CCRM: Allow nuns to perform confession for women, minors
By Express News Service | Published: 20th March 2017 01:23 AM |
KOCHI: Why can’t nuns be allowed to perform the Catholic Church’s sacrament of penance for women and young boys?
This is a question asked by the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement (CCRM) - a layman’s organisation for reforms in the Church - in the wake of the growing incidents of minors being sexually abused by Christian priests in the state.
“We are raising this demand in the wake of the recent spurt in incidents of sexual abuse by Christian priests. The Bible doesn’t say confession should be done only by priests,” said Indulekha Joseph, who staged a dharna outside the Bishop’s House here on Sunday, demanding that nuns be allowed to perform the sacrament of confession for women and young boys.
The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, in which the faithful obtain absolution for sins committed against God and neighbours, and are reconciled with the community of the Church.
When contacted, Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council spokesperson Fr Varghese Vallikatt said, “the sacrament belongs to the Church, and the Church will decide who should be performing it”. He said those who demand permission for nuns to perform confession were doing it for social attention and publicity. “Is this the first time a sexual abuse case is reported from among the priests?” he asked.
Indulekha said the right to confess was given to priests based on the Bible verse that says, ‘whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven’. “But, nowhere does the Bible say it should be done by male priests only,” she said.
Joseph Velivil, president of the Joint Christian Council, a forum that takes up the faithful’s issues outside the realm of spirituality, said the rule could be relaxed to allow nuns to confess.
“The change, if any, should come from the Vatican, which is not likely to happen. I doubt there would be any change. The priests will ensure that the right to confess stays with them,” he said.