The prelate is accused of authorizing a reckless real estate sale that would have caused the local church a loss of 10 million dollars. He was acquitted, but the majority of priests are against his return. Catholic community "upset".
Kochi (AsiaNews) - Today in Kochi, in Kerala, an emergency meeting of the Permanent Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church was convened, one of the three rites of the Indian Bishops' Conference. Representatives will discuss ongoing protests against the return of Card. George Alencherry in the diocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly. Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. Varghese Pirul, a priest of the diocese, reports: "The return of the cardinal has opened a deep spiritual crisis among the faithful".
For days the priests of the diocese have been protesting against the cardinal and on 2 July 251 of them, out of a total of 400, organized a prayer meeting at the Renewal Center in Kaloor.
Card Alencherry is the major archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church. He was involved in an investigation into the purchase of some land belonging to the diocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly. The real estate scandal has profoundly marked the local Christian community.
In June 2018 he was removed from leadership of the diocese because of the process in which he was involved. The Vatican appointed an apostolic administrator, Msgr. Jacob Manathodath, with the task of conducting an inquiry into the reckless sale, which caused the diocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly a loss of 10 million dollars.
With a decree signed by Pope Francis, on 27 June he returned to the leadership of the diocese, after he was acquitted of the investigation. In fact, the police found that the documents presented against him were falsified. However, the priests of the diocese continue to hold him responsible and do not believe there was any tampering with the evidence.
Fr. Varghese explains that in particular "the faithful are upset by the removal of two auxiliary bishops, Msgr. Sebastian Adayanthrath and Msgr. Jose Puthenveettil, suspended by the diocese for no reason”. Almost 80 percent of the priest is against the removal too. For this reason they organized the gathering in the spiritual center of Kaloor, during which they asked the Vatican to appoint a new administrator.
For his part, Card. Alencherry asked priests and faithful to "maintain peace and self-control". Speaking on 3 July on the occasion of the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, patron of the Syro-Malabar Church, he said: "All the members of the Church are united with the power of the Holy Spirit and must, through their actions and words, contribute to strengthen the unity of the Church ”.