By Matters India Reporter
Kochi, July 12, 2019: The head of the Syro-Malabar Church Cardinal George Alencherry on July 12 asked the faithful in the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese to be wary of ‘divisive’ activities in the Church and urged them not to cooperate or encourage such moves.
Under attack by a section of the priests over the ‘controversial’ church land deals, the cardinal, who is also the major archbishop of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, said a new bishop with special powers would be appointed to ensure the growth of the archdiocese and its pastoral engagements.
He said this in a new circular issued for reading out during Mass in the churches under the archdiocese on Sunday, July 14. Pleading innocence, the cardinal said he had no roles in the termination of Bishop Jacob Manathodath as administrative archbishop of the archdiocese and suspension of two auxiliary bishops from their offices.
He said these decisions were taken by Pope Francis. Lamenting that efforts were on to create misunderstanding among the laity, the cardinal appealed to all the faithful in the archdiocese to be cautious against such divisive activities.
No one should encourage or cooperate with such anti-church activities, the circular said. The circular is being issued against the backdrop of protests by a section of priests in the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese against the reinstatement of Cardinal George Alencherry as major archbishop on June 27.
They seek independent investigation into the land deals allegedly involving the cardinal in the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese. Alencherry secured full powers of Major Archbishop of the archdiocese after the Vatican directed Bishop Jacob Manathodath, appointed as the archdiocese’s Apostolic Administrator last year, to go back to his Palghat diocese to carry out his pastoral duties.
The protesting priests have also questioned the decision to suspend Bishops Sebastian Adayanthrath and Jose Puthenveetil from their offices of Auxiliary Bishops of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese. They claimed that no convincing documentary proof has been produced by the Synod of Syro-Malabar Church to justify the decision.
The issue of controversial land deals involving top priests of the Syro-Malabar Church has been in the news for quite some time. The Syro-Malabar Church has more than 30 dioceses in India and four outside – in the US, Canada, Australia and Britain – serving over 5 million faithful.