Anti-clergy activists, nuns say Church is anti-woman
It is not surprising that the Catholic Church publication Indian Currents has come out in support of “rapists” – Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakal and five Orthodox Church priests. The Roman Catholic Church has always stood by promiscuous priests and Bishops accused of serious sexual crimes. It has reportedly spent a whopping Rs 500 crore to save the accused priests and nuns in the Sister Abhaya murder case. Sister Abhaya was murdered because she witnessed the illegitimate sexual relations between nuns and priests.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Police is going to arrest Bishop Franco Mulakal as the medical examination of the survivor proved conclusively that the Bishop had raped her.
Ironically, the current issue of Indian Currents, a rabid anti-BJP-RSS publication, focuses on women’s safety, with its cover story arguing that ever since Narendra Modi took over as prime minister there has been a surge in crimes against women. But the article titled Villains as Victims: Why call sex, rape? Written by AJ Philip goes against the theme of the cover story. The article seeks to whitewash the “sins” of priests and Bishop and shame the survivors. “Billions of men and women copulate every day for reasons I do not have to explain. This has been happening right from the days of Adam and Eve. But a modern day Eve finds it convenient to claim that she was raped when she is caught in the act,” writes Philip.
However, Christian groups, former nuns and individuals who have been campaigning for reform in the Church say that the authorities mounted pressure on the victims to withdraw their complaints. “Being an organised religion, the clergy has immense power. Most of the priests are criminals and anti-social elements. They treat nuns and laity as slaves. The church is anti-woman,” said Samuel, a Christian social activist in Koodal, Kerala.
Former nun and author of Amen: The autobiography of a nun Sister Jesme echoes Samuel’s argument. According to her, the tradition of belittling women started by St Paul, the Apostles, continues even today.
St Paul was dead against prominence of women in the Church. “I desire that …women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls of costly attire…Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness with modesty. (Timothy 2:8:15)
Sister Jesme says there are no honest efforts to improve the status of women in Christianity. She says: “Lay people ask, why do the priests have more freedom than the sisters? My only answer is that there still exists discrimination against women in the local Church. The priests travel and go for movies in lay dress; officiate or attend weddings, and even consume liquor. Their financial status is quite sound. But nuns cannot dream of all these things.”