Indian Catholic News

Diocese requests not to speculate on cause of priest’s death

Father Kattuthara, 62, was found dead inside his room in Jalandhar on the morning of Oct. 22.

Fr Kuriakose Kattuthara. Photo: Official website of Jalandhar diocese.
New Delhi: 

The administrator of Jalandhar diocese Bishop Agnelo Gracias has requested to end speculations on the cause of the death of a senior priest, who was linked to the ongoing rape case of Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

“In order to preclude any suspicions” with regard to the cause of death of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara the diocese has “requested that an autopsy be conducted not at a Church hospital but at a government hospital,” the administrator said in a Oct. 26 press release.

The diocese is awaiting “the final results of the autopsy” it said, asking the public “too to await the results and not succumb to “conjectures about the cause of death that are currently floating around.”

The press release comes in the light of “the tendentious statements issued by some individuals” which linked the death with the ongoing case of Bishop Mulakkal, who is accused of rape.

Father Kattuthara, 62, was found dead inside his room in Jalandhar on the morning of Oct. 22, a week after Bishop Mulakkal of Jalandhar was bailed by the High Court in Kerala and went back to his diocese.

Bishop Mulakkal was arrested on 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.

The bishop's arrest followed dramatic scenes in Kerala, where a group of nuns from Missionaries of Jesus staged a public protest seeking the arrest of Bishop Mulakkal.

Some of the nuns who were part of the protest suspected foul play in death of Father Kattuthara, who reportedly was a witness in the case as he gave testimony against the bishop.

Media speculated foul play saying the priest’s death could tilt the case in favor of Bishop Mulakkal.

The fact that the police in Jalandhar allowed the body to be taken to the priest’s native Kerala for burial indicates that “they do not suspect anything untoward,” the release said.

“We have done our best to ensure transparency in arriving at the cause of death.

The body was taken to Kerala and the last rites, led by Bishop Mar Jacob Manathodath of Palaghat and Administrator of Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, were held in the priest’s native parish at Pallipuram, Cherthala, on Oct. 25.

Father Kattuthara “enjoyed all the benefits and allowances of the priests of Jalandhar till his last days and the injustice alleged by certain persons has no basis whatsoever,” the release said.


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