Kozhikode: The rift within the Syro-Malabar Church over the veracity of a document involving Cardinal George Alencherry in the land scam has spilled over to the laity with believers as well as the priests taking sides.
Those who lead the Church have failed to sort out the ego-clashes between various camps, it was pointed out. The laity organisations have already approached the High Court seeking its intervention in the matter claiming that both the camps are acting out of greed.
Now two senior priests, including Fr Paul Thelakkat who was the official spokesperson of the Syro-Malabar Church for many years, are struggling to avoid arrest.
Catholic Laymen’s Association secretary M.L. George told DC that the row has been created by the priests to divert the focus of media and believers from the real issue – selling out the properties of the Church secretly causing much loss to the Church.
“We have been asking the state to implement the Church Act formulated by the late Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer conferring more powers on the laity and also having provisions for the state to intervene whenever needed. “I have clear information that some influential Church officials exploit the Church to amass wealth for their kith and kin,” he pointed out.
“If the issue was between the believers and the Church, the priests would have stood for the Canon Law which suppresses the believer,” he said.
The Church, which used to highlight the prominence of Canon Laws in settling issues related to faith, this time was forced to turn to the federal law to find out the real culprit who had cooked up the alleged fake documents against the archbishop.
The police arrested a youth, Aditya Valavi, for creating the fake documents of an account in a bank as evidence to link the archbishop to the land deal. When the opposite camp supporting Bishop Jacob Manathodath demanded an investigation by the CBI in the controversy, claiming that the documents are real, the other camp supporting the archbishop claimed that the documents are fake and that the police investigation is in the right direction.
It was in November 2017 a group of priests accused Cardinal Alencherry and two other priests of selling off Church land leading to huge loss to the archdiocese. Bishop Manathodath placed the documents of an account linking the archbishop, which were handed over by Fr. Thelakkat, before the Syro-Malabar Synod which discussed the issue. Later in February, a junior official of the synod filed a criminal complaint accusing Bishop Manathodath and Fr Thelakkatt of producing documents to defame the cardinal....