JALANDHAR, India (CNS) — A Catholic priest considered a prime witness against an Indian bishop accused of rape has been found dead, with his family suspecting foul play. However, local medical staff said he had a series of health problems.
Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, 67, was found dead inside his room in Jalandhar Oct. 22, a week after Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar was granted bail by the state court in Kerala and went back to his diocese. Ucanews.com reported Father Kattuthara gave testimony against Bishop Mulakkal, who has been accused of raping a nun repeatedly between 2014 and 2016.
The priest’s brother said family members believe the priest was killed for his strong stand against the bishop, saying that “he was under tremendous pressure” to retract his statements against the bishop.
Medical staff at Sacred Heart Hospital in Jalandhar said Father Kattuthara was a chronic patient receiving treatment for hypertension and diabetes.
“His blood pressure and sugar levels were dangerously high when he visited us a week ago,” said Sister Laila Jose, a doctor at the hospital.
Father Peter Kavumpuram, diocesan spokesman, told media that some nuns went looking for the priest when he had not awakened by 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church complex in Dasuya town.
“When he didn’t open the door, they (the nuns) called for help. The door was then broken and Kuriakose was found unconscious and there was vomit in the room. We took him to the hospital, where he was declared dead,” he said.
Bishop Mulakkal was arrested Sept. 21 after a nun of Missionaries of Jesus, a diocesan congregation under him, accused him of repeatedly raping her multiple times in Kerala between 2014 and 2016. The Vatican has removed him from diocesan administrative duties but retained his title as its bishop.
Bishop Mulakkal returned to the diocese after his release from judicial custody in mid-October.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: U.S. cardinal: Abuse crisis discussed at synod, will top bishops’ agenda
NEXT: Cardinal Rivera’s home attacked in Mexico City, security guard killed
Share this story