Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s Catholic church was pushed into more trouble on Thursday as reports broke about cardinal George Alencherry being aware of the abuse going on in the church. This is contrary to his earlier statement that he was ignorant of the matter.
Police had taken the cardinal’s statement on Wednesday as part of their investigation into the sexual abuse allegations in the church.
The church was plunged into controversy after a nun revealed that she had been repeatedly abused by the bishop of Jalandhar, Punjab, Franco Mulakkal. She also said that she had reported the matter to the cardinal in Kerala but had not got justice.
Mulakkal has denied the allegation, even as Kerala police are contemplating his arrest.
Matters took a more serious turn on Thursday when a Malayalam television channel released an audio conversation between the victim and Alencherry. Their telephonic dialogue makes it apparent that the cardinal was in the know of the murky developments in the church.
During the conversation, the nun and the cardinal also explore the possibilities of the nun and some of her discontented colleagues leaving their present congregation and joining another one.
Meanwhile, a senior catholic priest spoke out against the accused bishop, stating that there had been numerous complaints against the bishop.
The priest, Kuriakose Kattuthara told a local television channel that many nuns were keeping mum out of fear of the bishop. He said some nuns had come weeping to him, with complaints against the bishop. The priest said even the other priests who were trying to protect the accused bishop were aware that the nuns are innocent.
In a related development, two priests of the Orthodox Church in Kerala who are in custody for alleged sexual abuse of a married woman, had their bail applications rejected by the Thiruvalla First Class Magistrate Court on Thursday.
The two priests, Job Mathew and Johnson V. Mathew, are expected to try for bail in the state high court. Two other priests accused in the case are still at large and are seeking anticipatory bail through their lawyers.