Archive for the ‘Syro-Malabar Church’ Category

Catholic burial vault in Chennai: As it is Residential area, Body exhumed and buried again in burial grounds!

December 28, 2018

Catholic burial vault in Chennai: As it is Residential area, Body exhumed and buried again in burial grounds!

St Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Pozhichallur
One more Christian burial right in Residential area in Chennai: Six months after unearthing an unauthorised home for disposal of dead bodies in Salavakkam, Kancheepuram district, a similar case has come to light near Pallavaram, on Wednesday. 26-12-2018. Remember the story of a mysterious hospice near Chengalpet that hit the headlines earlier this year for burying the bodies of its inmates inside the campus? Same is the case here at a church in Pozhichalur, but with a Slight twist. What changed a silent narrow lane into a crowded Ranganathan Street-like, is this St Alphonsa Syro Malabar Catholic Church and the mystery of a ‘body’ buried inside it[1]. The news was first taken to the public last night by a resident here, who belonged to a Hindu group and as the information started spreading across this tightly-packed residential area, it shocked them to the core[2]. Within minutes, it eventually hit the social media and a huge bunch of people marched here overnight. Soon, the police stepped in, raided the place and retrieved a body that was buried inside a chamber in a concrete cemetery in the church. Then they buried it at the Pozhichalur burial ground, after completing legal formalities.

St Alphonsa -Pozhichallur-concrete vault-Deccan Chronicle
Why the Tamil and Malayali Christians have separate burials and practices?: Still, the social media posts claimed that there were more than seven corpses buried inside the campus. Adding to this, it was also said that more chambers were found inside a room in the church. Following this, News Today visited the spot this morning to find out what has really happened. “This is a Malayalam Roman Catholic church. We are also Roman Catholics, but Tamils. We all used to go for a common church before two years. But, some of their (Keralites) customs differ from us. So they bought a land here and built this church. One of their main practices is, burying the dead bodies in a cemetery that is built inside the church premises. This custom is followed widely in Kerala. The Catholics want more space in India to be filled with tombs, as they want to aggressively show off their presence by all means. In  Kerala, if it were  prue theology, here, linguistic fanaticism to whip up passion dividing people.

St Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Pozhichallur- body burried
The concrete burial vaults – licensed or not: Even in Tamilnadu, they do this in areas like Thoothukudi,” said Kannan, a resident here. He further said, “Following the same, this church members too built the chambers to bury the body of its members. They also claimed that they have applied for license, to make the process legal. The Christians always tell these tales. Even the bone-Thomas of Salavakkam also told but, every thing has been forgotten now, But, before they got the approval, one of the members, a 75-year-old man Lonappan, originally from Kerala, who resided at Pammal with his family, was dead. So, expecting that they would get the license soon, they buried this man here, a week back. The body was kept inside a box and a cement memorial cemetery was built around it.”

St Alphonsa -Pozhichallur-concrete vault-News Today
Body exhumed and burried again in burial grounds: “However, the police demolished it completely and recovered the body. As it was just a week back, the body was not in a bad condition,” he stated. Other residents showed their strong opposition towards this activity. “This is a pure residential area and we don’t want these kinds of activities here. The government should never grant the license. Such activities are strictly condemned,” said an angry resident, G Mohanasundaram. Speaking to News Today, Shankar Nagar Inspector of Police (Crime) Bhooma Devi, said[3], “we visited the spot after the complaint and recovered a body. Revenue officials are set to conduct an inspection at the church today. Investigations are on.” This incident has brought in much chaos overnight and many residents who spoke to this reporter stressed that they would not allow a cemetery setup in their neighbourhood[4]. Police have launched a hunt of Jose, chairman, and Geo, reverend of the Church. Sankar Nagar police registered case and have launched a hunt for the chairman and father of the church[5].The locals filed a representation with Kancheepuram collector P. Ponniah. On his direction, a team led by tahsildar and Tambaram RDO, rushed to the church on Wednesday evening. Sankar Nagar police provided security cover to the team[6]. But, even if that Jose is tracked and taken for questioning, will the Police could proceed further?

