Vatican Denies Changes in the Celebration of Mass;

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, speaking at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, May 17 (CNS photo/Bob Roller).

The Vatican has denied media reports, based on recent statements made by Cardinal Robert Sarah in London, claiming that there will be changes in the celebration of the Mass from next Advent with the priest facing the east, and that “a reform of the reform” of the liturgy is under way.

The Vatican statement, issued on the evening of July 11 by Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, said “there are no new liturgical directives starting from next Advent, as someone has improperly deduced from some words of Cardinal Sarah, and it is better to avoid using the expression ‘the reform of the reform,’ referring to the liturgy, given that this has sometimes been the source of misunderstanding.”

The Vatican statement declared that “all this was expressly agreed during a recent audience given by the pope to the said Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.” That meeting took place last Saturday, July 9, as reported in the Press Office bulletin.

The cardinal’s statements in London, made at the Sacra Liturgia conference on July 5, caused consternation and much confusion in many parts of the church across the world, and in the Vatican, too. They raised the fundamental question as to whether the cardinal was acting on his own accord or whether he had received authorization from higher levels in the Vatican for saying such things. Today’s Vatican communique makes clear that Francis never authorized any such statements and that these do not correspond to what is envisaged in the liturgical books approved by the pope.

VATICAN STATEMENT: The following is a working translation of the Vatican press statement made byAmerica’s Vatican correspondent, in the absence of an official translation.


A clarification is opportune following news reports circulating in the media after a conference held in London some days ago by Cardinal Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

Cardinal Sarah has always been rightly concerned for the dignity of the celebration of the Mass, in a way that expresses adequately the attitude of respect and adoration for the Eucharistic mystery.

Some expressions were nevertheless badly interpreted as if they announced new indications differing from those given to-date in the liturgical norms and in the words of the pope on the celebration (looking) towards the people and on the ordinary rite of Mass.

It is therefore good to recall that in the General Order of the Roman Missale (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani), that contains the norms relating to the Eucharistic celebration and (which) are still fully in force, No. 299 states that “the altar is built separated from the wall, so as to be able to move around it easily and to celebrate looking towards the people, which thing is convenient to realize wherever possible. The altar is to be place in a way so as to really constitute the center towards which the attention of the people spontaneously converges.”

Pope Francis, for his part, on the occasion of his visit to the Dicastery (Congregation for Divine Worship) has expressly recalled that the “ordinary” form of the celebration of the Mass is that envisaged by the Missal promulgated by Paul VI, while that “extraordinary” (form), which was permitted by by Pope Benedict XVI for the purposes and the modalities explained by him in the Motu Proprio “Summorum Ponticium,” must not take the place of the “ordinary” (form).

There are therefore no new liturgical directives beginning from next Advent, as someone has improperly deduced from some words of Cardinal Sarah, and it is better to avoid using the expression “the reform of the reform,” in referring to the liturgy, given that this has sometimes been the source of misunderstanding.

Significantly, the Vatican communique added that “all this was expressly agreed during a recent audience given by the pope to the said Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.”


Church in Asia mourns for Dhaka terror victims: Cardinal Gracias

Cardinal Oswald Gracias wanted religious leaders, governments and communities to work together for peace.

Posted on July 7, 2016, 10:18 PM


Vatican City:“As violence picks up its deadly pace, we can draw strength from God’s endless mercy. We are called to face these grave challenges with peaceful solidarity on the part of all people of good will,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

Remembering the victims of the Dhaka massacre by Islamic terrorists, he said that the whole Church in Asia is mourning the attack, “which struck so close to the end of the Holy season of Ramadan.”

Stressing that most of Muslims live in Asia, particularly in the south and southeast, he added that, “together as brothers we must foster a spirit of brotherhood and solidarity.”

The cardinal’s message said, “We are living in a time of great dangers and great opportunities for humankind and the world, a time which is also of great responsibility for us all. It is essential and urgent that religious leaders, governments and communities work together to build bridges of peace and promote reconciliation.

