Kerala nun rape case: Bishop Franco stops short of resigning, hands over charge to another priest
AMID calls for his resignation, Bishop Franco Mulakkal who is accused of raping a nun multiple times in Kerala, has handed over his administrative responsibility of Jalandhar diocese to another priest.
“In my absence Msgr Mathew Kokkandam will administer the Diocese as in the normal practice when I am away from the Dio- cese,” Bishop Mulakkal said in a circular.
The 54-year-old bishop will have to appear before the Kerala police investigating team on September 19.
The circular comes on a day when there have been reports that he could be asked to step down by the Vatican.
This also comes a day after a Jalandhar church claimed it had conducted an internal investiga- tion in the alleged rape case and found the bishop to be innocent. It went on to discredit the nun and support the bishop as it stated that the nun had conspired against him.
Meanwhile, the nun has alleged that the bishop was using “political and money power” to “bury” the case against him.
The bishop has denied all allegations against him terming it a conspiracy.
THE agitation launched by five nuns demanding the arrest of Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal gained momentum on Saturday as a groups of priests from the Syro Malabar Church’s Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese arrived at the protest venue pledging allegiance to the agitation. On the eighth day of the protest, eight priests led by the former spokesperson of the Syro-Malabar Church Fr Paul Thelakkat arrived at Vanchi Square, the protest venue near High Court Junction.
Later, priests from the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church also joined the protest, indicating the growing support to the nuns’ agitation.
Though the Save Our Sisters Action Council had informed that priests and nuns from various congregations will arrive at the protest venue on Saturday, the organisers were not sure about the support from within the church. The priests who arrived included Fr Jose Parekattil, Fr Joicy Kaithakoottil, Fr Jimmu Kakkattuchira, Fr Benny Maraparambil, Fr Kurian Kurisinkal, Fr Paul Chittilapally, Fr Tony Kallookaran, Fr Rajan Punnakikal and Fr Cherian Varghese.
Sr Teena Jose and Sr Emilda were among the nuns who pledged support to the protest. The priests who addressed the protesters said the agitation launched by the nuns was not against the church, but for justice. The priests also participated in the standing protest at High Court Junction.