Let nuns perform sacrament of confession in Church: Kerala outfit
Citing the alleged sexual abuse of a married woman by five priests of a church, women members of a Kerala-based outfit have sought reform of the centuries-old method of the sacrament of confession, saying nuns be allowed to perform the penance for women. Kerala Church Act Action Council's representatives said there's a possibility of intimate confessions by women being "misused" in the present form.
What was the incident?
Last month, a man from Pathanamthitta district accused five priests of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Kerala of using his wife's secret confession to blackmail and sexually abuse her.
Only priests performing sacrament of confession shows gender bias: VC
Vice-Chairperson of Kerala Church Act Action Council, Indulekha Joseph, termed the practice of only priests performing "sacrament of confession" an example of gender bias in the Church. "Why are nuns not being allowed to perform the same? They are also strictly adhering to the church rules and following the prescribed norms. Hence, they should be allowed to perform the penance for women," she said.
Written nowhere in Bible that only priests should perform sacrament-of-confession
Joseph claimed that nowhere in the Bible has it been said that only priests should perform the sacrament of confession. "Otherwise, an ancient method like 'Pizhamoolal', in which believers seek forgiveness by recounting their sins in their minds in the presence of a priest, should be reinstated. There is no need for vocal-confession," Joseph said. This, she added, would prevent misuse of a confession.
Women members of Kerala outfit to stage dharna
"Women members of our outfit will stage a dharna in front of Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on July 7, demanding government intervention to end the exploitation of women in the name of the religious practice," Joseph said. Joseph, also a lawyer, said the group raised the same demand last year after a Catholic priest allegedly raped a minor girl in Kannur district's Kottiyoor village.
When did the case come to light?
The alleged sexual abuse by Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church priests came to light after an audio clip containing the victim's husband's purported conversation with a church official alleging sexual abuse of his wife by the priests was widely circulated on the social media. Last week, a Crime Branch probe was ordered into the case by state police chief Loknath Behara.