Kochi: Jan 20: A group of church reform-minded organisations staged a protest in front of the house of the Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly on Jan 20 by setting fire to copies of Sunday’s pastoral letter that was read out in parishes of the Syro-Malabar Church .
Members of Kerala Church Reforms Movement, Joint Christian Council and Church Act Action Council gathered in front of the Archbishop’s house around 11 a.m. before setting fire to the pastoral letter, issued by Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry. The letter had come down heavily on dissent and threatened punishment to dissenters.
It was issued after the synod of the bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church. It said that while majority of priests and religious in the church worked with discipline, it was necessary that disciplinary action was taken against those who joined forces with groups that were inimical to the church. Though a group of people opposed to the protest tried to intervene, the police presence prevented any untoward incidents.
The pastoral letter was issued in the background of calls for reforms within the church following a land sale scandal in the Archdiocese as well as public protests demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, who was accused of raping a Catholic nun belonging to the order of Missionaries of Jesus.
Meanwhile, the Syro-Malabar Church condemned the burning of the pastoral letter. A statement issued by Father Paul Karedan, spokesman, said that such acts were provocative and could not be approved of.
(source: The Hindu)