From the Viewsroom

God’s own abusers

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on June 26, 2018 Published on June 26, 2018

Law of the land should deal with abuser priests of Kerala

Just this week in Kerala, the Malankara Orthodox Church, a wealthy and influential religious sect in the State, barred five of its priests from performing sacramental duties after allegations that they sexually abused a woman in Thiruvalla, a small town famous for its rich diaspora. Notwithstanding the suspension of the priests, the incident exposes the dark and ugly underbelly of religious institutions and the clergy, especially in Kerala where most factions of the church and organisations of other forms of faith command immense financial, social and political clout. It is indeed shameful and shocking that the priests were able to blackmail the woman, who belonged to their own herd, by exploiting her own confession secrets and passing the information around, leading to further abuse. This and many similar incidents reported in the recent past expose the chinks in the counselling and confession apparatus of not just the church but also other religious organisations, pointing towards the need to demand more transparency in the operations of religious organisations, especially in the way complaints of abuse and exploitation are treated.

Such incidents are, for sure, a blot on not just the Malankara Church but on all segments of Christian faith and casts a shadow over the way women and the vulnerable are treated. Already, there have been allegations that religious organisations function in alarmingly patriarchal way at a time pontiffs such as Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, a stronger and larger force in Kerala, are calling for more gender sensitive policies and offering more avenues for women in the affairs of the church.

Hence, the Malankara Orthodox Church must take appropriate action against the priests if found guilty and should let the laws of the land, not just the rules of the church, deal with them, especially given that many people including the believers have expressed fear that the maximum punishment these priests would meet could be a suspension, which will bring matters back to the normal sooner or later. The civil society must be vigilant to make sure the Church does not act like AMMA, the body of Malayalam film actors in Kerala, which shamelessly — shocking rights organisations and gender activists — welcomed back into its fold Dileep, a superstar accused of orchestrating one of the most heinous episodes of rape and abduction on an actress.

Deputy Editor

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on June 26, 2018
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor