New Delhi: Sister Lucy Kalappura, who had participated in protests against rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, has now been ordered to vacate her convent. This comes after her appeals to legal forums within the Catholic Church against her dismissal on “disciplinary grounds” were rejected.
According to NDTV, the superior general of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) in Kerala in a letter said: “There is no further legal remedy available to you to within the Catholic legal system to challenge your dismissal…your right to continue as a member of the FCC is now definitively and irrevocably extinguished.”
The letter further declared, “Now onwards it is unlawful for you to continue to stay in any of the Franciscan Clarist Convents.”
The news came as PTI reported that the Vatican has rejected one more appeal by the nun against the decision of the FCC to expel her.
According to an internal church communication, Apostalica Signatura, the apex judicial authority in the Catholic Church, rejected the nun’s third appeal against dismissing her from the century-old Congregation.
“The appeal of Lucy Kalappura is rejected by Apostalica Signatura and the dismissal is confirmed,” a communication in the Congregation said.
In January 2019, Kalappura had protested against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of raping a fellow nun between 2014 and 2016. In October 2019, she was dismissed by the FCC on the grounds that she was “violating her vows as a nun through her lifestyle”. The FCC report had then said that she had been dismissed for reasons, including driving a vehicle, writing and publishing poems, and lending her support to the protests for the nun who had accused the Roman Catholic Bishop Mulakkal of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting her. Her multiple appeals to the Catholic Church in India and the Vatican, challenging her dismissal, were subsequently rejected. Even after her appeals were rejected, Kalappura had said that she would not leave the convent and would let the court decide.
Reacting to the latest order directing her to vacate the convent, she said that justice is being denied to her because she spoke the truth.
“Not one person can be denied justice like this. Justice is being denied because I spoke the truth. These people who are denying justice are the ones who teach that the truth must be said. People are with me,” she said.
The Association of Concerned Catholics (ACC) in its response to the FCC order called it a “sad day for Catholic Church in India”.
Speaking on behalf of ACC, advocate A.M. Sodder, said: “Is this what Christianity is about? The Superior General is rejoicing at Sister Lucy’s dismissal. Better if such people are not nuns forget about being Superior Generals. Secondly, why has the Vatican letter not been written in language a person understands and that too reaching after a year from its issue?”
Meanwhile, Bishop Mulakkal, who is being tried by the Kottayam court for the rape, is currently out on bail. He has been charged with rape, wrongful confinement, unnatural offence and criminal intimidation.