The Synod and the Bishop Playing Hide and Seek: How Long?


The Four year term of the Diocesan Council and Executive Committee was over on October 15, 2010. The grace period of 3 months provided in the constitution was also over on January 15, 2011. It is crystal clear to all, including the diocesan officers, who had been bishop’s cohorts during all these years that this impasse was created by Bishop Kuruvilla’s devious designs. A provisional administration was appointed by the Synod and they were prevented from taking office by the bishop and his henchmen under the pretext of an injunction from a secular court. It is again clear to all and sundry that the bishop’s tall talk of ecclesiastical obedience and “submission to the governing authorities” would be valid only when it comes to obeying him and not when it comes to him obeying the Synod. Bishop Kuruvilla reduced morality to what is expedient to him.



Finally the Synod and the moderator succumbed to the pressures of the bishop's recalcitrance and removed two eminent members of integrity and reputation from the officiating administration - a retired Income Tax commissioner and a retired Colonel from the army - and included three stooges of bishop’s choice, whose only qualification is to crawl when he asks them to bend. This administration also continued in a state of hibernation for a long period for reasons known only to them. For a third time, the administration was again reconstituted by inducting the Synod General Secretary and the Synod Treasurer into the officiating administration. Thus, another three months lapsed under an officiating administration with nothing happening by way of constituting the newly elected Diocesan Council. Even nine months after the election to the Diocesan Council, it is left in the air, not due to any problem created by the people in the pew, but by the complete disregard for democratic functioning by the officialdom.

We cannot but suspect foul play and complicity by the synod in undermining the rights of the members and pastorates to enjoy their constitutionally given right to administer the church and its resources. We also assume that bishop is buying time to complete some of the under hand dealings that has been going on in connection with secondary school appointments before a democratically elected administration takes office. This also lends credence to our belief that the moderator and the bishop are playing hide and seek and they have mutual economic interests in all that has been happening in the diocese from land scams to appointment in schools.

Therefore, putting much hope in the probity and decency of the synod and the moderator is misplaced. The bishops of other dioceses, except a handful, are also corrupt and mired in controversies and so it is in their “class interest” to make sure that none among them would fall on the way side and resist any onslaught against their “desolating sacrilege” (Mark 13: 14). We also cannot underestimate their power, both political and economic. Whether the ruling political party is right or left, the bishops have corrupt dealings with the powers that be to secure their mutual interests. The bishops also have enormous financial clout to influence politicians and the judiciary, and also carry forward the court cases to any extend while we have to fight the court battles with extremely judicious use of scarce resources from our own pockets. In short, they depend on the power that comes from the world and not from God, and therefore, they can be as ruthless and demonic as the world can be. But our situation is far different in that we do not have and we cannot depend on these powers, but depend on God alone to sustain our struggle. It demands from us a new spirituality that acknowledges the need to combat evil forces in the world, even when it comes from the so called religious persons.

The greatest hindrance to our being faithful in this task is our notions of Christian virtues. We tend to value our middle class respectability over and above truthfulness, justice, and probity in public life. Beyond the pious platitude on morality, among the laity, most do not want to stake their reputation and stand with “Christ” in bearing the cross. Instead of neutrality, we need to take sides with what is good, and that which promotes life. We must be ready to be rebels for Christ. As we read in the book of Hebrews, “Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp and bear abuse he endured.” (Hebrews 13: 13)

As we have been pointing out on many occasions, we must be able to “wait for the Lord”; we must be prepared for a long haul; we should not settle for short term success; but work for genuine repentance and reformation - conversion experience within the church. The hope of the church is only in such a remnant.

This is a time to get down to the grass roots and work for the development of a cadre of CSI North Kerala Laity Fellowship in each of the parishes. We are not oblivious to the existence of a laity fellowship promoted by the diocese, which hides beneath its apparent spiritual demeanor an acquiescence in the moral corruption of the church establishment. They remain under the official patronage of the bishop and play a role of subservience to his wickedness. They can join us if they really care for repentance and renewal within the church. We do not believe that we can be true Christians by closing our eyes to the moral corruption taking place around us; to oppose them is to bear our cross.

