The Catholic Church in Kerala sent a warning to Sister Lucy Kalapura, a nun who was at the forefront of protests against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, for “attending channel discussions”, writing articles in “non-Christian newspapers” and “making false accusations” against the Catholic leadership.
The canonical warning with the threat of dismissal from the congregation has been issued by Sr Ann Joseph FCC, Superior General of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC), and is widely seen as an act of retribution against the nun for participating in the protests against the Bishop. READ IN MALAYALAM
Mulakkal, who spent three weeks in the sub-jail at Pala before he got bail, has been accused of raping a nun belonging to the order of Missionaries of Jesus several times between 2014 and 2016. Though Mulakkal was divested of his pastoral duties at the Jalandhar diocese in Punjab, the Church leadership has steadfastly backed him.
Sr Kalapura and a few other nuns of the order had staged a hunger strike near the High Court premises in Kochi for weeks last year demanding the arrest of Mulakkal. The protest was seen by the Church leadership as questioning and bypassing its authority.
The letter to Sr Kalapura, accessed by indianexpress.com, read, “Your deeds on 20th September 2018 and on the following days were of most grave external scandal and harm to the Church and the FCC. You went to the Ernakulam High Court junction and participated in the protest held by the SOS Action Council on 20-9-2018 without the permission of your superior.”
“You have published articles in some non-Christian newspapers and weeklies like Mangalam and Madhyamam etc gave interviews to Samayam without seeking permission from the provincial superior. Through Facebook, channel discussions and articles you belittled the Catholic leadership by making false accusations against it and tried to bring down the sacraments. You tried to defame FCC also. Your performance through social media as a religious sister was culpable arising grave scandal.”
The Superior General of the FCC also counts among other offences the nun’s decision to publish a book of poems, learn driving, obtain a driving license and buy a car. “These are grave violations of the vow of obedience,” the letter reads. “You cannot live your own beliefs, ideologies and convictions in FCC without respecting and keeping the values and traditions of FCC.”
The Superior General has asked the nun to come in person and meet her in Kochi on January 9 to ‘rectify her faults’. The next canonical steps as per norms of law will be taken against the nun, the letter mentioned, if she fails to appear in person before the Generalate.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Sr Kalapura said, “I don’t think my acts, as mentioned by the Catholic Church in its notice, are wrong. If I’d known they were wrong, I would have never committed them. I did them knowing fully well that they are right. I have no clarification to give regarding that matter. We will see what happens.” “There’s no doubt that this is an act of revenge,” she added.