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Church 'Prohibited' Kerala Priest from Leading Protest Against Rape-Accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Father Augustine Vattoly, the convenor of ‘Save Our Sisters’, had organised a protest on November 14 outside the secretariat but did not participate in it.

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Updated:November 22, 2018, 12:31 PM IST
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Church 'Prohibited' Kerala Priest from Leading Protest Against Rape-Accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal
Rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal is released on bail, in Kottayam on October 16, 2018. (PTI)
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Thiruvananthapuram: A Kerala priest who had spearheaded protests following the alleged rape of a nun by Jalandhar-based Bishop Franco Mulakkal was warned by the church against organising and participating in a protest outside the secretariat on November 14, saying it could lead to “scandal”.

Father Augustine Vattoly, the convenor of ‘Save Our Sisters’, had organised a protest on November 14 outside the secretariat but did not participate in it. It has now emerged that in a November 11 letter to Father Vattoly, Major Archepady of Ernakulam-Angamaly had warned that “such actions by a priest will seriously injure the good of the Church in public and will cause scandal among the faithful.”

“Therefore, I strongly prohibit you from organizing and attending the said Dharna and similar activities. Disobedience will incur ecclesiastical actions as per norms of Church law," the letter said.



“This letter shows how the Catholic church is not ready for dissent…. The higher authorities in the church don't realise that ordinary people in the church can see things through. Father Vattoli will be responding to the notice but won't react publicly at this point,” NDTV quoted sources close to the priest as saying.

Father Vattoly has been demanding action by the church against Bishop Franco Mulakkal who has been accused of raping a nun at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and later sexually exploiting her on several occasions.

However, Mulakkal denied the charges as "baseless and concocted".

The case turned murkier when Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, a key witness in the case who testified against Mulakkal, was found dead under "mysterious circumstances" in Dasuya in Punjab's Hoshairpur district.
| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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