COCHIN, India (CNS): Syro-Malabar Catholics from around the world have called for an end to restrictions on the Oriental Church’s administration and demanded more dioceses.
Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, who is head of India’s Syro-Malabar Church, called for an end to “dominance of the Latin rite” over the Syro-Malabar Church, reported UCA News, an Asian Church news agency.
Cardinal Vithayathil spoke at an August 18-20 international meeting that brought together Syro-Malabar Church leaders in Cochin, in Kerala state, the base of the Syro-Malabar Church.
Organised by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Commission for Evangelisation and Pastoral Care of Migrants, the Cochin meeting was the first gathering of its kind.
The cardinal said Church laws state that all Eastern rite Catholics should be able to practise their faith according to their own liturgical, spiritual and theological traditions and Church discipline.
However, he said thousands of Syro-Malabar Catholics who live outside Syro-Malabar jurisdictions “have no parish, church or institutions”.
The cardinal also said Vatican officials have kept a “meaningful silence” on resolving the issues connected with the Syro-Malabar Church’s jurisdiction, even after he met Pope Benedict XVI in October and pleaded with him to remove the restrictions.
Thomas Mathew, an Australian participant, said he hoped the meeting could open “effective communication channels” with the Vatican.