New Delhi, July 27: Following the sex scandals in churches in Kerala, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has recommended the government to do away with the practice of confession in churches since they posed a threat to women.
The NCW has prepared a report on the two scandals– one involving four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the second one accusing the Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, of rape– after it met the victims of both the cases and is now sending it to the Ministry of Home Affairs. It has also sent copies of the reports to Kerala and Punjab governments as well.
According to Indian Express report, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said that the commission has recommended that the government terminate the ”practice of confession’ in churches. Adding to it, she said that priests were misusing this practice and women were suffering.
She added, “The confession could give an opportunity for the priests to exploit even men. With women, they can sexually exploit them. But with men, they could blackmail them for money. So this confession should go from the churches.” Sharma further said that there could be more such cases.
The NCW’s recommendation of abolishing the confession practice comes in tandem with the two sex scandals in churches. On being questioned if this recommendation will be at crossroads with religion and faith, Sharma said that if religious customs and practices came in the way of security and safety of women, NCW can definitely seek remedies. However, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church said that the NCW’s recommendation will affect the freedom of a believer and hence was unacceptable.
The Archbishop however said that a woman’s dignity should be promoted. He added, “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.”
Meanwhile, the NCW has asked the Punjab and Kerala police to take speedy action. “FIRs should be filed and action should be taken in stipulated time. A lot of time has been wasted. Also, the women victims, should get help from the state government,” Sharma said.