The sacrament of confession also called the sacrament of reconciliation is one of the fundamental practices and sacraments of the Catholic Faith, and no government that abides by the Constitution of India can interfere with this. In the midst of increasing interference and a sustained campaign by certain mischievous and vocal elements, this latest ‘petition’ in the court was nothing more than a ploy to demean and disparage the vows of chastity and obedience taken by priests and nuns belonging to the Catholic faith.
Newsnet One and its editor stand firmly in favour of the fundamental rights of all citizens to profess their chosen faith or lack of faith, and are opposed to any interference of the State in matters of the Church, or of the Church in matters of the State.
That said, Newsnet One also recognizes the fact that in matters that concern civil and criminal misconduct, neither Church, Temple, Mosque, Monastery, Nunnery or Gurudwara, nor their priests, bishops, sahdhus, sadhvis, maulvis, monks, mahants, nuns, and other bhakts can be placed outside the reach of the Law.
The petition for declaring sacramental confession among Christians unconstitutional has been dismissed by the Kerala High court, noting whether or not to confess one’s sin was an individual’s right.
C S Chacko had submitted a petition to declare compulsory confession illegal for a member of a church to confess a sin before a priest infringed the Right to Privacy.
A division bench of the court comprising Acting Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar said nobody was compelled to follow the custom.
The court said people have the right to choose their religious faith, and if someone does not want to follow a religion, he has every right to leave it.
“Whether to confess or not is an individual’s right. No one is compelled to follow the custom. In a secular state, one has the right to live without a religion also,” the court observed as per PTI reports.
The petitioner said members of these churches always had the apprehension that they would be denied their spiritual and temporal rights if they did not confess their sins before a priest.
The threat of “undeclared sanction” by the church and isolation from society in which they live creates fear in the minds of such members, he said, adding the “menace” of getting oneself and family into trouble would emotionally compel a member to go and confess.
The respondent churches, including the Latin Catholic Church, the Syro Malabar Catholic Church, the Syro Malankara Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church were “deliberately” violating the rights of people by following the practice, he said in the petition.
“This is nothing but depriving one of the Right to Privacy and a violation of one’s fundamental rights under Article 21 and 25(1) of the Constitution,” he said.
The petition was filed a week after the National Commission for Women (NCW) recommended abolishing the practice of confessions in churches over fears it can lead to women getting blackmailed.
The recommendation come in the backdrop of a rape case against four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church who were accused of sexually exploiting a married woman.
The issue came to light after the victim’s husband wrote to the church alleging that the priests blackmailed and raped his wife by using her confession.