
- Ed Schreurs, May 26, 2015
In the Netherlands we have got a majority in favor of homosexual marriages, abortion clinics and assistance at euthanasia without Episcopal dialogue . All of us are guilty of having accepted, that bishops appointed are unable to participate in open dialogue on these and other issues. May the Almighty forgive us our silence.
We have to accept that cardinal Eijk has an aversion of dialogues. Therefore we will not send him the 85 pages of dialogue sessions. We will ask him only as messenger to deliver the short list, petition of ours, which in the meantime has been used in other countries.
More guilty I feel for the years that I have been participating as priest in the evil system, the origin of misery. The answers from the grassroots on topics of questionnaires and the writing of James Kottoor made me add some sins on my own confession list. I have to bow my head for
The sin of using money for prestigious buildings.
The sin of neglecting poor families.
The sin of not attending to the divorced and remarried
The sin of making little of Catholics leaving the Church
The sin of a blind eye for problems of LGBT issues
The sin of silence on responsible parenthood and contraception
The sin of accepting the prejudicial treatment of women
The sin of neglecting the rising phenomenon of cohabitation
The sin of not working on abolition of clericalism and sexual abuse
The sin of not developing a care plan for families in trouble
The sin of keeping Ecumenism a low key issue
The sin of suggesting a voodoo effect of blessings and sacraments
The sin of thinking that as priest I was made more than a layman.
I trust, that the poor and the grassroots’ people will forgive me, my colleagues and the church officials, like God is forging us. So in the year of mercy we can concentrate anew on a dream, on the proper message of Jesus of Nazareth. I have a suggestion for next year and one for this summer.
In the concept Jubilee Paper I found many impressing testimonies. Thanks to the collectors. I agree partly to the conclusion, that we should Establish lay-led workshops (for conversion), but not for the 2350 correspondents, who do not need conversion, or for ordinary reform meeting visitors, who do not need correction of responsibilities, but for bishops and those who usually keep away from reform planning. After the Synod it might be clear, whether and how this could be done.
During the coming months we have to prepare those bishops who will have a vote at the Synod. They have to be equipped for their task. I am ready to work within this part of the outreach.
During Vat II many bishops had a team of specialists with them like Küng and Schillebeeckx. Each evening they discussed issues on the order of coming days.
Bishops who go to the Family Synod should be wise and have with them at least one couple, that has gone through the trouble of discovering that a beloved child belongs to the LGBT group or a child that has gone through the trouble of divorce and remarrying.
These parents and all of us would be grateful if in future everywhere in the church parental love would be recognized in the pastoral care of bishops and pastors and if they start recovering from sins. Ed. Netherlands
- Devadhas, May 26/15
Dear Fr.james. Beautiful reflection.. I would say we need a airy and spacious place to worship..but wasting money and time and energy of the poor people and priests to build this kind of bricky churches is seemingly a structural sin..more over they are expecting the rich people to donate their so-called black money also and getting name and fame of the people and priest ,of course not from God…what saddens is that many of our leaders including priest and Bishops are after this kind of rich people in the name of building churches…I hope there will be an end In this year…
Let us try to smell the sheep on the streets, homes and uncared places..There we build the real church…Sent from my iPad
- From: “Vincent Mooken” <firstname.lastname@example.org>. May 26, 2015
Subject: Exorbitant Churches: An instance of merciless extortion by church authorities came to light recently. St Mary’s Church, Punnakunnu, in the very diocese of Cardinal Alencherry, is demolished and being rebuilt, a project totally unnecessary as per opinion of several parishioners.
An auto rickshaw driver of this parish wanted a date fixed for the baptism of his first born child. The vicar Rev Fr Pious Padinjaremuri refused to baptize the child unless he cleared his dues of Rs. 35,000/- for the rebuilding of the church. The helpless man mortgaged his auto rickshaw, paid Rs. 30,000/-to the church and got his child baptized. In this parish there are many parishioners who are finding it difficult to make both ends meet but are coerced to part with funds in the name of God. Cardinal Alencherry will do well to get his own backyard cleaned. — Vincent Mooken.
- From: Fr.George Ponnaiah,
Kuzhithuraidiocese,<email@example.com>May 26, 2015
Your article is interesting. This is some kind of reflection of the so called liberation theologians. Church building was not the work of Jesus. The churches are only an evolution. It is not a deviation. In kerala so many houses cost more than 50 crores. Why cant you build a church for God for 50 crores? 50 crores are not a big money any more in India. How many millions are swindled by your politicians. That is peoples money, Why don’t you fight against that or shout against that. We need churches that too beautiful churches because it is the dwelling place of God. – Fr.George Ponnaiah
- From Maria Susai, May 27/15
Wonderful writing what a pity in our diocese Kottar and Kuzhithurai also some priests are mad after making the churches and other buildings . let us try ourselves to spread the values of Jesus thanks fr. Maria Susai
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