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292. No Mangalorean Cardinal, so what?

March 1, 2013

There is a silent rivalry that gets talked of once in a while in the Indian Catholic hierarchy once in a while. This is a rivalry between people from one state (Kerala) and people from one city (Mangalore). The rivalry is about oneupmanship and is an interesting one.

For those unfamiliar with how the Catholic Church in India operates there are three rites – the Syro-Malabar, the Syro-Malanakara and the Latin Rite. While the first two are mostly concentrated in Kerala, the third is spread across with a dominant presence in Mangalore, Goa, Mumbai, North East and elsewhere. There is a constant race for top jobs between those from Kerala and those from Mangalore.

Interestingly, there are over 20 Bishops spread across various parts of India who are of Mangalorean origin which is  a matter of pride for some. However, there has never been a Cardinal of Mangalorean origin despite Mangalore being referred to as Rome of the East and India having had 12 Cardinals so far (5 below 80 and 2 over 80 at present; 5 are deceased). Nearly three decades ago there was a Cardinal from Calcutta and I think it is high time the Archbishop of Kolkata is named a Cardinal, maybe in time for Mother Teresa’s canonisation, for not only is he a Mangalorean but one of the finest Bishops I have come across of over 100 I have interacted with.

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