An Indian Catholic bishop accused of raping a nun is confident that the police investigation will clear his name. Bishop Franco Mulakkal
of Jalandhar in the northern state of Punjab had accusations of sexual abuse
levelled against him on June 29. "The legal formalities are going on to regain my good name and establish facts," the bishop said in a letter published in the July edition of his diocesan weekly magazine. Police in the southern state of Kerala are investigating a complaint filed by a 48-year-old nun who accused the bishop of raping her four years ago and abusing her 13 more times over the following two years. Bishop Mulakkal claims that the nun, former superior general of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation under the bishop's patronage, began making baseless allegations when church authorities started disciplinary action against her for violations of her religious vows. Prominent Catholic leaders and lay organizations have appealed to the Vatican
to remove the bishop from his position of authority to help nuns in the convent give testimony to police. Diocesan officials told ucanews.com that the bishop has not been contacted by any church authority aiming to act against him in the case. However, the bishop's letter spoke of a crisis. "We are going through a period of crisis for the diocese and for me personally. I am well aware of the news that is being spread for the diocese and for me personally alleging that I have failed in my responsibility and dignity of the office of bishop," it said. The bishop said that "investigations will make clear the false allegations against me with the intention of tarnishing my name and destroying my ministry." The letter added: "I am not afraid of facing the realities of life and the dangers that are there when one holds an office and has to take tough decisions for the good of the community. "There are many dangers when one acts correctly. There is a possibility of offending some. It is not good to refrain from the good that one can do out of fear of offending others." Father Mathew Kokkandam, vicar-general of the diocese, in a separate article explained how the bishop initiated action against the nun over her character and disobedience of superiors. The nun's allegations are explained as her reaction to the bishop's move to discipline her.