KOCHI: Unlike the regular Permanent Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church, this year’s Synod, which is to begin on Monday at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad, is slated to hold discussions with the Pastoral Council secretaries of various dioceses. According to sources, this is for the first time the Synod is convening a meeting with laity representatives.
According to Fr Jose Vailikodath, spokesperson of a faction of dissident priests of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, said that it was a move to trivialise the issues of the archdiocese. “If the Synod decides to interact with the laity, they should convene a Major Archiepiscopal Assembly that includes elected representatives from both the Presbyterial Council (council of priests) and Pastoral Council of various dioceses. The major limitation of the meet is that only half of the dioceses are taking part,” said Fr Vailikodath.
It is learned that the Synod, as per the decision of its previous summit, had decided that it would interact with the laity for better coordination and meet with Pastoral Council secretaries.
Open letter to Synod
Fr Vailikodath and Fr Sebastian Thalliyan, representing the dissident priests, have come out with an open letter to the Synod seeking justice for auxiliary bishops Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath and Mar Jose Puthenveetil. “The penal action, as cited by the media commission, must be revoked and justice must be delivered,” mentioned the letter. It also mentioned that the Church should not allow politics and business to intervene in its internal affairs.
March to Mount St Thomas
Ahead of the Synod, over 500 laypersons representing 16 foranes (deaneries) of the Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese marched to Mount St Thomas (the headquarters of the Church) on Sunday and handed over their list of demands to Curia Bishop Mar Sebastian Vaniyapurackal.
They raised five demands, including appointing an administrative archbishop for Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, a publication of inquiry commission reports about land deals, reinstatement of auxiliary bishops and measures to settle the archdiocese’s debts.
The 11-day summit is to be attended by 57 bishops.