Pope Bars Bishop for Adoption

By John Mary
The Telegraph
October 23, 2008

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct. 23: Pope Benedict XVI has suspended a Kerala bishop for adopting an unmarried woman in violation of canon law and ordered a three-member panel to probe all the charges against him.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council spokesperson, Fr Stephen Alathara, said Kochi bishop John Thattungal today received a papal decree asking him to hand over charge to his immediate senior, Archbishop Daniel Acharuparampil.

Bishop Thattungal, 58, had adopted Sonia, 26, as his spiritual daughter at the office of the sub-registrar in Mattancherry on September 15. The woman spent a few days at the guest house on the premises of Bishop's House. A priest of the Orthodox Church who had adopted Sonia as a child was also with her at the guest house.

Archbishop Acharuparampil will hold charge of the Kochi diocese during the probe.

The Holy See action came on a report submitted by its representative in New Delhi, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana.

The bishop recently told the monthly meeting of priests under the Kochi diocese that he enjoyed a special relationship with the woman who had extraordinary spiritual powers and that he was convinced of her power to cure. He got close to her during a foreign tour and later, back in Kerala, travelled with her in his car.


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