Congregation wants probe against nuns, others seek bishop's ouster

Five Sisters demading the arrest of Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, who allegedly raped a nun in their convent at Kuravilangad in south-central Kottayam district.

Mumbai/Kochi: The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council (KCBC) has come out against the nuns engaged in a stir seeking justice for their colleague who has accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal of raping her.

The KCBC said in a statement that the agitation was an attempt to denigrate the church and the bishops.

The Missionaries of Jesus congregation, to which the complainant nun belongs, on Wednesday also said it would conduct a probe against the nuns staging the protest. In a statement, the congregation said an inquiry commission has been set up. It would also probe the source of money used for the strike.

The congregation on Tuesday said it will implead in the case on behalf of Bishop Franco.

“The police should complete the probe without fear or favour. The culprit needs to be brought to book through an impartial investigation. The law of the land should prevail. A media trial or parallel probe is not what we need. The church does not condemn or condone anybody,” archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram Latin Diocese M Soosapakiyam said.

In a related development, the Mumbai archdiocese has criticized the Jalandhar bishop and demanded that Franco Mulakkal should step down from his post.

Mumbai archbishop Fr Nigel Barrett said the allegations against Franco Mulakkal had tarnished the image of the church.

“He should resign from his post and face an investigation,” said the Mumbai archbishop.

The Latin church’s Almaya Forum has also made it clear that Jalandhar Bishop should leave his post. The Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC) felt that using the church’s resources to defend personal charges against the bishop was condemnable. “The recent developments related to the Jalandhar bishop are

unfortunate. They are an insult to all devotees. Moreover, the bishop’s integrity has also been questioned. His actions are totally against the tenets of the Catholic church,” said KRLCC.

The strike by the nuns demanding the arrest of the bishop entered the fifth day in Kochi. Protests were staged on Wednesday in Thiruvananthapuram as well as the headquarters of Jalandhar diocese. The agitating nuns said they will continue the stir even if they were expelled from the church. Several political, social and cultural leaders have supported the strike.

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