Kerala Bishops’ Council Press Release 27.7.2018
KCBC Protests the Unconstitutional Recommendation of the National Women’s Commission
The news that the National Women’s Commission Chairperson Ms. Rekha Sharma has made a recommendation to the Union Home Ministry to ban the Sacrament of Confession among Christians in India is shocking not only to the Christians but to all who believe in the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution of India. The recommendation is supposed to be based on the Chairperson’s investigation in two separate incidents of allegation of atrocity against women in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of India. Instead of reporting the findings of the Commission, the Chairperson has ventured into something which is totally out of her prerogative, and without any consultation with the Christian Churches and communities, and without considering the moral, theological or psychological aspects of the centuries old spiritual practice of confession among the Christians. The Chairperson has crossed the boundaries of her constitutional powers. It is an attack on the Christian faith and spiritual practice. We strongly feel that the recommendation is unwarranted and violates the honor and credibility of the Christian community. We suspect communal and political motives behind this unconstitutional interference into the internal spiritual affairs of the Church.
Confession, according to the Christian faith, is a Sacrament. It is a way to spiritual progress and salvation. It is a practice inherited from the early Christian communities. The sanctity of the seal of confession was held so high in the history of the Church that there are instances of priests having sacrificed their lives to protect it. An allegation that decades ago a priest of the Orthodox Syrian Church misused the information he got from the confession of a girl to sexually abuse her along with two of his priest friends for several years even after her marriage is now being investigated by the local police.
The National Women’s Commission based on this incident conducted its own inquiries and has come up with the strange recommendation to ban the Holy Sacrament of Confession among all Christian denominations and communities of India. We believe that motive of the Commission is to spread tension and religious unrest among the minorities and to create division and polarization among people for political gains. We strongly protest this unbecoming move from the part of a person in a responsible position of the Government.
Fr. Varghese Vallikkatt
Deputy Secretary General and Spokesperson, KCBC
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