Saturday, Jul 02, 2022

Sound Of Silence In God’s Court

Rumours fly as a nun’s ­allegation of rape by a ­bishop makes little headway

Sound Of Silence In God’s Court Illustration by Sajith Kumar

  • Bishops are among the most powerful ­people in the Church hierarchy, with all ­po­wer over a diocese vested in them.
  • Only the Pope has the power to defrock—remove from office and dismiss from holy orders—a Catholic bishop.
  • Franco Mulakkal is the third bishop of Jalandhar, which was elevated to the status of diocese in 1971.


The episcopal throne is a sturdy thing; to topple it is no simple task. The ongoing ignominy surrounding a nun’s claim that she was raped by the Latin Catholic (Syro-Malabar Church) bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, 54, has seen little progress in the criminal investigation and no internal inquiry or disciplinary proceedings ­initiated by the Church—amid rum­ours and acc­usations of political and monetary muscle being flexed and ranks being closed—and denials and counter-accusations from the alleged perpetrator, while a group of fellow nuns protest bearing red-lettered placards.