Priests of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church have begun an indefinite blockade of the Archbishop’s House in Kochi on Monday demanding that efforts to impose the unified Mass system be abandoned.
The priests also said that any attempt to impose the system on the archdiocesan minor seminary should be rolled back.
The demand for abandoning the Synodal decision on unified Mass in the archdiocese and the blockade of the Archbishop’s House in support of the demands have the backing of 320 archdiocesan parishes and 450 priests, claimed a statement here.
The unified Mass system comprises the celebrant or the priest facing the congregation (people attending the Mass) for the first half and then turning away from them for the second half of the ceremonies. The unified Mass has the support of the Synod of bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church, which had decided in August last year that the decision should be implemented in all parishes of the Church.
However, a majority of parishioners and priests in the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese are for a fully people-facing Mass and want the current form of the Mass to be accepted as a liturgical variant in the archdiocese. The archdiocese is the largest in the Syro-Malabar Church. Most other dioceses and archdioceses have accepted the Synodal decision.
It has been alleged that the archdiocesan authorities have written to the vicar of the Basilica Cathedral of the archdiocese, rector, and officials at the minor seminary to follow the Synodal decision on the unified Mass system. Those opposing the unified Mass have demanded that the letters be withdrawn immediately.
The priests have also demanded that the stand taken by a majority of parishioners and priests on the issue be properly conveyed to the Vatican. They have also said that only a fully people-facing Mass would be allowed in the archdiocese.