Missionaries of Jesus backs Franco; delegation meets CM

Franco is accused of having raped the nun multiple times between May, 2014 and September, 2016 during his visits to Kerala.

Missionaries of Jesus (MJ) on Wednesday reiterated its support to Franco Mulakkal, former bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar arrested for raping a Kottayam-based MJ nun.

MJ claimed that the “innocent” clergyman was being framed through a biased police investigation.

A delegation of MJ nuns met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in New Delhi and raised concerns regarding Franco’s arrest and the ongoing investigation.

Franco is accused of having raped the nun multiple times between May, 2014 and September, 2016 during his visits to Kerala.

The congregation has repeatedly backed Franco and dismissed the nun’s allegation— and a subsequent agitation by five other MJ nuns— as part of a conspiracy.

Franco has been remanded to judicial custody till October 6 and is lodged in Pala sub-jail.

The MJ nuns told reporters after meeting the chief minister that the congregation was not just about “five nuns”.

Sr Amala, PRO of the congregation, is facing a case for publishing the photograph of the survivor of the reported rape, along with an official statement dismissing the survivor’s allegation.

The nuns did not answer reporters’ questions regarding the chief minister’s response to their grievances.

Earlier in the day, MJ issued a statement announcing a fast by its members as an act of penance for the congregation being a reason for Franco’s arrest.

The congregation claimed that members of the investigating team were entering MJ convents without prior notice and pressurising inmates to give statements against Franco.

Though the protest by five nuns in Kochi demanding Franco’s arrest found massive public support and backing from some of the priests and sisters, official bodies of the church had slammed it.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council has stated that the “roadside protest” only acted as a tool for critics to orchestrate a campaign against the church.

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Missionaries of Jesus backs Franco; delegation meets CM

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