There are liturgy wars in the Indian rites, apparently
  • I am not sure if anyone has covered this, but this will have to be classified as something I had no idea about, so cannot possibly comment on. There are effigy-burnings over a liturgical change in the Syro-Malabar Rite.

    https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/indian-catholics-to-call-for-justice?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email&triedSigningIn=true
  • Who knew that, even outside of places such as the United States, people cared about how they worshipped God?

    What the article leaves (tantalizingly) unclear is whether the good guys are winning or not.
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  • stulte
    Posts: 334
    The article leaves a lot unclear. Was the Archbishop whose resignation was accepted at 72 a proponent of full ad orientem worship during the HQ?

    It sounds like an expert lawyer was sent in to justify and solidify the liturgical change to the so-called 50:50 arrangement.
  • I don't know who the "good guys" would be, as ancient practice apparently varied. If I had my druthers, there would be no insistence on uniformity. The Pillar has another notice on it today.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,704
    The ancient practice didn't vary as evidenced by the Oriental Orthodox not in communion.

    The good guys in this case (as in all cases) are the ones who want ad orientem, and the ones who don't are basically liberals who have gotten too much of a taste of the West, desiring to be exactly like their (neo-) colonial masters. This didn't come out as strongly in the Pillar article, but it has in other articles. It doesn't mean that everyone who prefers ad orientem is necessarily a believer in only good ideas, but liturgical liberalism comes from too much contact with the wrong ones, that is for sure.
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  • Stulte, Kenneth,

    Exactly. Perhaps if we weren't (or I wasn't) so ignorant of the Syro-Malabar Rite, we would know who the actual good guys are. This news item solidifies comments made in another thread: Americans aren't the only ones who care about the proper way to worship God; we know mostly about the American scene because there's a kind of information semi-permeable membrane.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    We're now a year out since the relevant synod that decreed a transition from this past Advent to this past Easter:

    https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2022-04/pope-francis-bishops-syro-malabar-ernakulam-angamaly-qurbana.html
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    I'd like to see ad orientem in all the rites where it's the classical practice, but it's not obvious that pushing a bishop out of office over this is appropriate. Like the cases in which the Pope has pushed out Latin-church bishops over even smaller issues, this runs counter to the theology of Vatican II about the role of the bishop.

    What next? If a priest doesn't comply or if lay people complain, will the Pope push them out next? All the talk about mercy in this pontificate rings hollow.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,101
    All the talk about mercy in this pontificate rings hollow.

    As does all the talk of synodality, accompaniment, decentralization, openness, etc. It's come to the point where you can put money on the likelihood that whatever he says, he will do the opposite.
  • Serious question:

    If all the talk of mercy, synodality, accompaniment, decentralization, openness (etc) is removed, what is left of this pontificate?
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  • PLTT
    Posts: 129
    The situation - as always - is far more complicated that it appears, and trying to unravel it is a headache in itself. There are multiple overlapping reasons for which - as usual - the liturgy is only a front.

    Issues include:

    (a) the question of the Latinization of the Syro-Malabar Church, a process which was almost completed until Rome in the early 20th century reversed course and began trying to push the Church to rediscover its own heritage. Unsurprisingly, the de-Latinizing process met with resistance, which has waned over time, but is strongest in those areas where the Latin church is predominant. One unspoken fear is that people defect to the Latin Church.

    This interesting book, produced at the time of the Council, illustrates (p. 264 ff.) how Latinized the rite already was.
    https://archive.org/details/eucharisticlitur0000lies/page/264/mode/2up

    (b) The question of inculturation and the 'Indianization' of the church (a controversial topic also in the Latin church). Its proponents see it as a legitimate development, reflecting the Indian reality of the church rather than a Syrian heritage that few remember. Opponents see it as thinly-veiled Latinization aimed at stamping out the remnants of the Syriac heritage of the Church. One of the influential members of the Syro-Malabar heirarchy at the time of the Council - Cardinal Joseph Parecattil - was also a strong proponent of inculturation and "Indianized" rites; and often refused to accept the 'orientalizing' decisions of Rome.

    The liturgical wars have played out on many fronts: crucifix or cross? coloured vestments or plainer? rosary or Vespers? ad populum or ad apsidem? single altar or East Syriac bemas? Etc Etc.

    And this is further complicated by:

    (c) a historical rivalry which (simplistically) can be reduced to two big historic power-centers in the Church: Ernakulam (in the northern part of Kerala) and Changanassery (in the southern part). The former became the proponent of the Latinization-inculturation models; the latter (surrounded by the Orthodox Jacobites and other Syriac churches) a bastion of Orientalization.

    (d) ethnic differences between different Christian groups in Kerala. In the modern day, this is also becoming complicated by the intrusion of the Church into political life.

    (e) The Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar church is ipso facto the Archbishop of Ernakulam. George Alencherry, the present Major Archbishop, originated from Changanassery. Unsurprisingly, this kicked off a storm.

