Kollam, Feb 22 (IANS) The catholics in Kerala have expressed serious displeasure over the ‘reported’ statement by the newly appointed Cardinal Mar George Alancherry on the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian security officials.
It was late Tuesday night that the media quoted an interview Alancherry gave to a news agency in Italy.
Alancherry was quoted as saying: ‘In the episode, of course, there were errors, since the fishermen were mistaken for pirates. But it seems that the opposition party wants to take advantage of the situation and exploit the case for electoral reasons, speaking of ‘Western powers’ or the ‘will of American dominance’.’
Alancherry further stated in the interview that after the last week’s incident, he immediately contacted the Catholic ministers of Kerala, urging the government ‘not to act precipitately’.
Alancherry was made a cardinal at a ceremony by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Feb 18, and is currently in Rome.
‘If he has actually said it, then we will have to express our protest to that statement,’ Father Rajesh Martin, spokesperson of the Latin Catholic Church of the Kollam dioceses, told reporters here Wednesday.
Latin Archbishop Susai Pakiyam also expressed strong displeasure at bringing Vatican in the issue.
‘I do not think that cardinal will ever speak like what has been reported. We are Indians first and our country’s laws are first for us and we are bound by that only. Vatican will never ask us to take a position because we are bound to the Vatican only on religious matters and not on social and other local issues here,’ said Pakiyam.
The spokesperson of the Kerala based Syro-Malabar Church, (the church that Alancherry heads) Father Paul Thelekkat was quick to defend his superior, and termed it as nothing but a distorted version.
‘I spoke to him soon after the news appeared and he said that he had not said anything that went against India’s position on the issue,’ said Thelekkat.
In Kerala, of the 32 million population, 22 percent are Christians and more than 50 percent from three divisions — Syro-Malabar, Latin, Syro-Malankra — owe their allegiance to the Pope.