Around 200 priests in Kerala’s Kochi staged a protest outside Cardinal George Alencherry’s house on Friday, to demand his resignation over his alleged involvement in shady land deals. This resignation was demanded by the Ankamaly Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church during the priests’ council.
As per Father Paul Thelakat, the Cardinal has lost the moral dignity to continue as the church’s head. Priests have especially demanded his removal in order to try and save the image of the church.
Another report has claimed that an emergency meeting of the priests was to be held today, following the archdiocese in-charge receiving the official High Court copy directing the police to file a criminal complaint against the Cardinal and three others. Majority of the priests were expected to attend the meeting.
Incidentally, in what might further signify an open divide in the church, it was also claimed that Cardinal’s supporters have threatened the priests who were protesting against him.
The tussle between the Cardinal’s supporters and the priests might be somewhat understandable considering it was just reported yesterday how the Cardinal had found support from four bishops who are part of his Church’s permanent Synod.
This case pertains to the Cardinal been accused of favouring a middleman who sold Church land worth 27 crores for a price of 13 crores. In spite of selling below its market value, the Church had received only 9.3 crores. In his defence, the Cardinal had claimed that the balance had remained unpaid due to demonetisation. In total, reports have speculated that the church has lost about 93 crores.
Earlier while the Kerala High Court was hearing the matter, the Cardinal had decided to brazen things out by claiming that only the Pope could punish him under Canon law. The High Court promptly retorted that the Pope had no jurisdiction in India.