Kerala nun writes to Vatican envoy against Jalandhar diocese bishop

Bishop Targets Nun

Poonjar MLA PC George on Saturday triggered a huge controversy after he made a derogatory remark against the nun who has accused a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church of allegedly raping her. Is the Church covering up sexual abuse?

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has summoned Kerala MLA P C George on September 20 for using abusive language against a nun who has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a bishop.

In early August, one PIL was filed seeking arrest of the Bishop.

His statement has been condemned by several priests and nuns who have been protesting against the accused Bishop. In a statement, the congregation said, "We strongly condemn the protest in Kochi". Following her complaint, the bishop was booked under Section 376 of Indian Penal Code.

No one is above the law and all are equal before law, a division bench comprising chief justice Hrishikesh Roy and justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar said when two public interest litigations (PILs) seeking action against the bishop came up for admission hearing on Monday.While assuring that there is no need of apprehension regarding the rule of law, the court also asked state government to file a report regarding the progress made in the investigation and also on the action taken on the complaint filed by the nun regarding threat to her life.

The protesters, including five fellow nuns of the rape survivor, said they would continue their agitation till action was taken against the Bishop. While addressing a press meet in Kottayam, Kerala MLA called the nun a "prostitute" and questioned that why didn't she complained the abuse when it happened to her for the first time.

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Senior Kerala minister E P Jayarajan rejected allegations of attempts to sabotage the case and asserted that the probe was proceeding in the "right direction".

"I beg the Church authorities to kindly make a speedy enquiry about this case and remove Bishop Franco from his responsibilities as the spiritual leader of the diocese", the nun said. "Your highness, I would like to ask: Will the Church authority - who stand to protect Bishop Franco and safeguard the dignity of the Church by hiding his wickedness - be able to give back what I have lost?" she asked in the letter.

"It is unfortunate that the Church has not initiated any measures against Bishop Franco, though the police have registered an FIR [first information report] and interrogated him", said Joseph Varghese, joint secretary of Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement.

Copies of the letter were sent to 21 others, including Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Delhi Metropolitan Archbishop, Anil Couto.

Terming the allegations against him as "serious", the bishop said only three persons knew the truth. The statement has also said that the allegations against the Bishop are completely baseless.

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