Christian cremation - orde of the dau 2018

Cremation or Burial – the Western discussion: The Indian Christian should listen to Pope and accept cremation. When the Pope lifted the ban on cremation in 1963, why they continue in India even in 2018, even after 56 years? The Christian west has already discussed and decided the issue and many Christians have started for cremation. Cremation is usually considered cheap and cost-effective,  between $700 and $2000. = Rs. Rs. 4900/- and 15,000/- Burial cost is $ 10,000 = Rs.7,00,000/- in foreign countries with other service fees, transportations, grave plot caskets and headstones[7]. Not to mention, staff usage, hearse, preparation of the body and embalming.. It is environmental friendly and saves space. Cremations take no space and in contrary, burials demand new land after each generation passes away. But, cremation does not allow another organism to feed on the body or produce and thus the circle of life is being broken, it means it is environmental unfriendly[8]. So if the Indian Christians are still afford to continue burial, definitely, something has been there, then, the bone-Thomas too have suspicious activities, as has been exposed by the media, but, now suppressed.

Dr William Price - On January 23, 1893

How cremation accepted in Christianity?[9]: The practice of cremation dates back to ancient times, but after Christianity was introduced, cremation in Christian countries was stopped because it was seen as a sacrilegious act towards Christians and God. However, in 1963 Pope Paul VI lifted the ban on cremation[10]. In England and Wales, burial took place principally in churchyards until the late 19th century when advocates of cremation founded the Cremation Society of Great Britain with the aim of constructing the first crematorium. This first Act of Parliament concerning cremation in the UK was the Cardiff Corporation Act of 1894, a piece of legalisation which came about following the eccentric activities of Dr William Price. He got a son named Jesus Christ Price, however, the boy developed convulsions and died. William cremated him on the top of hill. As it was illegal, he was arrested and taken to court. Eventually, Price was indicted on three counts:

  1. That on January 13 he had unlawfully, wilfully and indecently attempted to cremate the body of his deceased infant male child, and that he had caused indignities to the remains of the body;
  2. that by such conduct he had caused a public nuisance and
  3. that he had attempted to dispose of the child’s body when the coroner intended to hold an inquest upon it, without first giving notice to the coroner.

Price’s trial began on February 16, 1884, at the Glamorgan Assizes at Cardiff, and he argued his case. The trial continued, in his final speech, Price said: “When I die, if I cannot get someone to burn my body, then by God I shall somehow contrive to come back and burn myself!” The jury reached a not guilty verdict and Price was set free. On January 23, 1893, after a week’s illness, Price passed away. A week later, a group of people formed the congregation of the first officially authorised and sanctioned public cremation ceremony in Britain.

St Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Pozhichallur-concrete vault

What is the truth?: Salavakkam concrete vault burials raised many questions and exposed the stereo type modus operandi. Export of skeletons, bones, bone powder and many such allegations were made. However, none knows what the police or the government has taken action against the church authorities. The account of bodies received, disposed etc., are not produced to the public, in spite of the demands made by the villagers. How one more church has been found with the same modus operandi. So what has been actually going on has to be probed. Is there any scam or illegal activity going on has to be clarified.

Dr William Price - On January 23, 1893-2 clear-full photo

© Vedaprakash

28-2-2018.

[1] NewsToday, Corpse found inside Church in Chennai; Chambers built to store bodies, Posted on December 27, 2018 by P T Usha

[2] https://newstodaynet.com/index.php/2018/12/27/corpse-found-inside-church-in-chennai-structures-built-to-store-bodies/

[3] Indian Express, Unauthorised multi-tier vault sealed in church premises in Chennai suburbs, by Sahaya Novinston, December 26, 2018 03:35 pm; Updated December 26, 2018 03:35 pm.

[4] http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2018/dec/27/unauthorised-multi-tier-vault-sealed-in-church-premises-in-chennai-suburbs-1917220.html

[5] DECCAN CHRONICLE, Chennai: Church officials in spot for illegal disposal of dead, Published Dec 27, 2018, 4:39 am IST, Updated Dec 27, 2018, 4:39 am IST

[6] https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/271218/chennai-church-officials-in-spot-for-illegal-disposal-of-dead.html

[7] The Frisky, Burial or Cremation – What is the Right choice, Danielle Granger, December 17, 2018.

[8] https://thefrisky.com/burial-or-cremation-what-is-the-right-choice/

[9] Times of Malta, The trial that led to cremation’s legalisation in the UK,  Sunday, December 9, 2018, 11:34.

