Kochi: Despite vehement opposition by a section of the laity and the clergy, the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church has reiterated its stand on the unified Mass. In a circular, the Synod said that it approves only the unified method of offering the Holy Mass.
“All other forms of Mass violate the rules of the Church,” said the circular.
Referring to the violence at St Mary’s Cathedral Basilica in Ernakulam last month between supporters of the unified Mass and those who opposed it, the Synod said unfortunate incidents had taken place at the place of worship.
At the same time, the Synod desisted from announcing a decision on the dispute over the unified Mass at the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese as it has no powers to do so with administrative rule currently in force.
The Synod has been engaged in discussions over securing more time to implement the unified Mass.
According to the circular issued after the meeting of the Synod, attempts were made to arrive at a consensus to conduct the unified Mass at St Mary’s Basilica at least on Sundays. However, no decision could be taken on the matter following objections from Synod members who opposed the unified mass.
The circular also said that consensus cannot be reached by sacrificing the basic tenets of the Church and the common good of the believers. “The rituals related to the unified Mass were finalised after combining two methods of Mass prevalent in the church earlier,” said the circular.
Another suggestion in the circular is to observe a silent prayer for one hour as atonement for causing injuries to the faith by the priests and laity who engaged in the scuffle at St Mary’s Basilica.
The cause of the dispute
Tension has been brewing for a year over the standardised form of worship that has upset a section of the laity and the clergy. As per the new practice ordered by the Vatican "the priest will face the Communion till the end of the Mass. During the Eucharistic prayer, he will face the altar against the congregation."
The Synod of bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church had announced that the unified mass would be conducted in all churches from November 28, 2021. However, a section in the Angamaly Archdiocese opposed the new practice.