Wednesday, 1 January 2014

MASS IN TAMIL IN CATHOLIC CHURCHES ARE INVALID : CHENNAI COURT

                              September 10, 2013
 IN THE CITY CIVIL COURT AT CHENNAI
Present: Thiru T.Chandrasekar, M.L.,
IV Assistant Judge
Friday , the 6th day of September 2013
O.S.No.9269/1995
1 . G.Alex Benziger,
     18, Pidariyar Koil lane, Madras-1.

2 . Dr.Leonard Vasanth, “Vasco”,
     AB-34, Ana Nagar, Madras/40.

3 . J.V.Fernando, 354/7,
     Aiswarya Colony, Anna Nagar,
    Madras -40.                                                                       ...  Plaintiffs

                                                //vs//

1 . Catholic Bishops Conference of India,
     rep. by the Secretary General,
     CBCI Centre, 1, Ashok Place Near Goledakkhana,
     New Delhi 110 001.                                                         

2 . Most Rev. Dr.George Antonysamy,
    Archbishop of Madras- Mylapore,
    21, Santhome High Road, Madras-4.
    2nd defendant is substituted as per the
    order of the court made in I.A.4333/2013
    dated 08.06.2013.

3 . Rt. Rev. A.Anandarayar,
     Archbishop of Pondicherry, Cuddalore,
     Archbishop's house, Pondicherry 605 001.
     3rd defendant is substituted as per the
      order of the court made in I.A.4687/2008
       dated 03.06.2008.

4 . Most Rev. Dr.Peter Fernando,
     Archbishop of Madurai, Archbishop's house,
     Pondicherry 625 008.

5 . Most Rev. Dr.Devadoss Ambrose,
      Bishop of Thanjavur,
      Bishop's house, Thanjavur 613 007.

6 . Rt. Rev. P.Soundarajan Periyanayagam Sdb,
     Bishop of Vellore, Bisbhop's house, 34 officer's line,
    Vellore – 632 001.
      6th defendant is substituted as per the order of the
      court made in I.A.4687/2008 dated 03.06.2008.
     
7.  Rt. Rev. S.Singaroyar,
     Bishop of Salem, Bishop's house,
     Maravaneri, Salem 636 007.

8 . Most Rev. Dr.Thomas Aqinas,
    Bishop of Coimbatore,
    Bishop's house, Coimbatore, 636 007.

9 . Rt.Rev. Dr.Antony Devotta,
     Bishop of Trichy,
     Bishop's house, Tiruchirappalli 620 001.

10 . Rt. Rev. Antonysamy Francis,
       Bishop of Kumbakonam, Bishop's house,
       Kumbakonam 612 001.
       10th  defendant is substituted as per the
       order of the court made in I.A.5492/2009
       dated 30.06.2009.

11 . Rt. Rev. Dr.Susimanickam,
     Bishop of Sivagangai, Bishop's house,
     Sivagangai 623 560.

12 . Rt. Rev. Ivan Ambrose,
       Bishop of Tuticorin,
       Bishop's house, Tuticorin 628 001.

13 . Rt. Rev. Dr.Jude Paul Raj,
       Bishop of Palaymkottai,
       Catholic Bisshop's house,
       Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli 627 001.

14 . Rt. Rev. Dr.Peter Remigius,
       Bishop of Kottar,
       Bishop's house, Nagercoil 629 001.
       14th defendant is substituted as per the
       order of the court made in I.A.4687/2008
       dated 03.06.2008.
15 . Rt.Rev. Dr.Anandarayar,
       Bishop of Otacamund,
       Bishop's house, Ootacamund 643 001.

16 . Rt. Rev. George Zur,
       Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to India,
       50-C Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri,
       New Delhi 110 021.                                                        ...  Defendants.

