Pope Francis reinstates Card. Alencherry to diocese


The major archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church has returned to Ernakulam-Angamaly, in Kerala. The cardinal was accused of a reckless real estate sale. The investigations found that the documents presented against him had been falsified.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Pope Francis has restored full administrative powers of the archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, in Kerala to Card. George Alencherry. This was reported by the Communications Commission of the Syro-Malabar rite of the Indian Bishops' Conference (CBCI). The Cardinal was temporarily suspended following the start of a judicial proceeding that saw him involved in an alleged illegal sale of land belonging to the local Church. The Cardinal has been definitively acquitted of all charges.

Yesterday Card. Alencherry resumed possession of the parish of Ernakulam-Angamaly. The day before the interim responsibilities of Msgr. Jacob Manathodath had ceased. The latter, from the diocese of Palakkad (also in Kerala), was appointed apostolic administrator in the absence of the cardinal by Pope Francis in June 2018.

The official note states that the pontiff's decision is motivated by recent developments in the investigation. The procedure against Card. Alencherry, senior archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, two priests and an intermediary, dates back to March 2018. According to the plaintiff, the four would have sold some land in Kochi belonging to the archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly without prior authorization from the ecclesiastical bodies and diocesan financial board.

Land sales took place in the period between April 1, 2015 and November 30, 2017. The Cardinal was in the spotlight for the public demonstration of 200 local priests. For the accusers, the "reckless" real estate operation would have cost the Church a loss of 10 million dollars compared to the market price.

In April of this year, the Kerala police established that the bank accounts presented as evidence against Card. Alencherry "were falsified". For his part, the cardinal's defense has always maintained that the evidence had been fabricated to discredit him before the Synod held last January. In the months the story has taken on a dark tone, with the involvement of numerous priests close and hostile to the cardinal.