NEW DELHI (INDIA)
India Today [Uttar Pradesh, India]
June 12, 2022
Bishop Franco Mulakkal will assume pastoral responsibilities months after being acquitted in the Kerala nun rape case.
In September 2018, Pope Francis temporarily relieved the Bishop of his diocese’s responsibilities after he was questioned by Kerala police on rape charges levelled by the nun.
According to sources, during his visit to the Jalandhar diocese on Saturday, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal, informed the priests of the north Indian diocese that the Vatican had accepted the court’s decision on Bishop Franco.
The Apostolic Nuncio made this statement to a group of priests from the Jalandhar diocese in response to a question about the Vatican’s delay in accepting the Indian court’s decision on Bishop Franco’s rape charges, sources added.
When asked if Bishop Franco would return to the Diocese of Jalandhar to serve as its Bishop, the source stated that since the bishop is directly under the command of the Pope, the authority to fix his responsibilities rests with the “Holy Sea” itself.
The Vatican’s decision to accept the court verdict came four months after the Additional District and Sessions Court I in Kottayam acquitted the bishop, citing the prosecution’s failure to produce evidence against the accused.
The nun, who claims the bishop raped her, has petitioned the Kerala High Court to overturn the trial court’s acquittal in the case.
The 57-year-old bishop was accused of raping the nun several times while visiting a convent in Kottayam between 2014 and 2016. He was the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese at that time.
The nun is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus, a diocesan congregation under the Jalandhar Diocese.