Vatican intervenes to allow the status quo on Mass celebration

The Congregation for the Oriental Churches in the Vatican has intervened to maintain the status quo in the celebration of the holy Mass in the Major Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabar Church.

A letter from the congregation, addressed to Archbishop Mar Antony Kariyil, says as Metropolitan Vicar, the archbishop could dispense with any decision that would “result in grave consequences” with the implementation on November 28, 2021 of a synodal decision concerning the holy Qurbana (Mass).

What the circular seems to imply is the major archdiocese can continue with the present system of the Mass being celebrated with the celebrant (priest) facing the congregation (westward) for the entire duration of the Mass instead of the decision of the synod of bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church in August for a uniform system of celebrating the Mass with the celebrant facing the congregation for the first half (the liturgy of the Word) and facing eastward (the liturgy of the Eucharist) for the second half. The uniform system was to come into effect on the first Sunday of the new liturgical calendar beginning November 28. It is also the first Sunday of the Advent season.

Cardinal’s stance

However, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, Major Archbishop, said in a statement on Saturday that no communication had been received from the Vatican regarding the stay on the synodal decision. He expects all dioceses of the Church to implement the synodal decision on uniform Mass celebration.

The synodal decision has caused unrest among a section of the priests and the faithful in the archdiocese where the Mass is now celebrated with the celebrant facing the congregation throughout the ceremony. The community favouring the system says it would protest against the decision on Sunday. However, the letter from the Vatican has resulted in the protest being called off.

Decision welcomed

Father Kuriakose Mundadan, a senior priest of the major archdiocese, is among those who have welcomed the decision which came after Mar Kariyil met Pope Francis and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, head of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and the Vatican State Secretary early this week.

Riju Kanjookkaran, leader of the Almaya Munnettam, an organisation calling for more transparency in Church administration, has welcomed the decision and calls it a positive one. He says the decision would help cement unity in the community.

The letter from Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, also calls upon Mar Kariyil to convey to the Major Archbishop and the synod at its scheduled meeting in January 2022 the difficulties that would arise if the decision on implementing the uniform Mass code is imposed.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 4:41:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/vatican-intervenes-to-allow-status-quo-on-mass-celebration/article37717314.ece

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