Rorate Caeli

TLM Update from India

We have received the following update on the TLM situation in India. The author of this piece has long involvement in the Traditionalist movement in India, but has requested not to be named for fear of reprisals from Church authorities. Out of respect for the author of the piece, I have not edited or deleted anything in his message.
Aside from the SSPX Masses, it seems that there are no regular Sunday TLM's in India under diocesan auspices, and only two monthly Masses.
The Catholic Church in India has Asia's largest Catholic hierarchy and, with nearly 17,000 seminarians, has more seminarians than any other country in the world (indeed, more than the entire North American continent). Unfortunately, the traditional Roman liturgy has been all but obliterated in this vast and growing Church. Given the future importance of the Church in Asia to the Catholic Church as a whole, this is a terrible deficiency that needs to be repaired urgently.
In the Archdiocese of Bombay the Indult Mass has been celebrated at Our Lady of Victory Church, Mahim, Bombay, on the first Sunday of the month since January 2001. Initially done by a very senior priest who was ordained in 1956, he had forgotten how to celebrate it and made quite a mess of it. For around a year the Mass was celebrated by pre-1969 priests but thereafter it has been celebrated mostly by a post-1969 priest. Attendance in the begining was 250 but it has reportedly dwindled to around 50. A seminarian who was attending it (and was also promoting the Holy Rosary with a small group in the Bombay Seminary) was victimised by the Archbishop (Cardinal Ivan Dias, now at the Curia), called a Lefebvrist, and his ordination was therefore delayed in 2002 by 3 years during which period he was to have been indoctrinated by a modernist Jesuit. He and 3 others, who had put in 9, 8, 7 and 6 years of study at the Bombay seminary, defected to the SSPX but were told by the SSPX in Australia that as their studies in Bombay was unsuitable for the Catholic priesthood they would have to study 6 years more (to the very same studies which used to be imparted in the Bombay Seminary befire Vatican II). Three of them quit Holy Cross Seminary, Australia, unceremously end 2005/ early 2006 and returned to India after having received assurances from the same archbishop that they would be well-received but they have not been ordained by the Archdiocese of Bombay as yet and have been under observation in three different churches; one of the three reportedly has quit altogether and has gone back to his mother. The fourth in Australia, youngest of the group, was ordained a SSPX priest there on December 27, 2008. Meanwhile Cardinal Dias was moved to Rome in June 2006 and the present Archbishop of Bombay from October 2006 is Cardinal Oswald Gracias.

Testimonies of 3 of the 4 Bombay seminarians who had defected to the SSPX, on the
modernistic teachings imparted by the Novus Ordo Bombay Seminary, were hosted on the SSPX Asia website in 2003/2004 and may be accessed at:

From January 2008 the Motu Proprio Mass, requested by a group of laypersons, is being offered in th Jesuit-run St. Peter's Church, Bandra, in the church loft by a pre-1969 priest, first a 82 year-old priest in the Clergy Home and thereafter by a Spanish Jesuit, also ordained before 1969. Attendance at the start was around 70.The Mass is only on the third Sunday of every month
In Bombay - Bassein the SSPX has 3 Mass locations.

In Goa there was a petition signed by more than 100 persons for the Indult Mass about 12 years ago but the Archbishop referred it to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and the Priests Council and both bodies vetoed it.


  1. Poor Goa! The former "Rome of the East" is now a modernist desert! May Saint Francis Xavier and Saint John de Brito intercede for traditional catholicism there!

  2. I attended the Mahim Mass a few times, about two years ago. The attendance seemed to be about fifty. It seemed to me a pity that it was only celebrated once a month, since I couldn't always manage to be in the city that particular week.

    In Goa, I have never heard of the Mass being said in the Old Form. People there just don't know about it. Surely, it would be possible in one of the grand old Portuguese churches in Old Goa. I consider that people would come long distance for it.

  3. Anonymous11:17 AM

    I have an old video about the SSPX in India. It's quite funny because they sing the chant with a little Indian keyboard instrument as accompaniment and use the wrong tones! They use an Indian Rāga mode. Sounds very funny! They also have no cassocks and cottas and don't know how to serve so the young bearded priest seen in the video who, incidentally, seems obsessed with sermonizing to the simple folk about hell death and modernism in a thick impenetrable American accent, does almost everything. Maybe I should put it on Youtube.

