Rape-accused bishop given “grand” welcome In Jalandhar

Some local Catholics foresee troubles in the diocese

By Matters India Reporter

Jalandhar, Oct. 17, 2018: Bishop Franco Mulakkal was on October 17 given a rousing welcome on his return to Jalandhar, a town in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

The 54-year-old bishop, accused of repeatedly raping a nun, was released on bail a day earlier from a jail in Kerala, southern India.

He became the first Catholic bishop in India to go to jail for a sexual abuse case on September 21 when the Kerala Police arrested him after three days of interrogation. The Kerala High Court on October 15 granted him conditional bail.

At the Jalandhar reception, Bishop Mulakkal was seen smiling as his followers threw rose petals and garlanded him.

“The prayers of the people of Punjab supported me. I believe that they will pray for me even in the days to come. I thank everyone. Investigation is underway and I am co-operating. I’m a law abiding citizen and I trust the legal system of the country,” he told reporters.

The bishop also said he was arrested under pressure. He compared his arrest and imprisonment with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

However, Roshan Joseph, spokesperson of the Catholic Mahasabha (grand council) of Jalandhar, says Bishop Mulakkal’s return has divided the diocese.

The Vatican on September 20 temporarily removed Mulakkal from the post of Jalandhar bishop and appointed Retired Auxiliary Bishop Agnelo Rufino Gracias as the apostolic administrator.

Joseph points out that Bishop Gracias has retained the same team that Bishop Mulakkal had appointed to guide the diocese before leaving for Kerala to face police interrogation.

The lay leader said the reception for Bishop Mulakkal was organized without the apostolic administrator’s permission. “Some individual priests organized the reception by providing people transportation and food,” he alleged.

“This unofficial reception has divided the faithful and religious leaders into two camps,” Joseph said.

He regretted such division would hamper the efforts of native priests such as Father Martin Sadiq to unite local Catholics and religious.

Joseph also said the local Catholics had felt insulted because of the rape case. “But they have not left the Catholic Church. They are very strong in their faith,” he added.

The lay leader foresees problem for the diocese if Bishop Mulakkal remains there.

“If Bishop Mulakkal remains here, the diocese will face many problems because fights could break out any time between the two camps,” he warned.

Earlier on September 25, a group native priests and lay leaders had demanded a son of the soil to be made the next bishop of Jalandhar.

Bishop Mulakkal was released on bail after executing a bond for 200,000 rupees with two solvent sureties each for the sum. The bail order also mentions that the bishop should not enter Kerala until the charge sheet is filed.

He will also have to appear before the investigating officer on alternate Sundays for a period of two months or until the charge sheet is filed.

The bishop’s passport was also deposited before the court.

During his stay in the prison, the bishop’s identity was Remand Prisoner number 5968.

A member of the Missionaries of Jesus had on June 28 filed the police complaint of sexual abuse by the bishop at the Kuravilangad convent during the period 2014-2016.

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6 thoughts on “Rape-accused bishop given “grand” welcome In Jalandhar

  1. O dear people! How can we be so “rigid”?! 🙂 How many of you have gone through the suffering that he has had to go through? Have any of you been publicly humiliated for something that you’ve NOT done? Have any of you been gagged into a situation where you are helpless in wanting to defend your own truth BUT having to sacrifice it FOR THE GOOD of The Church because you love her above yourself, like Christ Jesus loves HIS Bride – The Church? Indeed, there must be many…?

    How many will know the muck that was thrown at him? Why? Because you did not get to see it? Why? Because this priest decided to take it on himself? O please dear people… I am certain there are many who’ve gone through enough wrongs to understand what it is to be in his shoes… but for that, one will also need a different pair of lenses to view this case, Na? Not those ones that the media and so many with an “agenda” want you to see from, Na?

    For that matter, most, even our Indian press may not have solved some of the puzzle… Sadly, they may even be used by those who’ve begun this campaign… and have been fairly successful with the breaking of the Orthodox Church (Ukraine/Russia). NOPE, it may have nothing to do with our Govts (political parties) either, because those behind such divisions, use many smokescreens to get away without being ‘identified’… Look at what we are saying/communicating with one another?! 🙂 Those people have got us working ‘Christian’ Vs ‘Christian’ Na? 🙂 O they’v had a good run so far… with so many among us supporting them un/knowingly…

    Well, in all fairness, don’t use my lenses either! 😀 BUT review this whole case with God, holding HIS Hand and seeking HIS wisdom FOR The Truth, telling HIM also your readiness to share in this priest’s suffering… or maybe even invite some persecution for yourself (OUCH!) Then, there will be much more for you to know and share with others as well… For those who’v done the same, will appreciate what he has gone through and will be going through… just as he has said, asking for prayers.

    This is just a beginning of many blessings (and great sufferings) for (Bishop) Fr Franco Mulakkal… Suffering for Christ Jesus especially having to walk through a persecution that involves defamation and desecration, will NOT go without a reward of extra-special graces that this priest in Christ Jesus WILL surely receive. God willing, some day I will be part of the Holy Eucharist celebration that he presides over… O that will be so emotional am certain, a mighty blessing! ThankU God for everything!

    Best wishes and much prayers continue for everyone… indeed, The Truth will SET FREE many, in HIS time…
    With love in Christ Jesus,

  2. It is a shame that the rape accused bishop compares his arrest and jail term to Jesus’ suffering. Catholics all over the India have to come to the street against this highest form of blasphemy

  3. The CBCI should give clear instructions to the interim bishop to ensure that he doesn’t interfere in the working of the diocese. He should not be allowed to stay in the territory of the Jalandhar diocese.

  4. Mulakkal comparing himself to Jesus crucifixion is blasphemy. When arrested Jesus did not ask his disciples to protest. He did not stay in a 5 star hotel or hire expensive lawyers to defend him. Shame again

  5. This is shocking and clear proof of support for the accused coming from his ethnic group rather than from the local populace. Even MJ AKBAR has shown more humility than this man. Shame.

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