In July 2021, he wrote a letter exhorting “all the clergy, religious and lay faithful to proceed to a prompt implementation of the uniform mode of celebrating the Holy Qurbana, for the greater good and unity of your Church.”
In his latest letter, the pope acknowledged the sacrifices that the change would require on the part of priests and laypeople.
“I realize that I am asking you to take a difficult and painful step, but I am certain that I will find in you examples of priests and lay faithful who are ready to listen to the voice of the Lord and trust in the counsel and plea of the pope,” he said.
“This has been a distinguishing characteristic of the Syro-Malabar Church throughout the centuries. Your faithfulness has allowed you to overcome numerous historical misunderstandings and in our time has led to a flourishing of vocations and missionary zeal.”
“The Lord will not forget the sacrifice that you are making and, in the end, will open your hearts to the abundance of his blessings.”
Priests of the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly will reportedly discuss the pope’s letter at a meeting on April 5.
More than 300 priests met on March 17 and passed a unanimous resolution urging Archbishop Antony Kariyil, the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Ernakulam-Angamaly, “not to withdraw the existing dispensation for Mass facing the people in the archdiocese.”
The archdiocese’s spokesman Father Mathew Kilukkan said that the resolution “called for an official recognition of this liturgical variant of the Holy Eucharist by the Church.”
“The withdrawal of the existing exemption will lead to major conflicts and pastoral crises in the parishes,” he said on March 17.