As per a report by Mumbai Mirror, in wake of the recent sexual harassment charges against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, many parishioners have stopped contributing to Sunday Mass Collections and the churches in Mumbai have seen a dip in the donations. Apparently, many in the Catholic community are now demanding accountability in the Church’s fund trail and to cut the long-standing customs.
Fearing that their donations are being misused, many parishioners are reportedly apprehensive about donating a major chunk of their income to the Church, especially after news had surfaced that the Bishop had allegedly offered Rs. 5 crore and some land to the family of the nun withdraw the case.
While the Catholics were already worried about how the donations are handled, the sexual abuse charges seem to be the last straw. As per the Mumbai Mirror report, besides the tithe, where people donated 1/10th of their earning to the Church (in Mumbai, the Church asks for 1%) many have stopped donating to Sunday Mass collections as well as for major feasts.
Quoting a parishioner of St Michael’s Church in Mahim, Archie Sodder, the report says that many people are apprehensive of donating to Church because of lack of accountability. Upset about the grand welcome Bishop Franco got on his return to Jalandhar, the Catholic community in Mumbai many people have stopped donations to church and directly donate to the poor and needy, fearing that the amount may allegedly be used to buy the silence of the victims.
The Church, however, has downplayed it as per Mumbai Mirror, Father Nigel Barrett, the spokesperson of Archdiocese of Bombay, has denied a drop in collection and Father Joe P Pereira (of Juhu’s St Joseph’s Church) has maintained that no drop in Sunday collection has been noticed. He further said that he would not like to comment as “it could lead to a misunderstanding”, reports Mirror.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal, Archdiocese of Jalandhar, Punjab, was arrested by the police officials on September 21st after the investigating team finally found evidence that linked him in the sexual harassment case. The nun has registered a complaint in June this year and has been allegedly threatened by the accused of doing so. The congregation has also stood by the rape accused and referred to him as an “innocent soul”. We had also reported that Kerala MLA PC George had called the alleged rape victim a ‘prostitute’.
The Kerala High court had granted him a conditional bail on October 15th after asking him to appear before the investigation team once every two weeks and had also ordered to surrender his passport. Bishop Franco Mulakkal, was welcomed like a hero at Jalandhar after he was granted conditional bail by the Kerala High Court. In a shocking development, Father Kuriakose, who had testified against Bishop Franco, was found dead under mysterious circumstances days after Bishop Franco returned to Jalandhar.