Following protests by nuns and priests against forces within the Church in the aftermath of rape allegations against a bishop from Kerala, bishops of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church on Friday decided to take steps to check all acts of “indiscipline”.
The Synod of the Church, attended by 55 bishops, said a code of conduct will be introduced for priests and nuns on their involvement in agitations and taking part in media discussions.
A circular issued by Church head Cardinal George Alancherry, which is to be read out at all churches next Sunday, said recent agitations by nuns and priests breached all limits of discipline. The circular said it is suspected that some priests and nuns have become puppets in the hands of anti-Church forces.
It said the Synod, a decision-making body of the Syro-Malabar Church, has directed bishops and superiors of various religious congregations to take action against priests and nuns who take part in “grave incidents of indiscipline”.
The circular stated, “The Church would not brook the recent trend of resisting disciplinary actions with the support of media and anti-church forces. Henceforth, priests and nuns should speak to (the) media or take part in TV debates only with the consent of their superiors. The nuns and priests who venture into public protests should remember that they are bound to obey the canon law of the Church.”
Such activities, according to the circular, will be treated as “indiscipline”.
Recently, five nuns of Missionaries of Jesus staged a sit-in protest in Kochi, demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by a nun of that congregation. The agitation was supported by a few priests, particularly Fr Vattoli, who later faced the ire of the Church head.