Term designating certain customs and practises of the natives of Southern India, which the Jesuit missionaries of the 17th century permitted their neophytes to retain after conversion, but which were afterwards prohibited by the Holy See.
The wearing of dress proper to caste of Brahmins, and other distinctive customs were allowed, the Fathers striving to avoid any superstitious elements.
It was thought that in this way the powerful Brahmins would be converted.
Father De Nobili, S.J., was the initiator.
One of the priests who observed the "Malabar Rites" has been beatified, Blessed John de Britto, S.J.
The good faith of the missionaries was not called in question by the Church when the Rites were condemned.
New Catholic Dictionary