Demand to relieve bishop of pastoral duties

Members of various Christian organisations have called upon Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro to take steps to relieve Bishop Franco Mulakkal, head of the Jalandhar diocese of the Catholic Church who is embroiled in a sex scandal, of his pastoral responsibilities.

In a letter, they said the mudslinging between the bishop and his priests on the one hand and and the aggrieved nun and her family on the other had turned the Church into an object of ridicule before the people. This has caused a lot of harm to the Church and to the faith of the people.

“In view of the above and now that the case has gone to court, we would urge you to please advise the Pope Francis to relieve the bishop of his pastoral responsibilities so that the Church is seen to actually practise the zero tolerance it professes to practice in abuse cases,” the letter said.

In a similar letter, they asked Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) president Cardinal Oswald Gracias to take steps to create awareness about the CBCI guidelines to deal with Sexual Harassment in Workplace, 2017 and to establish structures and procedures described to implement them, without delay. “Sadly, the representations made by the religious sister to the bishops have brought no response, raising issues about the credibility of the CBCI policy,” the letter said.

They wanted him to ensure that every diocese respects and complies with the State laws with regard to addressing abuse cases of minors and sexual harassment of women in Church and also to ensure that required structures are established at the diocesan level to address such cases.

They also wanted the authorities to pay more attention to the formation of the candidates to priesthood.

The letters are signed by 178 individuals who are members of various Christian organisations functioning at the regional and national level. They said they are functionaries of various Christian organisations but they have come together as concerned individuals and in many cases not as representatives of the organisations they work for.

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