The Syro Malabar rite of worship is one of the 22 Eastern rites that independently exist within the Latin-rite Catholic church.

Catholics opposed to being transferred from the Archdiocese of Delhi to the Eparchy of Faridabad have decided to intensify their agitation against the move, after meeting Delhi's Archbishop Anil Couto on Monday. The Hindu had reported earlier this month that a section of Catholics, of Kerala origin, have asked the Pope to annul the Joint Pastoral Letter (JPL) of 2013 that transferred them from the Latin-rite Archdiocese to the Syro Malabar Eparchy, created in 2012.

The Syro Malabar rite of worship is one of the 22 Eastern rites that independently exist within the Latin-rite Catholic church. The JPL automatically transferred Delhi's Catholics, who have been baptised under the Syro Malabar rite although they currently participate in Latin-rite parishes. The dissenters complained that the JPL denied the freedom of choice and the additional red tape was creating problems in baptisms and marriages. Following the letter to the Pope, Archbishop Couto held the JPL in abeyance until further directions from the Vatican.

Kurien Joseph, a member of the Syro Malabar Faithful of Delhi Archdiocese who met Couto said that the talks were unfruitful. "He (Couto) merely reiterated the demands of the Eparchy. In fact, it’s half a step back. There is nothing to discuss now. Now there will be a no holds barred approach in opposing this transfer. We are not just asking for an exemption, but in fact questioning the basis of Eparchy," he told The Hindu.

The dissenters have raised objections over the raison d'etre for the creation of the Eparchy--which included alienation of Syro Malabar Christians and deviation from religious practices. The reason for the breakdown in talks is that the dissenters hoped that the Latin Church would stick to the stand of former Delhi Archbishop Vincent Concessao, who in his 2005 decree, allowed the freedom the choose one's rite of worship and allowed Oriental parishes to operate only under jurisdiction of the Latin archdiocese.

A Delhi Church source said that the Vatican Embassy had advised both the Archdiocese and the Eparchy to resolve the dispute amicably. "This may include revisiting the ad hoc committee of lay people, an advisory body which preceded the Eparchy," he explained.

More In: Delhi