Rare punishment for Bhopal priest — Pope dismisses him for disobedience, abuse of power

The Print

November 30, 2020

By Milind Ghatwai

[Includes copy of the Vatican decree.]

Fr Anand Muttungal claims he has received no communication from Vatican, and church authorities are running a campaign against him

Bhopal – A Catholic priest who used to be the public relations officer for the Bhopal archdiocese has been dismissed from priesthood for disobedience, abuse of power and sullying the image of the church.

While priests’ dismissals on charges of sexual misconduct are not uncommon, punishment is rarely dealt out on disobedience and abuse of power charges, as in the case of 48-year-old Fr Anand Muttungal. This is the first such instance in Madhya Pradesh.

Muttungal had served as the archdiocese’s PRO for eight years before being removed in 2013.

Archbishop of Bhopal Leo Cornelio said in a statement on 26 November: “…By an official decree, Pope Francis has dismissed Anand Muttungal, the former spokesperson of the Catholic church, from priesthood.”

The archbishop accused Muttungal of repeatedly disobeying church authorities, accusing its leaders in public, engaging in trading and business, and bringing “public scandals to the church and its community”.

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