Archbishop Vasil meets cathedral parishioners; rebel group protests

‘No member of the team that met the archbishop on Saturday held any official position in the parish administration’

August 12, 2023 06:53 pm | Updated 06:53 pm IST - KOCHI

Archbishop Cyril Vasil, papal delegate to the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro Malabar Church, met a group of St. Mary’s Cathedral parishioners here on Saturday.

But lay people’s group Almaya Munnettam, opposed to the synod decision for a unified Mass, protested against the meeting. The group claimed that no member of the team that met the archbishop on Saturday held any official position in the parish administration.

Riju Kanjookkaran, the spokesman for the rebel group, said a vast majority of parishioners and priests in the archdiocese wanted the fully people-facing Mass celebration. The group said it would submit memoranda to the archbishop on August 15 protesting against his meeting with the parishioners on Saturday and demand that the cathedral be reopened for full people facing mass. The group will lay out clearly in the memorandum that the parishioners will not accept any other form of mass.

At the same time, the group reiterated there will be no further discussions with the papal delegate. The group raised doubts about the exact nature of the papal delegate’s appointment and rejected his role as a tool to implement the synod decision on the liturgy. The group claimed that the papal delegate is an appointee of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

The papal delegate also visited the archbishop’s house, St. Mary’s cathedral basilica, and St. George’s church, Edappally, on Saturday.

In the meanwhile, leaders of Catholic Laymen’s Association, a reform minded group of Catholics in Kerala, called on the papal delegate to convey to him that fully people facing mass is a more than 60-year-old tradition and the way of celebrating the mass should be sanctioned for the entire Syro-Malabar Church.

The laymen’s team met the papal delegate at the CMI headquarters in Kakkanad, near Kochi, Friday evening and handed over to him a memorandum listing their demands.

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