Thiruvananthapuram: National Commission of Women's controversial proposal for abolishing the practice of "confessions" in churches has sparked a huge uproar with the top Catholic Church body of the state writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the "shocking" statement.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference sent a memorandum to PM Modi over NCW's proposal to abolish practice of confessions in church. Archbishop of Latin Archdiocese of Trivandrum, Soosai Pakiam, said, "NCW chairperson shouldn't dictate that you abolish this."
"We believe that the motive of the Commission is to spread tension and religious unrest among the minorities and to create division and polarisation among people for political gains," the Kerala Catholic Bishop's Conference wrote in the letter to the Prime Minister, adding, "We strongly protest this unbecoming move from the part of a person in a responsible position of the Government."
Soosai Pakiam described the NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma's recommendation "irresponsible".
"We suspect communal and political motives behind this unconstitutional interference into the internal spiritual affairs of the Church," it added.
The "strange recommendation", the church body said, had been made without considering the moral, theological or psychological aspects of the centuries old spiritual practice of confession among the Christians.
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, a statement by Kerala's top church body said.
Rekha Sharma had led a probe team into the rape charge levelled by a woman against four priests of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
The woman was allegedly forced into sex by a priest when she was a teenager in the 1990s. She confessed to a second priest, who allegedly blackmailed her into sex.
After inquiring into the incident, the NCW chief said "there must be many more such cases what we have right now is just a tip of the iceberg" of priests pressuring women into telling their secrets and recommended abolishing the practice across the country....