Monday, July 23, 2007

Rutgers Rules!

"Rutgers University is inarguably America's cockiest, smartest party school. The only school in history who rejected their Ivy League invitation"
-The Star Ledger

So yeah Rutgers rules, anyways, I'm back from Texas and I have the Robot devil's hands to prove it. Had a great time down there, among the buffulo, or well, maybe not among the buffulo, but among the Malankara youth (basically the type of Catholic I am (well, sort of, since my mother is of the Syro-Malabar rite and I attend Latin rite masses often, I could also be placed into one of those, maybe, possibly, eh, I'll deal with that matter in another session), it has to do with Eastern-rite Catholicism, I'll get into it later). Lot of fun time, a lot better than what I expected from a Christian youth conference. Lots of fun people, some interesting speechs (a couple less interesting ones), a nice basketball tourtament (to prove how fun it was, I'd like to point out that it led to two hospitalizations), some dancing lessons and some nice socializing. To be honest I was a little afraid that the conference would be 1-dimensional and the people there would be 1-dimensional, I suppose this was just me playing into stereotypes, after all I'm a deeply religious person who does deeply religious people and I've got so many dimensions that they're slowly collapsing in on themselves in one of those infinite black hole things. So met some nice people, did some cool stuff, all awesome.

Let me explain Malankara a little before I move on (see I told you I'd get back to it, and I'm sure you thought, oh he's never going to get back to it or he's only going to get back to it months down the line, but here it's coming and you know what that makes you, a bum, yeah that's right, I called you a bum, bet you didn't expect that). See the Catholic world actually consists of several rites, the one that has the most people and which most people know of is the Latin rite, led by the Pope (hence Roman Catholics), but there are other rites. There are a couple very small other Western rites, like the Mozarabic rite practiced historically throughout Spain and Portugal and still in a couple churches in Spain, but most other non-Latin rites are Eastern rites, ie, east of Rome and Latin speaking Europe. These rites came into and out of communion with the rest of the Catholic world through a variety of reasons and ways, a couple actually never fell out of communion. Most Eastern-rite churches, however, find their origin in the split between the Catholic and Orthodox worlds, over several issues including some theological and cultural points, but mostly over the pre-eminance of the Pope over the other leaders of the Christian world, especially over the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Bzyantine Emperor. This created many Orthodox churches, most in communion with each other but some in a seperate group called the Oriental Orthodox. Over time parts of many of those churches came back into the Catholic fold through reunion movements sponsered (occassionally forcefully so) by various religious and political leaders.

This might explain how the Malankara Catholic Church (sometimes called the Syro-Malankara) was formed but that's not the case (probably, the history is a little hazy and confusing). For the Malankara Church, the initial split from Rome reached back further to the contraversies over Jesus Christ's exact, percise nature (I use this in the general sense, not in the theological sense), this prompted what was called the Nestorian Church (the current descendents of this church dispute this name, I'm kind of hazy on the matter myself, but the proper name for them is the Ancient Church of the East for those still outside the Catholic Church, and the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church who rejoined the Catholic Church) (let's call them Assyrian Churches since their patriarches were Assyrian) to split off, this being largely the church in Iraq and east of Iraq including India and what would later be the Malankara Catholic Church.

Little confusing, yeah, I'm a little confused by it too at times. Ok, but the situation was that the Indian churches (yes there were Indian churches, started by Saint Thomas, found in the Kerala region of India) was that they were mostly in communion with the churches in Iraq, accept some might have been in communion with churches in Syria, and some might have still been in communion with the Pope and just isolated (my father who knows the matter better than I would probably scold me for not knowing this better if he read this session, but hopefully I'll revisit this sometime when I know matters more certainly).

That was the situation in the 15th century, then the Portugese came. They found the local Christians practicing their own rite and tried to enforce communion with Rome. Some joined willingly, some joined unwillingly, but an Indian-rite denomination (although influenced by Portugese practice (to what degree I'm not exactly sure, it's generally said that the Portugese were not very respectful of the local Indian Christians, on the other hand, the rite that emerged from this was still very much Indian)) was formed in communion with Rome, this was the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Also at the same time the Portugese baptized some new Christians, these became the Latin-rite Cahtolic Church in India. But some of the local, older Christians were defiant about Portuguese domination and impositions and the force the Portugese used, and these stayed part of the Orthodox Churches or part of the Assyrian Churches or on their own, and some were later influenced by Protestantism and their were other splits and such, it's all very, very confusing.

Anyways, what is more clear, is that Bishop Mar Ivanios, then of the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church, in 1930 led his church and others to reunite with Rome and form the Malankara Catholic Church, of which my father is a member of. I attend the Malankara masses and consider myself a member although I also attend Latin rite masses and like I said my mother is Syro-Malabar. And this church had a North American Youth Conference (Youth being 15-35, with a good number in their 20s) in Houston and that was where I was.

Anyways the important thing is is that the Malankara Catholic Church rocks the house, Catholic rule in general and I had a lot of fun.

So I got ot go to sleep soon, so take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

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