Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Franco Mulakkal as the bishop of Jalandhar after he was temporarily stripped of pastoral duties earlier following claims of rape by a nun, officials said on Thursday.
The Bishop’s retirement comes one and a half years after he was acquitted in the rape case by a local court in Kerala last year.
“Mulakkal who was relieved of his pastoral responsibilities by Pope Francis in 2018 following claims of rape by a nun, resigned as Bishop of Jalandhar on June 1,” Vatican’s ambassador in India said.
The Apostolic Nunciature of India stated that the resignation of the Jalandhar Bishop had been requested for the welfare of the Diocese.
“Given the still divisive situation about the aforesaid matter in the Diocese of Jalandhar, the resignation has been requested by Rt Rev Mulakkal not as a disciplinary measure for the good of the Diocese which needs a new bishop,” read a statement by Apostolic Nunciature, India.
Earlier, on April 2022, the Kerala High Court admitted an appeal filed by the state government and the nun, seeking to quash the order acquitting Bishop Franco Mulakkal in the rape case.
On January 2022, the Additional District and Sessions Court, Kottayam acquitted Mulakkal, who headed the Latin Catholic diocese of Jalandhar, from the case.
In the complaint, the nun alleged that she was raped 13 times by Mulakkal between 2014 and 2016 when he was a bishop in the Missionaries of Jesus, Jalandhar diocese.
The complaint was filed on June 27, 2018, and Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 on charges under 7 IPC sections including rape. The trial in the case began in November 2019.
This report is filed by ANI news service.