Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly has taken a tentative step towards a break with the past to permit girls to serve at the altar in place altar boys. The head of the Archdiocese Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil has let parishes decide whether they can let girls to serve at the altar during the Mass. The ultimate decision will be taken by the parish priests in consultation with the parish councils, said spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Church Paul Thelekkatt here. What is important is the acceptability of the practices, he added.

The permission comes in the wake of discussions at the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council to let the various Catholic dioceses decide whether or not to use the services of girls at the altar.