Nun who backed stir against Franco removed from duties

Nun who backed stir against Franco removed from duties

A nun belonging to the Syro Malabar Catholic church alleged she was asked to keep away from church duties after she participated in a protest by nuns in Kochi demanding the arrest of rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal. PTI file photo

A day after five nuns of the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ) congregation ended a historic protest against Franco Mulakkal, the rape accused, former bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, the Church has initiated disciplinary action against another nun who supported the agitation.

Sr Lucy Kalappura, a Wayanad-based member of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC), said she on Sunday was told not to continue her duties at the St Mary Church in Karackamala, under the Mananthavady Diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church. The diocese, in unofficial responses, said the decision was taken by the parish vicar – Fr Stephen Kottackal – and denied any direct role.

Sr Lucy had come out in support of five MJ nuns and their protest, in Kochi, demanding the arrest of Franco, accused of having raped a Kottayam-based nun multiple times, between 2014 and 2016. Sr Lucy said she had been active in conducting the holy mass, taking Bible classes, organising prayer collectives and liturgy training sessions. “A nun was raped 13 times and the Church did not react. Now, quick action has been initiated against me for supporting those who raised their voice against the crime. I would like to know what have I done to deserve this action,” she told reporters.

Sr Anupama, one of the five nuns who led the public protest for two weeks, said action against Sr Lucy was also aimed at putting the nuns under pressure. The protest saw massive public support which also hastened the former bishop’s arrest. The stir has been hailed as a landmark movement that could set off more voices dissenting against oppression and abuse in the Church.

Fr Kottackal said people chose to conduct the holy mass and liturgy training had to live in accordance with Church regulations and be “approved” by the faithful. He said some of the recent statements made by Sr Lucy, through social and other media, were not in line with ways of the faithful. “Many believers expressed their concern to me over the phone. They were reluctant to have people with such ideologies lead the offerings and teach their children. The FCC Superior was also informed about these concerns and the Superior has, in turn, shared the information with Sr Lucy,” the Vicar said in a statement. Fr Kottackal, however, said no ban was issued on Sr Lucy functioning as a nun and dismissed reports that there was “vendetta” behind the decision.