KOCHI: The Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese on Thursday suspended Fr Prince Thykootathil, former assistant vicar of St George Forane church, Edappally, for a serious breach of discipline, including misappropriation of funds.
The action was initiated by the archdiocese after rampant inconsistencies were observed in the accounting of monetary offerings received, said Fr Paul Karedan, spokesperson of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese.
According to sources, Fr Thykootathil allegedly used to receive money from other priests and parishioners, in the guise of contributions for treatment of a destitute. “In one instance, the priest borrowed money saying that it was for treatment of his relative. However, when we checked with the relative, we found that no money was given. Thus, it became evident that he was lying,” said a source.
“After Fr Prince was transferred to Karukutty last month, complaints were received at the archdiocese from several priests and parishioners that he had borrowed money from them. Though we are yet to calculate the whole amount, around `10 lakh is likely to have been misappropriated,” said Fr Karedan.
Fr Thykootathil served as assistant vicar of the church for two years and he was in charge of the offerings received by the church. “He cannot engage in any priestly affairs and his dispensation orders will arrive from the Vatican in the coming days,” said Fr Karedan.
However, Major Archiepiscopal Vicar Archbishop Mar Antony Kariyil assured the faithful that the archdiocese takes full responsibility for proper and correct utilisation of the money offerings made by the faithful at Edappally church.
Meanwhile, there are also rumours that the 28-year-old priest was engaged in an affair and he was collecting money to live with his lover. “We have evidence which the priest cannot deny proving that he was involved in ‘actions unbecoming of a priest. He also signed the relieving letter as well,” said an official of the archdiocese.