I have few questions as a lay person and writing my opinion since our
present reality is a system of election, a process which begins with
people nominating candidates. Since the reality is a church level
election, as the people of the Malankara Church we expect the process
to happen in a fair and just way 'from the beginning'. Please
consider this message in a positve sense, towards improvement.
The four candidates declared as elected would be elected even with
out a secret screening committee and the panel, because they were so
obviously among the best seven! Congratulations!
Most news reports mention that the candidates in the panel were
elected, stressing the panel. But if we closely examine, it is clear
that panel has no relevance in the existing system (i.e. the system
according to the present constitution). Perhaps the only effect of
the panel is to sideline some candidates using the members of the
secret screening committee.
If it is truly 'Vox Populi' (voice of the people), then people of the
Malankara Church elected six candidates!
The candidates who are fifth and sixth in the elected list were not
in the managing committee list. One of them was totally ignored by
the secret screening committee, yet accepted by the people
through 'vox populi'. What does this prove?
Few questions to all to consider.
1. Since the secret screening committee and a panel by the managing
committee is not in the constitution, why the Synod is allowing an
unconstitutional method again and again?
2. Is it fair to have a screening committee not visible to people?
Why we need secret committee and secret processes here? All Church
processes should be clearly visible to the people. Church
is 'janakiyam' in nature. Even Holy Qurbana cannot be celebrated
without the presence of ordinary lay people.
3. If the system is election, then it should be pure election as
suggested by Shri Raju Babu here in IOIF. Panel actually is about
slidelining some candidates (in effect equal to Church level negative
campaigning), i.e. not allowing people to make decision through
freewill. The Church can teach tradition, which includes the
teachings of the Church about qualities of a bishop. Then people
decide through freewill. A secret screening is not needed in a fair
system, if the system is based on church level election. The freewill
of people should be respected. Even Orthodox theology teaches
4. If the Synod allowed something not in the constitution (screening
before election, allowing managing committee to publish a list based
on screening, and promoting it through leading newspapers), which
negatively affected the election, then the Holy Synod can also select
seven based on majority received through 'vox populi'. This means
that the Synod can accept the next three in elected Christophorus
Ramban, Fr. Dr. M.O. John and Fr. M.S. Skariah. The first two already
received the votes of people to be elected.
5. An alternate system was proposed by Chor-episcopa V. Rev Kuriakose
Thottupuram. Will the Church consider this report.
What can be done now?
1. If a process not in the constitution was allowed before the
election, then necessary allowances can be made after the election
also by the Holy Synod towards electing seven as planned. This is one
way to correct what happened now.
2. In the future the Church can make amendments to the constitution
or introduce a new method of electing bishops, so that from the
beginning everything happens according to the guidelines of the
What I wrote here is just my personal opinion as a lay person. No one
asked me to write this, but thought of asking these questions to all
to consider in the Church, since our present system is election
(which we expect to happen in all fairness 'from the beginning').