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Bishop Bosco Puthur (ACBC)

A recent change of leadership in India’s Syro-Malabar Church has not meant a change in policy on a liturgical dispute, with the Church’s governing Synod again calling for obedience regarding a contested mode of celebrating the Mass. Source: Crux.

And, once again, dissident priests and laity within the Church have warned of resistance should the bishops not reverse course.

At the close of a January 13 meeting of the 49 bishops who make up the Synod, the prelates signed a joint letter calling for the Mass to be celebrated in a uniform manner throughout the Church, including in the Ernakulam-Algamany Archdiocese. 

The bishops cited a Christmas video message from Pope Francis calling for adherence to the unified form of celebration.

There had been hope that the election of a new Major Archbishop, Raphael Thattil, in tandem with the appointment of a new apostolic administrator in Ernakulam-Algamany, Bishop Bosco Puthur, might pave the way for a compromise solution.

“We had great hope from the new Major Archbishop Raphael Thattil who had promised to listen to us and find an amicable solution, but the Synod under him has now taken a different stand,” said Riju Kanjookaran, the spokesperson of the Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency, which opposes the uniform Mass, according to UCA News.

In the wake of the bishops’ statement, Bishop Puthur issued a circular letter on Monday to all priests, religious and laity in Ernakulam-Algamany, indicating that the Synod had urged everyone to adopt the uniform Mass.

Bishop Puther, who was the former head of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle in Melbourne, has asked for the letter to be read at Mass this Sunday. 

“I once again remind you all to bear witness to the unity of the Church by conducting the unified form of Mass,” Bishop Puthur wrote, calling for implementation even if there are differences of opinion within the archdiocese.


New Syro-Malabar leadership doubles down on calls for obedience on Mass (Nirmala Carvalho, Crux

New head fails to settle liturgy dispute in Indian Church (UCA News)