Screening Committee Curtails The Rights Of Malankara Association

Written By: on Oct 7th, 2009 and filed under Columns, Episcopal Election, Opinions.

Eight observations about the Screening Committee interestingly authored by Fr. K. M. George seems to be an agenda for discussion. I have mixed feelings about the whole idea of a Screening Committee.

Screening Committee is a system within the system where objectivity can easily be compromised. The constitution of the church has a clear stipulations bishop’s election. It is the responsibility of the church administration to implement it. The Malankara Association has the right and responsibility to elect the person of their choice as their leaders. Disqualifications, can be brought against any individual and then they should face a fair trial.

Screening committee, however objective it claim to be, will have the human factor in it. Their decision will be skewed as seen in the last election. If there was a screening committee in the seventies, Mar Ostahthios or Mar Gregorios would have been still priest in our church. Screening Committee as suggested in the 8 observations will be a super organization – Bishop makers of the church with unchallengeable authority as suggested in item 6. It gives me the impression that we are going back to the Middle Ages instead of leaping into the 21st century.

Screening Committee goes back do character study of the individual even at his high school or college level. It is a redundancy because, this individual was screened by the seminary admission committee once, so no need to go back to it. Also, the committee will inquire about the candidate’s seminary performance, why at this time? Why is this “witch hunt” at this stage after ordaining them as priests? Bishop’s election is not a beatification process!!!!. A secret screening committee report, with no way to confront, is not a just process. If you insist on to have a screening committee, then this committee should have a representative from each of the aspirant candidates for transparency.

What I would suggest is to have a selection committee to (open) interview the aspirants in person, like the confirmation hearing of the supreme court judges. The proportion of the screening committee should also be like the Malankara Association proportion.

Regarding the shortage of eligible candidates, I think, if we remove one criterion- “unmarried” from the qualifications and add retirement to the position, then we wil have enough eligible candidates.

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3 Responses for “Screening Committee Curtails The Rights Of Malankara Association”

  1. Jerin Jacob Koshy says:

    many of thye strict regulations and formalities in the election procedure of the church has came due to many shameful activities of different persons during one of the previous elections for Bishops.But some of the members inthe screening committee have their own personnel interests which they try to implement here.

    I think this type of age barriers and some formalities are quite unwanted. Many of these election procedures are creating personnel greivanaces between priests itself and it is not suitable for Malankara Orthodox Church which has a long heritage. So we pray together to get the people who are very well suited for this position

  2. Varughese (Georgekutty) Punnoose says:

    Generally speaking screening committee may not be as effective as it is envisioned or( meant for). I understand that the Standing Committee’s intended purpose is to avoid shameful (political type of) canvasing by candidates and their well wishers. As a person who loves the Church, I would like to offer couple of suggestions :

    - Do we really need these many bishops
    - Is it feasible to delegate some of the administrative responsibilities
    to the Diocesan Secretaries ( inorder to have less number of bishops)
    - Confirmation/Selection hearings – not by just one panel like our Seneate
    Committees – at selected Diocesan Headquarters, available for every
    member of the Church on the Web, so that each and every member of the
    Association get to know each candidate’s resume.

    - With all respects to the member who suggested to eliminate “unmarried”
    please, please DONT do it.

  3. C.Thomas says:

    I Fully agree.Screening Committee is another means of manipulating the System and has no legal,moral or ethical status.From the constitution so far ,same chaiman and synod secretary,Two seminary Principals it is the old wine in a new bottle.
    Last selection process earned some members Hefty”Kaimuthu”from lobyists and church incurred hefty losses to fight the various court cases.
    We do not need King Makers.Leave it to the legal process than trying to be manipulated by Vested interests,

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