[10] https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20181209/life-features/the-trial-that-led-to-cremations-legalisation-in-the-uk.696309

“Thomas myth” raked up by the Kerala Church to suppress the multi-crore land scam racist, liturgical and  catechetical problems (2)

April 17, 2018

“Thomas myth” raked up by the Kerala Church to suppress the multi-crore land scam racist, liturgical and  catechetical problems (2)

Discussing Thomas myth- Thelakkat and Narayanan

G. S. Narayanan pointed out that Kerala was not habituated during first centuries: Noted historian M G S Narayanan said there were no historic documents to suggest that St Thomas had come to India for evangelisation work[1]. “There were no human habitations here at that time in Kerala. There was only forest here. How would he visit such a place? For what? . Human settlements began towards the end of Mauryan dynasty, he said. It is common for religious heads and political parties to twist history for their benefit, he told a Malayalam TV channel. The Syrian Christian community in Kerala believes that St Thomas came to this part in AD 52 and had established churches. The community considers St Thomas as the ‘Father in Faith’ of Christians in India. The Syro-Malabar Church has over 30 dioceses in the country and four outside– in the U.S.A., Canada, Australia and Britain–serving over five million faithful. M.G.S. Narayanan had earlier questioned the claim[2]. “Thomashleeha (as St. Thomas is known in Kerala) is an imaginary thing. He is one of the apostles. He should be Christ’s contemporary. If he had come to Kerala, there would have been only forests in Kerala, let alone Brahmins,” Narayanan told Outlook. “Syrian Christians’ trade relations with Kerala started in 2nd and 3rd century. Brahmins came as a hegemonic community in Kerala only in 8th Century,” he said. Pius Melekandathil, professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who is an expert on maritime history and church history, admitted that it is a matter of dispute however saying that the probability factor has to be taken into consideration.

Geevargheese Mor Cooilos denies Brahmins were converted by Thomas
The Bishop, Geevarghese Mor Coorilos asserted that Thomas never converted Brahmins[3]: The Bishop of Niranam diocese, historically one of the oldest dioceses of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church in Kerala, has criticized the upper caste tendencies among believers fuelled by a “mythical” belief that St. Thomas converted Brahmins to Christianity in Kerala[4]. It is also widely believed that St Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Christ, had converted members of top Brahmin families in Kerala to Christianity. Though the Abrahamic faith is devoid of caste hierarchies, Christian families often hold get-togethers to celebrate their lineage and put out books proclaiming their Brahmin origin[5].  The Bishop, Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, however, in a Facebook post announced[6] that he would not attend any such get-togethers, dubbing them as “programs to assert their artificially created upper caste identity and lineage.” “They say their ancestors were Brahmins converted by St. Thomas. They even put out their family history in books proclaiming such false notions. These baseless, savarna caste-oriented and reactionary myths have to be busted,” read his statement in Malayalam, adding, “I did attend such events due to my personal intimacy with them. But, I regret it. I can’t (do it) any more”.

Geevarghese Mor Coorilos asserts that Brahmins not converted by Thomas

Supporting Brahmin or Dalit – the Church divided: “It is a matter of debate. But, many historians have seen it as highly probable and reliable. The earliest reference to St. Thomas preaching gospel to Brahmins is from St. Jerome of 4th century. Among the converts , the Brahmin converts seem to have been quite significant enough to attract the special attention of St. Jerome, who mentions that the apostle went “ut Christus apud Brachmanas praedicaret” (to preach Christ to the Brahmins),” he said. “This needs more investigation. It is more nuanced and complex. Brahmin does not mean one single category of social group. There were different categories of Brahmins in Kerala. It was not a period where there was absence of Brahmins. It’s true they came as a hegemonic group only in 8th Century. But, there were Brahmins as scattered and fragmented community even before that. Duties and obligations of Brahmins under Chera empire are mentioned in Sangam literature,” he said. Melekandathil also said that there are written documents of maritime trade agreement between Muziris (in Kerala) and Alexandria from 2nd century obtained from Vienna archive in 1985. The Bishop, who also serves the World Council of Churches as moderator of its Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME), later added, “Many address me as ‘Thirumeni’, a myth created by the upper caste[7]. They can call me a friend or father. If they want it to be formal, it can be Bishop. We have to change and should change many things,” To make his point, the Bishop quoted writer OV Vijayan’s statement “The English language is the best weapon to challenge the caste”.  He had also supported the hartal organised by Dalit outfits on 09-04-2018, Monday. “Normally, I do not support hartals as such protests in Kerala have not served their purpose. But I support the Dalit hartal wholeheartedly as it is against the atrocities faced by the marginalised sections under the fascist and feudal system. The people who are opposing the strike should introspect over their approach and mentality to the caste system and Dalits,” he posted on Facebook[8].

