The die appears cast for Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal with the Vatican likely to take action soon.
All odds now look to have turned against Franco as he has been summoned by Kerala police on charges of raping a nun. That a top clergyman has to undergo a police drilling for crime like rape and staying as head of a diocese will certainly not go well with the laity. This should make the Vatican act quickly.
More so, when nuns have taken to the streets-the massive support they have been getting from different quarters, including the laity, the note by the Kerala Regional Latin Catholic Council that the voice of the nuns should be heard, the attempt to portray the protest for justice as one against Church, a case registered against a priest for trying to hush-up the matter on behalf of the bishop by offering bribe to the nun and worse still, the investigation nailing the lie in the bishop’s testimony have made the intervention by the Pope imminent.
According to those close to the protest, signals have been there from the Vatican of action against the bishop. It was way back in May that the nun had brought the matter to the notice of the Pope through a letter. She recently wrote a letter to the Pope’s Ambassador in Delhi marking copies to 21 top people associated with the Church detailing how and why she had to act after being raped 13 times by the bishop.
Worse still, a number of bishops and nuns besides Cardinal Alencherry were questioned by the probe team and things were turning against the bishop. The High Court asking the petitioners seeking arrest of the bishop whether they wanted arrest or punishment, gave a hint to the course of the probe.
While nuns taking to the streets and some giving up nunhood have rattled the Vatican, equally disturbing has been a bishop being summoned by the police for questioning on rape charges, for the first time in the Church history here, forcing immediate intervention.
A section of the laity expects the Pope's action of removing Franco from the bishop post to coincide with the questioning after which his arrest appears imminent.