Priests launch indefinite fast against Cardinal in Ker

Priests launch indefinite fast against Cardinal in Ker

Cardinal George Allencherry

A protest by a section of Christian priests against Cardinal George Allencherry of the Ernakulam - Angamaly Archdiocese in Kerala turned ugly on Thursday, as the priests launched an indefinite fast and prayers at the Bishop's House in Kochi.

About 200 priests demanded that the decision to restore the administrative powers of the Archdiocese to George Allencherry should be revoked, as he had not yet come clean about the allegations that he sold the church's prime properties at throwaway prices. They also alleged that the priests who took a stand against George Allencherry were now being framed in a case of fabricating fake documents against the Cardinal.

The differences among the priests has snowballed into a major row, with the police being deployed at the bishop's house to curb any outbreak.

The dissident priests turned up at the bishop's house and raised their demands but the Cardinal said that he was only following the order of Pope Francis. The priests' demand to withdraw the fake document case was also rejected by the Cardinal.

Agitated over this, the priests started an indefinite fast and prayers at the bishop's house. One of the priests said that they would continue the stir until the Syro-Malabar Church’s Permanent Synod members turn up for discussions with them. They also demanded that a meeting of the synod should be convened in the presence of a representative of the pope.

Tension prevailed at the Bishop's house till late on Thursday evening.

Sources in the church said that the immediate provocation for the stir was the police questioning some of the priests in connection with the fake document case. 

Following allegations of a land scam, a section of priests came out with documents claiming secret transactions by the cardinal, running to crores of rupees.

The cardinal's supporters countered it with allegations that the documents were forged and a police complaint was lodged. George Allencherry's administrative powers, which were suspended last year following land scam allegations against him, was restored by Pope Francis last week.