Bishops' panel to probe adoption issue

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Kochi, Oct 24 (UNI) Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil of Verapoly, who assumed the additional charge of Cochin Diocese following the suspension of Bishop John Thattunkal for adopting a 26-year-old woman, today said a three-member Bishops' committee had been constituted to inquire into the issue and submit a report to the Vatican.

Speaking to reporters here today, Archbishop Acharuparambil said the committee would be headed by Bishop of Kottapuram, Dr Francis Kalarakal.

The Bishop of Vijayapuram, Sebastain Thekethecheril and Bishop of Neyattinakara, Dr Vicent Samuel would be its members.

There was no time frame fixed for the inquiry and the report would be submitted to Archbishop Acharuparambil, who will forward it to Archbishop Pedro Lopez Qunitana in Delhi, the Vatican Nunico to India, and eventually handed over to Vatican.

The Archbishop was addressing mediapersons after an urgent meeting of the Forane Vicars, who had been called to discuss the issue.

He said Father Thomas Binackkal, Father Antony Thampi and Father Tony Manacuad, who were appointed by Bishop Thattunkal were also suspended from the diocese.

On assuming the additional charge of Cochin Diocese, Archbishop Acharuparambil said '' this was a temporary arrangement and a permanent decision would be taken later on.'' Last night, Pope Benedict XVI in a decree suspended Bishop Thattunkal from the religious and administrative responsibilities of the diocese.

Bishop Thattunkal's adoption of the woman had left the Latin Catholic clergy and laity fuming as it was against the church law and tradition.

The woman, who is the daughter of a priest in the Orthodox Church in Pathanamthitta, was allegedly frequenting the Bishop's house here and travelling with him. The legal procedure for the adoption was completed at the Mattancherry Sub-Registar Office.

The Forane Vicars in the diocese had come out with open protest stating the adoption was against the canon law.


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