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Sunday, February 25, 2024

The Catholic Church Principle: Sack Sister Lucy, Back Bishop Franco!

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The crime Bishop Franco Mulakkal is accused of is a serious and heinous crime. He raped and sodomized a nun 13-times over a period of two years.

The nun petitioned leaders in the Catholic Church for justice and relief from her continuous sexual and mental torture. No one in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in India and in the Vatican listened to her pleas for justice.

In the month of June 2017, the victim nun met Rev. Fr. Joseph Thadathil – the Parish Priest of Kuravilangad Church and also Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt the Bishop of Palai Diocese. She explained to them about the sexual exploitation that she suffered from Bishop Franco from 2014 to 2016 and his continued torture through various means of intimidation because she took the courage to resist his sexual advances.

Under the direction of Bishop Kallarangatt and Bishop Vadakkel, Bishop of Ujjain diocese; she had then given a letter to Cardinal Mar George Alencherry – Head of the Syro-Malabar Church through Bishop Vadakkel by hand, on 11.07.2017.

She had also given the same complaint letter to Bishop Vadakkel explaining her mental agony and sufferings, and that of the other Missionaries of Jesus sisters under Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

On 23.11.2017, she met Cardinal Mar George Alencherry personally and told him all that she had faced from Bishop Franco. He heard her complaint but did nothing to address her grievance. 

And in December 2017, since Bishop Franco was planning to trap her and her companion sister with a police case in Jalandhar; she in a telephonic appealed to the Cardinal to arrange an appointment with the Apostolic Nuncio so that she could explain her pain and misery. But she did not get any positive response from the Cardinal. He heard once again but did nothing.

The nun even requested Bishop Vadakkel before she asked Cardinal Alencherry for a chance to meet the Vatican Representative of India (Apostolic Nuncio). He assured the nun that he will arrange a chance for me to meet with the Vatican Representative of India when the Nuncio came to Kochi in the month of October 2017. But he did not arrange a meeting.

So in desperation of January 28th, 2018 she wrote a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio directly and in her complaint against Bishop Franco, she clearly mentions her rape, sexual exploitation, mental torture, and police complaint filed against her in the Jalandhar police.

The letter to the Vatican Representative was personally handed over by Bishop Kurian Valiayakandathil – the Bishop of Bhagalpur, who is also one of the witnesses that the Kerala police interrogated.

The nun waited for five months, but she did not receive any reply from the Apostolic Nuncio’s office. 

Therefore on 14.05.2018, she decided to send letters to three Church Officials in Rome by courier, and by tracking them, she confirmed that they have received them on 18.05.2018. 

These letters were sent to the following:

  1. Most Rev. Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaia Ferrer SJ. Prefetto Congreegazione Dotrina, Della Fede, 00120C’itta Del Vaticano; 
  1. Cardinal Ouellet Card. Marc P.S.S,Prefetto Congreegazione Per I Vescovi,00120 C’itta Del vaticano 
  1. Pope Francis 00120 C’itta Del vaticano. 

Thereafter she waited for more than a month but she did receive any reply other than the delivery receipt of the DHL courier. 

She made one more attempt on 22.06.2018 to the State Secretary. Most. Rev. Cardinal Pietro Parolin Segretario di statto 00120 Vatican City, which was received there on 25.06.2018.

On seeing all these police cases against her and her family members by the Jalandhar authorities, she was shocked and frightened. 

She then approached and spoke the Archbishop Anil Couto. Metropolitan, Delhi Region during his visit to our community in Kuravilangad in May 2018, and later over the phone and she and another nun narrated their mental agony and struggle. 

But Archbishop Couto deflected the issue and did nothing.

He, like the others, gave her the e-mail ID of Apostolic Nuncio and asked her to write to the Vatican Representative.

On 24.06.2018, the same night itself at 11.45 pm. She sent an urgent mail to the Vatican Representative in India.

Yet again she did not get any response.

Therefore on 28-06-2018, she filed a case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal with the Kerala Police.

20 nuns left the Missionaries of Jesus congregation in the last five years, when Bishop Franco Mulakkal was supervising the functioning of the congregation.

Kerala police have confirmed to GoaChronicle that there are two more complaints of sexual harassment by nuns against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

The Vatican after 85 days of knowing about the ordeal of the nun and the act of rape by Bishop Franco Mulakkal finally told the media that it would appoint a one-member probe panel to investigate the complaint of the nun.

