KOCHI: The financial crisis of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese of the Syro Malabar Church is back to square one with the District Munsif Court issuing a stay order on the sale of 12 acres in Kakkanad, dashing all its hopes of settling the debt of over Rs 84 crore.
According to Fr Paul Karedan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese, there are no more plots to be sold by the Church to settle its debts. “This is the only land with the Church that had high demand. But, as of now, if the sale is stayed by the court, then we have no choice other than fighting it in the higher courts,” he told Express.
It was Paulachan Puthuppara, a member of Thuravoor parish under the Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese, who filed the petition against the attempted sale of the land, citing it would cause a huge loss to the diocese. Businessman and founder of V-Guard Group Kochouseph Chittilapilly was to buy the land. “If the plot of Vijobhavan at Kakkanad is sold for Rs 5 lakh per cent, it will be a huge loss for the Archdiocese. If the plot is sold in parts, then each cent can fetch around Rs 15 lakh,” said Puthuppara.
The Canon Law prescribes various forums in the Archdiocese to sell property like the Curia, Finance Council, Consultor’s forum and the presbyterial council. Canon 263 orders approval of the Curia to sell a property. “Since all the forums are suspended by the Vatican, administrators cannot act as dictators. The Pope cannot indulge in land deals in Kerala as he does not own any property here,” he said.
Mar Jacob Manathodath, the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese, said, “So far, we have not received the court order. Our advocate will fetch it and a meeting will be held to take a final decision. We will move legally in tackling the issues prevailing in the Church.”
Refuting the statements of Puthuppara, Manathodath said after discussions with the special finance committee and the advice of senior priests, the decision of the land deal at Kakkanad was taken forward.