Nearly 261 priests of the Syro-Malabar Church gathered on Tuesday to express their resentment against the reinstatement of Cardinal George Alencherry as head of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, who is accused of involvement in dubious land deals.
According to the reports, priests of the Syro-Malabar Church organised a protest meet in Ernakulam on Tuesday against the removal of the two Auxiliary Bishops Sebastian Adayanthrath and Jose Puthenveettil. The two priests were asked to move out of the Archbishop’s House after George Alencherry assumed office following his reinstatement on Thursday.
The priests have also protested against the return of controversial George Alencherry who is accused of causing a loss of 90 crores to the Syro-Malabar church following a controversial land dealing involving criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation of money executed by the Cardinal in 2016.
As accusations began to mount on Cardinal Alencherry, he was stripped of all administrative powers as the head of the Ernakulam archdiocese by the Vatican. However, he continued to remain the Cardinal and head of the Church but did not have any role in the governance of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam.
However, a new communique by the Archdiocese Media Commission has said that the administrative responsibility of the archdiocese will now be handled by Cardinal Alencherry, leading to severe protest within the Syro-Malabar church.
The communique also said that Bishop Jacob Manathodath, whose term as Apostolic Administrator has ended, will continue to head the Palakkad diocese. Earlier, he was appointed as Apostolic Administrator in June after Cardinal Alencherry was removed from the post.
Reportedly, the priests have now decided to protest against the order and said that they would not cooperate with Cardinal Alencherry and his office. “How can we cooperate with those who failed to discharge their duties honestly?” they asked.
The priests have also passed a resolution taking strong exception to the decision of the Vatican to reinstate Cardinal Alencherry as the head of the archdiocese. They also questioned why the Cardinal had taken charge by entering the Archbishop’s House in the night
Cardinal George Alencherry, the head of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church had found himself in big trouble after the Kerala High Court directed the police to file a criminal complaint against him and three others, namely, two priests Joshy Puthuva, Sebastian Vadakkumpadan and Saju Varghese Kunnel, a real estate broker involved in the land deals, alleging their involvement in a dubious land dealing.
This case pertains to the Cardinal allegedly 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.