top of page
  • syromalabargloballaity4justice

Second Vatican Council and contribution of Cardinal Parecattil.1968 Holy Mass, Conspiracy unfolds...

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

By. Wimal Mary Das

Photo Credit to Public domain. Cardinal Parecattil, A great Reformer of Syro Malabar Church and prophetic visionary.

Episode 3 of Liturgical conundrum in the Syro-Malabar Church.

Second Vatican Council and contribution of Cardinal Joseph Parecattil. 1968 Holy Mass and conspiracy unfolds

The 1962 Missal was evaluated by many as disastrous, creating two factions in the Syro-Malabar Church. It did not incorporate the spirit of the Second Vatican Council’s ​teachings about the liturgical renewal. Instead, the 1962 Missal was the continuation of the 1935 liturgy project for Chaldean Church. The Holy Mass was introduced in vernacular, but the liturgy was lacking any renewal as per the directives of the Second Vatican Council. Laymen and clergy were really discouraged and Oriental congregation was inundated with negative responses asking to rescind the introduction of the 1962 Missal.

The analysis of the letters written by great lay leaders of the Syro-Malabar Church elegantly elaborate a spirit of repugnance.

“We are Syro Malabarians by Rite and​,​ we were having the Rite with joy, devotion, honor, love, and with great spiritual benefit. The Mass introduced in the name of restoration is the old Chaldean Mass…. This only impedes the devotion and force us to go back​ward as it has already proved.

Retired Judge Joseph Vithayathil wrote, “There has been no prior demand from our people for these innovations in the liturgy and “only people of a different view are just a few oriental scholars who are merely interested in antiquities and who to impose then upon the common people…” These words without mincing its tone of disagreement were communicated to Rome officially and a lot of ink and energy were spent on this cause.

Responding to the agitation and dissatisfaction of the 1962 Missal and liturgy project, Archbishop Joseph Parecattil began to work with a liturgical committee to reform the Missal for the Syro-Malabar Church to use. He participated in the Second Vatican Council, and his personal experience and witness of truth regarding the renewal of liturgy was an impetus into this reformation process of the Syro-Malabar liturgy.

With arduous commitment and rigorous research, the 1968 Missal was submitted to Rome by the Central Liturgical Committee and with due permission, it was introduced in the Syro-Malabar Church. One of the merits of this renewal project was the adapt​at​ion of the renewal aspirations of the faithful, according to the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.

Two key salient features of the 1968 liturgy were the introduction of vernacular and the celebration of Holy Mass versus populum. (Celebrant facing the people). According to the new Missal, this was literally a renewal and the liturgy manifested exuberance and enthusiasm in celebration. Rome was happy in its implementation.

Hidden strings pulled : Fr. Placid Podipara is in the spotlight

Syro-Malabar faithful were happy and the 1968 Missal was well received. One of the triggering factors to give further attention to the Syro-Malabar Church liturgical project in Rome was the intervention of Fr. Podippara and his communique to the Oriental congregation against its implementation. The commission constituted to implement the 1962 Missal of Chaldean Liturgy in Syro-Malabar Church had two key people — E.R. Hambye and Fr. Podipara. Fr. Podipara approached the Oriental congregation alluding that some of the well-wishers informed him and expressed their dissatisfaction about the 1968 Missal in his words, “… the new text is not an improvement, but is a deformation of the text approved by Pope Pious XII.”

The liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church was a hot topic between two groups: Ernakulum for reform and Changanassery for the restoration of Chaldean liturgy. Two factions were formed as pro-progressive and pro-Chaldean, respectively.

Hambye’s suggestion “to wait for the death of old” came to light soon after the death of Mar. Kandathil, when within months, the elevation of Changanassery to the archeparchy gave impetus to infighting. That was the vicious strategy employed by authorities to impose the Chaldean liturgy with predetermined interest. It was the sign of social engineering for ideological overpowering perpetrated by concerned authorities.

Some committee members were hell-bent on imposing the Chaldean liturgy, which was unanimously rejected by native bishops, clergy and faithful at the end of the sixth decade. This simmering tension began to dominate always in matters of the liturgy in the Syro-Malabar Church, and hereafter, pulling back, the progressive Church.

Upcoming : Episode 4

Ad Limina Visit in 1980 and discord on liturgical issues

Read previous episodes

Episode 1.

482 views0 comments


bottom of page