Vatican rejects nun’s final appeal over dismissal

The Alike

Catholic nun Lucy Kalapura (pictured), who made world headlines over a bishop alleged to have raped a nun, has had her final appeal for dismissal from her order rejected.

After the Catholic Church’s highest judicial authority, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, rejected her appeal, Kalapura was told to vacate her convent in Kerala, India.

She had remained at her convent after her Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) dismissed her in May 2019 on charges of “violation of the vows of obedience and poverty.” Immediately afterwards she appealed to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches to overturn her dismissal. That Congregation rejected her appeal in September 2019.

After the Supreme Tribunal’s decision, the FCC superior-general wrote telling Kalapura to vacate her convent, saying: “your entry into that convent and your continued occupancy of the room allotted to you was lawful, till your dismissal.

“However, after your lawful dismissal, you have no more right within the FCC and hence your further stay … is clearly unlawful and hence, I hereby order you to vacate the convent, after having handed over to the Local Superior of that community the FCC religious habits that you possess and anything else that belongs to the FCC but in your possession now, within one week from the receipt of this letter.”

“Legally speaking, as per the Proper Law of the FCC, any further continuation within that convent, beyond the permitted time, will be considered as Criminal House Trespass.”

Kalapura is refusing to vacate the convent, despite her final appeal being rejected.

“I would seek justice in the Indian legal system. I had petitioned the local court, which has temporarily stayed the congregation order to vacate the convent. The petition is still pending in court. I would not vacate the convent at any cost,” she says.

The former nun has reportedly had a strained relation with her superiors since 2015.

Trouble erupted in September 2018. The flashpoint came when she joined a group of nuns in demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the accused in a case pertaining to the rape of a nun belonging to the Missionaries of Jesus.

Kalapura’s charge sheet says she published articles in non-Christian publications and had raised critical comments in social media sites, which the authorities felt as belittling the Church and its clergy. She also published some of her poems as a book, even after the superior denied permission for her to do so.

In addition, she bought a car with a vehicle loan obtained as a salaried person and registered it in her name. This action amounted to violation of her vow of obedience.

On other occasions, Kalapura had been “pulled up” by the Church for not sharing her teacher’s government salary with her Congregation.


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