                This suit coming on 13.08.2013 for final hearing before me in the presence of M/s K.Shanmugakani, learned counsels for the plaintiffs and of M/s R.Thirugnanam, VMurali, and V.S.Ramesh, learned counsels for the defendants 2 to 15 and the suit against the defendants 1 and 16 have been given up, upon hearing their arguments, upon perusing the documents and having stood over till this day for consideration, this court delivered the following
JUDGMENT
                   The suit has been filed under Order VII Rule 1 of CPC
                   a) for declaration that the translation of Missal in 1993 (jpUg;gyp g[j;jfk;) made by the defendants 2 to 15 are illegal, improper, incorrect, unbiblical, ultravires of the Canon Law and hence invalid.
                   b) for a declaration that the defendants 2 to 14 are incompetent to discharge the office of the Archbishops/Bishops, since they are very much against the vatican (Holy See)
                   c) for a permanent injunction restraining the defendants 2 to 15 or their priests from using the Missal 1993 (Tamil Liturgical Book – 1993  jpUg;gyp g[j;jfk; ) in all the Roman Catholic Churches under their jurisdiction and for costs.
          1 . The averments set out in the plaint in brief read as follows:-
                       The plaintiff 1 to 3 are members of Roman Catholic Church by virtue of Canon Law 842 (2).  All the plaintiffs are deeply concerned about the well being of the Roman Catholic Church. Satan came to the garden Eden, in the form of a sarpet and temped woman and man to eat the forbidden fruit. God caused the Satan and said “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your see and her seed; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel”. Thus God was to born as a human to redeem man kind who was those tempted by Satan. The incarnation of God took place, this for the redemption of Humanity.
                   Jesus Christ, the incarnated God lived a life of purity in this world for 33 years. He was crucified and died on the cross, to redeem the Humanity from eternal damnation. On the 3rd day he rose again from his death-resurrection of Christ-as revealed already to His Apostles and later ascended into Heaven with His Body and Soul. The Apostles later wrote on His life and His teachings in this world to the Humanity and this text is called the “Gospel” of the Church- the “New Testament”.  The compilation earlier history before Christ and what the prophets forecasted about Him is the “Old Testament”.  Both these are known as the “Holy Bible”.
                   The Roman Catholic Church is being ruled by the Popes in succession till date. The Pope under this authority formed Ecclesiastical Districts (Dioceses) all over the world to be administered by the Bishops. The Bishops in their turn formed the parishes in their jurisdiction, to be administered by the parish priests.
                   The Pose, Bishops and the Priests from the hierarchic governing body of the Church are to live according to this teachings of Jesus Christ and teach them to the children of God enabling them to lead a holy life and attain the eternal Kingdom of God after their death.
                   The Holy Roman Catholic Church has released the article of faith, through its dogmas, creed and doctrines (Magisterium). As such the members of the church have to accept the magisterium verbatim and follow them.
                   The code of Canon Law was promulgated for the Latin Rites in the year 1917 which was renewed in 1983 and released this formation of Canon Law which can be taken as the “Procedure Code”. There are about 14 Ecclesiastical Districts-Dioceses-in Tamil Nadu and all these 14 dioceses follow the Latin Rite. Hence the entire Catholic Church in Tamil Nadu is bounded by the “Code of Canon Law”. 
                   The defendants 2 to 14 who are in the authority over the Ecclesiastical Districts are thus bound by the Canon 392 (2). Further the most salient and foremost of all, the worships in the Catholic Church is the Liturgy of Holy Mass.  The Bishop or the priest who consecrate in the liturgy of Holy Mass become another Christ- “Altar Christ”.
                   The second Vatican Council that concluded in 1965, gave permission to celebrate the Mass in the Local vernacular language. With this permission, the Roam Missal was translated into vernacular languages and Tamil also. The mass was celebrated in Tamil. The tamil translation of the liturgical prayers and text that formed the liturgical Book- jpUg;gyp g[j;jfk;- Missal-received the consent of Rome and put into application in 1970. Later it was updated in 1975 and released in 1979, both with “Prior Review” from Vatican.
                   There are specific instruction that thee should be a “prior Review” by the Holy see for any translations or any alterations that are to be effected by the defendants in the liturgical books of the mass. Canon 838 (iii) stipulates prior review unambiguously.
                   The defendants 2 to 14 after publishing the edition of first vernacular Missal in 1970, further changed it and released in 1979, duly obtaining the “Prior Review” of Vatican. But in 1993, the defendants 2 to 14 made further unwarranted and improper changes in the liturgical books and released it for use in all the catholic churches, without obtaining the “Prior Review” of the Holy See as stated above and thus the defendants 2 to 14 have by-passed deliberately and disobeyed the specific Rules of Vatican and over-stepped their authority.
                   The Vatican has also restricted the use of any addition or deletion or alter and text to the individual likes, as against the text prescribed in the liturgical books.  In the Canon 846 (1) states that “the liturgical books, approved by the competent authority, are to be faithfully followed in the celebration of the sacraments.  Accordingly, no one may on a personal initiative add to or omit or alter anything in those books.” But the defendants 2 to 14 and their priests had acted very much against the above rule it has become a common practice for them to sue their own anaphora of innovative in addition or omission of words from the prescribed text, to suit their individual fancy. Thus the defendants 2 to 14 are acting against the Vatican instructions and the authority of law.
                   The General Instructions (Rubrics) of the liturgical books is that the priest as the celebrant of the Holy Mass should have the vestments: Alb, stole and chasuble.   But the priests do not generally put on the Alb, a white long-flowing inner vestment. In the Holy mass, the encharist prayer is the centre and highpoint of the entire celebration.  Vatican has given due permission (Prot.n.CD.307/77 dated 08.06.1977) for the use of the following words in the act of consecration that is
                   ,J c';fSf;fhf ifaspf;fg;gLk; vd; rhPuk;**
                            “This is My Body being offered for you”
It has further made a condition that “nothing contrary can prevail against this” (Contrarilis quibuslibet minime obstantibus).  But the defendants 2 to 14 have now changed it without the “Prior Review” of Holy See (Vatican) to pronounce as
