Indian Catholic leaders protest call to ban sacrament of reconciliation

Catholic News Service via National Catholic Reporter

July 30, 2018

New Delhi – India’s Catholic Church has led a chorus of protest over a demand to ban the sacrament of reconciliation from the chairwoman of the National Commission for Women.

“This demand is absurd and it displays ignorance about the sacrament of confession,” Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, president of Catholic Bishops Conference of India, told Catholic News Service July 27.

“The tenor of the demand shows they do not understand the meaning nor do they have respect for religious freedom,” the cardinal said following wide media coverage of the July 26 demand from Rekha Sharma, commission chairwoman.

Sharma said that “priests pressure women into telling their secrets,” noting that the commission had heard testimony about one such case. “There must be many more such cases and what we have right now is just a tip of the iceberg,” she said in calling for the end of the church practice of confessing sins.

The call came after five Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church priests in Kerala state were suspended from ministry, including at least two who had sex with a married woman.

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