Bishop Franco case : Sister Lucy’s autobiography recounts rampant sexual abuse in churches

Sister Lucy Kalappura, one of the nuns who stood up against the alleged sexual atrocities of rape-accused Bishop Franco and got expelled from the congregation after taking part in a protest seeking the arrest of rape-accused Bishop, has come out with her autobiography in which she recounts sexual abuses and aberrations prevalent in convents.

The nun, who belongs to the order of Franciscan Clarist Congregation in Kerala, was hounded for raising her voice against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, narrates her life experiences and talks about sexual abuse and harassment of nuns in the book titled ‘Karthaavinte Naamathil (In The Name of The Lord)’.

According to the reports, the book reveals how Sister Lucy was a silent witness to many incidents where nuns have tried to give expression to their sexual desires. In the book, the nun reveals that many of the nuns have ‘unholy’ relationships with priests who are in authority and added that the priests encourage such relationships. She writes that she has heard of instances where priests have sexual relationships with nuns.

The book also writes regarding how the priests try to abuse not only nuns but also young girls as well. Narrating an incident, Sister Lucy said once she had asked a friend’s daughter to approach a priest to clear a few doubts that the girl had with regard to her studies. However, the priest had allegedly indulged in sexual harassment with the girl on the pretext of helping the young girl. The girl was shocked by the priest’s conversation and complained to her mother. The priest was forced to apologise for his behaviour, Sister Lucy Kalappura writes in her book.

She further writes in her book stating that one of her fellow nuns told her that a priest abused her inside a church. Sister Lucy writes about the abuse young nuns face from priests and elder nuns. Further, she claims that homosexuality is rampant among nuns and priests.

Reportedly, the book talks about consensual sexual relationships between priests and nuns in convents, and misuse of positions by priests and bishops to sexually abuse the nuns. Sister Lucy further writes that there are also cases where young nuns are subjected to homosexuality in convents by senior nuns. Fighting the mental dilemma, the nuns have to silently carry these crosses within the four walls of their convents. They are also constantly stalked by so-called ‘counselors’ who exploit their predicament, she adds.

In narrating another incident, she says, “There used to be a priest who taught at a college and resided near a convent. He used to have a room for himself at the convent. The priest, who used to conduct counseling on safe sexual practices, did not restrict himself to mere counseling as far as the nuns were concerned. Fed up with his “practical” sessions, one of the nuns complained to her friend. But he too was helpless. The torture ended only when he retired and left the place.”

“The experiences I know of, that some of my sisters have been through, are horrendous. I am aware of some convents, where young novice nuns are sent to priests for their ‘pleasure’ as a matter of practice. They were made to pose nude for the priests for hours. They wouldn’t be permitted to leave even when they plead,” writes the nun in the book.

In another account, she says, “A priest, fresh out of the Seminary, and subjected to homosexuality at the priests’ residence, grew mentally ill and finally gave up the priesthood in disgust. Similar was the case with a novice priest, who recently narrated his tale to me. One of the office-bearers of the seminary forced himself upon the young boy, and when he resisted, tied him to the bedpost and satisfied his lust.”

The book, with 36 chapters, is replete with accounts like this and will be out in the first week of December. The instances of sexual abuse by priests that Sister Lucy Kalappura recounts in the book is reminiscent of the incidents that another former nun, Sister Jesme, penned in her autobiography ‘Amen: An autobiography of a nun’.

Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, was accused of raping a 44-year-old nun at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and subsequent sexual exploitations afterward. The nun had registered a complaint in June 2018 and has also claimed that despite her complaints, the church took no action on the bishop.

Sister Lucy is one of the five nuns who led the protests against Bishop Franco last year, who had alleged that there are efforts being carried out to sabotage evidence to protect rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

In a bid to silence the protesting nurse, the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) had written to the family of another protesting nun – Sister Lucy Kalapurakkal to take her back home after she was expelled from the congregation. Sister Lucy Kalapurakkal had last year supported the victim nun and had demanded the arrest of rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who headed the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar.

The four nuns who had supported the rape survivor nun were asked to leave the Kuravilangad convent, and go to convents, previously assigned to them. Apart from threats and intimidation, Father Kuriakose who had testified against Bishop Franco was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

Source : OpIndia

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