Syro-Malabar church blames basilica closure on liturgy protests

In a clear sign that a vicious fight over liturgy in Catholicism’s second-largest eastern church is far from resolved, the papally appointed administrator of a basilica in southern India has been forced to issue a statement insisting it’s not his fault the basilica has been closed for six months.

The dispute is unfolding within the Syro-Malabar Church, which traces its origins to the Apostle Thomas.

In 2021, the church’s synod decided to adopt a uniform mode of celebrating the liturgy, in which priests face the people during the Liturgy of the Word and then the altar during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, turning around again to address the congregation after communion.

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