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Experts hail 'dark horse' victory

Bishop Alencherry’s election 'surprised us all', but welcome, says commentator

Experts hail 'dark horse' victory
The newly elected Bishop
ucanews.com reporter, Kochi
India

May 27, 2011

Bishop George Alencherry’s election as the head of the Syro-Malabar Church has been widely welcomed even as it has surprised many. Bishop Alencherry was also elected yesterday after the post fell vacant following the death of 84-year-old Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil on April 1. The cardinal had led the Syro-Malabar Church, the larger of the Oriental rite Catholic churches in India, since 1997. “His election indicates divine intervention. He is simple… and not a man of confrontation. The Syro-Malabar Church needs a person like him to guide the Church in modern times,” said Babu Paul, a theologian and expert on Church affairs. Bishop Alencherry emerged as the “dark horse” as he was not even among the probables, he said. Sebastian Paul, lawyer and former Member of Parliament, said Bishop Alencherry’s election “surprised us all.” He said: “I’ve no doubt that he emerged as a dark horse. Nobody thought about him till he was elected. Most of us were expecting Curia Bishop and Administrator Bosco Puthur would be elected.” Several television channels in Kerala state, where the Church is based, flashed Bishop Puthur as the winner, prior to the official announcement, he said. “He is the best choice who can unite the Church in crucial times. He has indicated that he was for consensus in all matters. It’s a good sign as it will open space for laity in the decision making process of church,” said Charlie Paul, a youth leader. Felix Pullooden, an official of the Joint Christian Council, also welcomed the election as did Sebastian Chacko, secretary of the Church’s laity commission. Related report Syro-Malabar Church elects new head IB14329

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