Giving a hard time to the Vatican legacy in India, Sister Lucy Kalapura has been holding her ground and as her autobiography storms the book stores, she is more scathing than ever on the clergy. Sister Lucy’s book, Karthavinte Namathil (In the Name of Christ) has been released.
Sister Lucy has stated in her book that sexual abuse and assault takes place in convents and seminaries, and has called for institutional reforms. She said about the book, “It is all about my life in the convent.”
Sister Lucy Kalapura, who have been fighting on every front since she stood up against the rape accused bishop Franco Mulakkal, has shown immense strength even after getting expelled from the Church and getting pulled up by the church authorities for “failing to give a satisfactory explanation for her lifestyle in violation of FCC (Franciscan Clarist Congregation) laws.” Sister Lucy said she was victimised for supporting an agitation to arrest the deposed bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal.
In order to understand the pain she has suffered, it is worth mentioning that several attempts have been made to assault her when the priests had visited her convent. Further exposing the tendencies of the church authorities, some time ago, a nun had given birth to a child at a convent and the concerned priest responsible for the pregnancy was protected by Church authorities. The Christian priests across the globe have been facing allegation of sexual abuse, and people such as Sister Lucy must be encouraged and supported by the society for their courage to speak up. Sister Lucy even challenged the decision taken by Franciscan Clarist Congregation, the nun had, with high hopes, filed the appeal before the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in Vatican however her appeal was rejected.
Sister Lucy was one of the few nuns who had dared to support the protests against rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, for which many claim she is paying a heavy price. Her ‘lifestyle’ had been questioned by the Church as she wrote poems, learnt to drive, bought a car and protested against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal.
It is surprising that the people who embraced and cheered for the ‘me too’ movement have no sympathy for a woman such as Sister Lucy who has become a victim of the witch-hunt for protesting against Bishop Franco Mulakkal. Another nun Sister Jesme has a similar story to tell, she is one of an increasing number of Indian nuns coming forward about sexual abuse at the hands of senior clergy.
The Catholic churches must be made accountable and transparent; the powers should be delegated to the nuns instead expelling them from the faith on petty charges when they speak up. The Church hierarchy is always in denial of the charges of sexual exploitation of the nuns which leads to them still facing reprisals for speaking out by the church clergy. The catholic clergy showed immense proactiveness while expelling the innocent nun, Sister Lucy however, on the other hand, it reeks of hypocrisy and complicity when it comes to taking action against the priests accused of sexual exploitation.
The bravery of sister Lucy must make the Christian society realise the true nature of their senior clergy. Courage of Lucy should inspire the people to speak up against the catholic authority. As women and children continue to be trampled over, nuns stripped off of their dignity and their faith at the expense of controversial church officials, the silence from the Vatican is deafening and deeply distressing. The Catholic authorities and faith along with its no good clergy have failed women such as Sister Lucy.