Many Kerala churchgoers have come out strongly against the inclusion of rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s photograph in the Syro-Malabar Church official calendar on Monday.
Recently, the Syro Malabar Thrissur Archdiocese released the Church’s official calendar for the year 2021. The Church published Mulakkal’s photo along with his birthday on the March page of the calendar, along with photographs of other Bishops. This move by the Church has invited the ire of many believers. Some churchgoers went to the extent of burning copies of the calendar in front of the Church’s administrative building in Kollam and Thrissur and asked the Church to remove Mulakkal’s birthday and photograph from the calendar.
However, the Church told a leading newspaper that Mulakkal is still a Bishop despite taking away his administrative duties and defended the move to include his birthday and photograph. The Church added that it was awaiting the verdict of the trial and said that some people are attempting to stir up controversy against the Church.
Mulakkal is currently standing trial for Kerala nun’s alleged rape between 2014 and 2016 and is also facing charges of wrongful confinement, unnatural offence, and criminal intimidation. On November 5, 2020, the Supreme Court dismissed Mulakkal’s review petition. He has filed petitions before to clear him from the rape charges, which the SC turned down.