Frustrated with the lack of action being taken against the accused, Bishop Franco Mullackal of the Roman Catholic disocese of Jalandhar, for allegedly raping a nun from Kerala for over two years, a few Catholic feminists from the Archdiocese of Mumbai penned a letter to Pope Francis in Vatican, requesting him to step in immediately and use his power act to help deliver justice.
Ruben Mascarenhas (Zero Tolerance Campaign), Elsa Marie D’Silva (Safecity) and Nikita D’cruz (Zero Tolerance Campaign) penned the letter together. Mascarenhas is also the National Joint Secretary of AAP.
The Quint has read and accessed the letter.
“We are feminists and have been actively working towards preventing and combating, gender-based violence through our respective organisations’ work. We have always, personally considered our work to be a logical extension of our faith, in service of humanity, especially the marginalised,” they write.
Addressing the Pope, the writers of the letter said that despite the survivor nun’s allegation, no action or enquiry has been initiated against the Bishop, despite a police investigation being underway.
Referring to the Bishop’s dismissal of the allegations against him, which he said were part of a “conspiracy” against the Church, the letter further reads:
“As we write this letter, the Congregation of the Missionaries of Jesus has stooped so low as to divulge the survivor nun’s personal details and release her pictures to the media, which is a crime under Indian law.”The letter reads
This, to them, is yet another attempt at attacking the nun’s reputation. They mentioned in the letter that earlier, a reputed law-maker in Kerala went so far as to call the nun a “prostitute”.
“…This is nothing but victim-shaming through an oppressive patriarchal mindset,” the letter states, referring to the comment made by law-maker, P C George.
The letter also addresses the protests against the accused Bishop, which was started by five nuns from the congregation of Missionaries of Jesus, who stood in solidarity with the victim.
“It is disgusting, to see their courage being labelled as a conspiracy against the church, by the accused bishop as well as their own congregation.”The letter reads
In not taking action against the accused Bishop, the Church in India have violated the ‘Gender Policy of the Catholic Church of India, 2010’ and ‘CBCI Guidelines to deal with Sexual Harassment at workplace, 2017’, it adds.
Referring to the Pope’s papal letter, dated August 2018, where he had publicly condemned sexual abuse by the clergy and had said that any attempt made by the Church to cover up incidents would be deemed a “crime”, the letter earnestly requested him to seek “immediate cognisance” and take similar action in this case as well.
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