The root of the problem laid in the refusal of one of the 36 dioceses to adopt the new modality of the Holy Qurbana, the Eucharistic Rite

The root of the problem laid in the refusal of one of the 36 dioceses to adopt the new modality of the Holy Qurbana, the Eucharistic Rite Photo: Vida Nueva Digital

Last Minute Liturgical Agreement Avoids Catholic Schism in India

Syro-Malabar Church Achieves Commitment Amid Liturgical Crisis

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(ZENIT News / Kochi, 05.07.2024).- The Syro-Malabar Church, one of the oldest branches of Eastern Catholicism, has finally reached an agreement in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, resolving temporarily a three-year conflict regarding a “unified” Liturgy. This agreement was formalized just in time for July 3, feast day of  the Apostle Thomas, thus complying with the ultimatum of Major Archbishop Raphael Thattil.

The root of the problem laid in the refusal of one of the 36 dioceses to adopt the new modality of the Holy Qurbana, the Eucharistic Rite, which stipulates that the priest must turn to the altar during the consecration instead of facing the faithful. Under the Synod’s mandate, a Commission came to a last minute agreement on July 1, which was key to avoid a schism in this religious community.

Father Kuriakose Mundadan, Secretary of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, explained to AsiaNews that “the conflict over the liturgy has been resolved temporarily. The agreement, discussed extensively by a Synodal group, includes the obligation that every parish church celebrate the Mass in a synodal form every Sunday and on Days of Obligation. During the rest of the days, the parishes can continue celebrating the Qurbana facing the people.

Not only does the agreement establish a new liturgical structure, but it also includes the early Ordination of eight Deacons, whose consecration was postponed. Moreover, in parishes with protests or civil litigations, parish priests can opt not to follow the Synodal Rite, informing                            the Apostolic Administrator. This flexibility is intended to avoid direct conflicts and keep the peace within the community.

Despite the implementation of the Synodal Liturgy, in many parishes, assistance was less than expected, said Father Mundadan. Nevertheless, the first part of the agreement was complied with and now it’s expected that the other points will be implemented in the coming days.

The Movement of the Laity for Transparency, a group critical of the Synodal Rite, accepted the terms of the agreement with certain conditions regarding its implementation. They emphasized that force must not be used or involve the police to impose the unified Liturgy. However, they reserve the right to withdraw from the agreement if the Synod takes measures that they consider a violation of the conciliation reached.

In a press release, the Movement expressed the hope that “peace will prevail in the Archdiocese,” warning at the same time about the possible withdrawal of its support if infractions of the agreement are perceived.

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