Kochi: Pope Francis is expected to initiate action against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese, facing charges of serial rape of a nun, says Fr Suresh Mathew, editor Indian Currents, a journal of the Catholic Church. He told DC on the sidelines of the ongoing agitation that the Pope was apprised of the complaint and he is likely to take action against the Bishop.
Fr Mathews said the charges against the Bishop, perhaps the first of its kind in the history of the church, will be treated with the seriousness it deserves by the Pope. The allegations against the priests involved in sexual assault of children or members of the laity have become a common knowledge. “A nun levelling charges of rape against a serving Bishop is something unheard in the annals of church history”, he said.
On Pope Francis not being privy of the rape charges against the Bishop, Fr Mathews said the latest information is that the matter was brought to the attention of the Holy See. He said there were efforts to keep the matter from knowledge of Pope Francis.
Fr Mathews has also decried the attempt by the Kerala Catholic Bishop Council and the accused Bishop to project the protest demanding the arrest of the guilty as a campaign against the Church as a ridiculous attempt for cover-up using religion as a garb. This is an issue of rule of law prevailing in the country, he said, and pointed out that a person accused of sexually assaulting a woman needed to undergo the legal process.
“The legal process cannot be prevented by taking refuge under the guise of conspiracy against the church”, he said. On allegations that Bishop Franco Mulakkal is having high-level political connections Fr Mathews said it is a matter of implementing rule of law prevailing in the country. Everyone is equal before the law, he added....