The nun with support and encouragement from other nuns in her congregation decided to fight to protect her basic human rights and her self dignity.

She approached the Kerala police and registered a formal complaint. The authorities registered an FIR and on the basis of their investigation, Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested. He became the first Bishop of the Catholic Church in India to be arrested on charges of rape and sodomy.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was released on conditional bail. The case continues in the Kerala court and people supporting the rape survivor have put their trust in the Indian judicial system when the Vatican failed to protect the nun.

Such was the shamelessness of some of the Christians that they greeted the rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal as a hero and the nuns fighting for justice as the villains. They even garlanded the Church leader on being released from jail on conditional bail as though he was acquitted of the case of his heinous crime. However, when it came to the nun who was raped and the nuns who fought for the justice of the nun raped, some people of the Catholic Church decides to train their ire and hatred towards the nuns instead of the rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

Sister Lucy Kalappurakal of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation stood up for the nun who accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape and sodomy thirteen times. But today the convent that she dedicated her life to in service of Christianity has ordered her to leave the Franciscan Clarist Congregation because she defied their repeated orders to not participate in any protests demanding justice for the nun raped.

She has been given seven days to leave the convent. Her pleas to the Vatican have gone unheard. Pope Francis has decided to turn deaf, dumb, and blind on the issue of the nuns fighting a perverted and powerful Catholic Church leader in India – Bishop Franco Mulakkal and the Catholic Church as an institution whose only aim is to protect the image of the Church and side with the rape accused by targeting the nuns overtly and covertly.

The nun who accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape continues to be victimized and the other nuns who have stood in support of her in her fight for justice. In an attempt to derail the investigations a priest working along with the Congregation of Mary Immaculate (CMI) tried to negotiate but ended up making threats and promises to another nun – a witness in the case and a friend of the victim – to try and force them to withdraw the case, as per an audio clip of a purported phone conversation between them. CMI priest James Aerthayil, is heard threatening the victim’s supporter in the audio clip saying, “don’t you know that they (Jalandhar Diocese) are ready to do anything?”, is also heard telling her that the Bishop’s diocese is ready to help them by buying a 10-acre land and constructing a convent there for them if they are ready to drop the case. The recording of the priest’s threats and offers to the nun came out in the media close on the heels of reports on a claim made by the victim’s brother that the Jalandhar Diocese through a person in Kalady near Kochi had offered Rs 5 crore and a position of her choice to her in her congregation for not pursuing the rape case.

The sister of the nun who accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape also filed a petition with Kerala DGP, Kottayam SP, and Kalady Circle Inspector stating that she and her family are receiving life threats and require protection. In her complaint letter, the sister of the Nun stated that Mulakkal’s brothers have filed fake complaints against her, threatened her son, brother, and her with dire consequences. “Since the bishop is behind bars, we really fear for our lives. One of his aides, Thomas Chittuparamban, had threatened to liquidate my son and brother if something happens to the bishop. We learnt that some people who are close to him can go to any extent. So we need protection,” she said in her complaint.

‘Save Our Sisters’ Action Council, Father Vattoly also received a warning letter from the Apostolic Administrator of Ernakulam-Angamaly Syro-Malabar diocese.

Fr Vattoly was one of the Catholic priests in the forefront lending to support to the nuns of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation. In the letter written by Mar Jacob Manathodath has warned Fr Vattoly of consequences and states that if he is not able to give an explanation which is not satisfactory, the Church will have to proceed with disciplinary action against him.

The letter further accuses Fr Vattoly of working with some of the groups that are said to be plotting against the Church to hurt religion and the Church.“Some of your activities are said to be a refusal to the authority of the Church,” the letter expresses. “Disobedience will incur ecclesiastical actions as per the Church law” Manathodath warns Fr Vattoly in the letter.

“I am told that such actions by a priest will seriously injure the good of the Church in public and will cause scandal among the faithful. Therefore, I hereby strongly prohibit you from organizing and attending the Dharna and similar activities,” the Apostolic Administrator states through the letter.

Mulakkal is the first Bishop of the Catholic Church in India to be arrested for rape, unnatural sex and illegal confinement.

Sister Lucy is facing this backlash because of her decision to stand by the truth and against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

The message that some senior leaders of the Catholic Church in India and the Vatican are sending out to the world is simple: The Catholic Church Principle: Sack Sister Lucy, Back Bishop Franco!

 

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