Magnanimous church asks believers to pray for Nuns Rapists and Murderers!

published on November 23, 2008

Church asks believers to pray for accused in Abhaya case

PNS | Kottayam

In a desperate bid at damage-control with regard to the Sr Abhaya murder case in which two priests and a nun had been arrested, a pastoral letter claiming that the three were innocent was read out in the parish churches under the Kottayam Archdiocese of the Catholic Church after the Sunday morning mass.

The letter asked all the believers of the Church to pray for the arrested priests and the nun. The letter, prepared by Kottayam Bishop Mathew Moolekkattil, demanded that the accused be considered innocent till the crime was proved. It also said that the Church would be absolutely impartial with regard to the Sr Abhaya case.

It claimed that the Church had not tried to exert influence at any level at any time of the investigations into the Sr Abhaya murder case. The Church wished that the investigating agency brought out the truth behind the murder of Sr Abhaya through impartial and just probe. The letter also hoped that the CBI, probing the case, would expose the persons who had tried to influence the probe, if any had actually tried this.

The letter pointed out that the accused persons had to be considered innocent until proved otherwise. This consideration should be available for Fr Thomas M Kottoor, Fr Jose Puthrukayil and Sr Seffi, the first, second and third accused respectively in the case, it said.

“Our brothers and sister, who had been accused of the crime, are not alone in their sufferings and all the believers share their difficulties. Let this feeling provide them relief,” the letter said.

The letter said that the Church was the first to demand finding of those responsible for the unnatural death of Sr Abhaya. It had cooperated with the CBI probe totally and had let them question the priests and nuns whenever it had demanded, it said. It also said that the Church had not asked for any higher probes in the initial stages as the local police and Crime Branch had not termed Abhaya’s death as a case of murder.

The pastoral letter alleged that the media and some individuals had cashed in on the inability of the successive probes to find the culprits to tarnish the image of the Church. As no responsible persons or institutions had raised such allegations, the Church was rejecting them, it added.

The two priests and the nun had agreed to undergo the various scientific tests —polygraph, narco-analysis and brain-mapping — on the assurance of the CBI that all aspects of the case would be considered, the letter said. There were reports that efforts had been made by some quarters to influence these tests, it added.

“Our position is that the culprits behind the death of Sr Abhaya, whoever they are, should be brought to book, the letter said. It asked the believers to accept ‘these moments’ of sufferance we face in the (immediate) days of the canonisation of Sr Alphonsa as Saint, with Christian hope,” the letter added.

Meanwhile, Sr Annie John, superior general of the St Joseph’s Congregation in which arrested accused Sr Seffi was a member said she was fully convinced that the nun was innocent in the Sr Abhaya case. Sr Seffi was staying in the room adjacent to that of Sr Abhaya at the St Pius X Convent in Kottayam during the death of Sr Abhaya in 1992.

Sr Annie said the nuns would pray for a change of mind in the people who were anxious to tarnish the image of the Church. She also said that the Church wished the truth to come out immediately. “We are suffering deep pain thinking about the two priests and Sr Seffi, who we are sure are innocent. Let this sufferance help mitigate the influence of evil in today’s world,” Sr Annie added.

Fr Kottoor, presently diocesan chancellor of the Church in Kottayam, was a teacher at the BCM College at Kottayam where Sr Abhaya was a second-year pre-degree student. Fr Puthruka is the principal of the Church-run St Pius X College at Rajapauram, Kasaragod.

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