Kochi: The liturgical division in the Syro-Malabar Church over the way to conduct the Holy Mass has become acute with its Synod deciding to implement a uniform practice from Sunday with the nod of Pope even as the Ernakulam-Angamali Archdiocese is adamant not to follow it.
Cardinal George Alencherry has trashed the claims that the Pope has permitted to continue with the existing practice of celebrating the Mass with the celebrant (priest) facing the congregation throughout the duration of the Mass.
"No notice has been received from the Vatican regarding this," the Cardinal said on Saturday referring to the statement of Mar Antony Kariyil, the Trustee of the Ernakulam-Angamali Archdiocese that the existing practice can be continued.
"There is no change in the Synod decision to implement uniform mode of Eucharistic liturgy," the Cardinal said.
As per the standardised form, which has upset a section of the laity and the clergy, "the priest will face the congregation until the Eucharistic prayer, and then again from Communion to the end of the Mass. During the Eucharistic prayer, he will face the altar against the congregation."
"This pattern was agreed upon by the Synod of Bishops and sent for the Vatican nod in 1999. However, some priests continue to face the congregation during the entire duration of the Mass, disregarding the Synod's order to implement the new pattern from July 3, 2000," the Catholic Asian News stated in a recent report.
Mar Antony Kariyil had recently met Pope Francis in Vatican. Soon he had claimed in a circular the Vatican has agreed to continue holding the Mass facing the congregation.
Kariyil also claimed that the Vatican has not withdrawn the special powers of archbishops to take decisions regarding matters pertaining to the affairs of their respective archdiocesal jurisdiction.
From Sunday a revised liturgical book will used for the Mass in the churches under the Ernakulam-Angamali Archdiocese.
The priests of the Irinjalakuda and Thrissur archdioceses are set to call on their respective archbishops on Sunday, demanding to persist with the congregation-facing Mass.
However, the Thrissur Archdiocese is insistent on implementing the Synod decision on the uniform liturgy calling for holding the Holy Mass facing towards the Altar (East).