The nun from Kerala who was expelled by the Franciscan Clarist Congregation for her “lifestyle”, has written to the Vatican saying that the congregation took disciplinary action against her for participating in a protest by a group of nuns, demanding the arrest of bishop Franco Mulakkal, PTI reported on Monday. Mulakkal was accused of raping a nun multiple times and is out on bail in the case.

Lucy Kalappura also sought an opportunity to present her case to Pope Francis.

In her letter to Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Kalappura sought an opportunity to appear in person before a tribunal to present her case, Mathrubhumi reported.

The Congregation for the Oriental Churches in Vatican had dismissed Kalappura’s first appeal earlier this month for failing to “give a satisfactory explanation for her lifestyle in violation of FCC laws”. These violations include publishing books and songs, and earning money from them, as well as buying and driving a car. However, it had allowed the nun to appeal to the Supreme Tribunal of the Segnatura Apostolica in the Vatican.

“I am deeply obliged for providing me the opportunity for a further appeal to the Supreme Tribunal of the Signatura Apostolica,” the nun wrote in her letter. “It is desired, in this connection, that an opportunity be granted to me to appear in person before the Tribunal to enable me to present to its honourable members my side of the situation.”

“It is requested, further, that I be granted an opportunity to present my case to the Pope Francis, whom I venerate and in whose sense of justice I have absolute faith,” Kalappura added.

The nun alleged in her letter that the Franciscan Clarist Congregation took action against her as “reprisals” only after she joined the protest against Mulakkal. “This is amply evident from the show case notice issued to me, a copy of which is attached for ready reference,” Kalappura said. “I wish to urge strenuously that the actions initiated against me, and the vindictiveness it reeks of, cannot be understood aright, if they are seen in isolation from the Franco Mulakkal matter as the trigger.”

The nun said that the Holy See being seen as partisan in the case, or as hostile to justice for a rape victim, would compromise the reputation of the Catholic Church. “The only thing that will salvage the credibility of the Catholic Church in this context is to be seen as committed to truth and justice, without fear or favour,” she said. “Attempts to the contrary are sure to be self-condemnatory; a concern that I cannot disown.”

The case so far

In August, the Franciscan Clarist Congregation in Kerala had written to Lucy Kalappura’s mother, asking her to take her home from the convent. The same month, it issued the nun a show-cause notice, asking her to withdraw a police complaint filed against a local superior nun and to apologise. The police registered a case of wrongful confinement after Kalappura alleged she was locked up in the convent by other nuns to prevent her from attending mass at a nearby church.

The nun also filed a police complaint against a priest and five nuns for attempting to defame her. The police registered a case against the priest from the Mananthawady diocese in Wayanad, and the nuns of the congregation for allegedly sharing a video that portrayed Kalappura in a poor light. The video purportedly showed the priest, Father Nobel, criticising the nun for bringing two men into the convent through the kitchen. However, Kalappura clarified that they were journalists who had come to report on her being locked up in the convent.

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