Cardinal George Alencherry should abstain from responsibilities, say priests

The priests’ meeting, though, is alleged to have been a dramatic attempt to divert media attention.

Published: 10th March 2018 04:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th March 2018 04:27 AM   |  A+A-

Priests proceeding to the Major Archbishop’s house after their meeting at St Mary’s Basilica in Kochi on Friday| EPS

By Express News Service

KOCHI: A sizeable number of priests belonging to the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese on Friday took to the street, demanding that Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, abstain from all responsibilities till the police inquiry into the irregularities in the real estate deal is over. The demand was raised at a meeting of priests, numbering more than 200.  

The High Court had the other day ordered registration of a criminal case and to conduct a probe against Cardinal Alencherry. The priests who convened at a hall of the St Mary’s Basilica Cathedral moved to the Major Archbishop’s House nearby in a procession.

A memorandum urging the Cardinal to abstain from official responsibilities was submitted to Auxiliary Bishop Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath. In the memorandum, the priests urged Mar Adayanthrath to inform the situation to the Vatican from the curia of the archdiocese.

The permanent synod of the Syro Malabar Church has reportedly admonished the Ernakulam-Angamaly auxiliary bishops Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath and Mar Jose Puthenveettil who allegedly instigated priests to raise voice against Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, the head of the Church, in the controversial land deal.

On Friday, a meeting of the permanent synod of the Church was held at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad - the headquarters of the Church - at the same time as a meeting of priests in a hall near St Mary’s Basilica. After the auxiliary bishops were asked to appear before it, the synod reportedly warned both prelates of disciplinary action as per the Canon Law if they continue to engage in anti-church and rebellious activities.

The priests’ meeting, though, is alleged to have been a dramatic attempt to divert media attention.

“The priests’ meeting was a drama planned by Mar Adayanthrath to divert the attention of the media from the meeting of the permanent synod where they were asked to appear. Priests who marched to the Major Archbishop’s House to hand over a memorandum addressing Mar Adayanthrath were well aware of the fact that both auxiliary bishops were not at the Archbishop’s House as they had left for the church headquarters where the synod was meeting,” said a laity leader who did not want to be named.

A WhatsApp message asking priests to attend Friday’s meeting had circulated among priests on Thursday. The murder of Malayattoor Kurisumudi rector Fr Xavier Thelakkattu and chaos in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamali are the topics of discussion listed in the message which ends with a request to priests to wear cassock while arriving for meeting. ‘’From this message, it is evident the priests’ meeting was only a drama to divert media attention from synod meeting,’’ the laity leader said.

Cops yet to register FIR

Kochi: Despite the Kerala High Court on Tuesday issuing a directive to the Central police to register an FIR against Syro-Malabar Church head Cardinal Mar George Alencherry and others in connection with the alleged land scam deal, the police are yet do so. The police said the FIR will be registered only after getting a legal opinion from the Advocate General. Besides Alencherry, Fr Joshy Puthuva and Fr Sebastian Vadakku-mpadan and middleman Saju Varghese are the others against whom the complaint was lodged. “Legal opinion has to be obtained since it is a very sensitive case. We will file the FIR only after getting a clear picture on how to proceed with the case,” said a police officer.

VS joins issue

T’Puram: Administrative Reforms Commission(ARC) chairman VS Achuthanandan has come out against Cardinal Alencherry on the the Church land deal issue. Terming it a serious matter, VS said the Cardinal and his supporters should withdraw from the move to derail the investigation ordered by the High Court. In a statement here, the veteran leader called for a police probe into the matter after registering a case.


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