          ** ,J c';fSf;fhf ifaspf;fg;gLk; vd; cly;**
                           “ This is my body being offered for you”
This is where the Transubstantiation takes place i.e. the Bread being physically transformed to the Real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in Body, Soul and Divinity.   The translated word of  rhPuk;  and cly;   cannot give the very same meaning in the general usage and it is further revealed in the Tamil-English Dictionary  that
cly;    (UDAL) : Body – Human or Brute
rhPuk;   (SAREERAM)  -  The living Human Body, the tenement of the soul.
The word rhPuk; alone  can bring in the really theologically divine meanings of “Transubstantiation” to reveal the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Body and Soul more so in “ His Divinity”.  But the defendants innovated translation, certainly uprooted the faith on the real meaning of the “Transubstantiation”.  Hence the translation of Missal 1993 edition by the defendants 2 to 14 are against the ruling of Vatican. 
                   The plaintiffs are shocked and at a loss to note the grave mistakes committed by the defendants in the revised missal of 1993 that has made them for further translation from 1979. The defendants have made incorrect and irrelevant translation of the texts in 1993, they have blatantly done it to suit their whims and fancy. This  translated versions have diluted and denied the doctrinal teachings on the TRUTH that were received and being received by the faithful as well as the plaintiffs from the Holy See. The defendants have, through the incorrect translation, purposely with ill will produced false liturgical prayers much against the intentions and faith a taught by the Holy Church with the sole determination to destroy the faith and distort the faithful from the TRUTH and to them in the utter confusion on the truth that is to be discriminated from the Satantic work in their ongoing journey towards the goal of the eternal life in the Kingdom of God. As such the defendants have destroyed the religious feelings of the plaintiffs by obstructing them from the doctrinal teachings of the Holy See that it is to be meticulously obeyed and followed and thus denying their “right of worship” which is guaranteed under Art.25 (1) of the Constitution of India.
                   The defendants have made the Tamil translation of the text of the Missal 1993, not based on its relevance to the words of God nor His intentions, but to their whims and fancy. The word “Eternal Life” is being diluted in their translation as “Life of Fullness”. Lead us not into temptation as Brotherly, take part in the Liturgy with pure heart as to enliven the neighbours, attend the Holy Mass with faith as to attend the renewed service, Salvation as Development, Mercy as Parallel Society and Eternal Reward as United peace/Union of peace.
                   The defendants 2 to 14 have also seen the word “Sin” is totally removed from the text of the Missal 1993. The plaintiffs have been all along receiving the right of proper teaching from the Church in the right direction to attain the Kingdom of Heaven which ha now been suppressed or camouflaged and put into total confusion as to the Truth or heretic. Hence the defendants 2 to 14 have lost their right to lead their flock.
          The defendants have willfully done certain erroneous and illegal translations in the liturgical book in 1993 with the sole intention of, creating confusion and diverting the faithful and the plaintiff from their faith on the Authoritative teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.  Such erroneous and illegal translations can be clearly seen in the 1993 translation of the Missal. There are 4 tenets in the Liturgy which are dabbled by the defendants in the name of translation. The tenets are Sacrifice, Eternal Life, Sin and Doctrine/Dogma/Creed. The translation of 1979 has been completely given go bye in the translation of 1993 and the defendants have deliberately to divert the faith of the catholic laymen, especially the plaintiffs herein against the teaching of Vatican by willfully dropping the Resurrection of our Body under the guise of irrelevant translation.
          The introduction of false prayers as a result of the 1993 translation made the defendants and their priests deny the catholic particularly the plaintiffs herein of their spiritual graces through this Liturgy of Holy Mass. Thus the defendants 2 to 14 have failed in their duty to lead the catholic lay people as well as the plaintiffs and cheated them and hence the defendants 2 to 14 have lost their right of authority of holding their office.  The chaotic action of the defendants have created the situation wherein the plaintiffs -lay catholic – cannot keep quite.  According to the canon 229(1) the plaintiffs are duly bound to safeguard themselves from the cunningly manipulated deeds and acts of the defendants.  The cannon 229(1) states “ Lay people have the duty and the right to acquire the knowledge of Christian teaching which is appropriate to each one's capacity and condition, so that they may be able to live according to this teaching to proclaim it and if necessary to defend it, and may be capable of playing their part in the exercise of the apostolate”.  Based on this duty, the plaintiffs have sent a notice to the defendants 2 to 14 on 7.12.1994 with a request to withdraw the Missal of 1993 introduced by the defendants from all churches under their jurisdiction a missal that is against the teaching and intention of the Holy Church.  Till date, there is no response. Hence the suit.
                   2 . The averments set out in the written statement filed by 4th defendant read as follows:-
                   At the outset the entire matter referred in the plaint and the relief sought for in the plaint are purely religious in nature, touching with the “spiritual” and “ceremonial matters” connected with the Catholic faith, under the supreme authority of the Holy Pope and the Hierarchical church consisting of the Bishops all over world, specifically in this case, the Bishops of Tamil Nadu.
                   Both under the code of Civil Procedure and the Canonical Law of the church, this Hon'ble court has no jurisdiction to go into the veracity of the church's Authority in the matter of Liturgical prayers, which involves spiritual and religious aspects of the church, concerning the Liturgy used in the church's Devotional prayers.
                   The plaintiffs unnecessarily dragged the Ministers of the church (Bishops) before this Hon'ble court, without any authority whatsoever to interfere in the religious domain of the Catholic Church, which is well within the jurisdiction of the Bishops as per the code of Canon Law of the Church.
                   There is no locus standi for the plaintiffs to question the validity of the Liturgical translations as made and pronounced by the competent authority of the Tamil Nadu Bishops Council. Under the code of Canon Law governing the spiritual and religious aspects of the Catholic Church, Canon 1401 categorically prohibits the interference of any other authority except the Roman Catholic church in all matters, including the Liturgy of the church. Hence under canon law, the plaintiffs have no right or locus standi to drag the ministers of the church in implementing the revision in the Holy prayer Book of “The Missal”.
