One may say witch-hunts are a thing of the past, but Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) has just proved that it is not the case. In a disgraceful move, Sister Lucy Kalappura has been dismissed from the congregation on Monday. She was one of the few nuns who had dared to support the protests against rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, for which is she is paying a heavy price. Her ‘lifestyle’ has been questioned by the Church as she wrote poems, learnt to drive and bought a car.
Superior General of FCC, Ann Joseph, issued the letter on 5th August to Sister Lucy, stating that she “did not show the needed remorse and you failed to give a satisfactory explanation for your lifestyle in violation of the proper law of the FCC”. The General Council, which was held on 11 May 2019, unanimously voted to dismiss her from the FCC. This decree was sent to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in the Vatican through the nunciature in New Delhi.
The letter from the Vatican read, “The Congregation for the Oriental Churches, by virtue of the faculty given to it by the Supreme Pontiff Pope Francis having considered everything seriously, has granted the confirmation, as per the request, so that the same professed one remains freed from her religious profession and other obligations and separated from her Religious Congregation, and to be considered dismissed from her religious life, and to be considered as a simple layperson the other things to be done what are to be done according to the law.”
The letter added, “In case you (Sister Lucy) accept this decree of dismissal without any recourse, as per canon law and as per the decree of confirmation, you will be freed from the obligations of the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience that you have taken in the Franciscan Clarist Congregation and you will have no more rights and duties in the Franciscan Clarist Congregation and hence, you are to leave the present community within 10 days from the reception of this communication, after having handed over your religious habit to the superior of your local community.”
In fact, Sister Lucy was given two letters prior to this, warning her for her “lifestyle” and for challenging the Church for cornering the survivor nun in the rape case against Franco Mulakkal. A few days after joining the protests led by five nuns of Missionaries of Jesus in September 2018, Sister Lucy was banned from teaching the Bible and attending prayers, worship services and other activities of the parish, including offering holy communion.
Unable to accept the biased and arbitrary nature of this decree, Sister Lucy stated, “There is no fault on my part. I will not move out from the convent and I will fight against this (dismissal) legally.” Last year in June 2018, a 44 year old nun of the church, the mother superior of a convent, had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of raping her 13 times since 2014. She was blackmailed and forced to have sex with the bishop countless time. The matter had already been reported to the church authorities but their failure in punishing the accused bishop had made the nun file a formal complaint with the police. The nun also alleged that the church instead of acting upon her complaint had instead sided with the bishop. She had been forcefully removed from her position in the church and various charges of financial irregularities had been falsely imposed on her by the church. Sister Lucy has become a victim of the same witch-hunt for protesting against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.
Sister Lucy is not alone. In October last year, senior priest Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, who had testified against Bishop Franco, had been found dead in a room at the St. Mary’s church complex in Dasuya town.
Thus, all those going against Bishop Franco Mulakkal are mysteriously turning up dead or being dismissed from the church. All this reeks of a conspiracy, aiming at threatening people to stay quiet on the rape case. Sister Lucy is unfortunately the latest victim of this witch hunt.