A nun from Kerala who has been vocal in her views about an alleged sexual assault case involving a high-profile Bishop received a second warning letter in less than a month from her superiors in the Catholic church today.
Although the first warning letter had mandated that Sister Lucy meet the Superior General of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation on January 9 to list out the reasons for her acquiring materialistic possessions and "belittling" the Catholic faith, she had decided against doing so. The new warning letter requires her to provide an explanation by February 6.
Sister Lucy has been rallying against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of sexually assaulting a nun repeatedly between 2014 and 2016. The nun is currently lodged at a convent in Kottayam district along with four colleagues from the Missionaries of Jesus Congregation.
The accusations against Sister Lucy include buying a high-priced car, acquiring a driving licence, and speaking out against the church since September 2018 - when the campaign against Bishop Mulakkal was first launched. "You have been repeatedly appearing before social media and television channels since September 20, 2018, without the knowledge of your superiors. You are belittling the Catholic faith by making false allegations," the letter, which has been accessed by NDTV, read.
The missive -- signed off by the Superior General of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation -- said Sister Lucy was required to clarify on the charges and explain why punitive canonical measures should not be taken up against her by the February 6 deadline.
This development comes days after the four nuns accompanying the complainant at the Kottayam convent received a reminder letter instructing them to "obey their earlier posting orders" and notices from their Superior General in Jalandhar. One of them has been asked to report to the Missionaries of Jesus Congregation's Jalandhar convent by January 26 and provide an explanation for her behaviour.
The four have written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, asking him to facilitate their stay at the Kottayam convent until the trial gets over because they fear for their lives.
Women and Child Development Minister KK Shailaja told NDTV that while the government can decide on protection for nuns, the congregation has separate rules and regulations. "My personal opinion is that the church should allow them to continue staying without putting the nuns under pressure. But how can I express my opinion on the accused being out on bail? That's for the court to decide," she said.