                   The plaintiffs have no authority to represent any body or any body of persons within the Catholic Church, to go into the question referred to in the plaint. All disciplined Catholics are subject to the code of canon law of the church in following the dictates of the Church. If there is any doubt in the proclamation of the Dogmas, Doctrines and Creeds, which are likely to be diluted due to the translations in the Liturgy, the faithfuls are absolutely free, well within the church authorities to approach the proper Superiors and Doctors of the church to get clarified, and in no way they are empowered to bring the matter before a civil court to get a religious sanction, for that will amount to an Anathema.
                   The Pope and the Bishops are hierarchical successors to the apostles to the Lord Jesus Christ. The entire allegation contained in the plaint touches only with the religious and spiritual rights of the Catholic Christian Community which is well within the exclusive domain of the Catholic Hierarchical Church and no civil rights are involved.  Therefore the plaintiffs are abusing the process of this Hon'ble court in prosecuting a purely religious and spiritual matter which is clearly barred by Sec.9 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Besides the Constitutional protection guaranteed under Art.25 of the Constitution of Indian,  prohibits the interference in the fundamental rights of the defendants in upholding their spiritual interpretations concerning the ceremonies, prayers, etc.,  of the particular religious community.
                   The ordained priests are not in the hierarchical authority of the church but it is purely in the domain of the Bishops led by the Holy Father, namely the Holy Pope. This is spoken out by Canon 357. The plaintiffs have misconstrued the spirit of the entire code of canon law and have picked up piece meal to suit their ill-conceived and irrelevant adaptations, to bring about an imaginary cause of action against the defendants without any authority or jurisdiction even under the code of canon law. The defendants as head of the Tamil Nadu Bishops council are duly and well authorised to take care of the “Missal of 1993” and the Liturgical translation made thereto are correct, legal, biblical and well within the ambit of the code of canon law of the church.
                   In adopting the Tamil translated words in the “Missal of 1993”, fidelity to the original Latin text and sensitivity to the present day usage and literary expressions of the Tamil language, especially the ecclesiastical tradition, have been the two fundamental principles which have guided the committee appointed for the work of translation.   The work is only a revision and not a new translation as alleged by the plaintiffs. The defendants observed the necessary procedural formalities as applicable in thee translations of revision, well within the Authority of the Holy See. Care has been taken to render the original Latin text in the expressions in use in Tamil and Tamil Nadu. It is absolutely false to state that the defendants have made incorrect and irrelevant translation of the text in 1993 and that they have bluntly done it to suit their whims and fancies.
                   It is not only pure and simple spiritual and religious matter will within the domain of the Authority of the Bishops of Tamil Nadu in executing the well considered translations by a regular Authoritative committee, but also an act which has been approved unanimously by all the Catholic Bishops of Tamil Nadu. The authority of the Bishops in such matters has been clearly stated in Canon 375 and 756.
                 The plaintiffs are not competent to question the validity of the Authority of the Bishops of Tamil Nadu in the application of the “Liturgical Prayers” as translated in Tamil for the “Missal of 1993”.  The English translation of the Tamil versions in the “Liturgical Prayers” as submitted by the plaintiffs is incorrect and not in accordance with the actual Tamil version of the “Missal” of both 1979 and 1993. 
                   The allegations made by the plaintiffs against the Authority of the Church namely the Bishops of Tamil Nadu in these matters smells of bad taste and is with some ulterior motive behind their intentions and it is no wonder that they have used the most defamatory, mischievous and vituperative language against the Authority of Tamil Nadu Bishops. The introduction of the “Missal of 1993” is not confusing to the faithfuls who constitute the Catholic faith more than 35 lakhs in the State of Tamil Nadu alone. It is only the plaintiffs are approaching towards Satanic influence, for reasons best known to them. There is no erroneous translations in the Liturgical Book (Missal of 1993). The defendants reserve right to sue the plaintiffs for defamatory statement and compensation.
                   The translation “Udal” is proper and the translated Liturgy is used in the “Missal of 1993” is in use all over the Catholic Churches in Tamil Nadu since the year 1993 and there has been no confusion whatsoever in any place in Tamil Nadu. The entire Catholic community is in harmony with the church and is subject to the Legitimate Authority of the respective Tamil Nadu Bishops. The sacred duties and rights conferred on the Bishops by the “Divine Will” under their “Holy Faith” is not subject to any civil rights or office as understood by in Civil Laws.  It is not the letters that count but the “spirit” of the faithful and the Bishops in enunciating the sacred values of the liturgy, that matters. The canon law 299 (1) cited by the plaintiffs is not relevant to their claim. On the contrary, it is the duty of the defendants to enforce liturgical norms in their respective diocese as envisaged in the right spirit of the “Code of Canon Law”. The Canon law 838 (4) is relevant to read in this context. The clarifications called for by the members of the church on various occasions have been clarified at appropriate recognized forums within the jurisdiction of each diocese and hence there was no necessity to send individual replies to the plaintiffs letter dated 7.12.1994.There is no merits in the case of the plaintiffs besides being a bar on jurisdiction for a civil court to go into a solely religious and spiritual matter, both under the Civil Procedure Code and the code of Canon Law. Hence the suit is liable to be dismissed with exemplary costs.
                   3 .  The suit against first defendant and 16th defendant has been dismissed as given up.  Memo filed by the other defendants to adopt the written statement of 4th defendant. 
                   4 . On the basis of the above pleadings, the following issues were framed for trial.
          1 . Whether the plaintiffs are entitled to get declaration as prayed for?
          2. Whether the plaintiffs are entitled to get permanent injunction as
             prayed for?
          3 . Whether this court has no jurisdiction to try the suit?
        4 . To what other relief?

