Sr Lucy who protested against rape accused Bishop asked to leave convent after Vatican rejected her appeal against dismissal: Kerala Congregation
Thiruvananthapuram/IBNS: Sister Lucy Kalapura, who was dismissed from Franciscan Clarist Congregation after she joined protest against rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, has been expelled after her appeal was rejected and her removal confirmed by the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church, media reports said.
A letter by the superior general of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation in Kerala, which is part of the Catholic Church, confirmed that the nun's appeal against her expulsion on disciplinary grounds has been rejected by the highest legal forum within the Catholic Church.
“At last, in the fullness of time accordingly to the plan of Holy Trinity…the Almighty God untied the knot of our heartbreaking issue concerning Lucy Kalapura. The appeal of Lucy Kalapura is rejected by Apostolica Signatura and the dismissal is confirmed. Let us raise our hearts praising the Almighty for his unspeakable gift,” said Sr Ann Joseph, Superior General of Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) in the letter issued on Sunday, according to a New India Express report.
Sister Lucy's dismissal had followed several warning letters by the congregation which accused her of disobedience and breaking the vow of poverty, the report said.
Her "wrongdoings" included registering a car in her own name, taking a loan without permission, publishing her articles in non-Christian weeklies, publishing her book ‘Snehamazhayil’ and taking part in TV channel discussions, the report added.
She was also accused of learning to drive and acquire a driving license without the permission of the Superior General, the report stated.
On July 9, 2019, the Congregation of Oriental Churches confirmed the decree issued by the Superior General on May 11,2019.
Sister Lucy Kalapura approached the Supreme Tribunal against the decision on November 5, 2019.
On February 12, 2020, the Supreme Tribunal rejected the recourse by Sr Kalapura after examinations, stated the report.
She filed another appeal in March last year, which was examined by the Supreme Tribunal on May 18, 2021.
The Supreme Tribunal again rejected the appeal on May 27 this year.
After her appeal was rejected by the Vatican, the Superior General of FCC, in a letter, on Sunday, ordered Sisterr Kalapura to vacate the FC convent Karakkamala, Mananthavady.
Sister Ann told Sister Kalapura that there was no further legal remedy available within the Catholic legal system to challenge her dismissal.
“You have availed all the three levels of appeals possible within the Catholic legal system and in all these levels your recourse against the decree of dismissal are rejected. I would like to bring to your attention the fact that your right to continue as a member of the FCC is now definitely and irrevocably extinguished. You no longer have the right and duty to wear the religious habit of the FCC hereafter,” said Sister Ann, according to the report.
The letter also specified that Sr Kalapura doesn’t fall under the ‘guest’ and ‘workers’ list at the Congregation, and, therefore, should vacate the convent within one week of the receipt of the letter.
She was also warned of legal action if she continued to occupy the convent as such an act would amount to "criminal house trespass".
Further, the letter said that she was not entitled to claim or receive any benefits or money for the work done during the membership at the Congregation, the report informed.
The money handed over to FCC as patrimonium at the time of joining the Congregation would be given to her, the report added.
However, Sister Lucy rejected the statement of the congregation and claimed that her appeal with the Vatican was still pending and the documents sent by the FCC Congregation were fabricated.
"It is a clear denial of justice and truth. It is all part of a conspiracy by FCC superiors. I will not vacate the convent until my side of the truth is heard,” said Sr Lucy, the New India Express report quoted.
According to an NDTV report, AM Sodder, an advocate and a member of the Association of Concerned Catholics, 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?"
"(This is) a sad day for the Catholic Church in India," AM Sodder added.