    (f) administrative conflicts of two types: clash of personality (an ever-present feature in ecclesial life); and long-standing administrative changes. It is worth noting that the Syro-Malabar church has its own system of church governance and ownership which perhaps is more akin to the medieval system and not the ultramontane strictly-hierarchical system of the Latin Church.


    All of this resulted in a big row in Ernakulam around Alencherry, who was accused of administrative mismanagement. Opponents claim corruption while supporters allege that it is merely a ruse to eject him from the archdiocese.

    The upshot was that a few years ago, the very extraordinary step was taken from stripping Alencherry - a sitting Major Archbishop of a *sui iuris Ritual Church *- from administrative control of his own archdiocese and giving it to another bishop. That eventually was Anthony Kayaril, who is at the center of the present controversy. This created a highly anomalous situation and in some matters, like the liturgy, the demarcation of authority was not exactly clear.

    Of course, Alencherry remained at the HQ of the Syro-Malabar and attempted to impose the Synodal liturgical decisions on his erstwhile archdiocese last year. Obviously, this created a storm since the opposing faction was not about to concede a victory to their rivals. Thus for the better part of a year, the archdiocese was treated to rival proclamations from Kayaril and Alencherry, each claiming a perogative over liturgical matters and asserting the backing of Rome (and its various organs) for either imposing or exempting from the Synodal liturgical decision.

  • PLTT
    Posts: 129
    A brief timeline on the history of the ad populum dispute in the Syro-Malabar Church. As in the Latin church, it is simply is the most visible symbol of deeper changes within the rites.

    1962: Rome issues a revised Qurbana (Mass), heavily Oriental, with the unenthusiastic support of the Syro-Malabar heirarchy. This calls for sweeping changes in vesture, architecture, etc.

    1968 - a new Malayalam (vernacular) version is produced by a section of the heriarchy which departs from the 1962 order. Influenced by the Latin changes, it adopts a simplified order, makes several changes to prayers and rites. It introduces the ad populum posture for the Liturgy of the Word. This is granted ad experimentum approval for 2 years.

    1969-1975: Ad populum for the whole liturgy becomes the practice by many using the 1968 text. A couple of experimental Syro-Malabar based inculturated liturgical rites are also produced in some religious orders and also use the ad populum position.

    1970s: a tug of war between the two texts (1962 and 1968) and the heirarchy. The Oriental Congregation (supposed by a minority, including the later influential Archbishop of Changanassery, Joseph Powathil) attempted to put the genie back in the bottle and impose the 1962 text, while Cardinal Parecattil pushes for extension of the 1968 reforms.

    1981: a revised text is presented and rejected by the Oriental Congregation which insists on a return to the 1962 text. This resulted in 3 divisions:
    -- implementation of the Congregations wish by a minority of conservative dioceses, leading to the eastward position for the whole liturgy.
    -- 1968 position: facing the people for the liturgy of the Word (an extremely small minority).
    -- ad populum position

    1985: a text is proposed and adopted for the Raza (the most solemn form, a bit like a "Pontifical High Mass"). The Oriental Congregation promotes the eastward facing position. Proponents of ad populum claim that this is only required for the Raza (rarely celebrated) and continue to celebrate less-solemn forms (the equivalent of sung and spoken Masses) ad populum.

    1989: a compromise text is proposed for the less-solemn forms which includes the permission to face the people for the liturgy of the Word, and makes it "highly encouraged" to face the altar for the liturgy of the Eucharist.

    1990s: the Syro-Malabar Church becomes a major-archepiscopal Church but because of the liturgical divisions, liturgical matters are reserved to Rome. A Roman synod of the Syro-Malabar Church discusses the liturgical divisions in the Church and proposes a uniform celebration but again falls apart. Synods acknowledge the 3 ways of celebrating (Easterward, facing people, mixed "50-50")

    2000: the Synod agrees on the 50-50 liturgical position as a compromise for all dioceses. However widespread dispensations are given by the 'ad populum' bishops, resulting in a continuation of the former situation. However, the 50-50 position is implemented in the growing diaspora (not without conflict!).

    2010-2020: the matter is repeatedly raised in the Synods, leading to the re-imposition of the 2000 Synodal decision. Adopted in most dioceses outside of Ernakulam.
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  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 372
    Americans aren't the only ones who care about the proper way to worship God; we know mostly about the American scene because there's a kind of information semi-permeable membrane.


    You mean you're generally monoglot?

    I am too - and while I'm not exactly ashamed of it, I appreciate that it limits my view of the world both in terms of how human understanding works, and also understanding world (or church) events.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw LauraKaz
  • [Off topic:

    Pax,

    There's a joke that used to make the rounds of foreign language conferences in this country, a joke which went something like this:

    "What do you call a person who speaks 3 languages?
    Answer: a polyglot.

    What do you call a person who speaks 2 languages?
    Answer: bilingual

    What do you call a person who speaks only one language?
    Answer: An American.

    I'm not monoglot, but I have mastery of many fewer languages than I have passing familiarity with. I don't have the time or energy to keep up with things much closer to home than the liturgy wars in India, although I'm sure it's an interesting topic.]
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