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Kerala nun who supported protest against rape accused Bishop Franco asked to leave congregation or face expulsion

The Franciscan Clarist Congregation declined to speak, saying it was an internal matter of the congregation. But it confirmed a fresh letter was dispatched to Sister Lucy Kalapura on March 12.

In a shocking development to the Bishop Franco rape case, Sister Lucy Kalapura has been asked to leave the vocation with immediate effect by the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) or be defrocked.

The notice issued to Sister Lucy lists several ‘offences’ she has done, like uploading her photo in ordinary dress on Facebook, buying a car in her name, criticising the Congregation etc. The notice says that since she joined the congregation, she voluntarily renounced her rights for conducting monetary transactions, freedom to wear any dress she wants, freedom to bring anyone to her bedroom and spend night with anyone of her choice. The 17-page letter also asserted that she does not havethe freedom to travel anywhere any time, freedom to participate in any channel discussion and freedom to publish any books or articles etc.

The nun, however, has challenged the congregation to expel her, saying most of the charges raised against her were baseless.

Things have not been shaping well for Sister Lucy Kalapura who has been facing the wrath of the Franciscan Clarist Congregations ever since she along with six other nuns joined the protest demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, who is accused of raping a nun in May 2014 and exploiting her sexually on several other occasions.

Two days back, she had appeared before the Mother General of FCC congregation in Aluva in Ernakulam district to explain her position. She had sought police protection to go to the congregation HQ, fearing threat to life.

Ever since Sister Lucy has dared to raise her voice against Bishop Mukkalal, the Congregation has been exceptionally critical about her. On February 16, the Congregation had handed out a letter to Sister Lucy duly signed by superior general of FCC Sister Ann Joseph asking her to ‘shed her nonconformity’. This was the second canonical warning letter issued by the FCC to her to alter her attitude and mind, failing which she will be dismissed from the Congregation.

Earlier, the Catholic Church had sent a warning to Sister Lucy Kalapura for ‘attending channel discussions’, writing articles in ‘non-Christian newspapers’ and ‘making false accusations’ against the Catholic leadership.

Meanwhile, Sister Kalapura said that she was issued four show-cause notices and she replied to all and appeared before the superior general in person. “I denied all charges. I will not go on my own. Let them expel me,” she said, adding she will remain as a nun till her last.

She maintained that her fight was not against the church but few people of the establishment who were supporting the unjust and corrupt practices. She has also expressed her desire to meet Pope Francis.

The Franciscan Clarist Congregation declined to speak, saying it was an internal matter of the congregation. But it confirmed a fresh letter was dispatched to Sister Lucy Kalapura on March 12.

Last year, Sister Lucy had been removed from performing church duties related to the church. She had then claimed that the church had taken revenge from her for participating in the protest against the rape accused Bishop. The nun, disturbed by the church’s decision said that this was the price she was being made to pay for standing by the truth.

For the first time in history, the nuns had come together to castigate the Bishop for his abhorrent deed. A group of nuns had defied their vows to protest against Church atrocities and the attempts by the police to hush up the incident. Since then these sister’s have been constantly under pressure and facing several predicaments.

Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, is accused of raping a 44- year-old nun at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and subsequent sexual exploitations afterwards. The nun had registered a complaint in June 2018 and has also claimed that despite her complaints, the church took no action on the bishop. The congregation had also stood by the rape accused and referred to him as an “innocent soul”.

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