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B Upendran | HENB | Tellicherr | July 3, 2022:: A Syro-Malabar archdiocese in Kerala has defrocked a priest who reportedly married a Hindu woman after allegedly converting to Hinduism in a local temple in the last week.
A June 28 “declaration” from the Tellicherry archdiocese says Father Mathew Mullappally had informed Archbishop Joseph Pamplany his “definite and non-retractable” personal decision to leave priesthood and return to secular life.
It is also reported in Matters India, that the priest has then requested for dispensation from “all his clerical obligations and consequently of clerical rights as well,” says the declaration signed by Archbishop Pamplany and archdiocesan chancellor Father Joseph Muttathukunnel.
“Until otherwise provided, his priestly faculties remain suspended and therefore, he has no permission to exercise any of those faculties either inside or outside the Archieparchy of Thalassery (Tellicherry),” it further says.
Father Mullappally, who is in his 40s, converted to Hinduism and married the mother of two daughters according to the rituals of his new religion, reports Marunadan Malayali, an online news portal in Malayalam language.
The archdiocese acted against Mullappally after photographs his marriage went viral on social media platforms.
The former priest served the archdiocese for more than two decades, however, was not exercising his priestly power in public since 2020 after getting embroiled in a sex scandal when he was the parish priest of St Joseph’s Parish, Pottenplavu.
A diocesan official who did not want to be identified expressed deep shock over the developments and said, “Such acts obviously create scandal for the Church.
Mullappally approached the archbishop two months back and sought for his dispensation.
The former priest left Pottenplavu after a voice clip of his telephonic conversation with a parishioner went viral.
Benny Jacob, a parishioner of Pottenplavu, says Mullappally had called him on June 26 seeking financial help. “He said he was dependent on his young brothers after the archdiocese asked him to leave priesthood,” Jacob told Matters India.
Mullappally denied when asked about the marriage. “However, he said marriage was the only option left for him now,” Jacob added.
Mullappally, however, refused to answer phone after the news about his marriage became public.
After leaving Pottenplavu Mullappally was sent to Virajpet, a town in neighboring state Karnataka where the archdiocese has a property.
The UCA News reported, The archdiocese could not confirm if Mullapally converted to Hinduism or was just following Hindu religious rituals for the purpose of marriage. The woman he married, according to media reports, is the mother of two girls.
Father Muttathukunnel also said “the Catholic Church has zero tolerance toward such acts” that are “always a scandal for the Church.”
Mullapally, a popular retreat preacher, was restrained from publicly exercising his priestly faculties in 2020 after being involved in a sex scandal.
Social media comments show that people sought his prayers and blessings, believing they worked wonders for them, and Catholics from neighboring parishes also flocked to attend his services.
Courtesy: matters India & UCA News.