Kerala nun rape case: Congregation ordered to withhold transfer of rebel nuns

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Bishop Agnelo Gracious, Apostolic Administrator of the Jalandhar diocese issues order.

Former Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Kottayam: The five nuns of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation at Kuravilangad convent, who were transferred out, have got a reprieve. Bishop Agnelo Gracious, Apostolic Administrator  of the Jalandhar diocese, has ordered the congregation to withhold the transfer orders of the nuns, who were part of the protest against bishop Franco Mulakkal, till the case is over.

In a letter addressed to the five nuns - Anupama, Neena Rose, Ancitta, Alphy and Josephine -, bishop Gracious expressed surprise and dismay over the move and said that he was giving a directive to Regina Kadamthottu, superior- general of the congregation, not to issue any letters to the five nuns without his permission. “This will be an order to her from me as apostolic administrator in charge of the congregation--since it is of diocesan right, it comes under me,” says the letter.

It sought to reassure the nuns that there would be no move from the diocese of Jalandhar to oust them from Kuravilangad convent as long as they were needed for the court case. “The truth will only emerge when all the evidence is presented. I am sure the Church would want the truth to emerge,” it added. The bishop also apologised for his long silence after the nuns sent him a letter and clarified that he had been busy taking lectures for theologians in Mumbai.

In separate notices issued to the nuns last month, the superior-general had sought to enforce the transfer orders of last year.

 While the communique to Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil directed her to join the Chamiyari community in Punjab as per an earlier order in March 2018,  Sister Ancitta Urumbil was asked to join the Pariyaram community, Kannur.

Sister Alphy Pallasseril was directed to join the Pakartala community in Bihar while Sister Josephine Villoonnickal was reminded of her appointment as superior at the Lalmatia community in Jharkhand in May 2017.

Sister Neena Rose, who was also part of the protest, was asked to appear before the authorities in Jalandhar to submit a defence of her action. Following this, the nuns wrote to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking his intervention to ensure their safety and stay the transfer orders.