Unified Mass: Syro-Malabar Church circular sets July 3 ultimatum; dissenters to be eased out

Metropolitan Major Archbishop Mar Raphael Thattil. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: The Syro-Malabar Church has sent out a directive to all the churches under the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese to hold unified Mass services starting July 3. In a circular issued by Metropolitan Major Archbishop Mar Raphael Thattil, the Church stated that dissenting priests would be eased out of priestly duties.
Priests have also been directed to read the circular in all churches of the Archdiocese on June 16.

The circular pointed out that Pope Francis has requested twice through papal communiques and once in person via video message to implement the unified Mass. Priests who do not comply with the order will be barred from priestly ministry starting July 4. This will apply to all priests, the circular warned.

The circular also clarified that the Church will not recognise the marriages performed by priests facing punishment. Priests who serve outside the Archdiocese or those pursuing higher studies must provide an affidavit stating they will hold the unified Mass.

Priests who do not submit this within the specified time will be barred from performing priestly duties, nor will clerical students receive their priestly titles. The laity has also been instructed to participate only in unified Mass from July 3.

The circular stated that the un-ecclesiastical and unreasonable stubborn attitude of a few priests and laity, along with negative propaganda, complicated the Eucharist dispute in the Church. "They will not be allowed to continue in the Catholic communion by challenging the Church and authorities and not following ecclesiastical discipline," the circular warned.

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