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MYSORE, India (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Vatican has suspended an Indian bishop accused of cohabiting with five mistresses and fathering at least two children.
Bishop Kannikadass A. William of Mysore, who has also been investigated for kidnapping, embezzlement, sodomy, and the murder of four of his priests, has been asked by the Vatican's Dicastery for Evangelization to take "a period of absence from the ministry."
A letter signed by Abp. Felix Machado, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, announced that Bernard Moras, archbishop emeritus of Bangalore, would take over as apostolic administrator of the Mysore diocese on Jan. 7, 2023, at 6 p.m.
The letter, obtained by Church Militant, explained that the administrator would have the powers of "sede plena et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" (full seat and at the behest of the Holy See) for "the ordinary administration and pastoral care of that local Church."
Clerics from the Mysore diocese told Church Militant that Abp. Moras had left for Mysore and would be in the city on Saturday afternoon.
In WhatsApp groups, several priests from the diocese also highlighted the key role that Church Militant had played in exposing the rogue bishop, despite both the Indian Catholic media and secular media totally ignoring the story.
Father Gnana Prakash, one of the 37 priests who petitioned Pope Francis with evidence and photographs of William's mistresses, illegitimate children, multiple bank accounts, kidnapping, assault and embezzlement, said he was assured that "truth had triumphed."
Prakash told Church Militant that he wished to thank the Holy Father, apostolic nuncio Leopoldo Girelli, Cdl. Oswald Gracias and the apostolic commission that investigated William "for strengthening the faith which was disturbed."
"A bishop should be a pastor, not a dictator acting contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ," the priest said. "The decision to suspend William vindicates the Catholic Church's stand for truth and justice and for the gospel that never reconciles with the powers of Hades."
Unedited recording of the full phone call between Cdl. Gracias and Bp. K. A. William
Speaking to this apostolate, Dominic Lobo, a spokesman for the Association of Concerned Catholics, commended Church Militant for its "super-exclusive coverage" and for "being the only media to boldly expose the shocking audio conversation between Cdl. Gracias and Bp. William over their cover-up plan of the paternity test."
In July 2022, Church Militant published a shortened version of a leaked phone conversation between Cdl. Oswald Gracias and Bp. William in which the cardinal, who's a consultor to Pope Francis, urged the Mysore prelate to take a paternity test as directed by Rome.
In the phone call, Gracias told William that he would arrange for the DNA test to be conducted at a Catholic hospital "so we can control the media, control the doctors, control the publicity given to the whole thing."
"I categorically, emphatically and totally deny this in the interest of the truth and for the good of the Church. I am communicating with you directly," the cardinal emphasized.
In the video statement, Gracias admitted that he "did have a conversation with Bp. William in August 2020" and that "during that conversation, [Gracias] urged Bp. William that it would be advisable for him to do a paternity test."
"At no time did I say or suggest that we can control the outcome of the tests. This possibility, my dear people, never, ever even crossed my mind," Gracias maintained.
On the same day that the cardinal released his video statement, and in response to the cardinal's accusation of "mischievous editing," this apostolate published the unedited recording of the full phone call between Gracias and William.
Earlier this week, eminent retired high-court judge Michael F. Saldanha, who petitioned the Holy See for an investigation into William's scandals, told Church Militant that at a New Year's Mass, William announced to his congregation that he was going on "medical leave."
Saldanha, an internationally renowned judge who had filed multiple legal notices against William, said that he had traveled to Mysore to be present in the cathedral when William announced his leave.
In a legal notice slapped on Gracias for his defamatory remarks against Church Militant, Saldanha wrote, "When the cardinal goes on record to use the word 'mischievously edited' — he is inviting a libel action for damages which could not be less than $100 million."
A canon lawyer from Mysore diocese told Church Militant that the "suspension" was technically not a punitive action; the bishop was "only being asked to go on leave and leave the diocese."
Sources told Church Militant that the bishop had already been ordered to stop signing checks on behalf of the diocese as of December 2022.
A chancery insider from the archdiocese of Bombay told Church Militant that Gracias had given William a "final warning" and threatened to laicize him if he did not take the DNA test immediately.
For over two years, William has stubbornly refused to comply with the Vatican's directive for a DNA test.
Pope Francis enthroned William as bishop in 2017, despite his criminal record and a history of sexual misconduct, Church Militant earlier reported.
When Fr. K. A. William was being considered for the bishopric of Mysore, the hierarchy "suppressed" the fact that criminal proceedings were pending against him, Saldanha revealed in an August 2022 letter to Pope Francis.
On Saturday, the diocesan public relations officer, Fr. Vijay Kumar, issued a press release claiming that William "will be taking care of his health" during his absence from the diocese. "We also pray that he returns back to the diocese at the earliest," Kumar wrote.
A priest from the Mysore diocese told Church Militant, "We pray he never returns back to the diocese. There is nothing wrong with his health, but everything wrong with his soul. On what basis is he declaring that he is sick? What sickness and where is he going to be treated? Nonsense!"
In March 2021, a Vatican inquiry commission comprised of three bishops visited Mysore and received depositions from 120 individuals.
A 12-page dossier containing evidence of William's abuse of office, multiple immoral, criminal and nefarious activities, false statements, money transfers, dubious expenditures, soliciting foreign funds and receiving unaccounted money was submitted to the commission.
In July 2021, the commission revisited Mysore and submitted its report to India's papal nuncio, Abp. Leopoldo Girelli in September of that same year. The Vatican has yet to release the report.