Cardinal Alencherry removed

Cardinal George Alencherry has been removed as the head of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly.

Alencherry is facing criminal charges for controversial land deals, resulting in a loss of about NZ$20million to the archdiocese.

“There are two complaints – writing the deed of the sale of property without even receiving any payment and selling the property belonging to the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese without communicating with any of the committees of the Church,” attorney Rajendran V, said.

The Vatican has consented to the Syro-Malabar Church Synod’s request to appoint Bishop Antony Kariyil as the Vicar Archbishop.

Kariyil’s post has been created to tide over the crisis in the Syro-Malabar Church.

Father Abraham Kavilpurayidathil, press officer for the Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala state, said the allegations against Alencherry are part of a coordinated attack against him.

“There have been attempts to defame Alencherry by a small group who constantly demands that he should resign.

“For this purpose, somebody forged a few documents that show Cardinal transacted money to business firms, that he has membership in famous clubs, that he convened business meetings along with some other bishops of the Latin Church of Kerala in a commercial institution etc.”

Alencherry’s many detractors include priests revolting against him over the land deals.

Kavilpurayidathil blames them for Alencherry’s court battles.

“The news as reported is the work of the dissident group as the case itself. It is true that cardinal lost in the lower court, but that is not the end. He will be making appeal to the High Court of Kerala in due time,” he said.

Although the the Synod took strong exception to the priests’ revolt, it did not take any action against them.

Fr Jose Vailikkodath, who led the rebellion, said he and his confreres were happy a new administrative archbishop had been appointed.

“It is a moment of victory for the priests and a section of laity who led the protest against the Cardinal. But, it is sad that the Synod has failed to find remedy for the financial loss,’’ he said.


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