Mysore gets apostolic administrator in lieu of controversial Bishop William
by Nirmala Carvalho

Archbishop Emeritus Bernard Moras of Bangalore is provisionally in charge of the diocese. A statement from the Bishops' Conference notes that Bishop William will “take a period of absence” following accusations of embezzlement and violation of celibacy. The local clergy is satisfied with the decision, which had been requested some time ago to the Vatican.

Delhi (AsiaNews) – The Diocese of Mysore, India, has a new pastor, albeit a provisional one. The diocese has been at the centre of a major controversy involving its bishop, Mgr Kannikadass Antony William.

The Dicastery for Evangelisation appointed Archbishop Emeritus Bernard Moras of Bangalore (Bengaluru) apostolic administrator sede plena et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis "for the ordinary administration and pastoral care" of the local Church.

Archbishop Felix Machado, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), made it official with a statement sent to the apostolic nunciature.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Mysore, in the State of Karnataka, is a suffragan diocese in the city of Mysore, in the Ecclesiastical province of Bangalore, southwestern India. In 2019 it had almost 113,000 members out of a total population of about 12 million.

It covers the districts of Mysore, Mandya, Cjamarajanagar and Kogadu; its main place of worship is the Cathedral of Saint Philomena, while the Minor Basilica of Saint Anthony is in Dornahalli. It is divided into 80 parishes.

Bishop William, 57, has led the diocese since 2017. He has been accused of fathering children and having affairs with multiple lovers. He is also accused of involvement in the death of four priests who opposed him.

A Vatican commission made up of three bishops began investigating in February 2021 after a group of local priests wrote a letter to Pope Francis in 2019 reporting the affair.

“The Dicastery for Evangelization has decided that the Diocesan Bishop, the Right Rev Kannikadass A William, take a period of absence from the ministry,” reads the statement signed by Archbishop Machado.

Archbishop Bernard Moras’s “appointment will become effective from 7th January 2023, at 6 pm.” The ceremony was held on Saturday at St Philomena cathedral.

As for his predecessor, he will be the subject of an investigation and related trial to determine the validity of the accusations.

A letter signed by 37 priests sent to the Vatican authorities accuses him of misappropriating  funds and violating the obligation of celibacy. A woman reported that she was asked to provide sexual favours in exchange for a job.

Fr Faustine Lobo, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Karnataka, is satisfied with the appointment but is critical of Bishop William who “stuck to his position for so long” when he should instead “have voluntarily gone for a leave long ago and prove his innocence”.