Kerala, February 26: A massive mass movement of believers is shaping up in favour of ‘One Church: One Liturgy’. Members of the Samyukta Sabha Samrakshana Samithi, a federation of organizations formed by laity belonging to the Archdiocese of Eranakulam-Angamaly, began an indefinite, relay hunger strike in front of the Syro-Malabar Archbishop’s House in Kochi on Tuesday. They are demanding that the decision by the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in August on a unified celebration of the Mass should be implemented.
“Addressing the Oriental Congregation Plenary Meeting on Friday morning, February 18, His Holiness Pope Francis publicly criticized the position of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly,” said Amal Cheruthuruthi of the Samithi after the fast began about noon on Tuesday. He said that the Holy Father addressed those who violate the form of the celebration of Mass laid down by the Synods and approved by the Apostolic See in the name of liturgical particularism are masters of the division.
“All are bound by the decision of the Holy Synod of Bishops, and they should abide by the decision to have a unified system of celebrating the Mass”, said Mathew Varkey of the Samithi.
He said an impression was being created that there was a large number of people who were against the decision to have a unified system of Mass. It was the duty of all members of the Church, both the laity and the clergy, to obey the decisions taken by the Synod, he said.
“The combination of the organizations is of the view that Archbishop Antony Kariyil, metropolitan vicar, should stand aside if he could not support the Synodal decision. He should not be seen as supporting those opposed to the decision,” Mr. Varkey said.
The indefinite fast is a new chapter in the ongoing dispute between groups supporting and opposing a decision by the Synod of the Syro-Malabar community of the Catholic Church that began after a decision by the Synod to bring about a uniform method of celebrating the Mass in August last year. Adv Melbin Mathew, President of the Indian Catholic Forum, which has a global presence across continents, supported this movement. Syro Malabar Laity Movement Delhi has also come out expressing Solidarity.