                   5 .  In view of  I.A.No.19244/2002 allowed, the following additional issues were framed on 19.07.2007.
                   1 . Whether  the Constitutional protection guaranteed under Art.25 of the Constitution of Indian is applicable to the defendants?
                   2 . Whether the defendants have authority to make translation from Missale Romanum without obtaining review from Holy See of Vatican, Rome?
                   3 . Whether the defendants have right to translate without the order from Apostle  Vatican as per Canon Law 838 (iii) ?

                   4 . Whether the defendants have right to release the Tamil translation of Liturgical prayers without getting permission from Holy See as per Canon Law 838 (iii)?
                   5 . Whether the defendants received assent from Vatican for translation of  Udal in the place of Sareeram?
                   6 . Whether the translation of Liturgy Book of 1993 has been done with fidelity?     
                   7 . Whether the translation released in the year 1993 contrary to the Liturgy Book of the year 1962 is sustainable?
                   8 . Whether the defendants 2 to 14 are entitled to continue the office or not?
                   9 . Whether the translation of the year 1993 released without prior permission and approval from Apostle as per Canon Law 838 (iii) can be used by Catholic Churches?

                   6 .  On the side of the plaintiffs, the plaintiff himself was examined as PW1 and Ex.A1 to Ex.A13 were marked.  On the side of the defendants, one witness was examined as DW1 and no document was marked on their side.
                   7 . Additional Issues No.1
                   Let this court decide the issues materially involved in the suit in the name of god, the Jesus Christ. Before going into the merits of the factual aspects canvassed on both sides, it is imperative upon this court to go into the defense which are so technical raised on the side of the defendants, the terms which would refer hereafter to defendants 2 to 15 in view of the fact that the suit against defendants 1 and 16 were already dismissed as given up. On the side of the defendants a plea has been raised that except the second defendant, all other defendants are situated out side the jurisdiction of this court, the other Bishops rendering spiritual service in Tamil Nadu have not been impleaded into the suit, consequently the suit is bad for non-joinder of parties, the suit has not been filed by the plaintiffs in representative capacity and as dealt with by the issue above referred, the civil court has no jurisdiction to go into the veracity of the church's Authority in the matter of Liturgical prayers, which involves spiritual and religious aspects of the church, concerning the Liturgy used in the church's Devotional prayers.  In this regard, the defendants have taken rescue of Art.25 of Constitution of India which reads as follows:-
Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.-
(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.
(2) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law-
(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice;
(b) providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.
Explanation I.- The wearing and carrying of kirpans shall be deemed to be included in the profession of the Sikh religion.
Explanation II.- In sub-clause (b) of clause (2), the reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly.
However it is made crystal clear that proselytization affects the freedom of conscience and thereby, conversion by force, fraud and inducement is prohibited in Rev.Stainislaus Vs.State of M.P., 1977(1) SCC 677

                   Therefore it is the application of Art.25 of constitution of India, which is not so blanket and it has to interpreted in proper sense and perspective.  Simply because the affairs are connected with religious prayer or rituals, the dispute itself  cannot be branded as purely religious in nature. At this juncture it is quiet imperative to see the definition of Religion. The term Religion is commonly defined as an organized set of beliefs and practices  directed toward spiritual concerns  that are shared by a community. Like wise “spiritual” is defined as follows:-
                   “Devotion to the immaterial part of humanity and nature rather than worldly things such as possessions; an orientation to people’s religious, moral, or emotional nature”.
                   The word Ritual means pertaining or relating to, connected with rites. The rite is a formal procedure or act in a religious or other solemn observance.
                   Therefore mere translation and publication of Liturgical book by Bishops cannot be given the colour of religious and spiritual one simply because  the prayers are read while worshiping in church. 
          In the interlocutory application in I.A.No.16932/1995 filed  for ad-interim injunction sought for by the plaintiffs, though the application was dismissed by this court, the observation goes as follows:-
        “Therefore the learned advocate for the petitioner stated that it is
         acceptable that this court has the jurisdiction to try the suit.”

