Syro-Malabar Church uniform Mass: Cardinal directs bishops to ‘correct’ exemption

Section of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese priests says cardinal is creating confusion

Published: 11th December 2021 05:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th December 2021 05:15 AM   |  A+A-

Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, leading the Holy Mass in the new format  at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad

Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, leading the Holy Mass in the new format at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad, on Sunday. (Photo| A Sanesh, EPS)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The Syro-Malabar Church has issued a statement that it had received a clarification letter from the Oriental Congregation in Rome on Friday which stated that an entire archdiocese could not be given exemption from implementing the liturgical rules approved by the Synod. 

The letter was sent from Rome after the Church sought clarity from the Oriental Congregation on Canon law 1538 that permits bishops to provide dispensation from certain rules. The Church had sought clarification after the recent uproar on implementing the uniform mode of Holy Mass. 

The uniform mode of conducting the Holy Mass came into effect on November 28. Most of the churches and parishes under the Syro-Malabar Church conducted the Mass in the new format approved by the Synod. Only Ernakulam-Anagamaly Archdiocese and Irinjalakuda diocese retained the old mode of the Mass, as exemptions were given hereunder Canon law 1538. 

The statement issued by the Church said the letter undersigned by Prefect of the Oriental Churches Cardinal Leonardo Sandri and Secretary Archbishop Giorgio Gallaro, explaining the canon law, was received on Friday at the major archbishop’s office. 

However, Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese has also issued a statement stating that the metropolitan vicar of the archdiocese received a letter seeking clarifications on the dispensation on Thursday and that Mar Antony Kariyil explained the context in which the exemption was given. The explanation was given orally, and it would be submitted in writing as well, the archdiocese said. 

Cardinal Mar George Alencherry has written a letter to all bishops informing them of the clarification from the Oriental Congregation.“Based on the letter received from Rome, the major archbishop has given the direction to correct the action which exempted the whole of certain dioceses from conducting the unified way of conducting the Mass,” the Church said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Fr Jose Vailikodath, PRO of Athirupatha Samrakshana Samithy, an outfit of priests, said Cardinal Alencherry is spreading confusion and misconception regarding the canon law and the dispensation granted by the Vatican. 

“The Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church or Oriental Congregation has no right to cancel the canon law of the Catholic Church. On December 7, Leonardo Sandri had sent a letter to Metropolitan Vicar of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese Mar Antony Kariyil seeking clarification regarding the dispensation and it was clearly clarified when it was received on December 9,” said convenor of the outfit Fr Sebastin Thaliyan.

“The letter received by Major Archbishop or Metropolitan Vicar from the Oriental Churches does not mention any cancellation of the dispensation entitled to Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese as per the law,” said Fr Sebastin.


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