Hawas ka Bishop Franco Mulakkal and why Catholic Church supports him?

Recently the now famous “Hawas ka Bishop” Franco Mulakkal is in news again. A Kottayam court in Kerala had last week cancelled Mulakkal’s bail for his failure to appear for the trial in the rape case and issued a non-bailable warrant against him. Mulakkal has now claimed that he cannot surrender as he has COVID19.

hawas ka bishop franco mulakkal

Hawas ka Bishop Franco

Franco Mulakkal is a Bishop in Roman Catholic Church, the biggest sect of Christianity. He was appointed Bishop in 2009. From 2014 to 2016, he is said to have visited a convent in Kottayam, Kerala repeatedly. The convent is basically a place for catholic nuns to lead a secluded life, engaged in prayers.

It must be noted that according to Catholic Church hierarchy, nuns work under a male priest and the priests have complete power over them. Due to this religiously sanctioned power dynamic, it is very difficult for a nun to raise voice against exploitation by priests. This Bishop Franco is alleged to have raped a particular nun 13 times during his visits to the said convent.

Many more complaints of sexual abuse were made by other nuns against this hawas ka Bishop. It must be noted that complaint against him is of rape as well as “unnatural sex”.

Who is a Bishop?

It must be noted here that Bishop is the highest post in the Catholic Church. Indeed, the Pope himself is Bishop of Rome. Therefore, this case brings out issue of sexual corruption in Catholicism.

How Catholic Church helps Hawas ke Padre

As the incident came to light, a movement called “Save our Sisters” became very active in Kerala. The victim nuns and their relatives, along with civil society demanded for arrest of Franco.

In the meanwhile, Catholic Church acted against the victims! Those were “punished” and thrown out of the convent! Not only that, the dirty tricks department of the Church went in an overdrive against them.

They were accused of having a loose character. Their photos with the rapist were made public, in contravention of law! Supporters of Church including Christian Times, made continuous attempts to character assassinate the nuns!

In face of mounting public hostility, Catholic Church had to beat a retreat. Mulakkal stepped down, “temporarily” after more than 2 months of continuous protests. He asserted his innocence but also said that “only divine intervention” can save him. Clearly, there are some irrefutable evidence against him. Fortunately, “divine interventions” are rare in Indian courts.

Church or a Global ring of rapists and pedophiles?

This is not the first case of sexual misconduct in Catholic Church. In early 2002, Spotlight team at The Boston Globe published results of an investigation that brought the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy into the national spotlight. 

Subsequent investigations and allegations revealed a pattern of sexual abuse and cover-ups in a number of large dioceses across the United States. Ultimately, it became clear that priests and lay members of religious orders in the Catholic Church had sexually abused minors on a scale such that the accusations reached into the thousands over several decades!

Although the majority of cases were reported to have occurred in the United States, victims have come forward in other nations such as Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

A major aggravating factor was the actions of Catholic bishops to keep these crimes secret and to reassign the accused to other parishes in positions where they had continued unsupervised contact with youth, thus allowing the abusers to continue their crimes.

So Catholic Bishops worldwide have aided and abetted the sexual abuse of common people, nuns and small children for years. There is no reason to believe that situation in India would be any different.

Catholic church has a history of sexual misconduct!

This raises the question whether Catholic Church is in reality an evil institution? The history of the Church certainly does not inspire any confidence. In medieval times, the sins of Catholic church became clear to all thinking people.

There is a whole wikipedia article on Popes who were sexually active, fathered illegitimate children during the time of their Papacy and some also had homosexual relationships while occupying the ‘Holy See’. Of course, all sins could be expiated by donating money to Church! Had not Christ already died for their sins?

What could be said about normal priests? महाजनो येन गतः स पन्थाः! This was one of the reasons for formation of Protestant faith and reformation in Catholic faith. However, Voltaire writing in 18th century {Candide} mentions how pedophilia was still a thing with Jesuit Priests!

Conclusion

India’s Christian leaders, who are quick to cry intolerance if some thief breaks the window of a church, and are quick to blame BJP and RSS, when the nuns are raped by Bangladesis, have kept a studied silence on the issue.

Cedric Prakash wrote an article, in which he abuses BJP-RSS but does not even name the Hawas ka Bishop Franco Mulakkal. The Catholic Bishop Conference of India says nothing about this.

The reform in Catholic Christianity is not possible without reform from within. Hopefully, the laity and the church leaders recognize this soon.

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