Sister Lucy Kalappura – the nun who was expelled on “disciplinary grounds” after she joined protests against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal – has been ordered to vacate her convent.
A letter by the Superior General of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation in Kerala, which is part of the Catholic Church, claims the eviction notice comes after Sister Lucy’s petitions against her dismissal were rejected by legal forums within the Catholic Church.
“There is no further legal remedy available to you to within the Catholic legal system to challenge your dismissal… your right to continue as a member of the FCC is now definitively and irrevocably extinguished,” the letter reads.
“Now onwards it is unlawful for you to continue to stay in any of the Franciscan Clarist Convents.”
Sister Lucy told the media that “justice is being denied because I spoke the truth”.
“Not one person can be denied justice like this. Justice is being denied because I spoke the truth. These people who are denying justice are the ones who teach that truth must be said. The people are with me,” she said.
“Is this what Christianity is about? The Superior General is rejoicing at Sister Lucy’s dismissal. Better if such people are not nuns forget about being Superior Generals. Secondly, why has the Vatican letter not been written in language a person understands and that too reaching after a year from its issue?” AM Sodder, an advocate and a member of the Association of Concerned Catholics, said.
“(This is) a sad day for the Catholic Church in India,” AM Sodder added.
Sister Lucy was expelled in August 2019 for “failing to give a satisfactory explanation for her lifestyle in violation of FCC laws” – which involved participating in the protest against Mulakkal, buying and driving a car, publishing a book and earning remuneration.
The FCC had said she had been issued “canonical warnings” but failed to show remorse.
Sister Lucy, however, has maintained that the disciplinary action against her was initiated only because she participated in the protest against Mulakkal. At the time of her expulsion she told NDTV: “I’m very afraid… they are killing me little by little, trying to take away all my happiness.”
In March last year the Vatican, for the second time in less than five months, rejected her appeal. She made her first appeal in October 2019. When her second appeal was rejected she said: “I will not go anywhere and continue to live in the congregation… will now let the court decide.”
Mulakkal, who has denied all charges against him and is currently out on bail, is being tried by a Kottayam court for the rape of a nun between 2014 and 2016. He has been charged with rape, wrongful confinement, unnatural offence and criminal intimidation.