KOCHI: The row over implementing the uniform holy mass in the Syro-Malabar Church took a new turn with the Vatican reportedly asking the Metropolitan Vicar of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese Mar Antony Kariyil to step down from the post.
Priests led by Mar Kariyil of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese have been opposing uniform holy mass, defying the diktat by Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, the head of Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala.
According to sources, Mar Kariyil was called by Apostolic Nuncio archbishop Leopoldo Girelli last week to Delhi and was asked to resign. Though Mar Kariyil has not disclosed the discussions in the meeting, the priests alleged that the supporters of the Cardinal through social media have publicised that the ‘urgent resignation has been sought by Vatican’.
An official of the Syro-Malabar Church, however, told The New Indian Express that they have not received any official communication as yet.
Meanwhile, a section of priests of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese who have been supporting Mar Kariyil has come forward to support him. The priests who oppose the uniform Holy Mass of the archdiocese conducted a protest meeting at the headquarters of the Archdiocese in Kochi on Monday.
“Any move to reinstate Cardinal Alencherry as the Archbishop of Ernakulam will be strongly opposed,” said a resolution released by the opposing priests' group of the archdiocese on Monday.
Fr Jose Vailikodath, PRO of Athirupatha Samrakshana Samithi, a body of priests of the archdiocese, said “Mar Kariyil visited the Nuncio last week but even after multiple requests he has not disclosed the Vatican's communication.”
The resolution by the opposing group further added: “We oppose the Vatican emissary forcefully demanding the resignation of Archbishop Mar Antony Kariyil, the Metropolitan Vicar. The Archeparchy showed tremendous unity, Christian witness and progress during the tenure of Mar Kariyil compared to the past many years. He is a true pastor who knows the hearts and minds of his flock.”
The resolution of the priests also said that they cannot accept any other administrators or Vicars of the Major Archbishop to rule over them. “We cannot accept any other administrators or Vicars of the Major Archbishop to rule over us at this moment, supplanting Mar Antony Kariyil. Hence we request the Holy See to be synodal in the approach to the priests and laity of the Archdiocese and find a solution to the present impasse through fraternal dialogue in the Catholic spirit, and desist from demanding the forced resignation of Archbishop Mar Antony Kariyil from his office,” said the resolution.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Girelli will be arriving in Kochi on Tuesday to meet the Metropolitan Vicar.