KOCHI: As the Syro-Malabar Church goes through tumultuous times, with many a parish witnessing protests and heated debates regarding implementation of the uniform mode of Holy Mass, one significant question yet unanswered is whether the voice of the majority of the churchgoers has been heard.
To most of the laity, the need for peace in the Church far outweighs the question of validity of any decree. The average churchgoer laments that when it comes to any Church or matters relating to faith, people tend to forget the fundamental fact that Christianity is all about love and peace.
“Christianity teaches us the importance of love, trust and peace, above all other considerations. It is a known fact that more than the laity, the priests and bishops have found difficulty in accepting the new mode of the Holy Mass (50:50 formula),” said Lawrence P, a small-scale businessman and a member of St Antony’s Church, Angamaly. The solution does not lie in street fights and protests, he said. “For months together now, protests have been going on over the implementation of uniform Mass; now there should be peace in the Church,” Lawrence, a devout Catholic, said.
The crisis that had steadily brewing been in the Church between the supporters and opponents of the uniform Mass was close to being defused when a circular was issued by Metropolitan Vicar of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese Mar Antony Kariyil earlier this month, urging all priests to conduct the uniform Mass from Christmas this year. However, a circular released later by Cardinal Mar George Alencherry declared Mar Kariyil’s circular invalid and urged the archdiocese to implement the Mass by Easter itself, much to the chagrin of the opponents of the uniform format.
The Pope in a letter dated March 25 had directed the faithful in Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese to implement the uniform Mass by Easter. In other dioceses such as Idukki, Kothamangalam, Changanassery and Thrissur, the rift is not so intense and a large section of the churches are following the new mode of Mass.
John Mathew, professor and a member of St Joseph’s Church, Aluva, felt emotions are driving both the opponents and the supporters of the uniform Mass. “When we approach matters emotionally, each has its own depth. The protests and the fight to retain the Mass that has been followed for many years by some is borne out of emotions. The Church that plays a role of a father should have acknowledged this,” he said.
Mary Baby, a member of St George Church, Edappally, said most of the churchgoers are least bothered in which mode the Mass is conducted. “As long as our faith remains untouched, we are not very bothered,” she said.