“I celebrated X-mas on Dec 22, 23”, says nun after Sister Abhaya’s murderers convicted

Sister Lucy Kalappura of Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) on Friday said that she had celebrated her Christmas on December 22 and 23.

Kalappura was in the news after she took part in a protest in Kerala’s Ernakulam district against former bishop of Jalandhar Father Franco Mulakkal in connection with a rape case.

The FCC later took action against Kalappura for leading a life which was “against the principles of leading a religious life”. However the Congregation had to withdraw all the action taken against her after the followers of the church in Wayanad district came out in protest against the action.

The Sister who is a teacher at Mananthavady in Wayanad told IANS: “After a legal struggle of 28 years, our Sister Abhaya got justice. Two persons who had committed Abhaya’s murder were masquerading as a priest and a nun among us all these years. This is a great moment for millions of Christians who had prayed for the Sister to get justice and and hence I had my Christmas celebrations on December 22 and 23.”

More voices are coming out from the Catholic church against Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy, the convicts in Sister Abhaya murder case who are in jail serving a sentence of life imprisonment.

George Joseph, Secretary, Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement (KCRM) said that there is a drastic fall in the number of girls opting to become nuns.

While speaking to IANS he said, “The Catholic church is facing a major crisis and several girls are not willing to become nuns even after being compelled by their parents. There were several cases where nuns were found dead in wells and with Sister Abhaya’s murder case, this has become more and more relevant”.

The KCRM has been conducting a protest march towards the Archdiocese of Kottayam and a sit-in against the church protecting the culprits, Kottoor and Sephy all the 28 years.

KCRM Secretary said: “The Catholic church had used the resources of the institution to fight the case for two culprits who had committed a gruesome murder. If these people had committed the crime, they should fight the case themselves. Instead the church used the legal services of India’s highest paid lawyer Harish Salve to appear for Achamma, a house maid who was earning Rs 150 per day to defend the culprits”.

Senior Journalist Roy Mathew who is a keen observer of the developments in Catholic church said: “Unless the church reforms itself by weeding out such criminals, it will face a steep downslide and youngsters will not trust the institution. Now three priests are in jail, Father Robin Vadakkumchery in a POCSO case, Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy in the murder case of Sister Abhaya”.

He also said that Father Benedict who was charged for murdering Marykutty, and Father George Cherian of Orthodox church who was charged with murdering a student Jolly had served prison terms.

Former Lok Sabha MP, Scaria Thomas who lost the elections of 1984 on his strong stand against Father Cherian who was charged for murdering the student Jolly, said: “I was the Member of Parliament from Kottayam and I found that there was something wrong in the investigation into the murder of Jolly and a new police team was constituted and they ended up arresting Cherian. The Orthodox faction was powerful in some assembly constituencies in Kottayam and I lost the elections”.

However the Catholic clergy begged to differ, a senior priest with the Kannur diocese Father Vincent Joseph while speaking to IANS said, ” By citing one or two stray incidents you cannot criticise an institution which had stood for the well being of millions of people, be it in education, health, social structure and what not. The Catholic church is not facing any crisis and there are regular churnings and discussions within the church to weed out any issues faced by the religious institution, if at all.”

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed, but with a modified headline)


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