SC- converted christians- controversy

Catholic drama of caste, casteism and savarna: Fr. Paul Thelakat, former Syro Malabar Church spokesperson, echoed Coorilose’s statement. “In India we have bane that we irrespective of our religion have Manu sleeping within our consciousness. Everyone wants to establish one’s own upper caste glory. It is found in the ancient Christians of Kerala e.g certain families claiming to have been baptised from Brahmin families by St Thomas himself. St Thomas is supposed to have come to Kerala, it would be in the first century. Brahmins came to south India only in the 8th century. I am sorry to say upper caste mentality can be found also in Marxists in Kerala. Even though Marxism has a universal humanistic ideology, we find the upper caste surname kept, like Nampoodirpad, Menon, Pillai, Nair etc,” he said. Firm on his position despite the sharp and mixed reactions to his statement, Coorilos later wrote on the same post: “I am adding this after reading many comments to this post. Many of you are calling me ‘Thirumeni’ (a feudal honorific). That’s also a product of the savarna consciousness. You can call me a friend or Father. Or, if you want to make it more formal, you can call me Bishop.” “(Writer) OV Vijayan had said that English is the best weapon to resist caste. We must change. Change is must,” he said.

Church corrects Thelekkat - MM- 15-04-2018

Rs 80 crores land sold for Rs 27.30 crore: Just like Vatican, the Indian Church has also been involved in many scandals from sex to money swindling and other activities. Particularly, from Kerala, the crimes related to the Church have been horrible from murder, sex and financial scams involving all types of priests, bishops and cardinals also. Pressure is mounting on Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church based in Kerala, to resign after allegations that church land had been sold below market value in a deal that he had approved. Alencherry, 72, was ordained as a Cardinal, a priest of the highest rank in the Roman Catholic Church, by Pope Benedict XVI in February 2012. He is one of only five Cardinals in India. The deal in question concerns the sale of three acres of land in Kochi by the Ernakulam archdiocese in 2016 to repay a Rs 60-crore bank loan it had taken to build a medical college. The agent appointed by the church to conduct the deal had estimated the value of the land at Rs 27.30 crore, but the church has so far received only Rs 9.13 crore of that amount. However, priests and lay people critical of the action claim that the plot was actually worth at least Rs 80 crores However, Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) doesn’t seemed to be amused over the controversy. “There is no need to discuss the issue now. Those who raised the issue should solve it,” said KCBC official spokesperson Fr Varghese Vallikkatt[9]. But church sources pointed that Fr Thelakkat’s statement was made in connection with the ongoing land controversy in the Eranakulam-Angamali archdiocese and the tiff between the Ernakulam-Angamali diocese and the Changanacherry archdiocese respectively[10].

© Vedaprakash

17-04-2018

CPM organises 'BEEF FESTIVAL' inaugurated by 'Fr' Paul Thelakkat. Reported with glee by 'THE HINDU'.

[1] Covai Post Network, Historian Narayanan rubbishes St Thomas’s visit to Kerala to convert Hindus, April 15, 2018.

[2] https://www.covaipost.com/kerala-news/historian-narayanan-rubbishes-st-thomass-visit-to-kerala-to-convert-hindus/

[3] Indian express, Kerala Jacobite Church Metropolitan Geevarghese Mor Coorilos fires salvo at faithful’s ‘false beliefs’, By Express News Service | Published: 10th April 2018 03:24 AM, Last Updated: 10th April 2018 03:24 AM

[4] http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2018/apr/10/kerala-jacobite-church-metropolitan-geevarghese-mor-coorilos-fires-salvo-at-faithfuls-false-belief-1799309.html

[5] Outlook, Bishop Demolishes The Biggest Conversion ‘Myth’ of Kerala , 13 APRIL 2018 Last Updated at 5:21 PM.

[6] https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/bishop-demolishes-the-biggest-conversion-myth-of-kerala/310974

[7] News.18, Histories of Old Christian Families in Kerala ‘Fabricated’, Chandrakanth Viswanath | News18Updated:April 10, 2018, 11:45 PM IST.

