A group of protesting Catholics in India’s Kerala state prevented an archbishop who serves as apostolic of the archdiocese from entering the cathedral to celebrate Sunday Mass.
Archbishop Andrews Thazhath arrived at the St Mary’s Basilica Cathedral Church escorted with police to celebrate Mass in the synod-approved format that is being opposed by most Catholics and clergy in the archdiocese.
Protesters, however, filled the basilica compound and locked the church gate.
Sensing trouble, the police accompanying the archbishop did not allow him to get out of the car. After waiting for almost 10 minutes in front of the basilica, the prelate returned to the nearby Archbishop’s House along with the police and his supporters.
The administrator’s supporters broke open the Archbishop’s House’s main gate to allow the prelate to enter. They also destroyed a television set, chairs, and photo of former Metropolitan Vicar Archbishop Antony Kariyil.
Police chased Archbishop Thazhath’s supporters as the prelate sat in his car outside the main gate of the Archbishop’s House with the police escort.
The latest developments took place a day after a three-member panel appointed by the Syro-Malabar Church’s permanent synod agreed to convey the demands of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese to the apex body and promised to find a solution.
The Church’s permanent synod of bishops on November 24 appointed the panel after it realized that Archbishop Thazhath was leading the archdiocese to a breakaway point.
On November 25, the panel led by Archbishop Mathew Moolakkatt of Kottayam met for three hours with the representatives of the priests and laity of the archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly. The other members of the panel are Archbishop Joseph Pamplany of Tellicherry and Bishop Jose Chittooparambil of Rajkot.
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