Rorate Caeli

"Mexican bishops will ask Pope to include Mayan rites in Catholic Masses": Zaire was just the start...

San Cristóbal de Las Casas (Mexico), 28 Feb. [source in Spanish] The Diocese of San Cristóbal, in the south of Mexico, will send Pope Francis a proposal to include in Catholic masses indigenous Mayan rites such as dance, music and the participation of women.

This is the second proposal of these characteristics that comes from the Catholic ecclesial community; the first one about native peoples came from the Republic of Zaire, in Africa.

Cardinal Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, who is coordinating the work, explained to EFE on Wednesday that the proposal will be presented in April to the assembly of the Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM) and in May it will be delivered in Rome by the Archbishop of Puebla, Víctor Sánchez, president of the pastoral liturgy commission.

These liturgical adaptations are aimed at uniting the communities "respecting their value, taking into account the culture of the native peoples," said the Bishop of San Cristobal, Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez.

The religious leaders concluded this week a meeting in Chiapas, which was also attended by Monsignor Aurelio García Macías, undersecretary of the Vatican's Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as well as indigenous priests and catechists.

"We are working on a meeting that is important for the Diocese, the country, the Church of Mexico and the universal church in terms of liturgical adaptations," Aguilar Martinez said.

The Diocese of San Cristobal said to feel very proud, since they have taken another important leap after the translation of the Bible into four indigenous languages of the country: Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Chol and Tojolabal.

Aguilar Martinez added that "there are already these celebrations in Tzeltal and Tzotzil".

"But they are approved by the bishop and the community, and now we want it to be an approval from Rome, from the apostolic see for the universal church", he added.

With these liturgical advances the beneficiaries are more than 2.2 million inhabitants and, of them, between 70% and 75% are considered indigenous, according to estimates.

Tzeltal is spoken by almost half a million people in this southern Mexican state; Tzotzil, 350,000; Chol, 150,000 and Tojolabal, 50,000, according to information from the Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

Rorate comment: Mayan dances, music, and new roles for women -- all for the sake (apparently) of appealing to small ethnic groups speaking rare dialects. What about the "tiny minority" of Catholic traditionalists who wish to worship as the entire Church once did? Or is the traditional Latin Mass not sufficiently exotic to win approval from today's multiculturalists?