Featuring the photo of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar on the official calendar of Trichur archdiocese for 2019 is seen as the prelate’s clout in his home State of Kerala.
Bishop Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a 44-year-old member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation under his authority, is now out on bail. The court has forbidden the prelate from entering Kerala except to appear before the investigating officer once in two weeks.
The calendar, which is published by the Catholicasabha, the mouthpiece of the archdiocese, features pictures of all bishops hailing from the archdiocese. Bishop Mulakkal’s photo appears in his birth month of March.
The move has not surprised those supporting the survivor since it is in line with the patronage the Church has extended to Bishop Mulakkal. It had allegedly tried to cover up the crime and shield the accused when the nun complained to the Church authorities.
Political leaders are overwhelmed by the open support extended to the bishop by the Church and its various organizations. The Church continued the support even after the police found him prima facie guilty and arrested him.
While bishops and priests made a beeline to the jail where he was lodged after the arrest, special prayers for the accused were organised in many churches across the state.