“Dangerous forces and powers thrive on the empty hope that terror will blind us to our common humanity,” the message said. It urged all to pray and work for reconciliation, justice, peace and development.

The Cardinal added,“ As the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church in Asia, I assure you that the Church wants to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole.”

“May Christian-Muslim friendship inspire us always to cooperate in facing these many challenges, thus ensuring that religions can be a source of harmony for the benefit of society as a whole and for the human family,” the cardinal said in his message that extended Ramadan greetings to all Muslims.

Source: Vatican Radio

BOLT FROM THE BLUE: Divorce decrees by church courts not valid: SC;

Jul 05 2016 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
Divorce decrees by church courts not valid: SC
New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Monday said divorce decrees granted by ecclesiastical tribunals, popularly known among Christians as church courts, had no legal sanctity and anyone remarrying after such a divorce decree would be com mitting an offence.The observation came from Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud while hearing a plea from Bengaluru’s octogenarian Catholic advocate Clarence Pais, who has sought legal sanctity for divorce decrees granted by church courts. He has pleaded that marriage and divorce among Catholic Christians were governed by the church and in the absence of its recognition by law, unsuspecting men were facing prosecution for bigamy. Additional solicitor general Neeraj Kishan Kaul said the SC, in the Molly Joseph vs George Sebastian case in 1996, had settled the issue and ruled that “unless Divorce Act recognizes the jurisdiction, authority or power of ecclesiastical tribunal, any order passed by a tribunal cannot be binding on courts which have been recognized under the provisions of the Divorce Act to exercise power in respect of granting divorce and adjudicating in respect of matrimonial matters“. After the bench went through the judgment, it told Pais’s counsel Soli J Sorabjee, “Unless a divorce decree is granted by a competent court, the decrees granted by church court are not valid. Any man who remarries after divorce decree granted by church court will be committing an offence.“

Finding the going tough, Sorabjee said he just wanted to request an adjournment for a detailed hearing later.Though the court was reluctant, it decided to accept the former attorney general’s request. The petitioner had said hundreds of applications seeking dissolution of marriage were pending before church courts. “The Christian Marriage Act provides for the solemnization of marriage in a Catholic church in accordance with the provisions of the canon law and declaration of its nullity is regulated by the Code of Canon Law,“ the petitioner argued. “If criminal courts, while considering prosecution under IPC Section 494 (bigamy), reject the application of canon law as the personal law of the Catholics, a very serious result will follow and hundreds of spouses who have married a second time will face prosecution, jail and fine. Canon law is the personal law of Catholics of India and it has to be applied and enforced by a criminal court while deciding a case under Section 494 of the IPC and sanction of prosecution considered for alleged bigamy of a Catholic spouse who has married after obtaining a decree for nullity of the first marriage from the ecclesiastical tribunal.“ he said.

Are Church leaders listening to the wake-up calls?

Judge yourself with the latest situation in India particularly in Mumbai. Leadership is doomed, lay leadership is neither encouraged nor supported. We are sailing in a boat without any boatman…….Alex D’mello on FB

Promoting docile ‘yes men’ has brought us a feeble leadership

Are Church leaders listening to the wake-up calls?

Cardinal Bertone. File picture: Dmitry Morgan/

June 24, 2014

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, former Vatican Secretary of State and right hand of Pope Benedict XVI, has been implicated in a multi-million dollar fraud and embezzlement case. He is also in hot water for his new apartment, infinitely more luxurious than the pope’s own lodgings. This somehow typifies and also casts a depressing shadow on the way the Church government has been run over the past few decades.

The degree of ‘moral turpitude’ at the highest levels astounds the imagination. Are cardinals and bishops no better than crude politicians after all?

For a long time, for centuries in fact, the Catholic Church was one of the few institutions where a young man, with no family connections and little money, could rise to eminence on the basis of intelligence, shrewdness and ambition alone.

If in addition, he was servile enough to authority and avoided scandals, especially sexual ones, he could go far.

