Malankara World

Church Politics

Unity and Cross Participation in Sacraments

by Rev. Fr. Paulose T. Peter, New York

Sacraments Losing Sanctity

Every time a ‘closed out’ church is opened for worship, regardless of denominations, I rejoiced and praised almighty God, praying that such ‘cases in point’ be eye openers to many other parishes with beautiful church buildings left in dilapidated conditions now remaining as ‘ghost castles’. Both priests and lay people from across the globe have prescribed possible solutions to attain unity. Such solutions extended from ‘forgiving and forgetting in brotherly love’ to ‘peaceful co-existence’ and at times to even attitudes of ‘let the dogs bark and the caravan go’. In my opinion, only if the Church leadership takes the proper initiative to settle all disputes, unity can and will happen. Everyone wants to settle accounts ‘my way’ and that constitutes the main problem. It is high time that the Church leaders tell those few war-mongers and news-mongers in the church to get lost.

On the one hand, such few ‘mongers’ feed on dirty church politics and they become the so called lay leaders of the church. Their only aim is to fish in troubled waters. They spread the dirt through various media such as e-mails, TV and Newspapers some of which spew venom designed only to enjoy the devilish pleasure of throwing mud at others. They cut a very sorry figure to the educated and intelligent readers. Their satirical writings are of such unfathomably low quality that they will need a lot of prayers from all the peace-loving people. They are such gone cases that even our prayers may not be able to get them out of the bottomless pit they are in. The fact that ‘God is a merciful Father’ is our only hope for them. They even exert their influence to add unnecessarily irritating and provocative words and embarrassing phrases into official ecclesiastical writings and even prayers. On the other hand, their egos are boosted when the Church award them undeserved honorary titles that never go out of stock.

Years ago, priests and lay leaders used to be conferred with titles of honor in appreciation of their exemplary contributions to the Church. I am sorry to say that these titles can be now virtually bought with money or received by mail. Needless to say, both the conferee and the conferred become a laughing stock at best. I am reminded of a story of someone who badly needed to have a doctoral degree finally decided to voluntarily add Ph. D to his name. When asked to explain what his Ph.D. means, he said ‘Passed High school with Difficulty’. I remember a bishop characterizing a certain individual as very decent person simply because he had contributed ten thousand rupees to his project.

The extremists who take pleasure in spewing poison among the people, those fundamentalists and guardians of the so called true faith who feed on dirty church politics adding fuel to the fire regardless of what denominations they belong to, no matter whether a layman/woman, priest, Corepicopa or a bishop, they should all chew and digest what John wrote in his epistle “If you cannot love your brothers and sisters whom you can see, how can you love your God whom you cannot see”.

What message can the church give when it stops brothers and sisters from participating in the Sacraments of the Church? What message can a Church give when it does not allow to peacefully mourn the departure of a dear one or rejoice in the wedding of a beloved one? God will have no part in such politics because those Church and lay leaders who promote a divisive agenda have already gotten their rewards. These days, Sacraments are losing sanctity. May God help us.

Back in Kerala, one of the trump cards used by the evil and divisive forces to promote their agenda is the denial of cross participation of clergymen in sacraments, especially in weddings and funerals with few sporadic exceptions where the presiding priests have strong backbones. Fearing reprisals from Church leaders in the upper echelon, most priests, though unwillingly, erect a partition wall between denominations when sacraments are administered. If the Government is serious about bringing different Churches/denominations together, one bold step they can take will be to create public cemeteries where all denominations can join for services, leaving the families to decide who and how burials should be done. We need to start somewhere. One step at a time!

See Also:

A Suggested Approach to Solve the century old disputes between (Jacobite) Syrian Christians and Indian Orthodox Church
A Prominent Jacobite Priest suggests a Christian approach to solve the church disputes.

Comments on A Suggested Approach to Solve the century old disputes between (Jacobite) Syrian Christians and Indian Orthodox Church
The mystery of salvation through the church is very simple. It is related to our meeting God and establishing a relationship with Him. Our God loved us so much that He created man in His image and likeness. His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, voluntarily sacrificed Himself for us on the cross out of pure love for us. Therefore we can meet God through Love and Sacrifice.

Peace in Malankara
Any out of court settlement will require much deliberations in view of the history of the church cases.

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