Nation Current Affairs 23 Feb 2018 Kerala church land r ...

Kerala church land row: Dissident church groups unite after land scandal

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | JOSE KURIAN
Published Feb 23, 2018, 2:41 am IST
Updated Feb 23, 2018, 2:41 am IST
20 reformist groups urge state government to enact Church Act which has been pending.
Cardinal George Alenchery
 Cardinal George Alenchery

KOZHIKODE: The multi-crore land scam of Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese involving  Cardinal George Alenchery has united the rebel groups across the state.  A meeting of the representatives of about 20 reformist groups will be held at IMA Hall, Ernakulam, on Saturday in a bid to form a  joint platform against the arbitrary attitude of Church officials and also to urge the state government to enact the ‘Church Act’ pending with it. Though the believers are worried over the controversies of sexual anarchy, luxury and land scams in  the Church, they hope to establish a unified platform to mobilise the believers.

They want a state-level body with the representation of believers  to manage the Church properties.  All minority communities, including Muslims (Wakf  board), Jains and Sikhs have such government-monitored bodies to manage the properties, it is  pointed out. Catholic Laymen’s Association secretary M.L. George told this newspaper that the progressive people in the Church should unite and make the Church officials abide by the  law of the land. The properties of all religious groups are monitored by the state through religious bodies. Then why the Church officials oppose any move for it? he asked.  

 

A Bill was drafted by a team headed by the late Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer and it has been under the consideration of the state government.  “Conceptualised as a three-tier system of  parish-diocese-state, the priests and bishops will not be kept off these bodies, but elected believers will be allowed to hold crucial positions in the managing committees,” he noted. 

Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement leader George Moolechalil,  who is also the editor of a magazine, Sathyajwala, a platform of reformist literature, asked why the believers are restrained even after a series of blatant violations of justice by the top Church officials. It is ridiculous that the right on our property is vested with the Pope and those deputed by the Pope, he added.  Bishops with the support of a coterie were on a selling spree of Church properties. “If we fail to act in time we will lose even the churches,”  he added. 

Believers stage protest

The Archdiocesans’ Movement for Transparency (AMT), an organisation formed to fight against corruption in the church organised a sit-in with mouths tied with a cloth in front of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese headquarters, here on Thursday. About 30 workers led by the action council convener Shaiju Antony, Shine Vargese and Riju Kanjookkaran participated in the sit-in which started at 10 am and ended at 12 noon.

A delegation of the organisation met auxiliary bishop Mar Sebstian Edayanthrath who looks after the daily affairs of the archdiocese and Bishop Jose Puthanveettil, warning them against spending the archdiocese’s funds for the legal battle over the land scam. Cardinal George Alenchery had claimed in court that the church property is private, which the laity will not accept, Mr Shaiju Antony said. The arrogant stand of the archbishop led to the agitation of laity, he added. A convention will be held at St James Forane Church auditorium, Chambakkara on Sunday. 

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Location: India, Kerala




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