Thiruvananthapuram: Giving prominence to a rape-accused bishop on the official calendar published by the Syro Malabar Diocese in Kerala’s Thrissur district has outraged a team of church-believers so much that some of them have turned to the burning of the material in some places in the state, pursuing its immediate pullout.
The latest official calendar for 2021, extricated by the Syro Malabar Thrissur diocese lately, features the picture of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, along with other Bishops, marking his birthday. The preacher is being tried for rape, mishandling of authority, and unlawful captivity after a nun blamed him for sexually maltreating her constantly between 2014 to 2016. Enraged with his photographs, associates of the Kerala Catholic Reforms Movement went to burning the calendars on Sunday.
“It’s sad to see that the bishops of the Syro Malabar church are proving again and again that they do not consider the feelings of the believers. We want the calendar withdrawn,” said Shaiju Anthony, Convenor of Save Our Sisters, a forum that supported the nun who had blamed Mulakkal of sexual assault. The Kerala Catholic Reforms Movement is part of this discussion.
A senior priest of the church said the accused stays a member of the diocese. “This is a private calendar for the Thrissur diocese. Franco Mulakkal is a member of their diocese and still continues to be a Bishop, though he is not in charge of any diocese. So his details were added along with details of other Bishops,” the priest told. Another member of the diocese said many others hold disquiet about the photograph but have avoided speaking out against it only out of fear.” While the calendar has been distributed in some churches of the diocese, some others have not distributed the calendars yet, seeing the protests and responses,” one diocese member said.