Kerala Catholic Bishops Council today stepped in to help resolve the crisis in Syro-Malabar Church after a group of priests came out openly against its head Cardinal George Alencherry over alleged irregularities in a land deal involving him.
Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, also the Major Archbishop of Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, andSoosa Pakiam,Archbishop of the Latin Rite Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram,held meetings with Alencherry, auxiliary bishops and agitating priests of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese.
"The issues can be settled within the Church itself. We believe that the Synod of the Syro Malabar Church is taking sincere efforts to deal with it, he told reporters here after their meetings.
He said other Churches, including Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and Latin Church were thinking in which way they could help resolve the crisis in the Syro Malabar Catholic Church.
The move comes a day after over 200 priests of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese hit the streets, urging Alencherry to keep off all responsibilities of the Archdiocese in view of a police probe on the alleged irregularities.
Cardinal Alencherry is the Archbishop of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese.
The priests who met at a Basilica here yesterday had urged police to commence a probe after registering an FIR against Alencherry and three others on the complaint over the alleged irregularities.
They raised the banner of protest days after Kerala High Court ordered police to register an FIR against Alencherry.
The priests alleged that Alencherry and the others sold prime land of the archdiocese for "a very low price" and refused to make public the details about it.
Early this week, the High Court had ordered the probe after rejecting Alencherry's contention that the land belonged to the diocese and that a third party could not complain about alleged loss in sale of such a private property.
Police have not registered an FIR against Alencherry who enjoys support of priests, Bishops and Church followers in other dioceses.
The judge passed the order on a petition by one Shine Varghese from Cherthala, who had moved the court saying that the Ernakulam Central Police had not lodged a FIR on his complaint against the Cardinal and others over the land deals.
Meanwhile, those who are opposing the Cardinal were exploring the option of moving the Court complaining delay in registering the FIR.
Besides Alencherry, priests Joshy Puthuva and Sebastian Vadakkumpadan and middleman Saju Varghese are the others against whom the complaint was lodged.
Directing police to conduct a free-and-fair probe after filing the FIR, the High Court had said that the alleged conspiracy and breach of trust issues could be investigated.
Earlier, a six member church committee, which probed the alleged irregularities, said it found numerous instances of violation of canon and civil laws and recommended necessary action against those responsible.
The committee also said that the Cardinal "seems to have fully known and involved" in alienation and purchase of lands by the archdiocese between April 1,2015 and November 30, 2017.
The panel, comprising priests, was appointed by Alencherry.
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