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Priests demand a comprehensive enquiry: Fr.Jose Vailikkodath


A meeting of around 300 priests of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam Angamaly took place at the Renewal Centre, Kaloor, Ernakulam, on Wednesday, 13th Deccember, 2023. At the meeting the priests asked for a comprehensive enquiry into the factual errors which crept into the video message released by His Holiness Pope Francis to the Archdiocese of Ernakulam Angamaly. The priests unanimously demanded that the former Apostolic Administrator, Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, should henceforth desist from interfering in the affairs of the Archdiocese. The meeting made an in-depth scrutiny of the pastoral situation prevailing in the Archdiocese. The priests expressed their willingness to cooperate with the Papal delegate Archbishop Cyril Vasil, provided he pursues the path of dialogue and discussion. They opined that the source of the factual errors and ambiguities contained in the video message of the Pope can be traced to Archbishop Thazhath whose words were uttered by the Pope at the instance of the Dicastery for Oriental Churches. A reading of the Synod documents of the last ten years would expose the hollowness of the Pope’s claim that the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church arrived at the compromise formula of 50:50 after years of discussion and striving. The assertion that a handful of priests are opposed to the Synodal Mass and the laity should not listen to them in this matter, does not conform to the Papal utterances on synodality. Of the 464 priests in the Archdiocese, 450 are staunch advocates of Eucharist versus Populum. They also cautioned that If any priest attempts to offer the Synodal Mass, the faithful might obstruct it. The laity here cannot be taken for a ride by anyone. When the Pontiff speaks of the sacrilege committed in St.Mary’s Basilica, what he has in mind are the incidents that took place in December, 2022. He has not been appraised of the fact that the incident he refers to was the desecration of the altar by a few renegades under the leadership of Fr. Antony Poothavelil, appointed as the administrator of the Basilica by the Apostolic Administrator. The responsibility for that crime is also wrongfully ascribed to those who stand up for Eucharist versus Populum.  Who made the Pope to say that those who follow the text of the Eucharist prescribed by the Synod in its entirety but reject the rubric of facing the altar during a part of the Mass would be cut off from the Roman Catholic fold? The meeting surmised that source of the harsh language used by the Pope including the threat of excommunication against those who don’t follow the Synodal Mass is Archbishop Thazhath. Even when the land scam involving Cardinal George Alancherry rocked the Archdiocese, the name of the Major Archbishop was mentioned during the Eucharist. In spite of that, who influenced the Pope to direct again that the name of the Major Archbishop be mentioned during the Holy Mass? What was the objective behind such directive? The meeting decided to request the present Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Bosco Puthur,  and the Papal emissary, Archbishop Vasil,  to take necessary steps to correct the factual errors in the Pope’s message. The Pope has the grace of infallibility only in matters pertaining to faith and morality. He is not infallible when he speaks about a rubric of the Eucharist followed by a self-governing individual Church. The people having influence over the Vatican have not informed the Pope of real facts and circumstances prevailing in the Syro-Malabar Church. Bishop Bosco Puthur, in his capacity as the  Apostolic Administrator, must  try to inform Pope Francis about the pastoral realities prevailing in the Archdiocese. Social media platforms are used by people with vested interests with the connivance of the ecclesiastical authorities to post messages with the intent to mislead the faithful. The priests are confident that the rightly informed and deeply religious faithful of the Archdiocese  would discard such malicious posts. In spite of false propaganda unleashed by the social media  against the valedictory function of the year-long centenary celebration of the Archdiocese held on 10th December, 2023, a mammoth congregation of lay people attended the programme. This alone demonstrates how deeply attached  the faithful of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese are  to congregation-facing Eucharist, said Fr.Joseph Parekkatil. The meeting unanimously wished the Supreme Head of the Catholic Church had heard the half a million lay people, thousands of religious and priests who hold Eucharist versus Populum close to their hearts, before  publishing the video message.


Fr.Jose Vailikkodath

PRO, Archdiocese Protection Group


Translated from Malayalam by Mr. Johny Chengalan

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