Lay Leaders Defend Suspended Kerala Bishop, Allege Vatican Acted in Haste

Catholic Culture
October 30, 2008

Two lay leaders quoted by UCA News allege came to the defense of Bishop John Thattumkal of Cochin, a diocese located in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. Bishop Thattumkal was suspended on October 23 following his September 9 adoption of Sony Joseph, the 26-year-old daughter of a Syrian Orthodox priest. Bishop Thattumkal met Ms. Joseph during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in April, and her purported visions, according to earlier reports, helped the bishop uncover financial corruption among the priests of his diocese.

According to 'lay leader and lawyer' Thomas Andrews, 'it was the clergy who triggered the controversy in the media, and the Vatican acted in haste.' Mr. Andrews says that Bishop Thattumkal earned the opposition of the clergy by encouraging maximum lay participation in the life of his diocese.

Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil of Verapoly, who has also served as the administrator of the Diocese of Cochin since the suspension of Bishop Thattumkal, has appointed a new vicar general, chancellor, and procurator of the diocese. The archbishop, along with the papal nuncio, conducted an investigation that led to Bishop Thattumkal's suspension


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