Expelled Indian nun seeks meeting with Pope Francis

Sister Lucy Kalapura wants to tell Pope Francis that she was expelled for her stance against a bishop accused of rape
Expelled Indian nun seeks meeting with Pope Francis

Dismissed Sister Lucy Kalapura is seen with two children during a house visit near her convent in Kerala's Wayanad district. (Photo taken from her Facebook)

An Indian Catholic nun who was dismissed by her congregation has sought a personal meeting with Pope Francis after the Vatican's Oriental congregation rejected her appeal to be reinstated.

On Oct. 28, Sister Lucy Kalapura released to media the letter she wrote to the Vatican's top judicial body, Signatura Apostolica, seeking a chance to present her case personally before it. It also sought a meeting with Pope Francis to secure justice for her.

The nun from the Kerala-based Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) said she wants to present her case before Pope Francis, "whom I venerate and in whose sense of justice I have absolute faith."

The FCC dismissed the nun in August and gave her the canonical opportunity to appeal to the Vatican, but the Vatican's Congregation for Oriental Churches rejected her appeal on Oct. 11.

The FCC congregation, which functions under the Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church, then said she could move the Supreme Tribunal to "present a new recourse" for her case.

Sister Kalapura wrote to the top church body seeking an opportunity to appear in person before it to enable her to "present to its honorable members my side of the situation."

Her letter claimed that her congregation began to act against her after she supported the public protests of five nuns in September 2018.

The nuns were seeking the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar following an allegation of a nun that he raped her multiple times. The bishop was arrested on Sept. 21 last year following fortnight-long public protests and faces court proceedings.

However, Sister Kalapura's congregation maintains that she had defiantly disobeyed her superiors, the rules of the congregation and several warnings over the past two years.

She violated religious vows of obedience and poverty by ignoring warnings about her dress, car ownership and by not sharing her teacher's salary with the community, FCC documents show.

But the nun insisted that she was "a collateral victim of this Franco Mulakkal scandal" against which "the mettle of the Church's commitment to truth and justice is being tested in full public view."

She also questioned the rationale of communicating the rejection of appeal in Latin, which she called an "alien tongue" to her.

"It doesn't have to be stressed that serving a document in an alien tongue, when it could readily have been in a language known to the addressee, short-changes the norms of natural justice. It is tantamount to denying the opportunity to seek justice," her letter said.

Police charged Bishop Mulakkal in April with raping a nun multiple times. A 2,000-page charge sheet listed charges of wrongful confinement, rape of a woman incapable of giving consent, causing grievous bodily harm during rape, unnatural offense and criminal intimidation.

If found guilty, the bishop faces imprisonment of not less than 10 years or up to life in jail.

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