We would like to inform you all about the unchristian act of lodging a complaint and threatening the youth by misusing the contacts in the police machinery for raising concerns over the liturgical abuse by Rev Dr Antony Kariyil CMI, Bishop of the Mandya Diocese of the Syro Malabar Church. We condemn this unholy and unchristian act of the Diocese of Mandya. On March 31, 2019 the said Bishop had celebrated the Holy Qurbana of the Syro Malabar Church at NBCLC (Institution under the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI)), Bangalore. A photograph captured during the celebration went viral on social media where the Bishop is seen celebrating the Holy Qurbana seated and in inappropriate vestments. This sitting posture and dressing style are part of "Bharatha pooja or Indian Mass"- an inculturation movement started in India a few decades back which was later banned by the Holy See. When some of the youths, on realizing this, raised their concerns regarding the liturgical abuse on social media, the diocese came up with an official clarification through their Facebook handle, claiming that the Bishop had celebrated the Holy Qurbana of the Syro Malabar Church and not the "Indian Mass". Instead of admitting its mistake, the diocese tried to justify its act through misleading statements. As per its arguments, the Liturgical commission of the CBCI was authorized by Vatican to carry out inculturation experiments in Liturgy at NBCLC and the Bishop's celebration was in accordance with the objectives of the institution.
The NBCLC was established by the CBCI in 1969. At that time, CBCI, the regional council of all the Bishops in India was a powerful body with liturgical and catechetical commissions. In India, there are three individual Churches in the Catholic communion viz Syro Malabar Church, Syro Malankara Church (both oriental churches) and the Latin Church. Considering the inadequacies of a common body to include all the diverse traditions, the CBCI was later restructured. Synod or the separate Bishops Councils were formed for all the Churches and the CBCI continues as an apex body of all the Bishops in India to discuss common matters. CBCI no longer has a liturgical commission. Liturgy and Catechism are the authority of individual Churches. The Holy Synod of the Syro Malabar Church and the Congregation of Oriental Churches are the only competent authorities to promulgate guidelines for the celebration of the Holy Qurbana of the Syro Malabar Church. The Synod has not granted permission to anyone to celebrate the Holy Qurbana in sitting posture or inappropriate vestments. At the same time, there are strict orders from the Vatican to stop the practice of "Bharatha Pooja". We do not think that the Bishop, who is also the Secretary to the Holy Synod of the Syro Malabar Church or the diocesan PRO, who came out with the clarification, are unaware of these facts. The statement of clarification even claims that the Chapel at NBCLC has no arrangements to stand and celebrate the Holy Eucharist! Isn't it the duty of the celebrant to ask for the proper arrangements and vestments for the Eucharistic celebration? Can the organizers deny if asked? We see the statement from the Diocese as an act in vain to justify the Bishop by misleading the faithful. However, the youth gave a fitting reply to this statement laced with lies.
The Diocese neither tried to contact the youths nor replied to their posts on social media. Instead they complained to the local police who in turn contacted the youths. All because they pointed out a Liturgical abuse and asked for strict action against the Bishop! It is ironical that a Diocese under the Church which had conducted social media campaign against a channel that abused the Sacrament of confession during one of its programmes threatens its youth for raising concerns over the Liturgical abuse by the Bishop. We condemn this unholy and unchristian act from the Diocese of Mandya and urge the competent authorities in Church to take stringent action against the Bishop and other people behind this. We also urge the Holy See to intervene and stop the continuing Liturgical abuses in the name of "inculturation" at NBCLC, Bangalore.
We, as the proud youth of the Syro Malabar Church will stand for the most holy apostolic traditions of the Church handed over to us by our forefathers and strictly abide by the Canons of the Church. We do not have any grudge towards the Bishop, the Diocese or any other priest involved in this act but have zero tolerance towards such unholy liturgical abuses. We will continue our mission to fight against the unjustifiable violations of the directives of the Congregation of Oriental Churches and the Holy Synod of the Syro Malabar Church.