Jalandhar bishop getting Govt ‘protection’, says nun in letter to Pope’s envoy
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Jalandhar bishop getting Govt ‘protection’, says nun in letter to Pope’s envoy

The nun, who has accused Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal of raping her and raised the matter with the Pope in May, has written to the Apostolic Nuncio of India, an Ambassador to the Pope and to 21 top officials of the Church in the country seeking immediate action in her case.

She said that she was forced to raise the matter with the Vatican as her complaint earlier to the Pope's Ambassador early this year has not received any response. The letter notes that bishop Franco used to approach many nuns of the Missionaries of Jesus with unfair motives and literally ‘trapped’ them. She also cites a case as an example.

She says many of these nuns had complained about the bishop but what they got in return was transferred orders. As many as 20 nuns left the missionary over the last five years because of the bishop. In her case, she had to forcefully succumb to him 13 times between 2014 and 2016. She did not raise the issue because of fear.

“I took courage and resisted him. That was the reason why I thought of leaving the congregation silently in May 2017. But the love and concern of my sisters and the prayers and advice of few Bishops and many priests stopped me from that. When I submitted my application for dispensation, all my four community members were ready to leave the congregation along with me and many others expressed to me their desire to leave Jalandhar Diocese and live in any other place with me as MJ sisters. Since I could not see the destruction of the congregation by losing so many vocations, I canceled my application for dispensation,” her letter says.

She also mentions of meeting Cardinal Alencherry and passing him her letter. She points to the vindictive actions of the bishop who hoisted false charges against her and other nuns and even against her brother. She gives details of the offer made by Fr Aerthayil to influence her. She was offered 10 acres and a convent in Kanjirapally diocese.

She says that she had given a statement under Section 164 of CrPC and the Government had submitted in the High Court that the bishop had committed ‘unnatural offences and rape’ and no action was taken.

“But our plight is that even after completing 72 days of investigation in this case, Bishop Franco is functioning freely with all his privileges as he enjoys extraordinary protection from the higher officials of the Police and the State Government. The silence and inaction on the part of the authorities of the Catholic Church in India is adding to the impunity that he enjoys before the law of the land,” her letter says.

“Your highness, I would like to ask: Will the Church authority - who stands to protect Bishop Franco and safeguard the dignity of the Church by hiding his wickedness - be able to give back what I have lost? I feel the Catholic Church is still doubting my truth over the argument as to why I allowed him to abuse me sexually ‘thirteen times’. I had tremendous fear and shame to bring this out into the open. I feared suppression of the congregation and threats to my family members. At the same time I wonder why the Church is closing its eyes towards the truth when I have mustered courage to stop him,” she says.