Cover image: Bishop of Mysuru K A William file photo (DH Photo)
9 June 2020
(originally published in Sunday Mid-day and Deccan Herald dated 07 June 2020)
Note: Another Frightening Franco Mulakkal at large in the midst of the People of God. He has already tasted blood and is on the lookout for more in collaboration with the Bishops of CBCI. No wonder for Bombay High Court Judge Justice Michael Saldanha has served a legal notice on murder, sexual misconduct and corruption on Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, in addition to Archbishop Machado of Bangalore and the culprit in question Bishop (?) K.A. William! How come all the high-ups in the Indian Church Hierarchy whether it be Cardinal Alencherry (who told the Kerala High Court that he was answerable only to the Pope) and Franco Mulakkal, manage to skirt/escape the legal noose? I think Justice Saldanha should be specially requisitioned by the Lay leaders of Kerala and India appear for the hapless nuns in the Franco Mulakkal case to bring it to its logical conclusion instead of allowing it dither indefinitely, adding to the nuns' agony. Isaac Gomes, Asso. Editor, Church Citizens' Voice.
Bengaluru, June 8, 2020: Former Bombay High Court Judge Justice Micheal Saldanha has accused Bishop K A William of murder, sexual misconduct and corruption by “letting loose a virtual reign of terror” in his Mysore diocese.
On May 29, Justice Saldanha had sent a legal notice to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) President Cardinal Oswald Gracias.
He had also sent the legal notice to Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore and Bishop William. Justice Saldanha also accused Archbishop Machado of colluding and covering up murders allegedly committed by Bishop William, Mid Day reported.
Cardinal Gracias, who is also the Archbishop of Bombay, was also copied on the legal notice that read as, “Following the deaths of four priests – two murders, one hanging and one accident, the Bishop of Mysore has let loose a virtual reign of terror in the Diocese.”
Addressing the alleged corruption part of it, the notice stated, “He has used the underworld mafia and protection from the local police… it has already resulted in as much as 23 percent of the Catholic laity leaving the Church. For the last one year, this man has been asked to leave, but he defiantly carries on terrorizing.”
According to Justice Saldanha, Bishop Machado has ignored 17 written complaints “fully backed by evidence,” all of which have come from “men of credibility,” a majority of them being priests.
Justice Saldanha has also accused Bishop William of calling an urgent meeting on a 12-hour notice to pronounce a transfer order against 37 priests, who had complained to Rome about his alleged involvement in criminal offences, misappropriation of of funds and sexual misconduct.
The notice read, “and in three minutes, pronounced a transfer order, which can be defined as revenge transfers targeting the priests who had complained against him, and sending eminent scholars to remote villages where there is not even drinking water.”
Earlier several parishes had filed complaints to Pope Francis against Bishop William accusing him of practicing factionalism, favouritism, illegal parenthood, sexual liaisons and corruption.
Bishop William, along with Father Leslie Moras, was involved in the 2019 Mysore Church sex scandal when a woman, who worked in their church, had accused them of seeking sexual favours.
Speaking to Mid-day, Justice Saldanha said that he had spoken to all the 37 priests, who are the complainants and can vouch for their credibility.
“There has been unabated womanizing by this man and evidence has been produced. There are also instance of him defaulting on church money. Each time he had a problem with a woman, there were large payoffs.”
Melwyn Fernandes, secretary of Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), who has been trying to highlight Bishop William’s alleged misbehaviour for a year, told Mid Day, “There are allegations of murders of priests being camouflaged as accidents. I call upon the Archbishop of Bangalore Peter Machado and CBCI President Cardinal Oswald Gracias to immediately suspend the Bishop of Mysore and to get the police to institute a high-level inquiry into the murders of innocent priests, as well as the transfers.”