Kerala BJP leader George Kurian has slammed the National Commission for Women’s proposal to ban the practice of confession in churches, warning that any such move will be met with stiff opposition.
Stating that the feminist ideology has crossed its limits with the move, Kurian said the National Commission for Minorities will not allow any such proposal to be implemented. Kurian is the vice-chairperson of the NCM.
His reaction was in response to the NCW’s recommendation that the government should intervene to abolish the practice of confession, one of the seven sacraments of the Church.
Submitting a report on the two sex scandals in churches in Kerala, the NCW pointed out that confession “come in the way of security and safety of women.” NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said the commission has sought a probe by a central agency into the two scandals that surfaced last month: one involving four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the second one accusing the Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, of rape.
The commission, which has prepared a report on the scandals after meeting the victims, is sending it to the Home Ministry and copies of it to Kerala and Punjab governments. “We have recommended that confession should be abolished from the church. It is being misused by the priests. Many women are suffering. Women cannot share their private life with priests,” Sharma told The Indian Express.
She further said many churches make confession compulsory to conduct marriages and baptise children. “Many women cannot withstand the social pressure,” Sharma added.
Terming the NCW proposal “unacceptable”, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, said it was “a direct encroachment into the freedom of a believer.”
“Confession is an issue of faith. Faith is expressed through practices and confession is an expression of a believer to God’s unconditional love and forgiveness. It can be understood only in terms of faith,” Cardinal Cleemis told The Indian Express.
“The Constitution, through Article 25, provides rights to profess, practice and propagate religion. So by proposing this abolition of confession, the NCW is encroaching on that freedom…I doubt if the Commission has such powers.”
“The dignity of women should be promoted. Crimes against them should be punished, whoever commits it, priest or a nun…We would like to see how the Government of India is responding to this proposal,” the Archbishop said.