‘Catholicasabha’, mouthpiece of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala, has announced that its faithful will boycott sections of the media as payback for allegedly undertaking ‘false campaigns’ against the Church. It particularly named two media organisations for showing the Church in poor light, denigrating its leadership and activities and hurting the sentiments of believers.
“Every media organisation, which conducts night-time debates and reports news, has its owner’s political, financial and religious objectives in mind. Media has made it a business to defame others’ sentiments to please the majority community. By mocking beliefs and the sacraments, the media’s main agenda is to insult the Church organisations and it’s leadership,” the online newspaper said in an article.
The Church claimed the media declared it a huge sin when it brought out a calendar which included photographs of prominent bishops including that of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the bishop of Jalandhar diocese who has been accused of rape by a nun belonging to the same diocese. In the article, the Church claimed the media did not take kindly to it issuing a disciplinary notice to a priest who has for many years ‘engaged in anti-Church activities.’
“Bishop Dr Franco Mulakkal is an accused. Away from his duties, he’s still a Bishop. That status will continue until the courts and the church mechanisms find him guilty. That’s why the Catholic church included his photograph in the calendar. Global human rights declaration makes it clear that an accused will continue to be an innocent until proven guilty by the courts. Indian judiciary has said that not a single innocent should be punished. Before the subject reaches the court, sections of the media want to sabotage the issue. Before the chargesheet could be submitted in court, media wants to play the role of a ‘super court’,” the article continued.
It was in June this year that a nun belonging to the ‘Missionaries of Jesus’ order of the Catholic Church filed a police complaint in Kerala accusing Mulakkal of raping her multiple times at a convent in the state. While a few of the nun’s colleagues in the church launched a hunger strike leading to the arrest of Mulakkal, who was later released on bail, the victim alleged that she had to go to the police as the Church leadership refused to act on her complaint. The bishop has denied all charges.