Members of Catholic Women Speak have been deeply troubled by the case of Sister X, a nun in Kerala, India, who accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of repeated cases of rape and sexual abuse over a period of several years. Not only has the Bishop been acquitted, but in a judgement running to 289 pages, the reputation of the nun herself was discredited and intimate and humiliating accusations were made about her character and past history. She was thus victimised twice over, while the Bishop praised God as he left the court.

Women’s groups around the world have started a letter-writing campaign to express our solidarity with the nun and the sisters who supported her. This is the letter sent by Catholic Women Speak. Those who would like to support this campaign should send a letter to solidarity2sisters@gmail.com.

LETTER TO THE INDIAN NUN, SISTER X, WHO REPORTED
BISHOP FRANCO MULAKKAL OF KERALA FOR RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE

To our dear Sister in Christ,

We are an international network of Catholic women who have been following your case. We salute you for your persistence and courage in seeking justice by reporting your terrible experiences of rape and abuse by Bishop Franco Mulakkal over a period of several years.

We joined with many others in celebrating when we knew that your case would finally be brought to the courts, and we are appalled by the outcome. Not only has the accused been acquitted, but his acquittal puts you and women religious who have supported you at risk of further abuse and scandal. It will also deter other survivors and victims from coming forward, and therefore the regime of silencing perpetrated by abusers and those who collude with them continues.

We have read articles on the judgement by Flavia Agnes, Brinda Karat and Virgina Saldanha, and we are appalled by the way in which you are spoken about in the judge’s statement. You have been made a victim twice over, while all blame has been deflected from Bishop Mulakkal despite significant evidence against him. We are sickened by his praising God as he left the court. Sadly, we have seen too often that the Church’s leaders are indifferent to the pain they inflict on women, so long as their own lust for power is satisfied. We wonder about their relationship to the Jesus we know, who reached out in tenderness, compassion and healing to women wounded by violence and misogyny.

Too many women know what you are going through, because they too have experienced the combined assaults of clerical abuse and juridical slander. There is today worldwide solidarity among Catholic women who are no longer willing to suffer in silence. Your example has inspired many to speak out. The fact that the justice system has now also become part of the abuse makes us even more determined to show resilience and resistance in the face of misogyny and patriarchy.

Dear Sister, we understand that this must be a time of great anguish for you, but you must know how widely respected and supported you are. We also send our respect and thanks to the lawyers who have worked so hard on your behalf, and to the many sisters who have supported you publicly. We send you our love, our prayers and our support.

Yours in Christ,

Members of Catholic Women Speak

hello@catholicwomenspeak.com