Let us pray, peace be with us:

"The Cross that has been the cause of our good and by which our mortal humanity was set free,
O Lord, be for us a strong fortress. And by this Cross, we shall overcome the wicked one and All his devices."

(Syro-Malabar Qurbana)

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                     THE NAZRANI        “The Truth will make you free”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------            Vol.19, No. 9              New Delhi           September, 2009                         --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

QURBAN-AKRAMAM: WHOSE IMPRIMATUR?  

Regarding the Chaldean Missal and Breviary, the Ordinaries of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy, assembled in the annual conference in Ernakulam on 5-6, December, 1938 “beg to submit that, if it be your mind that we should change our existing Missal and Breviary, which have been in use for centuries, thus bringing about momentous changes in our Syro-Malabar Rite, it would be a regretful surprise to us and to the flock entrusted to our care”. Syro-Malabar Bishop’s petition of 6-12-1938 adds: We desire….and respectfully request that our Syro-Malabarf Rite already confirmed by the Holy See continue without any change and without any connection whatever with the Chaldean patriarchate” (Cf. Ernakulam Missam, Vol 43, p. 128f).

 

What is the difference between the Chaldean Rite and Syro-Malabar Rite? Syro Malabar rite has a more latinised liturgy and hierarchy! For Syro-Malabar Bishops, rite seems to be only a means for power and money! So they quarrel in revising / restoring our Qurbana to assert their dominance-majority!

 

Archbishop Kandathil refused to recognize the Mannanam taksa in 1928 due to misunderstanding of its title; it lacked his imprimatur! What is the difference between the Raza of 1986 and of 1989? Second Imprimatur is of Archbishop Powathil in 1986; of Bishop Mankuzhikary in 1989. It removed all theological heresies from Raza-1986, and the Pontifical Commission of theologians went into oblivion! So also the literary standard of Malayalam in Raza text of 1986! Magic of Imprimatur in 1989! Is it not power politics?

 

LANGUAGE OF QURBANA: Are Syro-Malabar Bishops interested in improving it? Has any one of them taken pains to make a good translation? We do not know. Archbishop Kandathil insisted on the classical language needed in the Pontifical in the letter of 6-6-1955 to Oriental Congregation (Ernakulam Missam 43 (1973) 163 – 173):

 

“The introduction of vernacular in the liturgy will be, no doubt, greatly appreciated by all…The Malayalam language used in the pontifical could be improved and made more classical. Already there is the complaint that the Malayalam used by the Christians is very poor and antiquated…The educated Hindus….call our language “Mapila Malayalam”, i.e. Christian Malayalam. If in future too we continue to use poor and antiquated language for worship, it will surely tend to lessen the devotion of people. The educated may even be tempted to keep away from the divine worship on account of this”.

 

“The Latins in Malabar too may soon have the vernacular in their liturgy.  Undoubtedly they will see to it that the language they use is modern and attractive.  We, the Orientals alone, who are mostly high class people and in general better educated, will lag behind and will be an object of contempt and derision.

 

The Jacobite Christians of Malabar, it may be noted, had set up a committee of experts in Malayalam language including even Hindus, in order to formulate their liturgical prayers in an elegant and beautiful language. The Syro-Malankara rite also makes use of the same prayers to a great extent.

 

We feel therefore that it is good for us also to make our liturgical prayers according to the classical style of the Malayalam language. This will be appreciated by all. Some years ago the Bishops, both Syrian and Latin, had appointed a commission to see to the improvement of our language in the prayers. But it did not continue the work for various reasons”.

 

What are those reasons? Are they still valid also for Syro-Malabar Bishops?  Oriental Congregation has declared: “Syro-Malabar Episcopal Conference is competent for the translation to Malayalam or any other language” (Decree of 3-4-1989). No change was made in Malayalam text of Qurbana in 1968, nor in 1986. Anti-Oriental Bishops and priests scorned its poor language; but not much change in text of 1989, revised by anti-Oriental Bishops and priests!  Political stunt!  Shout: Down with Powathil-Major Archbishop!

 

Short ceremonies are attractive; small is beautiful! Since Latin ceremonies are shorter, our churches will be deserted! “We have proposed to shorten prayers…” says Bishop Pazhayattil only repeating what Archbishop Kandathil said in 1955: “It is a great necessity that our religious ceremonies be short and attractive. The present generation is too busy and they have no patience to attend long religious ceremonies. Unless they are short, people would try to avoid them, as far as possible, or attend only some portions coming late or leaving before the end, as some of them do at present” (THE HERALD 132/22:3 of 6-9-96)

 

The Latin ceremonies are even now comparatively shorter than ours. We learn that they are going to be shortened still more. (Are they really going to shorten it?)  Thus our Churches will be deserted. People will lose their enthusiasm and love for Syriac liturgy. It will indeed be painful for us, and no less for Your Eminence. Our priests in charge of souls, unlike the monks remaining in the monasteries, are also overburdened with various pastoral duties. They are much more than in former times….Therefore, unless the mass and the other ceremonies be short our priests and people will be put to great difficulties and their piety and devotion will be affected unfavourably…” (p. 165). 

 

But no problems for veneration and novenas, benediction, rosary, etc after the Qurbana even if it takes 5 or 6 hours!  Similarly why do they insist on big host in monstrance for public worship? They seem to handle the consecrated particles with less respect!  Our question is: if the same Christ is present, why do they show more respect to the exposed host than to small particles in siborium in tabernacle?  So also people show great respect at consecration or benediction (bell ringing!); after-wards they take easy posture, showing less respect!  Why is this difference?  Due to lack of faith?  Also, how is the higher dignity of the sacrifice of Christ expressed by priests looking at people all throughout the Qurbana? He will definitely be distracted by looking at fair ones and lead the people to a danger of idolatry in worshipping Eucharist, thus celebrated!

 

What is the aim of liturgical reform? To shorten Qurbana and prayers, or to look at the people during Qurbana or to remove the veil? Since the Syro-Malabar Church has a very enlightened laity, who are conscious of matters on liturgy, let them read the Vatican decree on Liturgy:  “The Liturgy daily builds up those who are in the Church, making of them a holy temple of the Lord, a dwelling-place for God in the Spirit, to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ” (n. 2).

 

“……every liturgical celebration…is a sacred action surpassing all others” (n. 7) including offices, adoration and novenas after Mass. “In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem towards which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, Minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle” (n. 8). This is symbolically expressed by the use of sanctuary veil. True Christians do not turn their back to Christ, present in the tabernacle, altar, gospel, and cross, but have “to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ” (n. 1). This is the real remedy for division in the Church.