A section of Catholic priests belonging to the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese Saturday called off their indefinite stir demanding removal of Cardinal George Alencherry from the post of major archbishop following conciliatory efforts by some influential Bishops.
The priests ended their stir a day after an agreement was reached between the agitating priests and the Bishops who are members of the Permanent Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church. The priests had launched their protest at the Bishop’s House on Thursday.
A representative of the priests, Father Joseph Parekkattil, had been observing indefinite fast at the Bishop’s House here since the priests declared their agitation against the Cardinal.
Announcing their decision to end the agitation, the protesting priests said the bishops have responded positively to their demands including on the issue of cases filed against the laity and the priests of the archdiocese in connection with a ‘church document forgery case.’
However, there was no affirmative assurance from the Bishops on the priests’ major demand that Cardinal Alencherry should be removed as the major archbishop of the Archdiocese.
The Bishops said they would place their demand before the complete synod which will meet here next month.
According to the agreement, steps would be taken to complete the investigation into the forgery case at the earliest.
The Bishops also positively responded to the priests’ demand that the suspension of two Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese should be revoked.
The Bishops said they would apprise the priests’sentiments before the Synod meeting next month, according to the protesters.
The Synod will convey the priests’ sentiments on the issue to the Vatican since the auxiliary bishops were suspended by the Pope, they said.
The Bishops also assured them that the suggestions of the Vatican on the controversial land deal allegedly involving Cardinal Alencherry would be implemented as soon as it is placed before the Synod meeting next month, the priests said.
The priests said nine priests representing 451 priests of the archdiocese participated in the conciliatory talks with members of the permanent synod.
A 24-year-old man belonging to the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese was arrested in May for allegedly forging documents against Syro-Malabar Church head Alencherry.
Three bishops of the Archdiocese had come out openly against the arrest of Adithya Valavi, who is a IIT post-graduate, claiming that he was not a criminal and had no role in forging documents.
The forgery case was filed after the priests intensified their agitation agaist Cardinal Alencherry in connection with controversial land deals allegedly involving him.
The Syro-Malabar Church has over 30 dioceses in the country and four outside — in the US, Canada, Australia and Britain — serving over five million faithful.