Papal letter exhorts Syro-Malabar faithful to obey decision on the celebration of the Mass
April 04, 2022
CWN Editor's Note: The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (CNEWA profile) is an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See. Last year, despite strong opposition from some of the clergy and laity, a synod of the Syro-Malabar Church’s leading bishops agreed to a uniform method of celebrating the liturgy in all of the church’s eparchies (dioceses).
The uniform method envisions the celebrant turning towards the faithful in the initial rites but then turning towards the altar during the Eucharistic sacrifice. In some eparchies, however, including the Major Archeparchy of Ernakulam–Angamaly, the entire liturgy has been offered facing the people in recent decades.
The decision of the Syro-Malabar synod led to protests—particularly in the Major Archeparchy, where the Metropolitan Vicar, in opposition to his Major Archbishop, granted priests a dispensation that permitted them to continue to celebrate Mass facing the people.
In March, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Eastern Churches, ordered the Metropolitan Vicar to revoke his dispensation, which led some laymen to burn the cardinal in effigy. Now, Pope Francis has exhorted the faithful of the Major Archeparchy to heed the synod’s decision.
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