National Commission of Women’s recent recommendation of the abolition of the medieval and blasphemous practice of auricular confession before priest popular amongst certain Churches, who are practicing ‘celibacy’ of their priests, is a matter of ongoing debate amongst some sections of Churches, nor Christians in India, is highly praiseworthy and a step forward. NCW recommendation for abolishing this practice of “auricular confessions before priests” in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of India in the light of recurring blackmailing and molestation of Christian women is the need of the hour. In 1812 when British forces occupied Goa and were forcibly abolished Inquisition Courts in India. Then also the same Church raised its voice against the British administration and their protest was turned down as a cry in the wilderness. When human sacrifices, animal sacrifices, etc like barbaric practices abolished in the Republic of Bharat, some priestly communities objected to it. Similarly the framework of the mind of those priests and their ‘agents’ still persists as a parasite who are objecting to the progressive NCW proposal are not differed from the above said native priestly communities disagreement of our country. Don’t worry Rekha Sharma (Chairperson of NCW), more than one core sixty five lakhs of non-Catholic Christians and a sizable number of voiceless Catholic and Orthodox laity of Bharat are behind you.
Earlier, in the light of frequent mysterious death of nuns in the Catholic Convents of Kerala, a similar decision was taken by Kerala State Women´s Commission chaired by Justice D. Sreedevi on 3 June 2008. Then Government of Kerala was under the LDF (a Marxist Party led coalition) regime and its chief minister was VS Achuthanandan. The Commission under the Chairperson of Justice D. Sreedevi had recommended a minimum age for girls joining convents and has sought ways to rehabilitate women who leave life of nunhood. However, Church leaders in the Southern Indian states, as it is in the case of Lalitha Kumaramangalam’s recent comment on auricular confession of women before the chronic bachelor (celibate) priests of the Churches, a great hue and cry discharged from the same forces of the Church for the dismissal of the recommendations as ‘unwarranted and born of ignorance’. What was the ignorance? Then the Chair Person of KSWC, Justice Sreedevi, ruled “it is up to the government to decide and bring legislation in this regard,” she continued, adding that “parents who send minor daughters to convents should be prosecuted and punished”. Justice D. Sridevi, a Hindu, revealed her commission made the recommendations on a complaint from K.K. Augustine, a Catholic who claimed many parents send minor daughters to become nuns and asked the commission to stop the practice. Unfortunately the minority appeasing castrated CPM leadership of Kerala once again yielded before the demand Church’s interest.
But the elite Christians not agreed with governments surrender before the Church. M V Pylee, first vice chancellor of Cochin University of Science and Technology and a faithful and practicing Catholic said while releasing Sister Jesmie’s autobiography ‘Amen’ (Amen – an autobiography of a 52-year-old nun Dr Sister Jesme Raphael reveals sexual abuse and lesbianism in Catholic convents. Sister Jesme Raphael was a former nun and member of the Congregation of Mother of Carmel – CMC. She was the Principal of St Mary’s College, Thrissur, in Central Kerala) criticized the Church severely for priests licentious life. (Indian Express, 21 Feb 2009). Anyhow a recent study says that 25% nuns in the convents of India are unhappy in convents because of ‘undisclosed’ reasons.
The centre of our discussion is the relevance of ‘auricular confession before priest’ according to theology (Bible) and its hidden danger. The potential danger of the practice of auricular confession had already conversed earlier in the decision of NWC’s obsevation. Let us just be realistic and look at the background of the Church not Christianity. Christianity and the Church (Churchyanity) are two parallels in the pragmatic world order of the day. Catholic Church is the world’s largest Christian Church, (not in Bharath) representing over half of all Christians, one-sixth of the world’s population and thirty percent of Indian Christian population. The Church’s highest earthly authority in matters of faith, morality and Church governance is the authoritarian and totalitarian authority of Pope who seated at 110 Acres (44 Ha) of land at Vatican City in the Republic of Italy. The Church defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus, pretending to administer the sacraments and exercising charity. Church claims that the auricular confession before the priest is one of the necessary sacrament to attain the desired objective of Christianity, i.e., the salvation of souls. According to the Catholic Church Confession is mediation between God and man and its mediator is priest. Until the early decades of the twelfth century CE the Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodox Churches never practiced the auricular confession and the perennial celibacy (Nithya Bramachariya) of priests. During the Second Council at Rome’s Lateran Palace (known as Second Council of Lateran 1139 during the papacy of Pope Innocent II, 1130-1143) which insisted auricular confession before the priest and celibacy of priests. St. Charles Borromeo Archbishop of Milan from 1564 to 1584 and during his cardinalship invented and introduced the Confessional Box. He was a leading figure of the Counter-Reformation fought against the Protestant Reformation jointly with St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Philip Neri. Hence the ritual of Confession was institutionalized in the Church. Before Lateran Council, Pope to sextons in the parishes were enjoyed a married lives. Truly Bible insists for the married life of priests and high priests. (St. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy, Ch. III, Verse 2- New Testament of Bible).
Jesus or his disciples accepted only the public confession of the sinners before the congregation. There are few instances of the same can be seen in the Bible. The present day auricular confession before the priest is against the bible and theology. It is blasphemous in terms of Bible. The Catholic and Orthodox population in India is below forty percent of Bharatheeya Christian population. That is more than sixty percent of the Christians in India are against this blasphemous practice. The progressive sections in both Churches are against this primitive medieval practice. Unfortunately those who advocate this primitive practice of the Church claims that they are the sole representatives of the whole Christian community and is trying the government and society that the whole Christian community are against the NWC’s historic and progressive decision. They are creating a smoke screen amongst the Hindu brothers’ and the government. The rest sixty percent of Indian Christians including the North Eastern States will support the NWC Chairperson.
During the period of Frederick Barbarossa I (1122–1190), 8 June 1155 to 10 June 1190, the Great-grandson of Henry IV King of Germany, King of Italy and King of Burgundy was the Holy Roman Emperor; this practice of auricular confession was started. The spirit of Renaissance began to budding slowly and steadily since twelfth century onwards in Europe. The main ethos of Renaissance was spirit of enquiry and criticism. The governments and Church of the day feared it. It was grown as a potential threat to empire and papacy. To counter Renaissance or nip in the bud the Church and Empire conspired against it. The net result was the auricular confession, as an agent of spy-ring. Finally the medieval progressive movement flowered through Martin Luther and his Ninety-five Theses which nailed on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517. For the first time in the history of the Church, its infallible authority was challenged. In order to counter the renaissance and reformation the priests of the Church geared up and served as the secret agents or informers of the emperor with the consent of authoritarian Popes. The outcome was the birth of auricular confession before priests which can extort the social secrets and tension at the lowest ebb. Now governments in the Christendom was in need the priestly spies or passive spies. The net result was the emergence of the unholy institution of Confession. As a result, the Confession of women in the Church turned to enhance the sexual appetite of the so called celibate priests who lives in the luxurious and material life with the daily consumption of high calorie ‘fat foods’ at every parish, monasteries and seminaries. Let us examine the relevance of theological justification to the auricular confession before a priest. The Bible or Jesus had not recommends the auricular confession before any category of priests and Jesus never created any precedence in this direction. Hence the New Testament permits its believers’ direct mediation with the God without any intermediaries such as priests or saints. Note this Biblical testimony before concluding this short note: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time” (The First Epistle of St. Paul, the Apostle, to Timothy, Chapter II, Verses 5 & 6- New testament of Bble).