  4. Please do not ridicule others! They might need help not the laughter.

  5. It is yet another example of the excommunication of Tradition by the hierarchy. All anyone can do is bombard the Holy See with petitions to have this situation reversed and until the SSPX is granted faculties we will endure this unacceptable behavior by the hierarchy.

  6. Anonymous1:07 PM

    I will offer up my Lenten penances for the restoration of the old Latin Mass in India, in the Philippines, and in my own country, Mexico.

  7. Anonymous2:45 PM

    Once again, I'll say it: thank God for the SSPX. At least one good priest came out of that epidose. I'd take one traditional priest over 17,000 that will spend their lives destroying the Faith.

  8. Anonymous4:07 PM

    Are these 17,000 seminarians interested in the faith or just trying to escape the poverty of India? The hierarchy there has been tainted with the ERRORS of EASTERN PHILOSOPHY

  9. Anonymous5:30 PM

    Referred it to the Priest Council? Ah, yes. I've seen that same COWARDLY tactic from bishops in the U.S. who despise Tradition. Makes me almost respect the bishops who come right out and say, "Latin Mass? Over my dead body!"

  10. wasn't consultation part of the Tradition before autocratic fiat came in? thought so.

  11. While I very much advocate the right of people to have the Liturgy celebrated in the EF, I have some doubts about this case.

    So, these seminarians not only quit Bombay but also the SSPX Holy Cross seminary in Australia to go back to Bombay and wonder why the Archdiocese hesitant? One question and one comment:

    Question: Why did they quit ("uncermoniously") Holy Cross after 4 years when they were convinced of the modernism in Bombay? Seems odd, and I bet there's truth that isn't being told.

    Comment: I seriously doubt the veracity of their vocation. Those who jump around from seminary to seminary and back again should be avoided.

  12. Alban - you bring up good points. We know why the 3 students left Bombay but why Holy Cross? SSPX gives the traditional training they wanted so why leave? You're right - something is missing in this story and it's suspicious.

    I also agree that bishops should stay clear of seminarians who move around a lot. You have to wonder WHY they move around. There has to be something wrong with them.

    Anonymous - people going to be priests (or religious) to avoid poverty is nothing new. Don't fool yourself by thinking it didn't happen before Vatican II because it did.

  13. Anonymous10:14 PM

    Why did they leave? Perhaps they couldn't hack it, ever think of that? Why attempt to make it in to more than what it most likely is? The traditional seminary is a far cry from the modernist seminary, and those who do not have a true vocation to the priesthood will drop out.

  14. Precisely because we do not know the full story of the three seminarians, I strongly suggest that those commenting here refrain from judging them. At the very least, just pray for them.

    I am personally familiar with many seminarians who have had similar stories, and the only thing I can say is that they are ultimately victims of the crisis in the Church. In better times they would have become good priests. What a tragedy that in our times so many vocations are lost...

  15. I agree. we should stop judging these seminarians they may be victims of the crisis in the Church. I am speaking from experience. I was a former seminarian here in the Philippines. Raised in a devout family, but when I entered the seminary I was sorely disappointed and disoriented because what I learned from my family about the faith was very much different from what is taught in the seminary. I was educated using the Baltimore Catechism as a child but when I entered the seminary the teachings suddenly became so different from what the Baltimore Catechism was teaching. Ultimately I decided to get out of the seminary because as a youth way back in 1984, I could not figure out what was happening. The sense of meaning was lost. Now I look back and see how my classmates fared along. Only a few from our batch were ordained and those ordained only a few remained faithful. Several I have heard had been involved in serious scandals such as living a double life, womanizing, financial impropriety etc... Now I analyze the situation, my classmates like me were also victims of this crisis of faith in the church. The only difference is that they succeeded in obtaining ordination and I decided to be lay faithful instead. But in the end I could say that being ordained is really a great privilege and I congratulate my classmates but in the end whether priest or lay the ultimate gauge for our lives is our faithfulness and our charity. But how sad if the pastors assigned to guide innocent souls neglect their duties. Sorry for making this reference to my personal experience, but if only to amplify and support the premise that indeed the crises in the church could partly explain why our seminaries day by day are losing students and vocations are becoming more rare these days.

