Home > Synod > 2010-10-13 17:42:03
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Intervention of Mons. Bosco PUTHUR, Titular Bishop of Foratiana, Curia Bishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro -Malabars (INDIA)

First of all, the Major Archbishop, the Synod of Bishops, the Priests, the Religious and the Faithful of the Syro Malabar Church are grateful to the Holy Father for having invited us to participate in this Synod. Since our Major Archbishop, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil CSsR is not at present able to travel, I am asked to represent the Syro Malabar Church. Our Church wholeheartedly welcomes and supports the initiatives taken by the Holy Father to empower the Catholic Church in the Middle East so that it can in communion bear witness to the Gospel in this region.
However, through this intervention I would like to bring to the attention of this august assembly certain pastoral problems indicated in the Instrumentum Laboris Nos. 49 and 50, which read: "A new and important phenomenon taking place in Middle Eastern countries is the arrival of hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers from Africa and Asia ... These people are subject to social injustice ... This immigration calls for the attention of our Churches which have the pastoral responsibility to assist them in both religious and social matters."
The Syro Malabar faithful have been present in the Gulf Region since the1960s. They fully depend upon the Latin Vicariates of Kuwait and Arabia for their pastoral needs. These ecclesiastical structures created in the twentieth century for a few thousand emigrants are not at all adequate to take care of millions of faithful now present in the region.
We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of the two Vicars apostolic of the region. However, the situation of the pastoral care of the Syro Malabar faithful in the Arabian Gulf countries is very inadequate and unsatisfactory. There are almost 430,000 Syro Malabar migrants in the region (Saudi Arabia 190,000; UAE 110,000; Oman 45,000; Kuwait 40, 000; Bahrain 35,000 and Qatar 10,000), but not even a single parish is erected for them. There is no proper pastoral care and faith formation catechesis for the Syro-Malabar faithful according to the proper ecclesial tradition, except in Doha. The Syro Malabar hierarchy is not at all involved nor invited for this purpose. The only church that was built for our faithful in Doha is not even erected as a parish, but remains an outstation of the Latin parish. Besides, serious restrictions are placed on the Syro Malabar Hierarchy through a “Rescript” from the Holy See, which prevents any involvement of our Church in providing proper pastoral care to our faithful in the area.
The community is in a precarious situation and many of them have become indifferent to the practice of Catholic faith. The local Ordinaries are neither able to do nor adequately prepared to give proper pastoral care as per the heritage of the individual Church. The Syro Malabar Church is not granted any freedom to look after her faithful in the region, a right envisaged in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, Canon Law and other magisterial documents. The Religious priests at present working in the region do not have the necessary pastoral and liturgical formation to take care of our people. As there is the inadequacy in the pastoral care, there is the ever growing danger of our people being led astray by Pentecostal groups thriving in the Gulf region. Hence it is essential to entrust the pastoral care of the Syro Malabar faithful to our own Church, erecting proper ecclesial structures and granting jurisdiction to our hierarchy. Contrary to the opinion generally circulated by some ecclesiastics, the governments in the Gulf Region are in general open to the Christian communities, since at present they need emigrant workers.

We hope and pray that the Apostolic See may take appropriate action to redress the grave situation in the region and enable all concerned to provide adequate pastoral care to our faithful in accordance with the liturgical and spiritual tradition of the St Thomas Christians.

[00062-02.03] [IN040] [Original text: English]


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