From the Viewsroom

Sister Lucy is no sinner

| Updated on August 09, 2019 Published on August 09, 2019

Church in Kerala must not suppress dissenting voices

Italian Catholic preacher Francis of Assisi championed a set of core values, and chief among them was humility and honesty. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh, he once said. “Rather, we must be simple, humble and pure.” It seems the Franciscan Clarist Congregation in Kerala is not so familiar with the teachings and preachings of its own founder, if the religious body’s latest antics are any indication. Just this week, the congregation dismissed a 53-year-old nun citing reasons which are bizarre at best. The nun in question, Sister Lucy from north Kerala’s Wayanad, made headlines just about a year ago for her vocal support to a fellow sister who accused Franco Mulakkal, a powerful Catholic Bishop, of sexual assault. For starters, the Franciscan Clarist Congregation is attached to the Catholic Church, a religious behemoth that wields immense cloud in the God’s Own Country’s socio-political arena. News reports suggest the charges levelled against Lucy are hilariously hokum. The congregation says the nun violated canonical codes. The litany of charges include appearing on TV and social media, buying a car on loan, writing a book and selling it in public, wearing clothes she felt comfortable and, hold your breath, dabbling in poetry.

It is utterly disappointing to see the Catholic church, whose contributions to the country are well recorded and appreciated, stoop to such levels to protect a rape accused by threatening forthright nuns with medieval diktats. The backlash can cause the mighty church, which is already staring at a public relations catastrophe thanks to its attempts to protect Franco, a lot more heartburn.

Kerala’s Catholic church, despite all its blemishes, has been a modern force, promoting education and scientific temper. It’s educational institutions have produced impeccable results. Its recent behaviour can nullify all such gains. Also, at a time when right-wing forces are trying to cash in on every little religious crisis, the church must reflect on whether its actions will help rivals extend their agenda. If the clergy cannot read the writing on the wall, the laity must take the lead.

Jinoy Jose P Deputy Editor

Published on August 09, 2019
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