Kochi: Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was questioned by Kerala police for the second day over rape charges by a nun, has been temporarily relieved of his pastoral responsibilities by Pope Francis, the Catholic Bishop Conference of India (CBCI) said Thursday.
The Pope appointed Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Bombay Agnelo Rufino Gracias as the Apostolic administrator of the diocese of Jalandhar with immediate effect, a CBCI statement said.
The announcement came even as the senior Catholic priest is being questioned by the Special Investigation Team for the second day here Thursday.
The Pope took the decision in response to Mulakkal's September 16 letter offering to "step aside temporarily" as the Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, Kerala Catholic Bishops Council Spokesman Fr Varghese Vallikkattu told PTI.
He wrote the letter after Kerala police summoned him to appear before it for questioning in the case. Bishop Mulakkal has been accused of repeated rape by the Kerala-based nun of Missionaries of Jesus Congregation of the Jalandhar diocese. He has denied the charges.