However the said order has not been impugned on the side of the defendants for the said observation and findings prima facie made by this court while passing the considered order of dismissal.
                   It is the arguments advanced on the side of the defendants that if the plaintiffs are really aggrieved, they should have raised the issues raised in the suit before the ecclesiastical forum and not a Civil Court and the disputes raised by the plaintiffs are in the realm of doctrine and theological question warranting, relief from the ecclesiastical forum. However it is obvious that no such ecclesiastical forum is in vogue in our country and it is confined to the most organized Catholic Church society of England. Canon law is the name for the Catholic Church's order and discipline, structures, rules, and procedures. Both the plaintiffs and the defendants are placing their reliance upon Canon Law. The defendants have taken rescue of the Canon Law 1401 which runs as follows:-
By proper and exclusive right the Church adjudicates;
1.cases concerning spiritual matters or connected with the spiritual;
2. the violation of ecclesiastical laws and all  those cases in which there is a question of sin in respect to the determination of culpability and the imposition of ecclesiastical penalties.
          The careful and minute perusal of Canon law 1401 would disclose apparently that it speaks about spiritual matters which are exclusively religious. However translation and release of Liturgical book without prior review and proper approval from Vatican as fairly conceded by Dw1 will not come within the  realm of doctrine and theological question warranting, relief from the ecclesiastical forum. The particulars of forums available under Canon Law is not surfaced  on the side of defendants and when the translation and release of  Liturgy Book of 1993 is not in accordance to Canon Law, the defendants lost their locus standi to dictate the plaintiffs only to approach the  forums under Canon Law simply for the purpose of  defending the suit by one way or other.
                   Per contra, on the side of the plaintiffs, the canon 229(1) is cited which reads thus:-
                   “Lay people have the duty and the right to acquire the knowledge of Christian teaching which is appropriate to each one's capacity and condition, so that they may be able to live according to this teaching to proclaim it and if necessary to defend it, and may be capable of playing their part in the exercise of the apostolate”.
                   If necessary to defend it which is the obligation imposed by the canon law to lay people entitles the plaintiffs to issue notice dated 7.12.1994 marked as Ex.A12 to the defendants and the explanation offered by the defendants in their written statement that the clarifications called for by the members of the church on various occasions have been clarified at appropriate recognized forums within the jurisdiction of each diocese and hence there was no necessity to send individual replies to Ex.A12  cannot augur well and will not  suffice in any forum of law. Rather it is absolutely an after thought made for the purpose of defending the suit.
                   Therefore the translation of Missal in 1993 which is the subject matter of the suit though put into application in church, it itself is not religious, spiritual or ritual thereby debarring the civil court to entertain and try the suit.
                   At the time of filing of the suit before the Hon'ble High court of judicature at Madras, the plaintiffs have sought for grant of leave to sue the defendants in the suit and it was granted. When concededly the 2nd defendant comes within the jurisdiction of this court, the plaintiffs need not be harassed to file separate suit as against each and every diocese and the single  suit filed before this court in a comprehensive way is unambiguously maintainable in law. It at all any decree is passed by this court  it is going go bind upon the defendants who are parties to the suit and as stated earlier the suit against defendants 1 and 16 has been already dismissed.  The decree is going to be in personum and not in rem. Hence there is no strength in the version of the defendants that the suit is hit by non-joinder of necessary parties.  The plaintiffs are the authors of the plaint and they have right to choose their rivals or opponents.   The issue is resolved accordingly.
Additional issues 2 to 9
                   The whole suit is based on the Code of Canon Law marked as Ex.A1 which is in fact relied on by both sides.  It is quite imperative to see Canon Law 838 (2) which reads as follows
          “ It is the prerogative of the Apostolic See to regulate the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, to publish liturgical books and review their vernacular translations, and to be watchful that liturgical regulations are everywhere faithfully observed.”         
It is also pertinent to see Canon Law 838 (3) which reads thus:
          “ It pertains to Bishops' Conferences to prepare vernacular translations of liturgical books, with appropriate adaptations as allowed by the books themselves and, with the prior review of the Holy See, to publish these translations.”
        In addition Canon Law 846 (1)  mandates as follows:
          “ The liturgical books, approved by the competent authority, are to be faithfully followed in the celebration of the sacraments.  Accordingly, no one may on a personal initiative add to or omit or alter anything in those books.”
Once it was a common law and later an Act for  protection of  intellectual property rights came into force and as such simply because meddling with the contents of a liturgical book prohibited by Canon Law, it cannot be stated that the act of the defendants and the dispute raised by the plaintiffs are falling under the realm of doctrine and theological question. 
                   Though the counsel for defendants made a weak and feeble submission that the missal in 1993 marked as Ex.A8 is  only revision of missal 1979 and not a translation, the categorical evidence of DW1 in his cross examination reads contra to that and the excerpt is furnished below.
         
“ In Ex.A8, it is pointed out that it is a translation.  It is not necessary to get any approval for any new edition or translation.  For translation, approval from the HOLY SEE  is necessary.  I have not obtained any approval for Ex.A8.”
                   In the written arguments filed on the side of the defendants also in para 9 it is canvassed that the translated prayer has been universally accepted by the faithful catholic  in the state of Tamil Nadu and right from the year 1995 till today, no faithful catholic attending the Mass has raised any hue and cry over the translated Missal as released in the year 1993.  In the written statement also when there is no whisper of the Missal 1998 is only a revision, the arguments advanced like that cannot be countenanced by court of law.  
                   Now coming to the way in which translation has been done in Ex.A8, the impugned one, it is quite relevant to read  the consecration prayers which are not conveying proper meaning at all and on the contrary erroneous, improper and arbitrary.  They are
               O Lord  ! having been filled with this food for our spiritual
               nourishment, we beseech you to teach us by the participation
               in this mystery, we may judge wisely the earthly things and
               cling to things that are full of life.

It must be heavenly life which will connote the meaning of spiritual life and the word full of life would refer to worldly life.

Take this, all of you, and eat it,
This is my BODY which will be given up for you.
Take this, all of you and drink from it
This is the cup of my blood
The blood of the new and everlasting covenant
It will be shed for you and for all
So that sins may be forgiven
Do this in memory of me

The original translation which stands good is marked as Exhibit A6 which reads as under
Take this, all of you, and eat it,
This is my SAREERAM which will be given up for you.
Take this, all of you and drink from it
This is the cup of my blood
The blood of the new and everlasting covenant
It will be shed for you and for all
So that sins may be forgiven
Do this in memory of me

 It absolutely excessive and overstepping on the part of the defendants to translate as  Udal  in the place of   Sareeram It looks so awkward and illogical to use the word  Udal; in the place of   Sareeram;  and  the explanation offered by the defendants' side that  Sareeram; is a Sanskrit word is illusory and moon shining one.  In Tamil Udal ; in the said context would refer to a dead body.  Only the persons of  conscience and deep knowledge in Tamil Literature and language alone can be expected to rake up the issue and the defendants cannot take advantage of  other Catholics attending the Mass did not raise hue and cry over the translated Missal released in the year 1993.  It is also the claim of the plaintiffs that the word eternal life, salvation, mercy and eternal reward have been  removed from their faith, diluted and misrepresented by improper and illegal translation which cannot be ruled out on careful scrutiny of the contents of 1993 translation Ex.A8 with 1979 translation marked as Ex.A2.  The word sin has been dropped and it gives support to the contentions of the plaintiffs that the defendants are misleading and confusing the catholic layman. 

