The Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to reject the National Commission for Women’s (NCW) proposal to abolish the practice of confessions in churches.
In its letter to the prime minister, the church urged the central government to reject the NCW’s recommendation, saying that this questioned the existence of minorities in India.
“We have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to reject the panel’s recommendations. This is the question of the existence of the minorities. On what basis has the panel made such a suggestion? What is its motive behind such an act?” The Indian Express quoted Father Varghese Vallikkatt, spokesperson for the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference, as saying.
The church also demanded NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma to withdraw her statement that “confession should be abolished from the church”.
“Confessions have been a long-standing tradition and hundreds of people experience spiritual solace by confessing their sins. These are kept confidential, even at the risk of the priest’s life,” Alex Vadakumphala, the Bishop of Kannur said.
Terming the NCW chairperson’s statement ‘irresponsible’, Vadakumphala said that the women’s commission should have discussed the issue with the church before making its recommendations to the government.
“The NCW chief should have held discussions with the church before making such recommendations to the government. It was absolutely irresponsible on her part and she must immediately withdraw her remarks,” he said.
On Thursday, the NCW had submitted its report on the two sex scandals in churches in Kerala and recommended to the government that the practice of confessions should be abolished as it “comes in the way of security and safety of women”.
“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,” the English daily quoted Sharma as saying.
The recommendation of the women’s commission came in wake accusations of rape against the Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, and four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in a separate incident.