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. St Alphonsus de Liguori says, one bad priest takes thousands and thousands of souls to Hell with him.

    St John Eudes says that God is angry to His people when He sends bad priests, that instead of feeding the flock, they devour the flock!

    Instead of feeding Catholic souls with True Doctrine, bad priests preach heresies!

    Very very sad to what's happening to our Holy Mother Church.

    This Lent, we have to redouble our penances and prayers for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady!

    I believe it's the Only Way!

  18. What ever the situation with the seminarians, the lack of the TLM in India is and remains an absolute disgrace.

    The Hierachs of India deserve international and public condemnation for their negligence and willful defiance of Summorum Pontificum and the denial of the rights of the catholics of India.

    It is a difficult situation when modernism is rampent in diocesan seminaries, what option do seminarians have?

    Perhaps of some concern is the question of the seminarians joining a seminary whose hierachy was out of communion with the Church at the time, or rather an excommunicated hierarchy.

    I'm not sure that the end justifies the means here...
    An intensive campaign by the traditional catholics of India to alert the authorities in Rome of this situation will ultimately stir some action.

    Those who surround the pope are keen to hear what is going on around the world, and have caused change sometimes dramatic change in different regions. Now is a good time...

  19. Anonymous3:04 AM

    You know what, the situation is pretty similar in Singapore, where aside from SSPX Masses, there have not been any regular Sunday TLM at all.

    As from dec 2008 to the present 2009, the tlm was celebrated on dec 9 8pm, dec 24 4pm, jan 6(2009) 8pm. There would be another on march 25 8pm also.

    I really wonder whether our local archbishop Nicholas Chia and his priests do acknowledge the pope's supreme power as visible head of the Catholic Church. It appears that what had been done is not in acknowledgement of the 2007 Motu Proprio but that of the Ecclesia Dei directive. Isn't the Ecclesia Dei directive abrogated with the promulgation of Motu Proprio??It is also a fact that the local diocese is NOT SUPPORTIVE of those who support the TLM (including the priest who said the tlm) and the organisers have to lie low. This is sad.

    True, the faithful can always come to the sspx Mass at the chapel but there are so many Catholic souls out there that the local diocese should reach out to them!

  20. Anonymous3:11 AM

    The said tlm was dec 8 8pm, feast of immaculate conception, not on dec 9 as written in above post (anonymous). Sorry.

  21. From July 16, 2007

    1. G. Alex Benziger, Advocate,
    St. Francis Xavier's Church, Broadway Parish.
    2. Michael Amalraj Edward, Advocate,
    Our Lady of Good Health Church, Little Mount Parish.
    3. S. Parisutham, Advocate,
    St. Mark's Church, Adambakkam Parish.
    4. Dr. S. Leonard Vasanth, Advocate,
    St. Fatima Church, Kodambakkam Parish
    5. A. Arokiadoss, Advocate,
    Holy Cross Church, T. Nagar Parish
    6. D.Irudhaya Nathan, Advocate,
    St. Francis Xavier's Church, Broadway Parish.
    7. Conscious Fernando, Advocate,
    St. Luke's Church, Anna Nagar Parish,
    8. A. Amalraj, Advocate,
    St. Andrew's Church, Choolai Parish.
    9. Antony Jesu Rajan, Advocate,
    St. Anne's Church, Nesappakkam Parish.
    (All of us are Roman Catholic Advocates, Practising in the Madras High
    Court, Madras, South India)


    Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore,
    Archbishop's House,
    Santhome, Madras-600 004.

    May it please your Grace,

    Sub: Our request for the grant of Indult for celebrating Tridentine
    Latin Mass on Sundays in St. Mary's Church, Co-Cathedral, Parrys,
    Madras-600 001- Regarding.
    Greeting in our Lord Jesus Christ

    May we place before Your Grace a kind request of permission of Indult
    for providing us the Tridentine Latin Mass in the Parish Church
    St.Mary's Co-Catherdral Shrine at Parrys, Madras-600 001 on every
    Sunday at 5.30 P.M.

    1. The Liturgy of Mass is the greatest 'Action' where Our Lord Jesus
    Christ is brought down on earth in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity,
    by the anointed hands of the specially consecrated persons of
    priesthood. It is certainly an extension of incarnation of Our Lord
    Jesus Christ, Our Savior and His Crucifixion, manifested for the
    redemption of our Soul of all the sacraments of the Church. The
    Sacrament of Eucharistic Liturgy is the heart-beat and the richest
    wealth of the Holy Mother Church.