                   Even assuming for a moment that this court cannot adjudge anything about the correct translation, coming to the crux of the dispute in Ex.A9, the name of the Bishops find a place and the alleged approval of them reads as follows:


A little change has been introduced in the words of consecration.
That, we publish after consultations in our meetings and after
obtaining the approval of the Holy See. Hence from the day
this Missal will come to use authoritatively, only these words
of consecration shall be used.

M. Arockiasamy, Archbishop of Madurai
Michael Augustine , Archbishop of Pondicherry- Cuddalore,
Casimir Gnanathickam, Archbishop  of Madras-Mylapore,
Packiam Arockiasamy, Bishop of Thanjavur,
Ambrose, Bishop of Coimbatore
Irudayaraj, Bishop of Palayamkottai
Aruldhas James, Bishop of Ootacamund
Michael  Bosco Duraisamy, Bishop of Salem
Amalanathar, Bishop of Tuticorin
Edward Francis, Bishop of Sivagangai
Leon Dharmaraj, Bishop of Kottar
Remigius, Bishop of Kumbakonam
Lawrence Gabriel, Bishop of Tiruchirappally,
Nambikai Raj, Administrator, Vellore.


This declaration is absolutely a false and defrauding one and there is no document available with the defendants to evidence that the translation of 1993  was approved by the Holy See.  In fact in the written arguments also it is reiterated that the translated Missal in the year 1993 has been approved by the Holy See of Vatican.  Whereas in Ex.A10 Prot.n.CD 307/77 alone has been mentioned and it is nothing but Ex.A4 and Ex.A5.  It throws much light on the fact that each and every catholic of Tamil Nadu going through Ex.A8 is defrauded and misled, consciously or unaware of it. More so the DW1 in his cross examination deposed as follows:-
         
It is correct that the permission granted in June 8, 1977 in Exhibit A8 is used in the Missal of 1993 as Exhibit “A10.  It is not correct that we have not obtained the permission  of Missal of 1993. We got permission and the permission is not printed in the Exhibit A10 is correct. It is correct to state that We have not printed the permission granted by the Apostolic  See in the Missal of  1993.
                                                 
