Bishop Franco Mulakkal to return to pastoral duties soon?
The Vatican has accepted a Kerala court's decision to acquit Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape charges, source said.
Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was temporarily relieved of his duties following rape charges levelled by a nun, is set to return to pastoral duties soon, a church source has said.
The source said that the Vatican has accepted a Kerala court's decision to acquit him of rape charges.
To recall, the Bishop was temporarily relieved of his responsibilities of the diocese by Pope Francis in September 2018 after he was questioned by the Kerala police in connection with the rape charges.
The source said that Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal, had informed the priests of the north Indian diocese that the Vatican has accepted the court's decision on Bishop Franco.
The Apostolic nuncio reportedly made the remarks during his visit to the Jalandhar diocese on Saturday while responding to queries regarding the delay in the Vatican accepting the Indian court's decision on rape charges against Bishop Franco.
Asked whether Franco would return to the Jalandhar diocese to serve as its Bishop, the source said that the authority of fixing his responsibilities rests with the "Holy Sea" itself as the Bishop comes directly under the command of the Pope.
The Additional District and Sessions Court I in Kottayam, Kerala acquitted the Bishop four months ago, ruling that the prosecution had failed to produce evidence against the accused.
However, the nun, who accused the 57-year-old Bishop of rape, has moved the Kerala High Court against his acquittal. The Bishop was accused of raping the nun -- a member of the Missionaries of Jesus, a diocesan congregation under the Jalandhar Diocese -- multiple times during his visit to a convent in Kottayam between 2014 and 2016.