    2. Tridentine Latin Mass has been too evident a testimony to the
    sacrificial basis of the Roman Catholic Church, based on the great
    "Action of Christ" for centuries where the consecrated priest becomes
    "Alter Christus". This Mass has, no doubt produced all the Holy
    Saints and Martyrs in the Church.

    3. With the vernacular presentation of the Mass and with no one
    rubric, each priest has his own style of celebrating the Mass. No two
    priest celebrate the Mass in the same manner, so much so, the general
    comment of the faithful is always that 'Fr. 'X's' Mass is much better
    than Fr.Y's' Mass or is not as good as the other.

    4. Pope John Paul II in his Encyclical, 'Dominicae Cenae' dated
    24.02.1980 states as,
    "I would like to ask forgiveness in my own name and in the name of
    all of your venerable and dear brothers in the episcopate-for
    everything which, for whatever reason, through whatever human
    weakness, impatience or negligence, and also through at the time
    partial, one-side and erroneous application of the directives of
    Second Vatican Council, may have caused scandal and disturbance
    concerning the interpretation of the doctrine and the veneration due
    to this great sacrament. And I pray to Lord Jesus that in the future
    we may avoid in our manner of dealing with this sacred mystery
    anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of
    reverence and love that exists in our faithful people".

    5. As rightly pointed out by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger-the
    present Pope Benedict XVI-on 24.10.1998 to the 3000 traditionalist
    faithful in the Eternal City who are coming from as far away as
    Australia and New Zealand has said,
    "the differences in the liturgy according to the new rite, as it is
    actually practiced in many places, are often greater than the
    difference between the new and the old liturgy, when both are
    celebrated according to the prescribed liturgical books" (the
    journal-"Inside the Vatican", December 1998 issue).

    6. Pope John Paul II in his Encyclical, "Dominicae Cenae" dated
    24.02.1980 further states
    "Nevertheless, there are also those people who, having been educated
    on the basis of the old liturgy in Latin, experience the lack of this
    "one language", which in all the world was an expression of the Unity
    of the Church and through its dignified character elicited a profound
    sense of the Eucharistic Mystery. It is therefore necessary to show
    not only understanding but also full respect towards these sentiments
    and desires are to be accommodated, as is moreover provided for in the
    new dispositions. The Roman Church has special obligations towards
    Latin, the splendid language of ancient Rome, and she must manifest
    them whenever the occasion presents itself".

    7. Further Pope John Paul II in his Encyclical "Ecclesia Dei" dated
    02.07.1988 states as….
    "To all the Catholic Faithful who feel attached to some previous
    liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition I wish to
    manifest my will to facilitate their ecclesial communion by means of
    the necessary measures to guarantee respect for their rightful
    aspirations. In this matter I ask for the support of the bishops and
    of all those engaged in the pastoral ministry in the Church"………
    "moreover, respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all
    those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide
    and generous application of the directives already issued some time
    ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to
    the typical edition of 1962".

    8. Further we wish to state that the Holy Father Benedict XVI in his
    "Post Synodal, Apostolic Exhortation" "Sacramentum Caritatis" dated
    22.02.2007 states as follows:
    "…………… I am thinking here particularly of celebrations at
    international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater
    frequency. The most should be made of these occasions. In order to
    express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish
    to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with
    the directives of the Second Vatican Council, that, with the exception
    of the readings the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such
    liturgies could be celebrated in Latin. Similarly, the better known
    prayers of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if
    possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung. Speaking more
    generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary,
    receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in
    Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian Chant; nor
    should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more
    common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the Liturgy to
    Gregorian chant".

    9. There is a great depth of reasoning in having the dead language in
    the liturgy, so that the words are not misconstrued, misinterpreted
    or mistranslated with all exaggerations to suit the individuals and
    consequently, they are not being misconceived by the congregation.
    This should be the main reason why the other religions too, Hinduism,
    Islamism, Buddhism etc., have their religious prayers of worship and
    chantings in the dead language.

