16th July, 2018
16th July, 2018.
Dear Pope Francis,
Sub: The Alleged Abuse of a Religious Sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese, India.
We, the undersigned People of God in India are deeply concerned about the integrity and mission of the Indian Church and write in the context of the growing scandal and the adverse publicity the Church is receiving with regard to the handling of the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a Religious sister by the Bishop of Jalandhar diocese.
We are particularly concerned about the mud- slinging going on between the Bishop and his priests on the one hand and the aggrieved sister and her family on the other that has turned the Church into an object of ridicule for people of the entire country, thus causing a lot of harm to the Church and in particular to the faith of the people of God.
The aggrieved sister had approached the Syro-Malabar Church leadership one year ago but her complaint was ignored. She knocked at many doors in order to settle the matter within the Church, but she was not given a hearing. Now that the case has reached the courts of law, it is important that Vatican intervenes in order to take corrective measures that will facilitate the investigation.
We feel that it is important in the interest of protecting the integrity of the Church before the Indian Society that Bishop Franco Mulakal of Jalandhar diocese be suspended from his pastoral responsibility till the investigation into the case is competed. We therefore urge you to please relieve the bishop concerned of his pastoral responsibilities, so that the Church is seen to actually practice the ‘zero tolerance’ it professes to observe in abuse cases.
With the accused bishop continuing to remain in his position as Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese, it will impede a fair investigation. Besides it will erode the faith of the people in the credibility of the Church to implement its policy of zero tolerance and act justly in matters involving sexual abuse.
We trust that Christ who is our light, and who always stood up against the exploitation of women will stand with the Church and give the leadership courage to do what is right in the cause of justice to women in the Church.
With you in the service of the Gospel,
179 Signatories including Lay, Religious Sisters & Priests.