Mass in uniform intensifies in Kerala Catholic Church | Latest India News

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As of Sunday, many Catholic churches in Kerala witnessed protests against the directive to implement a uniform manner of conducting the November 28 Mass and burned copies of the directive in several places.

The Synod (Supreme Council of the Church to decide on doctrine and administration) had issued a directive in September to all dioceses under the Syro-Malabar Church to celebrate Mass in front of the altar from the November 28, which also marks the church’s liturgical calendar.

Many churches in the dioceses of Ernakulam-Angamally, Irinjalakuda and Faridabad (national capital region) stayed away from the uniform Mass on November 28 citing exemptions.

The synod demanded an explanation from the eastern congregation saying the exemption was only a temporary reprieve and all should adopt the new form at the earliest, people familiar with the development said.

Almaya Munnettam, a lay organization in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamally, which leads the initiative against the Uniform Mass, has warned of serious consequences if the church goes ahead with its directive.

“We approached Pope Francis and Cardinal Leonardo, perfect of the Eastern congregation, and got an exemption, but the church is moving forward with its decision. We will not allow that to happen, ”said Binu John, chairman of Almaya Munnettam, adding that any initiative to dilute the exemption will be opposed.

John said the latest notice asking for explanations from dioceses that had not organized the new form of holy mass angered some sections.

Protesters want independent rituals to stay and fear indigenous practices will disappear with a uniform process, people familiar with the development said, adding that the growing dissent could snowball into a major crisis and even lead to a split, if not resolved amicably.

“It’s not just about facing the altar or not – whether Syrian or Roman origin is the moot question here. The problem has been brewing for more than four decades, but it has recently gained in importance, ”said George Podipara, a church watcher and senior journalist, adding that this is the main reason for some of the recent feuds. in the Syro-Malabar church, including dissent. against the oldest priest in the state, Cardinal Mar George Alancherry.

“It is true that the early believers just followed what the priests and bishops said, but now times have changed. It is not a simple friction on the mass, it is a struggle between the fundamentalists and the progressive forces of the church ”, declared Shaiju Antony, spokesperson for Almaya Munnettam.

Antony said the Orthodox section is pushing back the church by enforcing uniformity and ignoring time-tested changes.

Synod of Syrian-Malabar Bishops and editor-in-chief of Light of Truth, a bimonthly, Father Paul Thelakat has said that all types of fundamentalism demand uniformity.

“Uniformity takes away local diversity. The demonstrators are worried about the notion of authority which is not Christian but autocratic. Imposing uniformity is not at all a participatory way of exercising authority, ”said Thelakat.

Protesters said they had faced the people for the duration of Mass and the new directive made it difficult for them to face the altar throughout Mass, and they insist on a 50:50 formula – half of the Mass facing believers and half facing believers. the altar.

However, supporters of the Uniform Mass said only a tiny fraction of priests and laity opposed the new changes.

“We’ve been on the 50-50 formula for some time. It’s time to change. The liturgical form is an identity of the church and it must be uniform, ”said media commission secretary Father Alex Onampally, adding that priests and dissident believers will be appeased.


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