Cardinal Alencherry accused of defying Pope

The standoff between Syro-Malabar Church head Cardinal George Alencherry and a section of laity and priests on a unified Mass system has taken a confrontational turn, with the Syrian Catholic Liturgical Forum alleging that the Cardinal is defying Pope Francis.

A statement issued by forum leaders here on Saturday said it would be against their conscience to mention the name of the Cardinal during the Mass. A prayer for the Pope and the respective heads of dioceses is a common feature of the Mass in the Catholic Church.

The statement said there was a strong protest against the unified Mass system, which was to come into effect on November 28, from Ernakulam-Angamaly, Irinjalakuda, Thamarassery and Palakkad dioceses. In view of the differences, local bishops have the authority to exempt their respective dioceses from the purview of the synodal decision for a common pattern for the Mass.

In keeping with the provisions of Canon 1538, the archdiocese was exempted from implementing the new Mass system.

However, the liturgical council said the Cardinal had claimed that he had no information on the exemption being granted to the archdiocese on the unified Mass system, which constituted defying the Pope.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, head of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, had given the sanction, and as soon as the circular on following the status quo on total congregation facing Mass was issued, the Cardinal denied all knowledge of such a circular, said liturgical council secretary Rajan Punnakkal.

The unified system of Mass involves the celebrant facing the congregation during the first half of the Mass and then turning away from the congregation during the consecration and rest of the Mass. However, priests and laity in dioceses like Ernakulam-Angamaly, Irinjalakuda, Thrissur, and Thamarassery are learnt to have demanded continuing with the present system of the celebrant facing the congregation throughout the Mass, though only the first two dioceses have been given the dispensation by the bishops.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 5:49:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/cardinal-alencherry-accused-of-defying-pope/article37847706.ece

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