Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of repeatedly raping and sexually abusing a nun in Kerala between 2014 and 2016, has claimed that the bail granted to him last week was “something like a miracle”and that it was “clear” that police arrested him “due to pressure from the media” and the situation “created by the Sisters and their supporters”.
In a letter — written on October 19 on his official letterhead as Bishop of Jalandhar — to the bishops and monsignors of the Catholic Church in India, Mulakkal said he had no trouble inside his cell and that it was like a “21-day retreat since most of the time was spent in prayers, reading of the word of God, meditation and personal reflection… It was a time of great blessing and graces”.
The bishop was arrested on September 21 after five nuns close to the victim came out to protest against him and seek his arrest. As the protests intensified, the Vatican temporarily relieved him of all pastoral responsibilities as the bishop of Jalandhar Diocese. Mulakkal has, however, denied the charges.
In the letter that is meant to “update”the bishops on the case he is facing in Kerala, the bishop claimed: “After two days of interrogation before the police team at Trippunithara (Kerala), it became clear that police had no option but to arrest me due to pressure from the media and the scenario created by the sisters and their supporters at Vanchi Square in front of the High Court at Kochi.”
According to the Bishop, the bail granted to him “was something like a miracle since it’s not easy to obtain a bail in these types of cases”. He wrote that when he came out of jail, “almost thousand people were waiting outside, with rosaries and saying their prayers to welcome me”. He added that during his stay in jail, bishops, priests, lay leaders (political and ecclesiastical) visited and encouraged him their prayers and kind words.
He ended his letter by thanking all the bishops and vicar-generals for their prayers that “consoled me and strengthened my resolve to bear everything and become a true witness to the Christian suffering”.