Sex Allegations Shock Kerala Church

By Shibu Kalaparamban
September 2, 2010

Kerala Church has been rocked by the release of a controversial book which accuses its clergy of a range of misdemeanours and abuses. An official has responded by describing the book as "an all-out attempt to malign the Church."

Here Is The Heart Of The Priest, the autobiography of Shibu Kalaparamban, a former member of the Vincentian congregation, was officially launched on Sep. 2.

It alleges that Catholic priests and nuns have broken the vows of chastity and engaged in sexual sins including homosexuality, child abuse and illicit relations. The author narrates confessions he has heard, to substantiate his allegations.

Kalaparamban, who was a priest for 13 years, told that "homosexuality and blue films have become part of religious life."

Father Paul Thelakat, spokesperson for the Syro-Malabar Church said he has "read the book and feel very sorry about what is written. It is unfortunate." He went on to say that the book "finds only perversions in the Church."

Father Thelakat also alleges that the Papal seminary in Pune, where the former priest was trained, advised his superiors not to ordain him but they did so out of compassion.

"It is a pity he was a priest throughout these years and he has heard confessions and given spiritual guidance. He has simply betrayed the trust of the faithful, divulging even confessional secrets to the public," Father Thelakat said.

Kalapramban, who now lives in Qatar and was suspended when he left Kerala without permission, claimed that he wrote the book only after "detailed thought and discussions."

A similar controversy broke out in Kerala in 2009, when the autobiography of former nun Jesme alleged a prevalence of sexual abuse and lesbianism in Catholic convents.

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