By Express News Service
KOCHI: Accepting Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s desire to step aside from the post in the wake of the police probe into rape allegations against him, the Vatican has temporarily relieved him of pastoral responsibilities. Agnelo Rufino Gracias, Titular Bishop of Molicunza and Auxiliary Bishop emeritus of Bombay, has been appointed as the administrator of the Jalandhar Diocese.
In a letter, the Apostolic Nunciature in India said, “The Holy Father has received the request of Rt Rev Bishop Franco Mulakkal to be temporarily relieved of his pastoral responsibilities in Diocese of Jullundur. Having considered all circumstances, the Holy Father has accepted this request of Bishop Mulakkal and has appointed the Ret Rev Agnelo Rufino Gracias, Titular Bishop of Molicunza and Auxiliary Bishop emeritus of Bombay as administrator of Jullundur Diocese.”
After the Kerala Police served him a notice to appear before the investigation team on September 19 in connection with the rape case, Franco had written to the Pope expressing his desire to step down temporarily.