MUMBAI, India – The Vatican is closely following the case of a bishop currently in jail in India for allegedly raping a nun, according to the president of the country’s bishops’ conference.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias issued a statement saying he and Cardinal George Alencherry and Cardinal Basilios Cleemis, who are all currently in Rome for the Synod of Bishops meeting on youth, met with three high-ranking Vatican officials about the case of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar.
A 43-year-old nun made a formal police complaint against the bishop in June, claiming he raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. The nun is a member of the Punjab-based Missionaries of Jesus congregation, but said the attacks happened at one of the order’s convents in the southern state of Kerala.
Mulakkal vehemently denies the charges, and claims the nun is retaliating because he initiated an investigation against her for an affair she allegedly had with a married man.
The officials were Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State; Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.
The nun belongs to the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Eastern Catholic Church, which is headed by Alencherry.
“We were assured that the Holy See is closely following developments and is awaiting the results of the police investigation. We reiterated our confidence in the judicial system of India, and trust that the full truth will emerge and justice will be done for all,” Gracias said.
Mulakkal was arrested on Sept. 21 after a months-long investigation and was denied bail by the Kerala High Court on Oct. 3.