Sunday, May 26, 2024

New head of Syro-Malabar church downplays liturgical controversy

Major Archbishop Raphael Thattil, who was installed as head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in January, downplayed the at-times violent liturgical controversy in the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly.

The church’s hierarchy agreed on a uniform method of celebrating the sacred liturgy in which the priest faces the people during the initial rites and faces the altar during the Eucharistic sacrifice. 

The priests of the archeparchy, however, were deeply attached to the practice of recent decades of celebrating the liturgy facing the people, leading to significant resistance despite papal exhortations to obey the church’s bishops.

The liturgical controversy “is a little bit exaggerated by the media, especially social media,” the Major Archbishop told Vatican News. “We have 35 dioceses, and nobody mentions that 34 dioceses followed this decision.”

“One difficulty is that this diocese at present is under the care of a pontifical delegate, Cyril Vasil’, and they have an apostolic administrator,” he continued. “This is a temporary controversy which can be settled by amicable discussions and friendly approaches and things like that. So I don’t consider this controversy as the end of our church. No. It is the sprouting of our church.”