I grew up in the Catholic faith believing that actions of the Church are in keeping with the precepts of the teachings of God in the Bible.
But now I know and see that Spirit of God in some of the torchbearers of Christian values and teachings – priests and nuns – missing.
The Catholic Church is facing its worst crisis – a crisis that will shake the very foundation of the institution and faith of its believers in the days ahead – that crisis is the presence of sexual predators in the garb of clergy in the Church.
The evil of of sexual abuse, rape and vile behaviour is not a new phenomenon in the Catholic Church.
The evil has been witnessed, identified and recognised but the Catholic Church chooses not to exorcise this evil because the evil dwells within its own clergy. Acknowledging this fact and taking measures to protect the innocent from the sexual predators, would lead to widespread pandemonium and loss of face.
The Catholic Church took the part of saving the institution over saving the lives of thousands of sexual abuse victims who were mostly children.
In India too over the last couple of months, sexual abuse cases related to the Catholic Church and other sects of Christianity have been reported and such heinous crimes are being brought to light.
The most horrific and shocking case being that of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Archdiocese of Jalandhar.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal was accused by a 44-year old nun of rape, not once, but thirteen times, between 2014 and 2016.
The accused rapist was arrested after much protests by some priests, nuns and Christians from Kerala supporting the raped nun in her fight for justice.
He, however got interim bail by the Kerala High Court and was welcomed backed in Jalandhar as a hero.
In all this the Catholic Church created a farce about not being aware of the allegations, no complaint from the nun ever came to them, the accused rapist has been removed from his pastoral duties and finally a Vatican probe.
All of the above spin doctrine off the Catholic Church fell flat on its face. The nun sent letters of complaint and request for justice to a Bishop, Archbishop, Cardinal, Vatican representative in India and Pope Francis himself. They ignored it.
The accused Bishop was removed from his pastoral duties but not removed as a Bishop.
And most importantly Vatican did not even commence a probe into the allegations of the nun, even till today.
This accused rapist continues to live under the patronage of the Catholic Church.
However, the Catholic Church while appearing to be forgiving and understanding about the Bishop’s alleged crimes, happen to take a different stand against those priests and nuns who stood in defiance and came out to fight for justice for the nun.
The first victim was the Late Father Kuriakose Kututhara, who spoke against the wrongdoings of Bishop Franco Mulakkal and openly supported the fight for justice. He was also one of the witness in the accusation case levelled by the raped nun against the accused clergyman. But shockingly and mysteriously Fr Kuriakose was found dead in his room.
The final post-mortem report has not even been completed and neither has investigations into the case of Fr Kuriakose moved ahead.
Sister Lucy has been the other person on the hit list of the Catholic Church for supporting the fight for justice against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.
A warning notice was issued by Sister Ann Joseph FCC, Superior General of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation.
The letter to Sr Kalapura, revealed to IndianExpose.com, stated “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.
While Sr Lucy is battling her attacks, the Church has decided to go after Father Augustine Vattoly, who was the convenor of the ‘Save Our Sisters’ Action Council – the justice movement started by the nuns and priests supporting the fight for justice against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.
A letter was issued by the Ernakulam-Angalamali Archdiocese Apostolic Administrator Mar Jacob Manathodath.
In the latest letter to Fr Vattoly on December 29, Jacob Manathodath pointed out that the Church will neither proceed with a detailed enquiry on Fr Vattoly nor take disciplinary action against him as he has “expressed regret and sought apologies” in his response letter.
“You shall, however, relinquish your position as Convener of SOS. You have already expressed your readiness to do so. You shall not engage further in any activities connected therewith or with the AMT (Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency) or other such associations. You shall not issue statements that will malign the Church and hierarchy. You do understand that such actions hurt our faithful quite deeply,” Mar Jacob Manathodath wrote in the letter.
“You may be able to justify your actions in the light of your convictions. It is equally important that being a priest of the Catholic Church, you respect those in authority and abide by its guidance and directions,” he says.
The Apostolic Administrator also requested Fr Vattoly to “spend a few weeks in prayer to change his mind”.
The Syro Malabar Church had issued a letter to Fr Augustine on November 11, 2018, accusing him of violating various codes of conducts of the Canon law and inciting sedition and hatred against ecclesiastical authorities.
But most of all the harassment meted out to the rape victim and the other four sisters of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation is deplorable and sad. They have been threatened of expulsion from the order and eviction from the convent.
Everyday they continue to be harassed and taunted for their stand in demanding justice.
Unfortunately, the Catholic Church fails to see the truth of the damage it is doing to the Christian faith by turning a blind eye to the heinous crimes of sexual abuse and even going an extra mile to support the sexual predators in the Church.
One can only pray that the evil of sexual abuse by clergy faced by Christians especially our children continues to be exposed and Christians come out in large numbers to fight this evil.