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Nun’s Rape Case Against Bishop Shakes a Catholic Bastion in India

Category: Asia,World

The nun wrote a second letter to Archbishop Diquattro on June 25, days after Bishop Mulakkal filed his accusations with police.

“I was waiting for the Catholic Church to give me justice,” she wrote, but as her situation had grown worse, “I am forced to approach for the legal procedures,” read a copy of the email, written in halting English.

Three days after sending the letter, she went to the police on June 28 and filed a complaint accusing Bishop Mulakkal of rape.

As the weeks went by, the church ordered the nuns to leave St. Francis and return to their respective convents.

Worried they would be evicted, and with the police slow to respond, the nuns decided in early September to take the nearly two-hour drive to Kochi, a major city in Kerala, and protest outside the High Court. When they returned the next day with their placards, they were surprised to see dozens of churchgoers, activists and even priests, holding their own signs demanding Bishop Mulakkal be held accountable.

The nuns are now filing multiple civil cases against church officials in India, claiming they tried to intimidate them to drop the case or ignored the rape accusations. The nuns are still at St. Francis, ignoring repeated orders issued by church authorities last month to disband. On Saturday, with the nuns planning another public protest, the church revoked those orders — giving the nuns a small victory.

“We took a vow to be in a congregation — to make the congregation our family,” said Sister Josephine Villoonickal, one of the nuns, who had been ordered to return to her convent in northern Jharkhand, about 1,500 miles away. “They are now trying to destroy this family.”

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