We must also work towards enabling our membership to be rooted in Christ and Christian faith so that they would not be tossed around by every passing wind of false teaching and hold on to what would enable them to be sensitive and responsive to the moral corrosion that is taking place in our midst in the name of Christianity. We should facilitate a very serious and contextual study of the Bible, and sustain a fellowship that would bring us to our knees and bring us closer to Christ and to one another; that alone will enable us to withstand the assault of the enemy. We must facilitate a faith formation among our youth that is intellectually sound, socially relevant and personally satisfying instead of merely providing with emotional stimulation that would prevent any rational and responsible engagement with the world. A youth wing of the Laity Fellowship should be formed to reach out to them with these biblical and faith resources. This would essentially lead us to seeking the resources and help of ecumenical and theologically sound Christian leaders. We have many sympathizers and we need to bring them together to a more creative synergy.

We must also give much time and energy for effective networking among our units in various parishes and also across the laity in various dioceses so that we can develop an effective solidarity against those forces that turn our prayer houses into ‘den of thieves’ and ‘market places’. This is a long and arduous task, as difficult or prolonged as the union negotiations for which our forefathers gave their life. They saw church union as an effective and necessary condition for mission, to bear witness to the love of Christ in a largely non-Christian milieu. Here we, in this generation, are again called to an equally painstaking and sustained struggle to retrieve the mission of our church.

We will continue with our legal battles; we will continue to be vigilant and bring to light the bishop’s unholy activities. We will continue to strive to restore democratic governance in the diocese. It is our expectation that the officiating administration will take steps to call for the meeting of the diocesan council at the earliest. We do not rule out the possibility of the bishop and his coterie resorting to underhand dealings to subvert the formation of the diocesan council and elect an executive committee. Yet, we have to give the democratic process a chance. It is also crucial that we prayerfully work toward electing persons who are unwavering in their commitment to Christ and also courageously stand up for what is true and noble and of good report.

The book of revelations reminds its readers repeatedly of the need for “endurance”. “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” (Rev.14:12; 13: 10; 1: 9-10) The context of these exhortations by John was definitely one of extreme persecution. And John calls the Christians in Asia Minor to the virtue of endurance. The Greek word endurance does not mean passive suffering but active resistance. We are called to remain faithful and at the same time not succumb to the evil forces of this world; we are called to resist. Bishop Kuruvilla unfortunately has become an epitome of anti-Christ who comes taking Christ’s name and carrying forward the designs of ‘the beast’. Our commitment to Christ calls for “patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.” Can we take up this call and remain faithful to him?

5 comments:

Gifty Mohan said...

How Long??
Till the end of CSI community.The alliance with politicians and under world will destroy us within no time.

csipass puthiyara said...

K P Kuruvilla thirumany is my coeval and we belong to same parish. News about him really hurt me a lot. People who are chosen by God and men are expected to be famous is natural. Unfortunately some people would ruin their goodwill and compromise with mere pittance. This is my obesrvation even in spiritual realm. When I went through the writings, I felt Kurivilla thirumany also devastated his God given authority and ran after the worldly pleasures. His family members have great role to correct him, as far as I understand his situation. But i don't know why they are keep mum. Still I remember the way they are brought up and the toil/hard work of his father. At least thirumany must have remembered his father’s face and his toil when he deviates from this ministry. This is very bad for our church at kodukulangy. MR. T Samuel George USA.
-One of the comments appeared in our website csipass.blogspot.com.

Anonymous said...

I am a senior comminicant member of Christ Church,Elamkulam in Ernakulam under the North Kerala Diocese of the Church of South India. This highly enlightened pastorate has since been undone by the Bishop to promote his interests not in speaking terms with Christian acts not to speak of the post held by him. His uncompromising unChristian acts have resulted in indefinitely prolonging and continuaion of various court cases for and against,at least 25 proceedings pending in the High Court of Kerla, District and Munsiff Courts in Ernakulam apart from various other connected court cases in Ottappalam and other court centres in Kerla. I fully endorse the facts and views of Mr. John John. The need of the hour is, quickest possible action, to quicken the process of convening the Diocesan Council based on the elections already held, allowing all the elected members to participate in further election proceedings leadeing upto the election of members to the Synod, irrespective of the court cases, decide to withdraw all court cases for which the Diocese is incurring very huge expenditure from the Central Fund of the congrations. The Diocesan Council so convened may pass a resolution requesting the Bishop to enter on leave preparatory to retirement instead of waiting till the due retirement as per the constitution of the CSI and leading the Church to further disastrous and inevitable consequences as we learn from the history of churches. The Diocesan council so contituted urgently may also pass a resolution to withdraw all the court cases and settle the matters outside the cout by contituting a committee of a few independent elders. Till such time it will be adivisable on the part of all the pastorates to stop contributing their precious monies to the Central Fund to waste in legal fights of the Diocese against its own pastorates and pastors. Mathew M Ninan

