Friday, July 27, 2018


Heard the appeal by Ms. Rekha Sharma, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, for the ban of 'Confessions' in the churches in the light of the recent case of five priests taking advantage of a lady's 'opening of her heart'(confessions) at the confessional. While understanding her angst about the blatant exploitation of women, the call for the ban was made without understanding the meaning of the ritual and the religious sentiments attached to it. Hence, the widespread and strong reactions from the Christian community.

That Mr. Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State for Tourism, was quick to state that the Modi government would never interfere into religious matters and that the particular opinion was that of Rekha Sharma, the NCW chief, helped control the negative reactions to the call, from getting out of control!

I just can't understand as to why people, especially those that occupy responsible positions don't control their motor mouths. And no, I don't mean that they should not react because react, they must to the perceived wrongs! However, they must do a detailed study on every matter, go through the background thoroughly and only then, give an opinion.

I'm a Hindu but I can easily understand the evolution of this practice of 'Confession'. I've friends who, after going through a confession had felt greatly relieved, calm and happy. The practice must have come about the accepted fact that one feels much relieved after unburdening one's angst/troubling thoughts to another. And who else but the priest, respected and loved across the board, by each and everyone within the parish, was the most qualified person to guard your secret till his last breath!

A few uncouth, rogue priests must never be the cause for the call for banning such a noble tradition. They, of course, need to be punished for their sins and that, too, forthwith.

More Facts about Confessions.

(a) What religions go for confession? 

      In modern times, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that penance is a sacrament, instituted
      by Christ, in which a confession, of all serious sins committed after Baptism is necessary. The 
      doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox Churches agrees with that of the Roman Catholic Church.

 (b) Who listens to confessions?

       A bishop, priest or deacon will confess at the Holy Table(Altar) where the Gospel Book and the
       blessing cross are normally kept. He confesses in the same manner as a layman except that when
       a priest hears a bishop's confession, the priest kneels.

 (c) Sins.

       Sins are termed mortal and venial.
       Mortal Sins. Three conditions are necessary for a mortal sin to exist which are:-

           (i) Grave Matter. The act itself is intrinsically evil and immoral like murder, rape, incest,
                                        perjury, adultery and so on.
          (ii) Full knowledge. The person must know what he's doing.
         (iii) Planning. To do an evil or an immoral act.
       Venial Sins. Can be forgiven by going straight to God. There are seven venial sins viz. gluttony,
                            lust, greed, hubris, despondency, wrath, vainglory and sloth.

 (d) How many times can one be forgiven?

       "Seventy times seven times", a number that symbolizes boundlessness!   

 (e) Can a priest tell the police a confession?

       NoIf someone confesses murder to a priest, he doesn't tell the police. The utmost the priest can
       do is to ask the 'penitent' to surrender to the authorities and may withhold absolution if the
       penitent refuses to do so. The 'Sacramental Seal' is inviolable! 

       The Seal of Confession(Or Seal of the Confessional) is the absolute duty of priests not to
       disclose anything that they learn from penitents during the course of the Sacrament of 


In the meanwhile, it's interesting to go through the arguments put forth by the lawyers of the Kerala government, the devaswom, the tantri, the Pandalam royal family and a related organisation as the Supreme Court goes through the case regarding the entry of female devotees, between the ages of 10 and 55, into the shrine of Sabarimala. Close on its heels, a Muslim Women's organisation has asked as to why women are not allowed to pray in mosques. I suppose old precepts are being questioned and why not?

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