The nuns who were protesting against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal had said that Mulakkal, who is relieved from pastoral responsibilities still wield power and intervenes in the administrative matters of Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Church, reports The New Indian Express.
“We believe that Bishop Angelo is the apostolic administrator of Jalandhar diocese. But seeing the kind of letters issued, we doubt that Bishop Franco still wields power in the diocese," said Sister Anupama, one of the protesting nuns.
After the accusation of sexual assault surfaced, Bishop Franco Mulakkal was placed under arrest but was later granted bail. The accused was given a warm welcome with garlands and flowers as he came out of the jail, reflecting full support of Church organisation behind him. Within days of his release, key witness in the case, Fr Kuriakose, who gave statement against him, was found dead in mysterious circumstances.
The protesting nuns claim that they face a threat from Mulakkal and the Church authorities backing him, and have also requested Kerala chief minister to intervene in the matter.
The statement of the sisters comes after Jalandhar diocese PRO Fr Peter Kavumpuram, allegedly close to Bishop Mulakkal, issued a clarification statement countering an e-mail issued to nuns by its apostolic administrator Bishop Angelo Ruffino Gracias.
Bishop Angelo, in the e-mail, had assured that the five nuns that "there would be no move from the diocese of Jalandhar to oust them from the Kuravilangad convent” (where they are posted currently).
The Bishop wrote to the nuns after they complained to him against the head of their congregation, Missionaries of Jesus under the Jalandhar diocese, who had issued transfer orders to four of them for taking part in the protest demanding the arrest of the bishop.
Kavumpuram issued a clarification statement for the e-mail that went public, stating that the internal administration of the congregation is left to the Superior General and her council.
"The Bishop of Jalandhar does not usually interfere unless the overall interests of the church demand such interference. By this clarification, the Apostolic Administrator has not interfered in the internal affairs of this congregation. Therefore the order to return to their rightful communities by the Mother General is not cancelled but stands" TNIE quoted the statement issued by Fr Kavumpuram.
Meanwhile, the protesting nuns had said that the clarification statement (issued by Kavumpuram) is not acceptable and they will continue to stay in the convent until the case is over.