One more Kerala nun who protested against rape accused Bishop issued transfer orders

Bishop Mulakkal, a senior member of the Roman Catholic clergy in India, was arrested last year following allegations by the nun that he repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted her.

Published: 22nd January 2019 07:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2019 04:06 AM   |  A+A-

The nuns protesting against the delay in the arrest of Bishop Franco | file photo

By Express News Service

KOCHI: There is no respite for the nuns residing at Kuravilangad convent with letters coming in from religious authorities. This time, Sr Neena Rose Edathil, one of the five nuns who protested against former Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, received a warning letter on Monday from Sr Regina Kadamthott, superior general, Missionaries of Jesus Congregation. She has been asked to meet the superior general personally at Aradhana Bhavan, Jalandhar Cantt, Punjab, on January 26, at 10 am and present her defence for flouting Church norms.

The warning letter comes 10 days after the reminder transfer orders were issued to four nuns at St Francis Mission Home, Kuravilangad. However, Sr Neena Rose decided not to report to the superior. “Like how we have decided, Sr Neena Rose has also decided she will not be going to Punjab to visit the superior general,” said Sr Anupama, one among the four nuns who received the reminder transfer order recently.

From 2016, Sr Neena Rose has been staying at the Kuravilangad convent. “Despite my reminder dated June 20, 2018, you were carrying on with the rebellious posture refusing to be a part of the community. You have refused to fall in line, thereby raising a serious question mark on your own commitment to the vow of obedience and disciplined life,” mentioned the letter issued on January 12.

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“Let me also warn you that a failure on your part to comply with the above advice to report in person to the superior general will be considered a deliberate refusal to abide by the legitimate order of your mother general and the council will be left with no other option but go ahead with further canonically approved punitive proceedings against you. It was brought to my notice that you were not co-operating with the new superior of the community. Subsequently, during the official visit of the superior general to Kuravilangad in July 2017 you were counselled to shed the hostile attitude and live in unity with others,” said the letter.

When the reminder transfer orders were issued to the nuns last week, they sent a letter seeking permission to stay in the convent to Bishop Agnelo Rufino Gracias, administrator of  Jalandhar Diocese. Meanwhile, the nuns are planning to send a reply to the superior general for the recent orders she has issued.

Nuns being harassed?

Earlier, the four nuns and the survivor nun had written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seeking his intervention to ensure that their transfer orders were not affected till the trial of the case was over.

The letter to the chief minister was written after four of the five nuns, who led the stir against the Bishop last year, were directed to leave their convent in Kottayam district, in compliance with a transfer order issued by their congregation last year.

"Their aim is to single me out and to harass and torture me. My life will be in danger if such a situation arises," the survivor nun has alleged in her letter.

Their congregation -- Missionaries of Jesus under the Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic Church -- has directed the nuns to join their previously-assigned convents, according to the transfer orders issued between March and May this year.

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The nuns -- Alphy, Anupama, Josephine and Ancitta -- were served notice by the superior general of the congregation, Regina Kadamthottu, urging them to take up their assigned responsibilities as befitting members of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation.

The protest led by the nuns and the Catholic reformist forums here in September last year had led to a public outrage and demands for action against the bishop.

Bishop Mulakkal, a senior member of the Roman Catholic clergy in India, was arrested last year following allegations by the nun that he repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted her at the Kuravilangad convent between 2014 and 2016, a charge denied by him.

(With PTI inputs)


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