Pope Francis accepts the resignation of controversial Mysore bishop
by Nirmala Carvalho

Replaced by an apostolic administrator a year ago, Bishop William has now resigned from the diocese in Karnataka. Many in the local clergy were against him, accusing him of taking lovers and fathering children. For the Bishops’ Conference, his resignation reflected “the distressing situation in the diocese”, and was “not a disciplinary measure”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – A year after placing Bishop Kannikadass Antony William of Mysore (Karnataka) on administrative leave, Pope Francis accepted his resignation, the Vatican Press Office announced on Saturday.

Archbishop Emeritus Bernard Moras of Bangalore, who was provisionally entrusted with the Diocese of Mysore as apostolic administrator, remains in charge. Mysore comes under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan See of Bangalore.

Originally from the same diocese that he had led since 2017, the 58-year-old William has been harshly criticised by the local clergy, accused of having several lovers and fathering children, as well as of involvement in the death of four priests who opposed him.

A Vatican commission made up of three bishops investigated his case. A press release by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) on Saturday noted that Pope Francis accepted Bishop William's resignation in view of the “the distressing situation in the diocese”.

The statement goes on to say, however, that the “resignation is not a disciplinary measure imposed upon Bishop William” but a move to provide the diocese with a new bishop.

Bishop William has always denied the accusations against him. In the past year, he stayed in Ooty (Tamil Nadu) and has filed lawsuits against the priests who have accused him. Some of his supporters recently held a sit-in in Mysore.

Melwyn Fernandes, secretary of the Association of Concerned Christians, one of the groups that oppose him, expressed satisfaction with his resignation.

“[J]ustice is finally being served for those who suffered because of Bishop K. A. William and his associates,” said Fernandes speaking to Matters India, an Indian Catholic news website.

“This is just the start of holding him accountable for the crimes he’s committed, and we believe he must face a fair trial,” he added.