By Matters India Reporter
Kochi, July 4, 2019: Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, has called for peace and composure among priests and faithful as the rift between him and a section of priests in Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese widened.
“All members of the Church are united with the power of the Holy Spirit and must, through their actions and words, contribute to strengthening the unity of the Church,” said the cardinal on July 3 speaking on the occasion of the Syro Malabar Church Day, the feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle.
Cardinal Alencherry also wants the priests and the faithful to strive to strengthen “the Church in a spirit of love, brotherhood and unity, prayerfully and with the strength imbibed from the Holy Spirit.”
The cardinal exhorted the faithful to move forward together, drawing strength from the Holy Spirit, towards strengthening the Church.
The Church’s services, he said, should develop and grow through love and brotherhood. Care should be taken that nothing that affects these is allowed to happen, he added.
The cardinal, who was accused in a land scam, was on June 27 reinstated as the archbishop of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese by the Vatican.
However, most priests of the archdiocese have refused to accept the cardinal as their archbishop. They seem determined to continue their protest until the Syro-Malabar Permanent Synod decides on the matter.
The cardinal’s call for peace came a day after 251 of the archdiocese’s more than 400 priests gathered together to protest the suspension of two auxiliary bishops and the return of the cardinal as their chief.
The meeting passed a resolution demanding a new administrative archbishop for the archdiocese. The priests asserted that the Second Vatican council has directed priests “to stand by the truth no matter what.”
The meeting decided to pass the resolution to the Permanent Synod and other authorities concerned.
The resolution also hints at various methods through which the archdiocese would stop cooperating with its head, the cardinal.
“If the reasons for the lax handling of the archdiocese and moral crisis in it are not explained to the laity, then there is a chance of the conscience of the priests getting affected when they read the pastoral letters, orders and circulars of this archbishop to the laity. The priests won’t be able to stop it if any parish councils decides to not pay the fee given to the archdiocese from the income of parishes,” the resolution states.
The resolution also warns that they would take to the streets if there is any attempt to trap priests, laity or the auxiliary bishops in any fake cases.
The resolution, which condemns the auxiliary bishops’ suspension, seeks the publication of the reports of the Church-appointed enquiry committees to probe the controversial land deals.
It also states that the priests will not allow any further sale of any archdiocesan property as the apostolic administrator had settled bank dues caused by the land deals by selling 10 acres of land.
The resolution criticized the Syro-Malabar Church’s Media commission for wrongly portraying the cardinal’s reinstatement and other related developments as an outcome based on the apostolic administrator’s report.
The priests have appealed to the permanent synod of the Syro Malabar Church to resolve the issue in the light of truth, mercy and ethics.
While the priests revolt the cardinal’s reign, the prelate is battling as many as 13 cases registered against him.
On Apr 2, a magistrate court in Ernakulam registered a case against Cardinal Alencherry and others for criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy and fraudulent execution of deed of transfer in the sale over 60 cents at Kakkanad.