Newly appointed Cardinal arrives in India

March 3rd, 2012 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, March 3 (IANS) Cardinal Mar George Alancherry, who hit the headlines over his reported statement on the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines near the Alappuzha coast, arrived here Saturday amid tight security.

Alancherry was made a cardinal at a ceremony by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Feb 18.

Thereafter, the media quoted an interview he gave to a news agency in Italy over the fishermen’s killing: “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’.”

The catholics in Kerala had expressed serious displeasure over the “reported” statement by the Cardinal.

On news of his arrival, the police made elaborate security arrangements to avoid any untoward scene here.

When asked about his statement that created a furore here, the Cardinal told reporters: “The issue is over.”

He further added: “The news agency that carried my interview apologised on the report which was wrong. There is no need to continue with that controversy again. My feelings right now are with the families of the two fishermen who lost their lives.”

Alancherry became the youngest and the fourth Keralite to be ordained as a Cardinal.

There are now six Cardinals in India, of whom three are above 80 years and hence do not have voting rights to elect the Pope.

Thus, Alancherry becomes the third Cardinal in the country and will be among the 120 Cardinals who have the voting rights for electing the Pope.

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