01/16/2023, 16.37
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Syro-Malabar Synod does not resolve the rift over the liturgy

by Nirmala Carvalho

Despite talks between the parties led by a Church committee, the bishops’ meeting ended with no agreement. In the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, tensions have simmered for a year over a failed compromise on the uniform rite. For Card Alencherry, everyone should understand that ignoring the synod's decision is illicit. New incidents between opposing sides marred Christmas celebrations at Ernakulam cathedral.

Kochi (AsiaNews) – Despite ongoing talks, the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church ended on Saturday at Mount St Thomas Kakkanad without any agreement on unifying the style of the Holy Qurbana, the Eucharistic celebration according to this Eastern rite.

In a post-synodal circular, Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry reiterated that the final decision on matters relating to the liturgy belongs to the Synod and the Holy See. No one else has the right to decide otherwise.

For this reason, everyone should understand that ignoring the synod's decision is illicit. “The possibility of discussions is only within the framework of that decision," he said.

In the circular, the cardinal explains that a committee of six bishops was set up at the suggestion of Mar Andrews Thazhath, the apostolic administrator appointed by Pope Francis for the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly.

Several discussions were held in the archdiocese with opponents and supporters of the uniform rite, members of the curia, and prominent lay people.

Card Alencherry said that the talks are aimed at providing parishes within the archdiocese with enough time to implement the uniform celebration.

“The hope of bishops at the synod was to start the process of reconciliation by starting the uniform mass at the Cathedral basilica at least on Sundays,” the circular said.

Opponents, however, have refused the basic terms of reference. As a result, it was impossible to reach a decision accepted by all, but discussions will continue.

With respect to the violent incidents that took place in Ernakulam cathedral before Christmas, the circular said that priests who used the Eucharistic celebration to protest and people who invaded the altar to prevent them, both inflicted deep wounds on the Church.

A report from the committee on the matter will be sent to Rome, which will act accordingly.

Meanwhile, acting on behalf of priests in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Fr Jose Vailikodath reiterated that they will continue to celebrate the holy Qurbana facing the faithful, rejecting once again, the compromise reached by the Syro-Malabar Synod in 2021 to find a single form of celebration for the various dioceses.

The clergyman also criticised the post-synodal circular, arguing that it was written in a way that creates further problems rather than solve the issue.

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