As a tried and tested formula, it worked for centuries, and still does.

As proof, just look at the popes, the bishops and the senior clergy who have “made it”. All of them belong to an institution called the Church to which they have given their lives, from which they draw certain benefits, and whose stability and public image they are sworn to uphold.

But the world has changed, and changed drastically. In an earlier religious culture, priests and bishops were respected and their words carried weight.

Not any more, in the secularized culture in which we live. This is a culture sworn to freedom, especially freedom of information.

The whole purpose of Vatican II was to bring the Church up to date (aggiornamento), as Pope John XXIII wished. But this reform was bitterly resisted by members of the ruling Roman Curia, who did their best to sabotage what the Council decreed.

For example, an important change the Council wanted was collegiality, whereby structures of governance would be put in place so that bishops could take their rightful place along with the pope in matters of doctrine and pastoral care.

This sadly has not taken place at all, and today most bishops are little more than “branch managers”, taking their cues from “head office” in Rome.

Looking at India, there was a time when the leaders of the Catholic hierarchy were seen and respected as community leaders.

That time seems to be over. The only Christian leader invited for the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was an Orthodox bishop from Kerala, a friend of his.

Has the Catholic Church hierarchy lost its clout?

Disturbing as this is, it is not surprising. Under John Paul II, any senior priest who showed any independence of thought and action was summarily passed over for promotion in favor of those who were compliant and docile.

As a result, we have a timid hierarchy, shy of taking a public stand and eager to show its obsequiousness to the government.

Nor have outspoken laymen or women been encouraged either in India. So it may be worth our while to introspect a little and see where most of India’s clergy and hierarchy come from.

By and large they come from ‘village and small town India,’ where opting for the priesthood is still a safe passage for upward mobility. Usually, bishops are chosen not for their pastoral abilities, but because they are trained in canon law or theology (most have been seminary professors, not parish priests).

No surprise then that the two key qualities of a public leader – and a bishop is this, if he is anything at all – communication skills and management abilities, are often glaringly absent.

With regard to communication skills: like all authoritarian and non-democratic institutions, the Catholic Church loves secrecy. It hates the media, accusing it of meddlesome curiosity.

To justify secrecy, it argues that the Church ‘should not wash its dirty linen in public’. A fallacious argument at best, because as a result the dirty clothes do not get washed at all.

Two examples make this clear: the pedophile scandals in the West and the financial scams of the Vatican. Notice that what made the sexual crimes of the offending priests worse was the elaborate cover-ups from their bishops, which involved lies, evasion and subterfuge.

When it comes to management, in most cases, traditional organizations rest on authority through command. Information-based organizations rest on responsibility.

In today’s world, information is a resource built into every operation, which can only function if each unit is accountable. And this applies to the Church too.

Ask yourself, when was the last time your parish priest or your bishop showed himself accountable for the functioning of the unit (parish, diocese) committed to his charge? Not just financially accountable, but responsible for the planning and execution of projects undertaken?

Two serious issues that face the Christian minority in India today are how it treats its Dalit and tribal communities; and what its inter-faith relationships are.

Both issues are related to the question of ‘inclusivity’, or how to form a more egalitarian and integrated society. It is our sad experience that the more indigenous the Christian community is, the more rooted in the local culture, the more caste exclusive it tends to become. Leadership is serious wanting here.

Inter-faith relations are growing increasingly important in India today, where we still see ourselves as a threatened minority.

These relations mean more than just celebrating religious feasts together. They also relate to the way in which we see inter-faith marriages; engage in inter-community projects for common welfare; and are able to discuss our respective religious traditions in public and without apprehension, in order to expand our ‘democratic space’.

Today the rapid changes in Indian society are reflected in the Catholic community. The recent election was a decisive rejection of a corrupt and feudal government.

May this serve as a wake-up call for Church leaders as well.

