The Archbishop of Faridabad, near Delhi, Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, has backed the nuns agitating against a bishop accused of assaulting a nun and apologised for the 'storm' that has hit the Catholic Church here as well as in many parts of the world.
The senior priest, addressing a convention in Delhi, said, 'If any of you are disappointed by the events, then I apologize. The foundation of our faith is shaken and the credibility our structure is questioned.
'The case against Father Franco Mulakkal has shaken the faith (of many), and I say these things not to blame anybody or to claim anything.' Addressing the Santhom Bible Convention at the Thyagaraja Sports Complex in New Delhi, the Archbishop spoke in support of the agitation undertaken by several nuns in Kochi, he said, 'Protest for justice and truth is the intrinsic character of our congregation . But when our sisters protested a certain section said some venomous things (about them ). Our believers must be offered the right to protest, that is what I want to remind you on this occasion.
'We stand in the land of Gandhi who launched the satyagraha.' He began his address by saying, 'So many houses were swept away,(were) flooded, and people without seeing each other's caste, creed or religion came together. In every crisis, we must not be overcome by grief and rise like the Phoenix.'
He recalled the examples of the mass resignations of bishops in Chile after they were accused of negligence by the Pope, the resignation of an American prelate over allegations of sexual abuse, and the release of the asexual abuse report by the German Bishops' Conference. This is just like a storm for the Christian community.'
Group of nuns have been calling for the arrest of a bishop who has been accused of raping one of the church's sisters multiple times over a two-year period. The case had attracted international attention, as it is extremely rare for nuns to publicly accuse a superior of wrongdoing, let alone sexual assault.
More than 100 citizens have come to support them since the demonstration started on Saturday, according to George Joseph, the president of the Joint Christian Council, an advocacy organization working with the nuns.
The 44-year-old victim first filed a police report in June in Kochi accusing the bishop of raping her 13 times from 2014 and 2016. The incidents purportedly occurred in a guest house of the St. Francis Mission Home.
The bishop of Jalandhar,Franco Mulakkal, denied the allegations.'It is a fake allegation. We are all with the bishop,' Father Peter Kavumpuram, a spokesperson for the diocese. 'We are very clear regarding the conspiracy behind this. Nuns are parading outside when the investigation is going on. There is an anti-Christian movement, people are trying to manipulate the truth.' The Joint Christian Council believes police are deliberately slow tracking the investigation, and are under pressure from church leaders and politicians in the state government to drop it.