[8] https://www.news18.com/news/india/kerala-syrian-church-bishop-calls-histories-of-old-christian-families-in-kerala-fabricated-1714533.html

[9] Times of India, Fresh row in church over St Thomas’s ‘visit’ to Kerala, TNN | Apr 13, 2018, 10:50 IST

[10] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/fresh-row-in-church-over-st-thomass-visit-to-kerala/articleshow/63742878.cms

 

Cardinal, bishop and other priests involved in land and financial scandals in Kerala (2)

February 2, 2018

Cardinal, bishop and other priests involved in land and financial scandals in Kerala (2)

Mar Alencherry - land scam-Malayalam U-tube

Pressure brought on the media to silence: Indian Currents, a 21-year-old publication by Catholic Church has withdrawn its cover story ‘Cardinal Sin’ “under obedience” by its chief editor Dr Suresh Mathew[1]. They had probed the land dealings by their internal team against Cardinal Mar Alencherry, the major archbishop of Syro-Malabar church. Indian Currents is a weekly news magazine published from New Delhi under the patronage of the Capuchins of Krist Jyoti Province of North India which gives in-depth analysis of day-to-day events in the socio-political and religious fields. Usually, Dr Mathew uploads the online version as early as Saturday morning when the hard copy hits the newsstand on Monday. Just when the matter was going to press this Saturday morning, he got a call from his provincial house to withdraw the cover story, an editorial by himself and the corresponding article written by Fr Jose Vallikkattu, a missionary priest belonging to the Missionary Society of St Thomas (MST). However, in this case, he had to face the Church differently.

India currents asked to withdraw article on Cardinal

The article published was withdrawn: “As a priest, I should be obedient. When I received a call and an email from the Provincial House asking me to wait until the internal probe is over, there is nothing I can do but withdraw at the last moment. So I have been forced to withdraw all the articles on Cardinal Alencherry’s land deals that have landed the Archdiocese of Ernakulam – Angamaly in a mess,” he told DC[2]. So Catholic priests have to cover up the crimes, sex and financial scandals and all in the name of god and save honour. But now he and his editorial team have been forced to come up with Bhima – Koregaon violence in Maharashtra where he has asked political activist John Dayal and senior journalist A. J. Philip to come up with articles on a war footing. His hard-hitting editorial states that “there is more to the episode than meets the eye”.  He recalls the words of Cardinal George Pell, Vatican’s prefect of the secretariat for the economy, who had opined a few years ago that the “next wave of the attacks of the Church could be for financial irregularities” which has since been proved right, though the expert committee’s probe is on. The detailed cover story states that “with the latest land row, however, the church has run itself the risk of losing the trust of its congregations. In fact, a church that was built on the solid foundation of unity is today divided in opinion”.

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-3

The issue of black money also comes up[3]: A church panel probing land transactions in the archdiocese of Ernakulam has recommended action against Cardinal George Alencherry under Church and civil law for causing losses to the diocese. This is the first such recommendation — the case also involves black money — for a Catholic Church in India. Alencherry is among the Indian cardinals eligible to elect the Pope. The church panel report has been sent to Rome. Ernakulam archdiocese spokesman Father Paul Karedan admitted the probe report contained grave charges against Alencherry and said the report would have reached the Pope by now. “We have sent the report to Rome via the Apostolic Nuncio (Vatican representative) in Delhi,” Karedan said. Two others were also blamed for the land deal. Last month, January 2018, the archdiocese had appointed a six-member panel, comprising priests and laymen, to probe losses suffered by the archdiocese in dubious land deals since April, 2015. Alencherry’s secretary and church spokesman Father Jimmy Poochakkattu said the Cardinal would not react now. “He will bring out a circular in which he is expected to explain everything. It will be read out in churches under the archdiocese,” he said.

