The Catholic Church’s credibility is at stake in India

The Catholic Church’s credibility is at stake in India

  • Four nuns in Kerala were asked to leave the convent Kottayam and rejoin their previous communities while they were supporting a survivor nun in a rape case.
  • The nuns have been protesting and demanding the arrest of a bishop, Franco Mulakkal, for allegedly raping a fellow nun at the convent.
  • The nuns have been reportedly asked to not interfere in the legal proceedings of the case.
At a time when Pope Francis is holding a sex abuse prevention summit in the Vatican, four nuns in Kerala have been reminded to leave the convent Kottayam on 10 January and go back to their previous communities after months of protests, demanding justice for a fellow nun who was allegedly raped by a bishop in the convent last year.

The accused is a bishop, Franco Mulakkal from Jalandhar, who was subsequently removed from his post and arrested. However, the probe into the allegations had left a lot to desire for.

In the past, in November 2017, the bishop had reportedly filed multiple counter-cases alleging nuns of threatening to murder.

Following the allegations, the survivor nun had also petitioned in the Vatican alleging that the accused bishop had been using his ‘political power and money’ to get away with the case.

And now, the four nuns who decided to stand by the victim have been asked to leave the convent and rejoin their respective communities. But the nuns have taken a stand to not leave and support the victim, and have asked for further action from high court since the accused was bailed in October.

The superior general of Missionaries of Jesus congregation has said that the nuns — Sister Alphy Pallasseril, Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, Sister Josephine Villoonnickal and Sister Ancitta Urumbil — had not followed the decision to rejoin previous communities despite repetitive orders.

According to reports, the nuns suspect this could be a tactic to isolate the survivor nun and pardon the case.The nuns were reportedly asked to not interfere in the legal battle and leave on grounds of “community principles.”

The plight of the victim and the Church’s reaction is being watched even by political outfits in India. Defending government’s actions on the matter, Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Cooperation, Tourism and Devaswom in Government of Kerala, reportedly said in September that the government will take steps in the right direction citing Director General of Police, who said that the guilty won’t be spared.

The church will have to act fast, in a just and decisive manner to protect its credibility.