TNM has accessed a letter in which Vattoly, who had also exposed irregularities in a mysterious land deal by the Syro-Malabar Church, has been warned.

Church warns whistleblower priest who supported Bishop Francos victim
news Sexual Assault Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 18:45

The Syro Malabar Church has warned Father Augustine Vattoly, a senior priest attached to the diocese, of punitive action for spearheading a fight against the regressive stands of the church and its reluctance to correct them.

Apostolic Administrator of Ernakulam-Angamaly Syro-Malabar diocese Mar Jacob Manathodath in a letter to Father Vattoly has warned him of consequences for organising a dharna at the Thiruvananthapuram Secretariat in the name of ‘Save our Sisters’. The letter says that Vattoly has to face the consequences "if he is not able to give a explanation which is not satisfactory and the Church will have to proceed with disciplinary action against him.”

The dharna held in front of the Secretariat on November 14 was to demand that the bail granted to Jalandhar Bishop and rape accused Franco Mulakkal be cancelled. The dharna also demanded a probe into the death of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, a witness against Bishop Franco.

Mar Jacob Manathodath

"It is reported to me that you are organising a dharna at the Secretariat of Kerala State, in the name of the movement 'Save Our Sisters' of which you are said to be the convener. I am told that such actions by a priest will seriously injure the good of the Church in public and will cause scandal among the faithful. Therefore, I hereby strongly prohibit you from organising and attending the Dharna and similar activities. Disobedience will incur ecclesiastical actions as per the Church law,” the letter, accessed by TNM, says.

The letter accused Father Vattoly of associating himself with anti-ecclesiastical, extremist and atheistic groups. “Some of the groups are said to be plotting against the Church to hurt religion and the Church. Some of your activities are said to be refusal to the authority of the Church,” it says, adding that Father Vattoly’s speeches have incited sedition and hatred against Church authorities.

Augustine Vattoly was a whistleblower actively involved in exposing irregularities in a land deal done by the church under Cardinal Mar Alencherry. The priest has also been in the forefront of seeking justice for the survivor nun and other nuns who protested against Franco. He is also the convener of ‘Save Our Sisters Forum’, which led the protest by the nuns against Bishop Franco in Kochi.

“We will write to the Pope soon, a group of devotees meanwhile are planning to move the court. Priests moving the court against a Bishop is not fair, and we have to examine if it is against the Canon Law. The Pope had publicly declared two big sins – paedophilia and financial irregularities,” Father Vattoly had told TNM about the alleged land scam by the Church.

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