A section of nuns, priests and laity of the Roman Catholic Church as reported by news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) has written to the Vatican over the alleged rape of a nun in Kerala by a Bishop, urging it “to do what is right” to provide justice to the women in the church.
The letters were written to Giambattista Diquttro, Apostolic Nuncio to India and the Catholic Bishops Conference of India Cardinal Oswald Gracias. The church authorities were requested to “advise” Pope Francis to “relieve” Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal “of his pastoral responsibilities so that the church is seen to actually practice the zero tolerance it professes to observe in abuse cases.”
Stating that they were concerned about the integrity of the Indian church, the letters stated that people’s faith in the credibility of the church to implement its policy of zero tolerance in abuse matters would continue to erode if the accused bishop remain in his position at Jalandhar diocese. They said the “mud slinging” between the bishop and his priests on one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other has turned the church into an object of ridicule, “thus causing a lot of harm to the church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.”
“We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the church and give the leadership courage to do what is right in the cause of justice to women in the church,” the letter to the Apostolic Nuncio to India said.
They also requested Cardinal Gracias to advise bishops in India to publicise and create awareness about CBCI guidelines to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, 2017, and institute the structures and procedures described therein without delay. “To preach justice, the church must be seen to practice justice (Synod of Bishops, 1971). Sadly the representations made by the religious sister to the bishops have brought no response, raising issues about the credibility of the CBCI policy,” the letter to Gracias said.