Mathew said...

I am a senior comminicant member of Christ Church,Elamkulam in Ernakulam under the North Kerala Diocese of the Church of South India. This highly enlightened pastorate has since been undone by the Bishop to promote his interests not in speaking terms with Christian acts not to speak of the post held by him. His uncompromising unChristian acts have resulted in indefinitely prolonging and continuaion of various court cases for and against,at least 25 proceedings pending in the High Court of Kerla, District and Munsiff Courts in Ernakulam apart from various other connected court cases in Ottappalam and other court centres in Kerla. I fully endorse the facts and views of Mr. John John. The need of the hour is, quickest possible action, to quicken the process of convening the Diocesan Council based on the elections already held, allowing all the elected members to participate in further election proceedings leadeing upto the election of members to the Synod, irrespective of the court cases, decide to withdraw all court cases for which the Diocese is incurring very huge expenditure from the Central Fund of the congrations. The Diocesan Council so convened may pass a resolution requesting the Bishop to enter on leave preparatory to retirement instead of waiting till the due retirement as per the constitution of the CSI and leading the Church to further disastrous and inevitable consequences as we learn from the history of churches. The Diocesan council so contituted urgently may also pass a resolution to withdraw all the court cases and settle the matters outside the cout by contituting a committee of a few independent elders. Till such time it will be adivisable on the part of all the pastorates to stop contributing their precious monies to the Central Fund to waste in legal fights of the Diocese against its own pastorates and pastors. Mathew M Ninan

Anonymous said...

Don't you all understand that the entire church hierarchy from the Moderator on down to the janitor at the Bishop's house are all dirty? Since Independence you Indians have tolerated mediocrity from your government officials and society in general. It was only a matter of time that the deep rooted corruption in Indian society would make its way into all sorts of organizations in the country not the least of which is the church. K.P. and friends are a product of the system of which you all are a part everytime you all pay a bribe to a police officer, undervalue the purchase price of your land for tax purposes (if any of you folks pay taxes at all), cheat on school examinations, and do everything possible to get out of obligations. Until a sense of responsibility develops within India itself in which people realize that hard work and honesty in all aspects of life in India, then you all can look forward to future K.P.s running the affairs of your church.

The British occupation of India, though deeply flawed and coercive, maintained the Raj through an incorruptible civil service and various other organizations such as the church by promoting people who were qualified to hold a position of responsible. Whether it was the civil servant or church official the folks in those days tried to do right by the taxpayer. Nowadays it is seems like it is every person for him/herself irregardless of the greater good of Indian society or the various churches.

I think you all need to ask yourselves the next time you try to get around a government regulation or doing something you are obligated to do to realize that there is not a whole lot difference between you and K.P. who is a child of a system developed since Indian Independence which discourages honesty and rewards corruption. K.P. is going to retire sooner than later, and the issue you all need to ask yourselves is how to prevent future leaders like him from coming up. After all, KP is hardly the first dirty Bishop in your diocese, and I doubt he will be the last as long as the silent majority of people tolerate mediocrity from their leaders.

KP is just one bad person of many, and I hope you all are taking a hard look at all of the priests/pastors and various church workers in your diocese. I guarantee you that many of them are probably just as corrupt as KP and would gladly loot your diocese given the opportunity. The folks who are calling for KP's head today might be the crook of tomorrow given a position of authority if you ask me.

You Indians need to fix your society so that you all don't have common thieves running the government, religious organizations, and other large organizations in your country.

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