It also seeks to take up issue with Rome
A delegation representing more than 500 priests belonging, among others, to the Ernakulam-Angamaly and Thrissur archdioceses and the Irinjalakuda diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church has appealed to the church hierarchy to maintain status quo with regard to the celebration of the Mass.
The group of priests said archdiocesan administrator Archbishop Antony Kariyil assured them on Saturday that, in consultation with the bishops, the decision to implement a uniform code for the Mass by the synod earlier this week would be re-examined and that a delegation would represent the demand before Pope Francis in Rome.
The recent synod had decided that part of the Mass would be celebrated with the priest or celebrant facing the people and another part would be celebrated with the priest facing the tabernacle.
However, a large number of dioceses have demanded that the present practice of the priest facing the congregation during the entire Mass celebration should continue. There are some dioceses where the celebration of the Mass takes place with the celebrant facing away from the congregation for at least during a part of the Mass.
Fathers Jose Vylikkodath, Sebastian Thaliyan, Kuriakose Mundadan, and Mathew Kilukkan were among those in the group that addressed mediapersons before the Archbishop’s House on Saturday after meeting the archdiocesan administrator.
The priests demanded that a pastoral letter from Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop and head of the Syro-Malabar Church, instructing priests to implement the uniform code of celebrating the Mass from November 28 should not be despatched to the parishes to be read out on September 5.
The priests are of the opinion that reading out the circular demanding a uniform code for celebration of the Mass will end up in a law and order problem and that the priests should not be forced to read the pastoral letter.
The priests alleged that Pope Francis’ message of unity in the Syrian church was being “misinterpreted” and that dioceses that wanted to continue with the practice of the Mass being celebrated facing the congregation should be allowed to maintain the status quo.
They also said at least one-third of the bishops who attended the online synod was in favour of continuing the status quo in keeping with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. They had favoured the celebration of the Mass with the celebrant (priest) facing the congregation.
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