Former judge of Bombay High Court justice Micheal F Saldanha has made grave allegations against Bishop of Mysore KA William of “letting loose a virtual reign of terror” in the Diocese of Mysore. Former Justice Saldanha also accused William’s superior – the Archbishop of Bangalore Dr Peter Machado, of colluding and covering up murders allegedly committed by Bishop William, reports Mid Day.
According to the reports, on May 29, Justice Saldanha had sent a legal notice to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) President Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who is also the Archbishop of Bombay.
He had also sent the legal notice to both the Christian clerics – Archbishop of Bangalore Dr Peter Machado and Bishop William, accusing the latter of committing crimes such as murders, sexual misconduct, etc.
“Following the deaths of four priests – two murders, one hanging and one so-called accident, the Bishop of Mysore has let loose a virtual reign of terror in the Diocese,” read the letter written by Justice Saldanha.
Bishop William accused of having connections with underworld mafia
Justice Saldanha alleged that Bishop William has used the underworld mafia and protection from the local police, which has resulted in as much as 23% of the Catholic Laity leaving the church. For the last one year, this man has been asked to leave, but he defiantly carries on terrorising, the notice further stated.
Justice Saldhana has also written that the Archbishop of Bangalore, the immediate superior of Bishop William, should have acted and removed him at least eight months back. However, the justice alleged that the Archbishop was himself colliding with Bishop William to cover up the murders.
According to Saldhana, Bishop Machado has ignored 17 written complaints “fully backed by evidence,” all of which have come from “men of credibility,” a majority of them being priests.
Apart from this, the letter said that there is also a mention of Bishop Machado having ignored 19 written complaints relating to cases that have brought shame, disgrace and ridicule to the Diocese. He added that the complaints to the Cardinal in Mumbai, the internuncio in Delhi and the Catholic Bishops Conference was also disregarded.
Justice Saldanha highlights alleged crimes of Bishop William
Justice Saldanha has also written a separate section – “William’s latest atrocity” in his letter. Justice Saldanha accused Bishop William of calling an urgent meeting on a 12-hour notice to pronounced a transfer order against 37 priests, who had complained regarding Bishop William’s alleged involvement in criminal offences, misappropriation of funds and sexual misconduct.
We had reported regarding the complaint written to Pope Francis by several parishes against Bishop William accusing him of practising factionalism, favouritism, illegal parenthood, sexual liaisons and corruption. Bishop William, along with Father Leslie Moras, had involved in the 2019 Mysore Church sex scandal when a woman, who worked in their church, had allegedly accused them of seeking sexual favours.
In the letter, the former justice said that Bishop Francis had indulged in revenge transfers targeting the priests who had complained against him and sending eminent scholars to remote villages where there is not even drinking water.
The notice further read, “The whole country is fighting for survival and everything is on hold. The governments, the courts, and the administration have suspended all activity. No transfers should have been undertaken at this point in time.”
In the notice, Justice Saldhana also demanded to revoke the illegal transfer order. “If this does not happen within 12 hours, then some drastic steps will have to follow”.
Speaking to Mid-day, Justice Saldhana said that he had spoken to all the 37 priests, who are the complainants and can vouch for their credibility. He added that there has been unabated womanising by Bishop William and evidence has been produced. There are also instances of him defaulting on church money and each time he had a problem with a woman, there were large payoffs, revealed Justice Micheal F Saldanha.
Allegations of murdering priests
Melwyn Fernandes, secretary of Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), who had exposed Bishop William’s alleged misbehaviour last year, said that there are allegations of murders of priests being camouflaged as accidents.
“I call upon the Archbishop of Bangalore Peter Machado and CBCI President Cardinal Oswald Gracias to immediately suspend the Bishop of Mysore and to get the police to institute a high-level inquiry into the murders of innocent priests, as well as the transfers,” said Melwyn Fernandes.
Responding to allegations, Archbishop Machado said, “Normally, when such matters come to me, I pass them on to my higher authorities in Delhi. I have already escalated the issue”. Meanwhile, Father Nigel Barrett, spokesperson for Cardinal Gracias of Mumbai, said that he was not aware of the issue.