KOCHI: The Syro Malabar Church has issued strict instructions to parish priests and councils to ensure that luxury is avoided while building new churches. Concerned over the tendency to build mega churches and embarrassed by the criticism it had to face from within and outside over the new St George Forane Church, Edappally, reportedly built at a cost of `30 crore to `50 crore, the authorities have decided to strictly enforce existing regulations.
“Some regulations like mandatory clearance of the project and budget by the Church Curia is already there. Since the parish priest and parish council are closely associated with construction activities, they should ensure that the project cost does not exceed the sanctioned budget,”said Fr Paul Thelakkat, spokesperson, Syro Malabar Church. Spending on new churches often go up because parish councils treat them as an opportunity to flaunt their ‘might’.
“The church policy is that the construction should be simple. This was one of the important topics of discussion at the conference of Inter Church Council, a joint platform of episcopal churches in Kerala. Cardinal George Alencherry has reminded the faithful about it once again,”said the spokesperson.Cardinal Alencherry while blessing the new church at Edappally had severely criticised the trend. ‘’While speaking at a conference of All-Kerala Catholic Congress (AKCC) recently, the Cardinal made the stance of the Church clear once again,” Fr Thelakkatt said.
However, the Church authorities are of the opinion that it is difficult to introduce a slab regarding the budget. “The size of the church depends on the location, importance of church.When a church is constructed at pilgrimage spots such as Edapally or Malayattoor, we will have to compromise on the size, but luxury can be avoided,”he said. Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC)deputy secretary Fr Varghese Vallikkattusaid the topic is likely to come up for discussion at their next conference.