KCRM DEMO IN FRONT OF Archbishops house in Kochi

The Church Report confirms financial scam[4]: The losses were incurred after the sale of five plots owned by the diocese in various parts of Ernakulam district. The diocese should have received at least Rs 27 crore from the sales, which they needed to repay bank loans, but received only Rs 9 crore after the dubious real estate deals. The report stated, “There is grave violation of the Church laws, which amounted to naked act of breach of trust and criminal misappropriation of properties.’’ The probe committee also found unaccounted money, which it termed a “grave issue”. “Total amount receivable according to 36 deeds is Rs 13.52 crore. But, there is a difference of Rs 13.62 crore between the documented amount and the amount in the curia (a diocese body) resolution. Receiving unaccounted money is a serious offence as per the Income Tax Act.’’ The church panel report stated: “The Major Archbishop (Alencherry) was directly involved in alienating all the five plots, which were sold after being divided into 36 pieces. The first deed was registered even before it was discussed in the Consulters’ Forum. Decision of the finance council quoted in all the 36 sale deeds is incorrect. The receivable value set by the diocese was Rs 27.15 crore, whereas the value according to the registered deeds was only Rs 13,51,44,260.” The report also noted that the diocese only received Rs 9.13 crore from the “agent”. “It is painful to note that at the time of execution of the sale deeds, Alencherry has not assured the receipt of money to the archdiocese.’’

Mar Alencherry - land scam

Violation of Church law and civil laws along with the lack of transparency and collegiality: According to the report there were “numerous instances” of violation of Church law and civil laws along with the lack of transparency and collegiality. “As the head of the Syro-Malabar Church, Alencherry should have taken utmost care in respecting the provisions of Church laws,” the report said. Two others from the Church – priest Sebastian Vadakumpadan and the finance officer Joshy Puthuva – were also blamed for the dubious land deal. The report also named Saju Varghese Kunnel as the kingpin in the deal and alleged that he enjoyed the confidence of the Cardinal and father Puthuva. Without naming the Cardinal, the committee recommended, “People who are responsible for the crisis should be tried according the law of the Church and necessary action should be taken for the violation of the civil law.’’

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-4

Where the money has gone?: The report stated that the registration of land deeds took place in violation of all norms even without receiving the entire amount from the sale. The committee found that the value of the land was Rs 4.47 lakh per cent but the archdiocese fixed this at Rs 9.5 lakh per cent. One cent is equal to 435.5 square feet. The report has blamed Alencherry for involving Kunnel in the transaction, but the former claimed he who introduced Kunnel to the finance officer Puthuva, who in turn said he acted under Alencherry’s instructions. The committee also evaluated that the diocese has lost Rs 46 crore in various land purchase and sale deals since April, 2015. Though the price fixed for five plots was Rs 9.5 lakh per cent, the then prevailing market rate was Rs 15 lakh per cent. Secretary of priests’ council Father Kuriakose Mundadan said the council had discussed the committee report on land dealings. “Alencherry informed the priests that the council would have an elaborative debate on the report later. The meeting of the pastoral council, a body of priests and laymen, would be held after the detailed discussion on the report in the priests’ council,’’ he said. Karedan ruled out chances of Alencherry’s resignation. “He has told the priests that he would give explanation for all the allegations after studying the report. He has reservations about some of the findings in the report. He has sought some more time to explain his stand,” he said.

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-5

All Indians, who violate the Acts and Rules should be brought to book and get punished: Indians can be kept quite as this is related to Church and so on, but, the violation of law of this land is different from their internal hushing and covering ups. Just like “Katta-panchayat”, they have been concealing many crimes. Abhaya murder case is almost forgotten. Therefore, these violations cannot be simply treated as were “numerous instances” of violation of Church law and civil laws along with the lack of transparency and collegiality. Just because, they have power, money and above all, all suppressing and oppressive capabilities, even God may not forgive their sins. Even in this case, as they have crossed all the limits, their own believers have taken action to punish the guilty and bring under the law of this land.

© Vedaprakash

02-02-2018

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-6

[1] DECCAN CHRONICLE. Magazine forced to withdraw story on Church land scam, | CYNTHIA CHANDRAN, PublishedJan 7, 2018, 6:35 am IST; UpdatedJan 7, 2018, 6:35 am IST

[2] https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/070118/magazine-forced-to-withdraw-story-on-church-land-scam.html

[3] Indian Express, Kerala: First black money case against Catholic church, Cardinal George Alencherry under cloud, Written by  Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: February 1, 2018 7:01 am

[4] http://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-first-black-money-case-against-catholic-church-cardinal-george-alencherry-under-cloud-5046960/

Cardinal, bishop and other priests involved in land and financial scandals in Kerala (1)

February 2, 2018

Cardinal, bishop and other priests involved in land and financial scandals in Kerala (1)

