KOCHI: With the Synod of Syro-Malabar bishops set to begin on Monday, a section of the laity of Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese under the banner of Athirupatha Almaya Munnettam (Archdiocesan Laity Uprising) demanded that the synod should find a solution to the crisis in the archdiocese within seven days of the meet.
Speaking to media persons, Riju Kanjoorkaran, Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency general secretary said that the Synod must intervene to change the existing system in the Church of not including laity in crucial discussions. “In future proceedings of the Church, we cannot accept the decisions taken by a handful of bishops and priests. Laity is also part of the Church and therefore the Holy Synod must make provisions for it,” he said.
The 11-day summit, which is the 27th Synod of the Syro-Malabar bishops, is to be attended by 57 of the 63 prelates of the Church. The Synod achieves significance as the letter from the Oriental Congregation in the Vatican ending the administrator’s rule had suggested that the Synod that should decide on the long-term solution for the crisis in the Archdiocese.
According to Fr Antony Thelachalloor, secretary of media commission, extensive discussions have been planned to resolve various issues of the Ernakulam-Angamali Archdiocese. “Pastoral Council secretaries from various dioceses of the Syro-Malabar Church, under the leadership and guidance of senior bishops, are taking part in the day-long meeting planned on August 26,” said Fr Antony in a press release.
Earlier, the protesting priests had demanded the reinstatement of suspended auxiliary bishops, removal of administrative responsibilities from the Cardinal and appointment of an administrative archbishop from within the archdiocese.
Fr Joseph Pareckattil had undertaken an indefinite hunger strike in front of the Bishop’s House demanding an end to alleged police torture of laity and priests by framing them in fake cases last month. He ended the hunger strike after Synod bishops held discussions with the dissident priests of the archdiocese and gave assurance to look into their demands.
However, according to a source, the police team probing the case in which documents were allegedly forged to defame Cardinal George Alencherry has summoned Fr Benny Maramparambil, who headed an inquiry commission to probe the land deals of the archdiocese, for questioning. Earlier, in the forgery case, the police had collected statements from Fr Tony Kallookaran (another accused in the case), Fr Kuriakose Mundadan, Presbyterial Council secretary, Fr Thelakkat and some bishops of the Church.