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Wed. Sep 28th, 2022
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KOCHI: Simmering discontent among a large section of priests and laity of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese against attempts by Vatican-appointed prelates of the Syro Malabar church to impose the ‘uniform’ holy Mass spilled on to the streets on Sunday as thousands of faithful from various parishes took out a march and held a public gathering at Kaloor in Kochi, Kerala. The dissenting priests and laity want the old form of Mass – where the priests at the altar face worshippers.
Organisers said over 50,000 members of various parishes, most priests of the archdiocese, nuns and representatives from other dioceses attended the event at the Kaloor Jawaharlal Nehru International stadium.
The main reasons which triggered the protest were the call to implement the uniform Mass, the forced resignation of Mar Antony Kariyil, the ex-metropolitan vicar of the archdiocese who supported the priests in opposing the uniform Mass, and the issue over the restitution of the losses incurred by the archdiocese in controversial land deals.
Those who participated in the rally were holding placards hailing Mar Kariyil. In what seems to be an attempt to gather the attention of the Vatican, many placards were written in Italian. One placard said, “Richiediamo giustizia e transparenza” (loosely translated as “we demand justice and transparency”) while another said, “Mar Kariyil E’ IL Nostro Buon Pastore (Mar Kariyil is our good shepherd)”.
Addressing the gathering, Monsignor Varghese Njaliyath declared that the priests in the archdiocese will only conduct the Mass facing the people, as against the uniform format in which a priest celebrates the Mass facing the altar. He also said five enquiry committee reports had found some “faults” with the sale of the archdiocese’s land.
“It has been three years since Rome said this mistake needs to be corrected. The bishop synod didn’t execute it. Restitution of losses has not taken place in the past three years,” said Njaliyath.
The gathering passed a resolution, saying grave injustice has been done by forcing Mar Kariyil to resign. An oath was administered to the faithful gathered at the venue. It said they will continue their fight until the Mass facing the people is recognised as a liturgical variant of the Syro Malabar Church.

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