Rome refuses to soften stand on Knanaya endogamy
Kottayam: Rome has refused to budge from its stand on ending the practice of endogamy among the members of the Knanaya community. This has been made clear to a Church team from the Kottayam archdiocese which met the prefect of the Oriental Congregation in Rome recently. It may be recalled that the congregation had directed the Chicago bishop to take back those who were excommunicated for marrying from outside the community. The five-member team led by the bishops and laity urged the congregation to withdraw the direction. However, prefect Leonardo Sandri told the team to be ‘Christians first’ and then take up other matters, as per the version given by Jaimon Nandikkattu, a team member, in a video. “Excommunicating someone from the Church is against the basic tenets of Christianity. The Church should withdraw the decision to oust those who marry from outside their ethnic background. The cardinal’s words point to the need to practise Christian principles,” said Mr T.O. Joseph, president of the Knanaya Catholic Naveekara Samithi. Bishop Michael Mulhall of the Pembroke diocese, who conducted a study of the practice in 2015, had sent a report to the prefect demanding to do away with endogamy and take back those who were excommunicated, whose number comes to at least 100,000. Mr Stephen George, president of the Knanaya Catholic Congress, told Deccan Chronicle that the team led by Kottayam archbishop Mathew Moolakattu, auxiliary bishop Joseph Pandarakkalam and other members of the community had met the prefect in Rome. Arch Bishop Mathew Moolakattu was unavailable for comments.