Protests were staged in Kerala after the Trichur (Thrissur) Archdiocese printed the picture of rape accused Franco Mulakkal on its calendar. The photo of the rape accused Bishop was printed on the March month’s page on the calendar. The Trichur (Thrissur) Archdiocese comes under the Syro Malabar Church.
Believers of the Catholic Church in Kollam burned copies of the calendar in front of the Kollam Bishop House on 13 December to protest against the step.
The Church defended the move to include the Bishop’s birthday in the calendar saying Mulakkal remains a Bishop and that the charges against him have not been proved.
The protesters said that the church issued a calendar every year and for the last two years, the page dedicated to the month of March has Franco Mulakkal’s photograph on it.
Riju Kanjookaran, convenor of Save Our Sister said, “In the past years also people had raised objections against this and had even burned calendars. But this year it has been repeated.”
The protests were not limited to one district. In Kollam as well, believers of the Latin Catholic Church also staged a protest outside the Bishop House.
One of the protestors present at the spot said that the Thrissur Archdiocese has declared Mulakkal as a saint by printing his face on the calendar. The protester added, “This is like challenging the women in the society.”
Mulakkal, who headed the Jalandhar diocese of the Church in Punjab until he was divested of his administrative responsibilities by the Vatican in the wake of sexual assault allegations, has been charged under IPC sections of 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 377 (unnatural sex), 376 (c)(a) sexual intercourse by person in authority 376(2)(k) (indulging in sexual intercourse by exhorting authority), and 506 (criminal intimidation).
The trial is progressing in the additional sessions court in Kottayam after both the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court rejected his petitions seeking discharge in the rape case.