Cardinal George Alencherry with Pope

Rs 80 crores land sold for Rs 27.30 crore: Just like Vatican, the Indian Church has also been involved in many scandals from sex to money swindling and other activities. Particularly, from Kerala, the crimes related to the Church have been horrible from murder, sex and financial scams involving all types of priests, bishops and cardinals also. Pressure is mounting on Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church based in Kerala, to resign after allegations that church land had been sold below market value in a deal that he had approved. Alencherry, 72, was ordained as a Cardinal, a priest of the highest rank in the Roman Catholic Church, by Pope Benedict XVI in February 2012. He is one of only five Cardinals in India. The deal in question concerns the sale of three acres of land in Kochi by the Ernakulam archdiocese in 2016 to repay a Rs 60-crore bank loan it had taken to build a medical college. The agent appointed by the church to conduct the deal had estimated the value of the land at Rs 27.30 crore, but the church has so far received only Rs 9.13 crore of that amount. However, priests and lay people critical of the action claim that the plot was actually worth at least Rs 80 crores[1].

Cardinal George Alencherry - V J Hyacinth complains to Pope

Cardinal can be subjected to legal action only with the permission of the Pope: Joseph Parecattil, a priest in the Ernakulam archdiocese, said that the Presbyteral Council of the Ernakulam archdiocese has decided to submit a formal request to the Pope to inquire into these financial dealings[2]. Ironically, in spite of financial scam, the Church could take action against cardinal, only if the Pope gives permission. Many do not understand the “State within state” working of church in India and elsewhere. The Presbyteral Council is a panel of 57 priests that looks after the archdiocese’s financial and administrative affairs. “This is the first-ever complaint from a Presbyteral Council in Kerala to the Pope requesting him to investigate financial irregularities,” said Parecattil. Another priest, who asked to remain anonymous, said Alencherry should step down if the Pope acts on the complaint. “He would have to quit to ensure free and fair investigation,” he added. Separately, the charitable organisation Mother Teresa Global Foundation has also sent a complaint to the Pope, urging him to remove the Cardinal from his post. “We represent the laity,” said VJ Hycinth, chairman of the foundation. “We pray to the Pope to take our complaint seriously.”

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese

Murky land deals of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church: The six-member committee comprising priests and experts which examined the murky land deals of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church has recommended “legal action according to the law of the church and for violation of civil law” against the people responsible for the crisis created in the wake of the land transactions[3]. The report having 19 recommendations also called for an independent audit of the land and other transactions of the church by a reputed firm of chartered accountants[4]. “A complete assessment of all financial and land transactions of the Archdiocese could be done in a professional manner to sort out the present issues and to adopt safe and legally acceptable steps in all future transactions”.

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-Fr. Varghese Sabu

Forming committees to avoid legal proceedings: The Committee recommended legal action against Saju Varghese for the “recovery of the unpaid sale consideration pertaining to the property near Bharat Mata College, Thrikkakkara and also to recover the advance amount to Saju Varghese and others”. Another major recommendation called for immediate action to file income tax returns along with audited financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2017 to avoid a huge penalty and other penal provisions. The committee called for appointing a new finance officer with immediate effect “who is an expert in financial matters and has outstanding honesty”. The committee recommended collecting opinion and creative ideas from priests and lay leaders of the archdiocese at various levels to raise funds for the archdiocese to solve the crisis. Action should be taken to repay the loan liability in various banks to avoid a huge interest and recovery steps by banks, the committee said and pointed out that inter-trust transfer of funds were illegal and should not be promoted in future. Funds set apart for charity should not be diverted for any other purposes, it added.

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-priests

Cardinal George Alenchery, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, Msg Sebastian Vadakkumpadam and Finance Officer Fr Joshy Puthuva involved: Detailed financial investigation of the financial transactions of all other associated trusts under the archdiocese and external internal auditing by a reputed firm of chartered accountants on a regular basis in the archdiocese as well as major trusts were the other recommendations. Documentation of all canonical bodies should be precise and accurate and should stick to the standardized format. Fixed asset register should be maintained immediately to safeguard the precious properties and buildings of the archdiocese. Recommending the observation of the provisions of canon law and civil law in all future transactions especially by the finance office, the committee also called for an induction programme for members of the financial council. Establishment of vigilance mechanisms and mandatory regular internal auditing for all ecclesiastical institutions was the other key recommendation. The committee in its report has mainly blamed the failures of Cardinal George Alenchery, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, Msg Sebastian Vadakkumpadam and Finance Officer Fr Joshy Puthuva for the land deals and the scandal associated with the deals.

