KOCHI: Even as other Churches in Kerala oppose the Church Properties Bill, aimed at bringing transparency to the financial dealings of the Church with proper auditing, the Jacobite Church has decided to support it, a move that is expected to ring a bell with the faithful.
The decision was announced at the Synod meeting of the Church held at its headquarters at Puthencruz last week.
“Talks and discussions were conducted with law experts and when it was presented at the Synod, committee members have unanimously welcomed the decision,” said Church Synod secretary Thomas Mor Thimothios. The draft notification of the Bill was passed by the Kerala Law Reforms Commission headed by Justice K T Thomas in February.
After the Bill was published on its official website to sought suggestions and opinions of the people, major Church denominations, including Syro-Malabar Church and Orthodox Church, protested against the Bill.
Mor Thimothios said that before taking a decision on supporting the Bill, discussions were held with KT Thomas.
“As far as the financial proceedings of the Church are concerned, a Bill is required to bring in transparency in its dealings. There are many Church denominations and faithful who are favouring this Bill,” said Thimothios. Earlier the audit of financial transactions carried out by the Jacobite Church in the past 10 years has thrown up massive procedural irregularities bringing the dealings of Church under a cloud. “The Kerala Church Act Action Council chairman George Joseph said it is the decision of the faithful. The leaders of the Jacobite Church have taken a bold step towards the Church Act. “The state government’s stand on the Church Act is still not known. Canonical norms of the Church cannot be accepted for the financial deals of the Church and the government must implement the Bill,” he said.
However, Jacobite Church former spokesperson Fr Varghese Kallapara said the decision was taken following the visit of the Patriarch last month.
Meanwhile, the Orthodox Church has expressed its displeasure over the decision of the Jacobite Church in supporting the Bill. “The move of the Jacobite Church is surprising. The ‘stunt’ of the Church in the wake of prevailing unfavourable conditions from the Supreme Court will not do them any good. When canonical norms exist, the formation of a tribunal for financial transparency cannot be accepted,” said Orthodox Church spokesperson Fr Johns Abraham Konat.