Divisions continue in the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly
Some priests have come out against the apostolic administrator Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, appointed by Pope Francis last August. The “unified” liturgy remains the main bone of contention; adopted by the Syro-Malabar Synod, it has not been accepted by the local community. In April, the pontiff wrote to the archdiocese, saying: “We cannot create division. We cannot allow ourselves to be a source of scandal.”
Kochi (AsiaNews) – Tensions continue in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly over the "unified" liturgy adopted by the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church.
Local priests issued a strong-worded statement yesterday against the apostolic administrator, Archbishop Andrews Thazhath. Pope Francis appointed him in August following the resignation of the metropolitan vicar, Archbishop Antony Kariyil, who chose not to proceed with the liturgical reform because of strong opposition from the local clergy and communities.
The priests accuse the apostolic administrator of turning "our mother", the archdiocese, into a "police state”, a reference to his request for police protection, as opposed heeding to Pope Francis's call to be “shepherds with the smell of sheep”.
The priests ask that Archbishop Kariyil (who had resigned from the post of metropolitan vicar) be allowed to live in the archdiocese.
They also again call for the recognition and approval of the local form of the Eucharistic liturgy facing the faithful, and the reimbursement of losses suffered by the archdiocese for land deals dating back to 2017.
The priests who signed the statement note that until their demands are not met, their parishes would not make the statutory payments to the archdiocese while the archdiocesan administrator and his supporters will not be invited to any ceremony.
The latest chapter in this saga comes after Archbishop Thazhath argued that the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly ought to join the other 34 dioceses of the Syro-Malabar Church and accept the compromise adopted last advent in favour of a single Holy Qurbana, the Eucharistic liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church.
After years discussing the issue, the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church held in August 2021 established that the celebrant should face the congregation for the first half of the celebration, and then turn towards the altar during the consecration part.
Amid the controversy, Pope Francis gave a clear indication last April in a letter addressed to the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, in which he invited the faithful not to “call into question the synodal decision” to have a single Eucharistic liturgy in the Syro-Malabar Church.
In the letter, Francis does acknowledge that for the local clergy and faithful, this was a “suffered and painful step”, but added that, “We cannot live divided. We cannot create division. We cannot allow ourselves to be a source of scandal.”