10/27/2018, 09.16
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Jalandhar awaits outcome of autopsy on dead priest, 'no easy conclusions'

Fr. Kuriakose Kattuthara is one of the key witnesses against Msgr. Franco Mulakkal, the bishop accused of raping  a nun.  The prelate's detractors insinuate the doubt that he died in revenge, to silence his testimony against the bishop.


Jalandhar (AsiaNews) - Waiting to know the causes of the death of Fr. Kuriakose Kattuthara, one of the key witnesses in the trial against the Indian bishop arrested for the rape of a nun (and released on bail), "we must not allow ourselves to come to easy conclusions," says  Msgr. Agnelo Gracias.  He appointed the bishop coadjutor of Mumbai by Pope Francis appointed as "temporary" administrator of the diocese of Jalandhar, in Punjab, pending the criminal trial of Msgr. Franco Mulakkal, the prelate blamed for sexual violence.

The invitation of Msgr. Agnelo Gracias sounds like a warning to the Indian Catholic community, which has split between supporters and opponents of the incriminated bishop. He is under investigation by the court of Pala (in Kerala) for alleged abuses committed between 2014 and 2016 against the former superior of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Jesus.

For weeks, under the spotlight, the story was back in the headlines  on October 22 last, when  the body of Fr. Kuriakose was found in the parish where he resided.  He was against Msgr. Mulakkal, who returned to the diocese a week ago and was welcomed with a feast by his faithful supporters.

On the contrary, the detractors of the bishop have sown the doubt that behind the "suspicious" death of the priest there would really be someone near the bishop. The family members of Fr. Kuriakose, who told the press how the priest had suffered threats after his deposition and feared serious consequences for his life.

In order to try to calm tensions, the same Msgr. Gracias, who recalled the priest's thirty-year commitment to the diocese and stressed that the Church first wanted the truth and did everything possible to act "transparently", including carrying out post-mortem analyzes far from Punjab. "We are awaiting the results of the autopsy - he concludes -. Until then, we ask everyone not to give in to easy suppositions ".

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