Catholic protestors set fire to bishop’s letter

protestors set fire to letter

A group of Catholic protestors in southern India set fire to a copy of an archbishop’s letter instructing parishes to implement a new mode of celebrating the liturgy.

Members of the Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency (AMT) set alight to the circular letter from Archbishop Andrews Thazhath outside Bishop’s House in Ernakulum, Kerela.

Andrews Thazhath, the Apostolic Administrator of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, issued a circular on September 30. It reminded priests and laity of the Pope’s communication to adhere to the unified mode of worship at all parishes under the Syro-Malabar Church.

The uniform mode was introduced in 1999 as a compromise between those who favoured the Holy Qurbana celebrated ‘ad orientem’ and those who preferred it celebrated ‘versus populum’.

Under the “50:50 formula,” priests face the congregation during the Liturgy of the Word but turn east for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Pope Francis has endorsed the formula, which has been adopted in other Syro-Malabar dioceses. But most clergy in the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese want to continue facing the people throughout the Eucharistic liturgy, a practice they have followed for the past 50 years.

The prelate met with priests in a presbytery where he insisted that they should offer Mass as directed by the Church’s Synod instead of the traditional style.

“We disagreed with the demand of the archbishop and tried to convince him of the reality in the archdiocese that nobody wants the synod Mass, but he was not ready to listen to us at all,” said a priest on condition of anonymity.

Archbishop Thazhath then attended a meeting of the newly constituted curia after the presbytery meeting, from where he was escorted by police to a waiting taxi.

A group of laypeople inside the Archbishop’s House shouted slogans demanding Archbishop Thazhath’s resignation as he was escorted to the vehicle.

The AMT, a combine of priests and lay people, said that representatives of parish councils would meet on Sunday to discuss the developments. “It appears that our views have not been conveyed properly to the Vatican,” said AMT spokesperson Riju Kanjookkaran on Saturday.

The AMT said representatives of various parishes would dump the circular in a public garbage bin on Sunday after a meeting at the Renewal Centre at Kaloor. It will be followed by burning the circular in all churches on 9 October.

Mr Kanjookaran said lay people and a majority of priests of the archdiocese were opposed to the implementation of the uniform Mass celebration. He claimed that the letter in which the Vatican had stood for a uniform Mass system was part of a personal letter received by Archbishop Thazhath. It was not a public document, as claimed by the archdiocesan administrator.


The Hindu

The Pillar

Matters India

Additional reading

News category: Palmerston, World.

Tags: , ,