From these readings, it goes without saying that the Ex.A8 has been released without bringing it to the knowledge of Apostle  in Vatican and as such the release of Ex.A8 itself is quite illegal and offensive.  Such being the case, the defendants cannot wash their hands by contending that Ex.A8 has close nexus with religion and spirituality, the issue has to be raised only before ecclesiastical forum and it is barred by Sec.9 of CPC.  Sec.9 of CPC stipulates that the courts shall have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature excepting suits of which their cognizance is either expressly or impliedly barred. In case of the defendants did not get prior review and sanction from Apostle of Vatican, releases the translated version Ex.A8 unilaterally at their whims and fancies it is one thing.  But under the guise of sanction obtained from Holy See, the Ex.A8 released with the approval Ex.A4 and Ex.A5 which are pertaining to the translation of 1979 absolutely false within the purview of disposal by this court. The said act of misleading, misrepresenting and mischievous release of Ex.A8 surely affects the civil right of the plaintiffs who are one among the lay people to defend in case of necessity as per Canon 229 (1). It also attracts criminal liability for penal action.  
25 . On the side of the defendants, AIR 1982 Madras 170 is relied on which is about right to take deity from one temple to another and if is held that “the plaintiffs have established a customary right to worship the deity by taking it from the main temple to the Govindasamy temple on the tenth day of Chitrai festival. As the matter pertains to a civil right, the plaintiffs will have declaration and other prayers incidental to that declaration which have been asked for in the plaint, the trial court rightly granted the decree”.
26. The defendants' side placed their reliance upon AIR 1994 MADRAS 27 which is relating to performance of rituals of following baptism by immersion on personal confession of faith and the commemoration of Lord's death in breaking of bread. No doubt it is not a civil right and Sec. 9 of C.P.C prohibits  the civil court to have jurisdiction over the said issue. But the issue materially involved in the present suit on hand is completely different and the aforesaid authority has nothing to do with the facts and circumstances of the present case which is concerned with translation by false and bogus representation of approval by Holy See.
             27.Coming to the precedent 2003 (2) CTC 577 cited by the defendants, it is in relation to building of churches and it is only the civil courts decided the whole issue. The features of Canon Law has been elaborated in the judgment by quoting the judgments of the Apex Court. However this authority can no way come to the rescue of the defendants.
             28.On the side of the defendants, in their written arguments, it is emphatically urged that the plaintiffs along with one U.Joseph Benedict, filed a suit in O.S.No. 15874/1996 in which defendants 2,4 and two more persons were arraigned as rival parties; in the suit they claimed that Arch Bishop of Madurai incurred automatic “excommunication” and also for a declaration that the Holy Bible translated by them into Thiruviviliam Is invalid, improper, incorrect, unbiblical; the defendants of the said suit took out an application in l.A.No. 22613 of 2009 for rejection of plaint under Or.VII Rule 11 of C.P.C.; stating that the dispute cannot be decided by the civil court and the parties are governed by Code of Canon Law and the suit was accordingly rejected by Learned II! Assistant City Civil Judge, Chennai. The contested order passed in l.A.No. 22613 of 2009 in O.S.No. 15874/1996 is also annexed along with the written arguments. One thing is quiet clear that what ever be the order passed by other City Civil Courts, it has no binding upon this court. That apart, the learned III Assistant City Civil Judge might be correct in deciding that “excommunication" claimed is purely a matter of faith. Doctrinal and theological question warranting ecclesiastical relief. But the printing and publication of translated version in vernacular language by giving wrong information about its authenticity will not come within the purview of any such things and the ratio of the order in rejecting that suit has nothing to do with the back drop and merits of the present suit on hand. The defendants cannot take it as granted that whatever mischief they can do, it is seldom possible for any body to bring it to the knowledge of Holy See of Vatican and under the guise of questioning the jurisdiction of civil courts to entertain the law suits, they can escape from the clutches of law. At no stretch of imagination the defendants could be justified in challenging the locus standi of the plaintiffs to approach the civil court by agitating that the use of Missal is purely a matter between the Pontiff and the Ecumenical Council. In case of a prior review and approval by Apostle See. the appropriate authority in terms of Canon Law, then only it will be a matter of religious and spirituality and when the way in which the Missal 1993 came into vogue itself is illegal, it will come definitely under the domain of civil court. The illegality cannot be cured by the cover of rendering spiritual service. Alas, the translations are highly obnoxious, careless and confusing. That are not at all warranted and by introducing Udal in the place of Sariram. the defendants can neither contribute to the improvement of the language 'Tamil nor could convey more substance through the word Udai to lay men. The evidence of Dwl and the written arguments though claimed that the Missal 1993 was approved by the Holy See of Vatican, it is falsified by non-production of any such approval and Prot.n.CD 307/77 alone has been mentioned in Ex.AlO. The defendants are bereft of documentary evidence to show that a committee was appointed for the work of translation and the work is only a revision. The defendants blowing hot and cold is liable to be deprecated in the eye of law. The issues are resolved accordingly.
29 . Issues 1 to 4
Since the translation of 1993 itself is mulcted with illegality, it cannot be allowed to be used thereby displacing the fundamentals of catholic faith and the defendants are at liberty to release the same after subjecting it to prior review and getting approval from Apostle See at Vatican. In such case only the defendants can take the shield of want of jurisdiction of civil court. Until then the translation of Missal 1993 is illegal, improper, arbitrary, ultravirus and unbiblical only. In the materialistic world, after all the defective cars sold out to customers are taken back by foreign companies, as such there is no wrong in granting prohibitory injunction thereby restraining the defendants from issuing Missal 1993 in Roman Catholic Churches under their ambit of jurisdiction. However for the unilateral publishing of Missal 1993 which is a part of the service of Bishops in churches, it cannot be held that they are wholly incompetent to discharge the office of Archbishops/Bishops and on that score only they cannot be branded that they are very much against the principles of Vatican Holy See. The failure to get approval and preaching to keep distance from god by improper translation by themselves cannot suffice to disqualify the defendants from continuing their good office. The plaintiffs have made out a case in their favour and the balance of convenience lies with them only. The defendants who are apparently suffering from merits in respect of factual aspects, failed miserably in their attempt of non­suiting the plaintiffs on sheer technicalities. If the civil court is not meddle with such affairs of defendants which are illegal and offensive, attracting criminal liability, everybody will have their own passion of releasing translations to suit their convenience in total disruption to the holy and sacrament Missal.
30 , In the result, the suit is decreed in part by declaration that the translation of Missal in 1993 <  Thiruppali Puthagam  made by the defendants 2 to 15 are illegal, improper, incorrect, unbiblical, ultravirus of the Canon Law and hence invalid and by grant of permanent injunction thereby restraining the defendants 2 to 15 :or their priests from using the Missal 1993 (Tamil Liturgical Book-1993, Thiruppali Puthagam ) in all Roman Catholic Churches under the jurisdiction. The rest of the suit stands dismissed. Considering the nature of the suit and the dispute resolved, the parties should bear their own costs.
Dictated by me to Steno-typist directly, computerized by her. corrected and pronounced by me in the open court, this the 10 day of September 2013


(IV Assistant judge)


Plaintiffs side witness
PW1 Mr.C.Alex Benziger
Plaintiffs side exhibits
Ex.A1       -                   The Code of Canon Law (book)
Ex.A2                            Poosai Book (g{irg;g[j;jfk;)
Ex.A3        -                  Sacred congregation for the sacraments and divine worship
Ex.A4                            Sacra Congregation Pro Sacraments ET Cultu Divino
                                      marked portion in Ex.A3
Ex.A5                            Sacra Congregation Pro Sacraments ET Cultu Divino
                                      marked portion in Ex.A3
Ex.A6                            Sacra Congregation Pro Sacraments ET Cultu Divino
                                      marked portion in Ex.A3
Ex.A7                            Sacra Congregation Pro Sacraments ET Cultu Divino
                                      marked portion in Ex.A3
Ex.A8       -                   Book Thiruppali (jpUg;gyp g[j;jfk;)
Ex.A9            -                      jkpHf Mah;fspd; m';fPfhuk; in Ex.A8
Ex.A10       -                           Sacra Congregation Pro sacramentis ET Cultu Divino in Ex.A8
Ex.A11      -                            jpUj;jpa jpUg;gypg;g[j;jfk; xU tpkhprdk
Ex.A12       07.12.1994         Letter given by plaintiffs to the defendants
Ex.A13       22.06.2010         Letter given by the members and friends of CPMJA.
Defendants side witness
DW1 Mr.FR.G.Rolington
Defendants side exhibits  Nil
          Dictated by me to Steno-typist, computerized by her, corrected and pronounced by me in the open court, this the 10th  day of  September 2013.


                                                                                           (  IV Assistant Judge )


No comments:

Post a Comment