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Pope Francis in his video message for the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, released yesterday (CNS/Vatican Media)

Telling Syro-Malabar Catholics in India’s Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese that he does not want to see anyone excommunicated, Pope Francis pleaded with the priests and faithful to end their dispute over the way the Eucharist is celebrated. Source: OSV News.

“In the name of the Lord, for the spiritual good of your Church, of our Church, I ask you to heal this rupture. It is your Church; it is our Church. Restore communion; remain in the Catholic Church,” the Pope said in a video message released yesterday.

The Vatican also released a letter yesterday from Pope Francis to Cardinal George Alencherry accepting his resignation as head of the archdiocese and as major archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.

In 1999, the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church issued uniform rubrics for the celebration of the Eucharist, called the Holy Qurbana by members of the Eastern-rite Church. They were trying to end a situation in which some priests faced the altar during the entire liturgy, while others faced the congregation. The bishops’ decision was to have the priest face the altar during the eucharistic prayer but face the congregation during the Liturgy of the Word and again after Communion.

Priests in most Syro-Malabar dioceses quickly complied with the bishops’ decision, although dispensations were issued for the Ernakulam-Angamaly and a few other territories. The bishops decided to end those dispensations in November 2021.

A group of priests, religious and laity in Ernakulam-Angamaly protested the way the dispensation was revoked, which has led to protests, hunger strikes and shoving matches.

In his video, Pope Francis told Catholics of the archdiocese: “See to it that by Christmas 2023 your archdiocese humbly and faithfully agrees to get in step with the rest of your Church, respecting all the directions of your Synod.”


Pope gives Syro-Malabar Catholics Christmas deadline to end dispute (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via OSV News)