Church land deals: Sole trustees’ powers to ‘perish’

Church land deals: Sole trustees’ powers to ‘perish’

Reform | Archdiocese of Bombay will remove sole trustees, empowering committees of priests in each parish to administer church properties

Ashutosh Shukla (@scribeashutosh)  Taken from DNA Newspaper dated 05/06/15

The Archdiocese of Bombay has decided to end sole trusteeship in parishes: that is, the Archdiocese has decided to dilute the sweeping power to make land deals and administer its properties which is possessed mostly by its parish priests at present. Such deals will now be made by multiple priests in the parish, the Archdiocese has decided.

The move comes into public domain shortly after a group of people went to the Archdiocese of Bombay with the above as one of its demands. The Archdiocese has, though, categorically denied that the move is a result of the demands made by the group.

The Archdiocese is among the top ten land owners in the city. Each of its parishes has its own trust and its priest as a sole trustee. Any land deal done by him is final. Because of this, allegations of mishandling of church properties have been levelled by some in the laity.

“The Archdiocese has been working towards multiple trusteeships. All new Trusts are governed by multiple trustees. The Archbishop has asked that all sole trusts work towards conversion to multiple trusteeship. This call to move towards multiple trusteeship was initiated from 2010 onwards, in the interests of better governance,” said Father Nigel Barrett, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Bombay, while confirming the news. He added, “No decision was taken because of (the citizens’ group) because we do not recognise them.” Ending sole trusteeship was among the six major demands of the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), a group that has been seeking suspension of priests, besides making complaints with various authorities. AOCC has also sought revamp of finance committees at the parish level.

Arcanjo Sodder, a member of the AOCC, said, “That is what they have told us for the last two years. They have not done anything as of now with respect to converting sole trusteeships. Let them show how many sole trusteeships they have changed.”

“There are demands from a large section of Catholics that joint trusteeship be introduced. Multiple trustees should be made co-signatories with respect to any dealing pertaining to property or land owned by the parish. It would bring about a sea change in transparency and would be welcome as a very progressive step by the Archdiocese. The church should understand that if one one of them commits a mistake, the loss is to the entire community,” said Anil Joseph, a member of the community.


Does the Laity Need Church Recognition from the Archdiocese of Bombay to form Groups?


IMG-20150529-WA0009Recently the Indian Express Carried an article of a statement issued by the Archdiocese of Bombay which implied that groups need recognition from the Archdiocese of Mumbai and that AOCC was not recognised.

Is this the correct position taken by them?

The Archdiocese of Bombay issues various statements some of which are totally false and misleading.

In the past they had defamed me in the Examiner and then when I sent them a notice they published  an apology. The person  who issued the said statement was promoted as Bishop for the good work of defamation he had done!!!

As a priest has been taught in the Seminary to defame persons or was it his/ Archdioceses  way of trying to silence me? Even most of  the laity with no formal training with never stoop to this level.

Now let us see what is the Churches stand on groups.

Paragraph 29 of the POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION Christifideles Laici issued by Pope John Paul ll reads as follows:

Group Forms of Participation


First of all, the freedom for lay people in the Church to form such groups is to be acknowledged. Such liberty is a true and proper right that is not derived from any kind of “concession” by authority, but flows from the Sacrament of Baptism, which calls the lay faithful to participate actively in the Church’s communion and mission. In this regard the Council is quite clear: “As long as the proper relationship is kept to Church authority, the lay faithful have the right to found and run such associations and to join those already existing”(107). A citation from the recently published Code of Canon Law affirms it as well: “The Christian faithful are at liberty to found and govern associations for charitable and religious purposes or for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world; they are free to hold meetings to pursue these purposes in common”(108).

It is a question of a freedom that is to be acknowledged and guaranteed by ecclesial authority and always and only to be exercised in Church communion. Consequently, the right of the lay faithful to form groups is essentially in relation to the Church’s life of communion and to her mission.”

This clearly shows that it is the right of lay person to form groups and the said right is no concession by any authority , but flows from the Sacrament of Baptism.

Thus no specific recognition is needed from any authority leave alone the Archdiocese of Bombay, to form a group and all that is needed is that one has to be baptised a catholic.

This is one more attempt to throw dust into peoples eyes.


Secretary Association of Concerned Catholics


Christifideles Laici (December 30, 1988)…paul…/hf_jp-ii_exh_30121988_christifideleslaici.html

Dec 30, 1988 – THE LAY MEMBERS of Christ’s Faithful People (Christifideles Laici), whose “Vocation and Mission in the Church and in the World Twenty …


About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
This entry was posted in Association of Concerned Catholics, Church in India, Church News in Mumbai/Thane/Navi Mumbai, Church Worldwide news. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Church land deals: Sole trustees’ powers to ‘perish’

  1. Cardinal Oswald Gracias,and his sidekicks asked for the situation to reach this stage. Church land which belongs to the laity was being sold left, right and center.There was no accountability of standard procedures as set by Canon law that was followed. The AOCC, and other concerned catholics spent hours in discussing with Oswald Cardinal Gracias and Bishop Agnelo Gracias on the issue of sale of Catholic church lands and financial transparency.This was of no avail.They chose to pull wool over our eyes.

    Therefore the AOCC, and other concerned catholics groups decided to let them have it the way that they wanted.

    Let is also be known that this issue is just the trailer.The main show is still to follow.Get your free passes as quickly as you can once the date is announced.
    The Lord is by our side,The Holy Spirit guided us and Blessed Mother Mary has helped us.

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