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Dismissed Indian nun to move court after Vatican rejects appeal

Sister Lucy Kalapura links her dismissal with protest against a bishop accused of raping a nun

ucanews reporter, Kochi

ucanews reporter, Kochi

Updated: October 18, 2019 03:25 AM GMT
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Dismissed Indian nun to move court after Vatican rejects appeal

Nuns from the Kerala-based Franciscan Clarist Congregation prepare for a religious function. A nun dismissed from the congregation says she will move civil court for justice. (Photo from FCC website)  

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An Indian Catholic nun plans to move civil court after the Vatican rejected her appeal to revoke her dismissal from her congregation in Kerala state.

The Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) informed Sister Lucy Kalapura on Oct. 16 that the Congregation for the Oriental Churches had rejected her appeal to be reinstated.

Sister Kalapura can "present a new recourse to the Supreme Tribunal of the Segnatura Apostica," said the Oct. 11 communication made available to media on Oct. 16.

But the nun said she would not take that action. "I don't have faith in the Vatican and its systems. It is time I moved civil court for justice," Sister Kalapura told ucanews on Oct. 17.

The congregation dismissed Sister Kalapura on Aug. 5 for willful disobedience, accusing her of defying the laws of the congregation and following a lifestyle that does not fit Catholic religious women.

Sister Kalapura appealed to the Vatican on Aug. 15, seeking to revoke the dismissal so that she could continue religious life.

She maintains that the congregation moved against her after she supported the public protest of five nuns in September 2018. The nuns were seeking the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar after a nun accused him of raping her.

The nuns ended the fortnight-long protest after the bishop was arrested on Sept. 21, 2018. He now faces court proceedings on rape charges.

But the FCC documents show that the nun had been warned several times over the past two years. She ignored warnings about her dress, car ownership and not sharing her teacher's salary with the community.

'Vatican follows a script'

Sister Kalapura said she is not inclined to appeal to the Vatican's Supreme Tribunal.

"There is no use in appealing to the Vatican again. They are just following the script written by the superior general of the congregation and her team," she told ucanews.

"My dismissal was planned when I supported the nuns and sought justice for the nun allegedly raped. The letter of my dismissal is already written and approved by the Vatican. There is not going to be any change in that."

She said she continues to live in her FCC convent and has no plans to vacate it any time soon. "I want to die as an FCC nun," she said.

The 130-year-old congregation is the largest women's religious group in the Kerala-based Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church.

Riju Kanjookkaran, a lay leader supporting the nun, said the Vatican passed the orders "without even trying once to talk to Sister Kalapura and listening to her side of the story."

Sister Jyothi Maria, who heads Mananthvady province under which Sister Kalapura's convent falls, said: "Everything is done as per the canon laws and other rules of the congregation. Since she has time to appeal, she can continue in the convent by following the rules and regulations." 

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