Episcopal Election : Norms Vulnerable to Manipulations

Written By: on Jan 1st, 2010 and filed under Episcopal Election, Opinions.

Of course with good intention that the new rule and regulations and procedure were adopted by the church for the episcopal election. But when the process is seen, it seems to be manipulated by the people with vested interests to eliminate the deserving candidates on personal grudge. The church loving people watching all these games all over the world can not sit as silent spectators. This is the second experiment just completed with the new selection system. The experiments have proved beyond doubt that the system is not fool proof. Last time the church leadership has already admitted that there had been lapses. It is time to look back and identify the faulty area to rectify them.

Norms and loopholes
In the norms published, the term referring- ‘confidential report’ and ‘medical exam’ are the two clauses which are vulnerable to manipulations, the weapons which can be used to hack down outstanding candidates if it happens to go in wrong hands. There should be a lie detecting system with the monitoring committee to test the reporter and the candidate if any candidate complaint to this effect. If a judge can be bribed as we hear now a days and a doctor can make false postmortem reports at the instance of highly influential people the medical exam reports may not necessarily be genuine.

But what more medical fitness needed for a bishop than a priest. It is meaningless without follow up medical exam for all bishops at least every five years and relieves them from the diocesan charges if they found unfit. They are not going to participate in march past, or fly an aircraft. Of course they fly all over the world for collection, which should be discouraged-with no doubt. The main duty of a bishop should be looking after the diocese, priests, people and parishes under him. All charitable activities should be entrusted to the priests. All donations for the charity should be routed to the mission board of the church under a bishop with independent charge to run the charitable institutions of the church. But people should not hesitate to support the bishops in charge of backward dioceses who deserve help abundantly.

One new suggestion for the election norm is that there should not be limitation for the number of candidates and the screening committee should not be allowed to select the candidates using ballot system which curtail the democratic right of the association members to elect their bishops. Even the managing committee also should not act as judges of the next elimination round. For example it is said that there were 18 eligible candidates and the screening committee members used their votes to find 14 candidates. They should have forwarded the list of all the 18 candidates to the managing committee for approval as official candidates to be elected by the association. In case more number of candidates won the majority of votes than the required number of bishops the remaining candidates from the list prepared on the basis of votes could have been kept as candidates in the waiting list for next time.

Keep the faith and principle
There is a request to the candidates who could not make it through this time not to get frustrated and act like those bishop candidates who were in fray some time back, out of which one defected to the opposition party like in politics and the other is fighting with the church like using his pen. One should keep the faith and principle in tact.

Mr.Thomas Kuttikandathil, Houston,Texas,USA is one of the Trustee members of IOH.

Click For More Articles By:

Readers are welcome to leave their thoughts and reflections below by posting a comment on this topic.
(No Ratings Yet)

Email This Post Email This Post

Print This Post Print This Post

Disclaimer: Indian Orthodox Herald does not moderate or edit the comments posted in this column. All opinions are solely of the writers and IOH holds no responsibility what so ever for the views written here below.

1 Response for “Episcopal Election : Norms Vulnerable to Manipulations”

  1. My Malankara Orthodox Church selected all our Bishops by the blessings of the Holy Spirit and I firmly believe it. Many tried to become the Bishop of Our Church but Our God selected the perfect candidates through the hands of the people. It is the Democratic system that happening by the power of the Holy Spirit and it is perfect. It happens still because of the Mercy of our God and it is the gift to us because of the prayer of our forefathers and the dedicated life of our spiritual fathers.

    Several of our members pointed out that the bishop candidates should not conduct any campaign. It is a good proposal but I would like to point out a question about that proposal. Do we know all of our clergies those who are capable as the candidates for the post of the Bishops? I do not know whether there is any stage for that to familiarize them to the public. All the clergies those who are qualified with their prayer life and capabilities may not be popular among the people as their public appearance may be less than the others, but few may be popular too.

    My expectation about our Bishop is that as they are the spiritual fathers, thay should be selected from those have more spiritual and prayer life and should love the Church. The shepaheard should treat all the folks in equal as our past and present spiritual fathers.

    It will be better if the candidates are allowed to introduce themselves to the voters and I do not think the present introduction of candidates is appropriate.

    So let the people who know them to pass their testimony about them to others. People who know about the candidates should speak out truely, because no non-eligible candidate should be selected. So let them to run the campaign by introducing them in personally to the voters but restrict to campaign in public with vit notices at the voting area as it may lowered the grade to a campus election. We witnessed in the previous selection process also the big campaigns and influences did not make any change of the selection.

    Before the confirmation of the candidature and before the screening of the candidates it will be a good process if the Church announce the names of the candidates and inform all the parishes and ask the clergies and members to submit if they have any difference of opinion or disagreement about the candidates within a time frame and that should also consider before qualifying the candidates as the representatives from the parish may not aware about all those candidates and they are comming and taking dissission individually at the time of the voting.

    When a candidate submit the nomination, all the positions (except the post of the Vicar of any parish) that he holds should be freez till the end of election and no Church facility should be available to campaign publically or secratly to anyone using their present position. All the candidates should be treated equally and no one should get any special treatment from the sideof the Church.

    Once an election is conducted and the necessary numbers of candidates are elected it shows that the Holy Spirit is selected the qualified candidates. Those who are not selected for the post are to be in the service as they are selected to continue as the clergy of the Church. I do not think that the idea of contesting them for the same post again is a suitable idea as it makes the feeling in the faithful members that this is a process like the political party election as they will contest even if they are rejected by the public. Once a candidate is appeared in public to the post of the Bishop and if they are not elected then they should understand that they are not selected to become the Bishop but the Holy Spirit is selected them to continue as a clergy of the church and serve the church at that capacity. It is a service and not a job. Once a person is submitted himself for the will of God and if the will of God is different than our duty is to stand for the will of God and not to contest to overcome that.

    It is being noticed that a medical check up is conducting for the candidates and the pubic are not aware about what type of check up are conducting, is it a complete health check up or a mental check up as I believe it is a new process and I don’t think it was done in olden days.

    When an individual took a vow to serve the Church as a clergy then the Holy Spirit is leading that person to continue his service. The person who is surrendered himself to the will of God has no choice for the title. So one time if a clergy offer his service to serve as the Higher priest of the service and the Holy Spirit did not let it then there is no meaning to contest again for the same. It may make the people to feel bad.

    Majority of our former and present Bishops never know that they will be elevated as a Bishop, but the Holy Spirit brought them up and that is the strength of the prayer life. That is the tradition of my Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Our prayer is perfect and we do not need to make any instant sprit making dramatic prayers like that the Protestants does. All our present beloved Bishops are selected by the power of the Holy Spirit and that is why they are all selected by the Malankara Association and the Holy Spirit will lead our Church and I firmly believe in that. Kindly pray for our Church to overcome the hard times that we are facing. Anyone who acts against the Church will never have long standings.

    The history shows the punishment for those who disturbed the Holy services, those who tried to make the Church as a commercial business place and those who tried to overcome the will of the Holy Spirit. Those names will never stay.
    Our duty is to pray to the Holy Spirit to bless our Church to get elected new spiritual leaders, to lead our Church and May God shower His abundance of mercy to us and to all our spiritual leaders.

    Charly V. Padanilam, Houston, TX

Leave a Reply

Advertisement CLICK HERE

Photo Gallery

Log in / © 2002-2009 BMM Creations Inc. All Rights Reserved.