Delhi Gives Eastern-rite Catholics Leeway

NEW DELHI, India, MAY 30, 2003 ( The Delhi Archdiocese of the Latin rite has instituted new parishes for Eastern-rite Catholics in its territory, in response to their request for greater autonomy.

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A decree published May 14 assigns six parishes to Catholics of the Syro-Malabar rite and three to those of the Syro-Malankara rite, Vatican Radio reported.

Their territory will coincide with that of the existing Latin parishes and the faithful registered in them will continue to be under the archdiocese.

The special measure, found in canon law, was adopted by Archbishop Vincent Concessao in response to a recommendation of the Inter-ritual Committee established by last October’s diocesan synod.

It responds to the pastoral needs of Eastern Catholics of the capital. It is an attempt to resolve an old dispute between the Latin Church and the Indian Oriental Churches, which have been asking for greater autonomy.

John Paul II intervened in this question, when he met with Indian bishops of the three rites, who were recently in Rome on their five-yearly visit «ad limina.»

When he received the bishops of the Syro-Malankara rite and Syro-Malabar rite on May 13, the Pope spoke of the need to overcome these «misunderstandings.»

The Christians of both rites trace their origin to the preaching of the Apostle Thomas.

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