Friday, 11 January 2019

Catholic Abuse News - The Nuns' Stories Updated

Sister Lucy Kalappura
Congregation threatens to dismiss “rebel” nun – Matters India

No sooner did I report on the promising, though uncharacteristic, response of the Catholic Church in India to the news of the arrest on rape charges of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, than this update arrived in my 'to read' list. The response it seems is not quite what it first appeared to be.

The church seems now to have resorted to the time-honoured tactic of siding with the abuser, bullying the witnesses and ignoring and vilifying the victims.

Briefly, last summer, a nun broke the code of silence and deference to male authority in the Catholic Church in India and accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of a number of rapes over a period of time at a convent of The Missionaries of Jesus in Kerala. More nun then came forward with allegations of sexual assault, exploitation and unwanted attention by priests. These allegation resulted in demonstrations and sit-ins organised by the “Save Our Sisters” movement, culminating in the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who vigorously denies the allegations, accusing Sister Josephine Villoonnickal who supported the nun and encouraged her to file the police complaint, of trying to blackmail him to give her a better job.

Following the arrest of Mulakkal, Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara appeared to be supporting the nuns and offered an apology for the behaviour of Catholic priests and of the Catholic Church in general.

But this gesture of sympathy and support was to be short-lived.

Mulakkal spent three weeks in prison before being released on bail. He is still awaiting trial. Unlike the nuns who have been shunned and isolated within the Catholic community in Kerala, Mulakkal has been treated as a martyr with demonstrations of support. And now the church has begun persecuting those who took part in the demonstrations of support for the nun who alleged multiple rapes.

Sister Lucy Kalappura, a member of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, was at the forefront of protests against Mulakkal and was one of the five nuns who took part in a sit-in near the Kerala High Court in Kochi. She is a teacher at Sacred Heart High school at Dwaraka, Kerala. Sister Kalppura has been served written notice of moves to expel her from the the Franciscan Clarist Congregation.

The letter from Sister Kalappura's superior general, Sister Ann Joseph reads:

Your deeds on 20th September 2018 and on the following days were of most grave external scandal and harm to the Church and the FCC. You went to the Ernakulam High Court junction and participated in the protest held by the SOS Action Council on 20-9-2018 without the permission of your superior.

You have published articles in some non-Christian newspapers and weeklies like Mangalam and Madhyamam etc gave [sic] interviews to Samayam without seeking permission from the provincial superior. Through Facebook, channel discussions and articles you belittled the Catholic leadership by making false accusations against it and tried to bring down the sacraments. You tried to defame FCC also. Your performance through social media as a religious sister was culpable arising grave scandal.

According to Matters India, Sister Kalappura says she has no intention of appearing before the mother superior at the FCC generalate in Aluva, some 25 km north of Kochi, as she has done nothing wrong. She applied for the permission over several matters but received no reply so did not request permission to participate in the sit-in as it would not have been given.

Meanwhile, the Vatican has divested Bishop Franco Mulakkal of his pastoral duties in his diocese in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

Mulakkal has yet to come to trial, the prosecution case being hampered by the mysterious death last October of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, a key witness, vociferous supporter of the nuns and a critic of Bishop Mulakkal.







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1 comment :

  1. Are we supposed to be surprised? The Catholic church is a continuing criminal enterprise with entrenched support in governments and legal systems all around the world. This is one of many of the horrendous stories that demonstrate that fact.

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