    10. Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" be considered as "established
    and decreed" by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on 07.07.2007 and to be
    observed from September 14, 2007 is as follows:-
    "Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary
    expression of the " Lex orandi' (Law of Prayer) of the Catholic Church
    of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St.
    Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an
    extraordinary expression of the same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given
    due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions
    of the Church's Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in
    the Church's 'Lex credendi' (Law of belief). They are, in fact two
    usages of the one Roman rite.
    "It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass
    following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by
    Bl.John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of
    the Liturgy of the Church".
    and some norms of law, issued in this regard and we are eagerly
    awaiting your Grace's necessary directions.

    Under these circumstances, we, the undersigned Catholics and on behalf
    of quite a good section of Catholics, in the City of Madras humbly
    make our submission to Your Grace and request your Grace to grant
    necessary Indult for providing us the Sacred Tridentine Latin Mass in
    St. Mary's Co-cathedral Shrine on every Sunday evening
    5.30 p.m. which will go a long way for the salvation of our souls in
    search of our Eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
    Thank you and pray for your Grace's Blessings.

    Yours most Obedient Children in
    Our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Copy to :-His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillon HoyosPresident
    Commission Ecclesia Dei, Plaza del Sant' Uffizio 11,00120 Vatican
    City, Italy, Europe. All Communication and Correspondence to G. Alex
    Benziger, Advocate, 18, Pidariyar Koil Lane, Chennai -600 001.e.mail:- Name & Address of the Catholics 1. G. Alex
    Benziger, 2. Michael Amalraj Edward, 3. S. Parisutham, 4. Dr. S.
    Leonard Vasanth, 5. A. Arokiadoss, 6. D.Irudhaya Nathan, 7. Conscious
    Fernando, 8. A. Amalraj, 9. Antony Jesu Rajan,

  22. Anonymous2:34 PM

    The SSPX has been celebrating the TLM in Goa on a regular basis since 1993.Their chapel is located at "Casa Luna" in the village of Salvador do Mundu in north Goa. Attendance varies from 10-30. At present Holy Mass is celebrated every third Sunday of the month.
    Interest in the TLM among the half-million Catholic population of this state is almost zero. People are happy to PARTICIPATE in the New Mass.

  23. Anonymous3:16 PM

    A TLM under the auspices of the Motu Proprio was celebrated in Goa, by an elderly London based priest, on 11 January, 2009. Before Mass the server, an SSPXer, requested the celebrant to announce that Communion should be received kneeling and on the tongue.
    However, before the Mass began, the celebrant announced that we should not be disobedient like the SSPX but should obey the Pope. Since the Pope has authorised receiving Communion in the hand,he would be pleased to oblige any of the 25 attendees who wished to recive it this way. There was a get-together after Mass (I could not stay). Did he speak further about the SSPX? I dont know, but a few people there who used to sometimes come along for the SSPX Mass no longer do so.

  24. Anonymous4:26 PM

    Sir ,
    My letter was published in this blog on 26th Feb.2009.In 1987, the then Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore late His Grace Dr. Casimir Gnanadhickam sj had permitted the TLM Mass in a chapel opposite to the Archbishop'House once in a week. After his death the TLM was not offered.As per our (yesterday post)letter, the Archbishop replied some letters with dilly dallying, so we have represented the matter before the Holy See in August 2008 but no response from the Holy See as per the Summorum Pontificum.
    This is for your information.
    G. Alex Benziger, Advocate

  25. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Mr Benzinger - the Madras hierarchy will be of the same mindset as that of their All-India confreres. You will recall that when the Motu Proprio concerning the TLM came into force, Cardinal Toppo, the then head of India's bishops (CBCI) declared that this same Motu Proprio was directed towards those Europeans who still had attachment to the old Mass. Meaning, that this dis not concern a country like India.
    You must be aware that the SSPX celebrates Mass every Sunday at St Anthony's School, Little Mount, Madras. Whenever the SSPX priest is not available, a retired diocesan priest substitutes. [Contact Mr Josephraj 22355389]

  26. Anonymous4:45 AM

    Just to stretch the TLM-in-India thread a bit. The SSPX began a Rosary Crusade in late October 2008 to have those excommunications lifted. In late November or thereabout, a senior SSPX (Fr.EC) priest visited India. He told a local priest (Fr MF) that "the excommunications would be lifted in January 2009". Now let's go figure!!!


Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!