Franco Mulakkal resigns as Jalandhar bishop, says informed Pope decision to step down

Bishop Franco Mulakkal. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Franco Mulakkal, who was booked in a case involving the alleged rape of a nun back in 2018, has resigned as the Jalandhar bishop. He confirmed that pope Francis has accepted his resignation on Thursday.

He will now be known as Franco Bishop Emeritus.

A local court in Kottayam acquitted Mulakkal of rape charges in 2022.

There will be no canonical restrictions on Mulakkal's ministry, confirmed the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to India which represents Vatican in the country.

A press release issued by the Apostolic Nunciature noted that the High Court has admitted an appeal against his acquittal in the case.

The Vatican body also confirmed that Mulakkal's resignation was not demanded as a disciplinary action, but as 'pro bono Ecclesiae', especially for the good of the diocese which needs a new bishop.

In February, he visited pope Francis in the Vatican. In a video message, Franco Mulakkal said that he informed the Pope during the meeting about his decision to step down from the post.

Announcing his resignation, Mulakkal thanked all who supported him when he faced a tough situation in his life.

“I resigned from the post for the sake of the Jalandhar diocese and appointment of a new bishop,” he said.

Mulakkal (57) was accused of raping a nun multiple times during his visit to a convent in Jalandhar diocese between 2014 and 2016 when he was the bishop there of the Roman Catholic church.

The survivor is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus, a congregation under the diocese.

In her complaint to the police in June 2018, the nun had alleged that she was subjected to sexual abuse by Mulakkal between 2014 and 2016.

A case was registered by the Kottayam police in 2018, Onmanorama had reported.

Trial in the case, which started in November 2019, had concluded on January 10. 

Back then the court had restrained the print and electronic media from publishing any matter relating to the trial in the case without its permission.

(With PTI inputs)

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