Plea against forced confessions

A petition was filed in the Kerala High Court on Monday seeking to declare unconstitutional the act of compelling a member of the Church to confess before priests.

The petition was filed against the backdrop of the allegation that four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church had used the confessional statement of a woman to exploit her sexually.

In his petition, C.S Chacko of Kochi, said that a member of a Church who had not performed the sacrament of confessions before a priest was living in constant fear that his or her spiritual and temporal needs would not be met by the Church.

Undeclared sanction

The threat of undeclared sanction by the Church and their isolation from society following the non-performance of the sacrament would create fear in the mind of the members.

The petitioner said that compelling a member of a Church to confess his/her sins before a priest, or any other person, was an infringement of his/her right to privacy.

Condition precedent

The petitioner also sought to declare that confession should not be made a condition precedent for any of the spiritual and temporal rights of the member of a Church.

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