Let the Truth Come Out: Archdiocese

The Hindu
November 22, 2008

Says priests and nun should be treated innocent till guilt is proved

'Church cooperated with CBI investigation'

KOTTAYAM: The Knanaya Archdiocese of Kottayam hopes that the two priests and a nun arrested in connection with the Sr. Abhaya death case will come out clean and the true picture will be available during the investigation.

The archdiocese has for the first time come out with the official stand of the community on the vexed issue in a pastoral letter sent to its churches to be read out after prayers on Sunday.

In the letter, Archbishop Mathew Moolekkat says the church is pained by the unnatural death of Abhaya. Though the truth is yet to come out on the death, two priests and a nun belonging to the archdiocese, "who we believe are innocents," have been arrested.

'Punish the guilty'

"Whoever worked behind the death of Sr. Abhaya should be brought before the law. Whoever it is, the Church will not care for the person. It is an obligation we owe to Sr. Abhaya," he says.

"The investigation into the case should be impartial. Those who have been accused should be treated as innocents till their guilt is established."

The Church was the first to call for an inquiry into the unnatural death, he says. However, it did not press the demand, as the local police and the Crime Branch said it was a suicide.

The moment the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the case, the Church extended its full cooperation. "Even the CBI cannot deny this fact," he says. Whenever the investigating agency demanded interrogation of priests and nuns, the Church had not only cooperated but also encouraged those individuals to do so.

However, he says, when the investigating agency failed to come up with results, certain individuals and a section of the media took it as an opportunity to tarnish the image of the Church. However, since no one in authority was part of this campaign, the Church deemed it fit to ignore such allegations.

According to the letter, the Archbishop had personally taken it up with the CBI officers that there was a widespread belief that the investigations were partial and certain incidents and individuals were excluded from the purview of these.


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