ucanews.com reporter, KochiUpdated: June 28, 2019 09:54 AM GMT
Cardinal George Alencherry (right) with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, when the New York archbishop visited the Kerala-based major archbishop of the Eastern Syro Malabar rite on July 13, 2016. (Photo courtesy of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese)
The Vatican has reinstated Cardinal George Alencherry a year after he was removed from the administration of his southern Indian archdiocese following allegations of irregular land dealings.
Cardinal Alencherry resumed the office of archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamali Archdiocese on June 27, hours after the Vatican decision was announced through a press statement by the media office of the synod of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.
Pope Francis removed him from administration of the archdiocese on June 22, 2018, after a group of priests claimed that his selling of church land cost the archdiocese about US$10 million.
However, he continued as major archbishop of his Eastern Rite Church and head of its synod, the Church's top decision-making body.
The Vatican had also appointed Bishop Jacob Manathodath of Palghat as the apostolic administrator and asked him to study the allegations.
The pope has removed bishops Sebastian Adayanthrath and Jose Puthenveetil as auxiliary bishops of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese. The synod, scheduled to meet in August, will decide their new responsibilities.
Cardinal Alencherry, after retaking charge of the archdiocese, spoke to a group of lay people who gathered to congratulate him. He asked them to pray and work for the unity of the Church.
"Our goal is to promote love, peace and happiness for all," he said.
His reinstatement, he said, “was a direction of Pope Francis and we expect everyone will accept and follow it.”
He requested Catholics desist from making "provocative" statements in the media.
During the period leading up to the Synod, the Permanent Synod, consisting of five senior prelates, including the cardinal, is to "assist" the major archbishop in the administration of the archdiocese.
He will be required to deliver the monthly budget and relevant financial documents to the Permanent Synod.
The August session of the Synod will decide on long term financial management arrangements for the archdiocese, the media statement said.