Jesuit Fr Myron J. Pereira is a media consultant based in Mumbai
Courtesy: UCANews…

WAKE UP CALL FOR THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY: Effect of flawed DP – 2034, on Christian community and their institutions;

Mumbai: Poisar church parishioners take protest to BMC ward office


Aggrieved with the BMC proposal to remove the heritage cross and portion of the graveyard for expansion of SV Road at Poisar in Kandivali, the members of Catholic community protested outside the local BMC office on Saturday.

Around 500 people marched from Our Lady of Remedy Church in Kandivali to the R-South BMC office as the community members were against the idea of dislodging the cross and parting away with the graveyard area. Protestors were holding placards with message to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

‘We are the BMC – Boulder Mighty Catholics’ read one of the placards, while another one said ‘Standing hand in hand to protect every inch of our land’.

Dolphy D’souza from Save our Land (SOUL), one of the supporting groups, said, “The protest is against the unjust demand of the BMC to demolish the heritage cross, a portion of the graveyard of Our Lady of Remedy which has a history of over 450 years and some of the other church property. We, Christians, are soft targets and so the politicians and BMC officials are exploiting us.”

Though the rally was peaceful as the protestors reached the R-South BMC ward office they started shouting slogans like, ‘BMC ki dadagiri nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi’ and ‘Ajoy Mehta hai, hai’.

A delegation of the protestors were allowed inside the ward office to meet the civic officials, but the members were upset as senior civic officials — the deputy municipal commissioner (DMC) and assistant municipal commissioner (AMC) — were not there for the meeting. It was the Executive Engineer, R-South, Sunil Pabikar who attended the delegation members and heard their say on the issue.

“DMC and AMC have gone for a top level meeting,” Pabikar told the protestors. He further informed the delegation that since the subject is very sensitive it would be appropriate to meet higher civic authorities and possibly municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta to get the subject addressed.

With civic elections scheduled early next year, the community is likely to take up the issue during the polls and their anger could well be reflected in votes. Alfi Quinny from Poisar village said, “We may be a minority, but collectively, we make up 20 per cent of the electorate and a difference of 500 votes can make or break a candidate. The tide is rising against those in power who are crushing us in the name of development. The Poisar church makes everyone passing this road say a prayer, on the curses of the dead nothing good can come about.”

Meanwhile Godfrey Pimenta from Watchdog Foundation said, “We did a study of various points on SV Road from Mulji Nagar Junction in Kandivali to Kamal Kunj in Goregaon, the road width is not more than 60 feet anywhere. Why is there a need for a 90 feet road near Poisar Church? By taking a part of the graveyard, the dead will be desecrated. There is no burial ground nearby and many have to go as far as Oshiwara, this existing one is also being denied.”

“We need to thank the BMC and politicians for teaching our community to come on the streets. We have learnt to agitate with protests like this only because of them. Today’s morcha was only a trailer, if the BMC does not back off, we will have an even bigger agitation, We will have an agitation at Azad Maidan soon and also try to get an appointment with Ajoy Mehta to discuss this issue as well as the new Development Plan (DP) which has again targeted us by showing our properties as something else,” said D’souza.





The analysis of revised draft Development Plan 2034, by us reveals that in all out of 90 Churches in city of Mumbai, only 10 Churches have been officially marked in DP.

1) 30 Churches are marked as Primary and Secondary Schools.

2) 2 Churches are marked as Rehabilitation and Resettlement for slums.

3) 1 Church is marked as Multipurpose Community Centre.

4) 1 Church is marked in No Development Zone.

5) 2 Churches are marked in Industrial Zone.

6) 1 Church is marked as Municipal Staff Quarters.

7) 2 Churches are marked as Graveyards.

8) 2 Churches are marked as Garden/Park.

9) 1 Church is marked as Municipal Housing.

10) 5 Graveyards are marked as Schools.




Watchdog Foundation,
Bombay East Indian Association,
Save Our Land,
Sahar Citizens Forum,
Civic and Political Cell Chuim Church,
Guardians United,

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