Pope Francis bemoans lack of unity in Syro-Malabar Church

He brought to notice the letters and a video message that he had sent to the Syro Malabar Church faithful warning them of the temptation to focus on one detail.
Syro Malabar Church Major Archbishop Mar Raphael Thattil with Pope Francis in Rome
Syro Malabar Church Major Archbishop Mar Raphael Thattil with Pope Francis in RomePhoto | Express

KOCHI: In a searing speech to the Syro-Malabar community during his meeting with a delegation led by Major Archbishop Raphael Thattil, Pope Francis stressed that eastern traditions are indispensable treasures in the life of the Church.

He brought to notice the letters and a video message that he had sent to the Syro Malabar Church faithful warning them of the temptation to focus on one detail, and an unwillingness to let it go, even to the detriment of listening to no other way of thinking but one’s own.

According to church sources, the wording of the message points to the unresolved issue of the Unified Holy Mass in Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese. “It stems from a self-referentiality, which leads to listening to no other way of thinking but one’s own,” the Pope said.

“It is here that the devil, the divider, creeps in and thwarts the most heartfelt desire that the lord expressed before dying for us: that we, his disciples be ‘one’ without division and without breaking communion. For this reason, guarding unity is not a pious exhortation but a duty and it is especially so when it concerns priests who have promised obedience and from whom the faithful expect the example of charity and meekness,” Pope Francis stressed.

He said that the eastern traditions are indispensable treasures in the life of the church. “This is especially important to recall in a time like ours, which severs the roots connecting us to the past and measures everything based on what is useful and immediate. This unfortunately can also include religious attitudes,” said the Pope.

The pontiff pointed out that he wishes to help the church, not supersede it, “because the nature of the Syro-Malabar Church sui iuris empowers you not only to examine carefully the situations and challenges that you face but also to take appropriate steps to address them, with responsibility and evangelical courage, remaining faithful to the guidance of the major archbishop and the synod.”

Pope Francis urged Mar Thattil to leave the doors open so that like the father in the parable of the prodigal son once those dissenting have repented, will not find it difficult to re-enter.

“Let us meet and discuss without fear, but above all, let us pray, so that the light of the spirit, which reconciles differences and brings tensions back into unity, may resolve disputes. There is one certainty: pride, recriminations and envy do not come from the lord and never lead to concord and peace.”

He was critical of the grave lack of respect for the blessed sacrament. “The guiding criterion, the truly spiritual one that derives from the Holy Spirit, is communion: this requires us to do a self-examination of our dedication to unity and our faithful, humble, respectful and obedient care for the gifts we have received,” the Pope said.

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