Protest at at St Mary's Basilica | PTI
Kochi:: Syro-Malabar Church on Sunday said that the clashes at St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica were a "transgression" of church sanctity and ecclesiastical discipline.
Several clashes erupted at St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica ahead of Christmas on December 23 and 24.
"Strict ecclesiastical action will be taken against all those who desecrated the Holy Mass and defiled the sanctity of the Church in connection with the said incident," a church official said in a statement.
Earlier on Saturday, the clashes erupted at Saint Mary's Cathedral Basilica in Kerala's Kochi over a unified Holy Mass.
The clashes occurred between the supporters of the unified holy mass and the other group offering mass facing the people who got into a brawl inside the Basilica.
Two factions of devotees and priests stood at either end of the altar offering both types of Mass at the same time. The supporters of the unified mass entered the church while the other group was offering mass facing the people.
"Events transgressed all bounds of church sanctity and ecclesiastical discipline. The use of the Holy Mass as a means of protest is an unparalleled act of indiscipline. Strict ecclesiastical action will be taken against all those who desecrated the Holy Mass and defiled the sanctity of the Church in connection with the said incident. The entire Syro-Malabar Church is deeply saddened by the unjustifiable acts committed by a few priests and laity in protest against the Unified Mass method established as per the decision of the Synod of Syro-Malabar Church Bishops," the statement further said.
In October, Mar Andrews Thazhath, apostolic administrator of Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, had issued a circular urging the parishes to implement the unified Mass. A large section of the laity and even a number of priests are opposed to it. The dissident priests and faithful supporting the popular congregation-facing Mass had organised a large gathering in Kochi earlier this year against the Syro-Malabar church administration's decision to implement the unified Mass.
Tension has been brewing for a year over the standardised or uniform mode of worship that has upset a section of the laity and the clergy. As per the new practice ordered by the Vatican "the priest will face the congregation until the Eucharistic prayer, and then again from Communion to the end of the Mass. During the Eucharistic prayer, he will face the altar against the congregation."
The Synod of bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church had announced that the unified Mass would be conducted in all churches from November 28, 2021. However, a section in the Angamaly Archdiocese opposed the new practice. (ANI)