Vatican issues final order rejecting appeal of dissident factions to the Supreme Tribunal

Vatican issues final order rejecting appeal of dissident factions to the Supreme Tribunal

Vatican City - The Vatican issued a final order rejecting the appeal filed by some dissident factions of the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archeparchy on January 31, 2023, against the final decision of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches regarding the sale of land in the archdiocese and related issues.

The Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial authority of the Catholic Church, approved the final decision given by the Eastern Dicastery regarding the land sale.

On June 26, 2019, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches sent an order addressing the Major Archbishop in the context of several allegations and issues related to the sale of land (Proto. No. 157/2018). The order removed Apostolic Administrator Bishop Jacob Manathodath from his position and stated that several false stories had been circulated by misinterpreting the word “restitution” in the clause regarding the main financial transaction.

The Vatican unequivocally rejected rumours that the Major Archbishop was personally responsible for recovering the losses and stated that the decisions regarding the sale of land were the result of the collective responsibility of the Major Archbishop, Auxiliary Bishops, Vicar General, and Curia authorities.

The Ernakulam-Angamaly Archeparchy Finance Council approved a statement of financial losses in 2020, which estimated the loss to the archdiocese at Rs. 24.62 crores (18.84 crore principal amount and 9.5% interest). At the time of the land sale, 25 acres at Kottapady and 17 acres at Devikulam were deemed acquired as a guarantee. The Vatican also acknowledged that selling these plots or treating them as assets of the Archdiocese would only benefit the Archdiocese.

The Vatican strongly cautioned against the spreading of false rumors that the Vatican Dicastery demanded Cardinal Mar Alencherry personally compensate for the losses and demanded that canonical punishments be adopted against those who spread such rumors.

This order provides clarity to many doubts of the Syro-Malabar faithful exposed to false propaganda about the Syro-Malabar Church and the Major Archbishop Mar George Alencherry. The Vatican concluded the Supreme Court order by expressing the hope that this would benefit all the Syro-Malabar faithful in Ernakulam, especially those spreading misinformation.

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