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-Rani

Cardinal George Alencherry was involved “in the alienation and purchase of lands by the archdiocese”: The report by a committee of experts appointed by the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly and headed by Fr Benny  Maramparampil to probe a series of land sales and purchase by the archdiocesan authorities says that the Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry was involved “in the alienation and purchase of lands by the archdiocese” during the period between April 2015 and November 2017[5]. “It was with his knowledge and consent that the land was purchased at Mattoor. The Major Archbishop was directly involved in alienating all the five plots, which were sold into 36 plots”, the report said[6]. The report was presented before the Presbyteral Council (council of priests) of the archdiocese here on Tuesday (29-01-2018). A copy of the report was seen by The Hindu. The report relates to a series of land deals starting with the purchase of around 23 acres in Mattoor for a proposed medical college. This was followed by the sale of around 3 acres near Kochi in which the archdiocese had not received the entire sale proceeds. Since the archdiocese could not meet its loan repayment, it was decided that more than 3 acres in different places near Kochi owned by the archdiocese would be sold to repay the loan. The loan was taken to buy the land in Mattoor.

 

Deals violated the relevant provisions of the Canon Law and caused a financial loss: These deals snowballed into a major financial scandal with the council of priests raising the problem of the archdiocese not getting all of the sale proceeds, which amounted to ₹27.15 crore. The value of the plots sold shown in the land deed was ₹13.51 crore. Of this, the archdiocese received only ₹9.13 crore. “It is painful to note that at the time of execution of the sale deeds, the Major Archbishop has not ensured the receipt of money to the archdiocese”, the report said. It also said that the purchase of plots at Kottappady near Kothamangalam and near Devikulam was known only to the Archbishop and senior functionaries Fathers Sebastian Vadakkumpadan and Joshy Puthuva. The purchase was not discussed with or disclosed to the curia, the high-level decision making body of the archdiocese nor was it discussed with the Auxiliary Bishops. The report also says that even though the archdiocese received ₹9.13 crore from the land sale, no amount had been remitted into the loan account. These deals violated the relevant provisions of the Canon Law and caused a financial loss, the report said.

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-priests group

Vested group tries to cover up: As usual, as “The Hindu” reported that, a meeting of the newly elected pastoral council would be convened only after the meeting where the panel report will be discussed[7].  In the wake of the decision, the meeting of the pastoral council scheduled to be held on February 10, 2018 has been postponed to another date.  The Cardinal also informed the council the decision of the Syro Malabar Bishops’ Synod asking the Cardinal to delegate the day- to-day administration of the archdiocese to auxiliary bishops. The council condemned burning of Sathyadeepam weekly and attempts to prevent a meeting convened to discuss the issues at Subodhana Pastoral Centre, Angamaly, last Sunday (21-01-2018), by a section of the laity[8].      Presbyteral council secretary Fr Kuriakose Mundadan made it clear that the issue was related to the administration of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam and Angamaly and not related to the liturgy in any way.   He said social media posts and media reports blaming and insulting the Cardinal, auxiliary bishops and priests  were baseless. ‘’Such campaigns are carried out by people with vested interests,’’ Fr Mundadan said.

© Vedaprakash

02-02-2018

Cardinal George Alencherry - Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese-2

[1] Scroll.in, Head of Kerala’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church urged to quit amidst accusations of corrupt land deal, by  TA Ameerudheen, Published Jan 08, 2018 · 06:30 am

[2] https://scroll.in/article/864015/head-of-keralas-syro-malabar-catholic-church-urged-to-quit-amidst-accusations-of-corrupt-land-deal

[3] Deccan Chronicle, Syro-Malabar Church panel seeks sanctification, Published: Feb 1, 2018, 6:52 am IST; Updated: Feb 1, 2018, 6:52 am IST.

[4] https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/010218/syro-malabar-church-panel-seeks-sanctification.html

[5] The Hindu, Report of experts points finger at Major Archbishop, KOCHI, JANUARY 30, 2018 22:35 IST; UPDATED: JANUARY 30, 2018 22:35 IST

[6] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/report-of-experts-points-finger-at-major-archbishop/article22597874.ece

 

[7] Express News Service, Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese to issue circular on land deal, Published: 31st January 2018 01:23 AM, Last Updated: 31st January 2018 03:59 AM

[8] http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2018/jan/31/ernakulam-angamaly-archdiocese-to-issue-circular-on-land-deal-1765856.html