By Matters India Reporter
Kochi: Cardinal George Alencherry, the head of the Syro-Malabar Church, on March 25 shared with lay people his views on the land deal row that has pitted him against the priests of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly.
“Whatever I and the auxiliary bishops have given out in a statement on the sale of land belonging to the church earlier, is true. It is correct and other news doing the rounds on the land row shouldn’t be believed,” the cardinal said leading the Palm Sunday ceremony at the St Mary’s Basilica, in Kochi, Kerala.
On March 24, the cardinal and his two junior prelates – Bishops Sebastian Edayanthrath and Jose Puthenveettil – released a press release expressing their happiness in resolving the land sale controversy that has reached even the Supreme Court of India.
The statement said a meeting of the priests’ council earlier in the day had decided to resolve the problem amicably.
Addressing the Sunday Mass, the cardinal acknowledged power and money make people impure. “All are impure in one way or the other. You and I are also among those who are impure. Individuals, families and the Church need to be purified,” the cardinal told the faithful.
The land controversy had raised doubts about the cardinal leading the Palm Sunday ceremonies in the cathedral as some priests and lay people reportedly were opposed his presence.
While some of the laity claimed the Mass participation was comparatively less, others said the cathedral had the usual attendance.
The cardinal had in a YouTube video uploaded on March 24 said each Palm Sunday initiates a purification process. He referred to Jesus expelling the merchants and the money changers from the Temple in his address.
“We should purify ourselves and purification at the time of Palm Sunday should be a deep one,” he asserted.
Christ, he added, had conducted the temple purification by whipping and driving out those buying and selling at the temple of God. He reminded the faithful that the new temple of God is the Church with each parish and each family in it. He also said the Church and society need purification.
“We can look into our own lives. Hosanna is not lost when we feel experiences of purification but it is only getting fulfilled then,” the cardinal added in the nearly ten minute long video that was uploaded online.
Earlier, the prelates’ statement expressed regretted that false information regarding the land sale was spread through TV channels and social media.
The prelates expressed their disagreement with the calumnies against the bishops, priests and laity that some groups spread through social media.
The cardinal and bishops asserted that they had not authorized anyone to speak for the Church or the archbishop in television channels and other forms of media. “The official spokespersons would speak for the Church at the appropriate times,” they added.
The prelates also asserted that the current land sale row has no link with the liturgical dispute that troubled the Syro-Malabar Church for decades.
They recalled that the priests and religious along with the lay people had resolved various problems in the past and they would resolve the current issue to the satisfaction of all.