Caught in a sexual abuse storm, Catholic Church in India must set up gender justice tribunal

The victims must be counselled and their forgiveness sought. The law of the land is sufficient for the guilty.

Caught in a sexual abuse storm, Catholic Church in India must set up gender justice tribunal
A protest march against Bishop Franco Mulakkal in Ernakulam, Kerala, in September. | PTI

Father Kuriakose Kuttuthara did not die in vain. Many are wondering how his death in Jalandhar on October 22 – whether it was murder or of natural causes – will impact the Catholic Church in India. This at a time when the Church’s reputation has already been besmirched by allegations that a bishop serially raped a nun, charges of paedophilia against two clergymen, and suspicion that similar crimes may have occurred in other Church-run institutions. Kuttuthara had supported the nun’s rape charge and deposed before the police against the rape accused bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal.

Some time ago, with the heavy movement of Indian priests, especially from Kerala and the Konkan coast, to Australia and the western hemisphere, several Western diplomats had discretely sounded me out on the moral health of the Church. This was their polite way of asking about the sexual mores of male clergy and if government, the community and, above all, the Church hierarchy were alive to the issue at all. There have been a few Indians among the clergy arrested on paedophilia charges, especially in the United States. They were tried, sentenced and deported after their prison terms were over. Back home, they vanished from public gaze and were quietly placed in small parishes with no public duties. I do not know if they have been monitored to see they have stayed on the straight and narrow.

Father Kuriakose Kuttuthara did not die in vain. Many are wondering how his death in Jalandhar on October 22 – whether it was murder or of natural causes – will impact the Catholic Church in India. This at a time when the Church’s reputation has already been besmirched by allegations that a bishop serially raped a nun, charges of paedophilia against two clergymen, and suspicion that similar crimes may have occurred in other Church-run institutions. Kuttuthara had supported the nun’s rape charge and deposed before the police against the rape accused bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal.

Some time ago, with the heavy movement of Indian priests, especially from Kerala and the Konkan coast, to Australia and the western hemisphere, several Western diplomats had discretely sounded me out on the moral health of the Church. This was their polite way of asking about the sexual mores of male clergy and if government, the community and, above all, the Church hierarchy were alive to the issue at all. There have been a few Indians among the clergy arrested on paedophilia charges, especially in the United States. They were tried, sentenced and deported after their prison terms were over. Back home, they vanished from public gaze and were quietly placed in small parishes with no public duties. I do not know if they have been monitored to see they have stayed on the straight and narrow.

Father Kuriakose Kuttuthara did not die in vain. Many are wondering how his death in Jalandhar on October 22 – whether it was murder or of natural causes – will impact the Catholic Church in India. This at a time when the Church’s reputation has already been besmirched by allegations that a bishop serially raped a nun, charges of paedophilia against two clergymen, and suspicion that similar crimes may have occurred in other Church-run institutions. Kuttuthara had supported the nun’s rape charge and deposed before the police against the rape accused bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal.

Some time ago, with the heavy movement of Indian priests, especially from Kerala and the Konkan coast, to Australia and the western hemisphere, several Western diplomats had discretely sounded me out on the moral health of the Church. This was their polite way of asking about the sexual mores of male clergy and if government, the community and, above all, the Church hierarchy were alive to the issue at all. There have been a few Indians among the clergy arrested on paedophilia charges, especially in the United States. They were tried, sentenced and deported after their prison terms were over. Back home, they vanished from public gaze and were quietly placed in small parishes with no public duties. I do not know if they have been monitored to see they have stayed on the straight and narrow.

Source: With bishop accused of rape and clergy of sexual abuse, Church in India must work for gender justice (scroll.in)

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