On February 15, a year-old employed in a private financial firm was collecting proofs to avoid paying excess tax. As his wife sat beside him, he stumbled upon a bank statement which showed Rs 9, deducted from her account towards a bill from a five-star Kochi hotel in January. When he questioned her, she broke down claiming sexual exploitation going back 17 years by at least five priests of their Church, saying one of them had taken her to that hotel. As evidence, she showed call details, chat history, social media accounts and bank statements.
Since then, two of the priests have been arrested, while two have moved the Supreme Court for anticipatory bail. Just 38 km away, at Kuravilangad, on June 30, a nun accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Jalandhar Catholic diocese of rape, saying he had assaulted her 13 times between and After she made the charge, others came forward saying the Bishop, who hails from Kerala, had forced at least 18 inmates to quit the order.
Police are probing. A few days later, a year-old accused priest Binu George, of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in Alappuzha district, of sexual assault in The case is being probed. The allegations come close on the heels of a charge against Cardinal George Alencherry of causing loss of Rs 90 crore to the Catholic archdiocese of Ernakulam in a controversial land deal. After an internal probe, the Vatican divested the Cardinal, also the head of Syro Malabar Church, of administrative powers.
Battered by the autobiography named Amen, the Church had termed Jesme mad. There is also a realisation that at a time when social media and the changing nature of society have altered the relationship between a priest and his congregation, the Church needs to adapt. The Census puts the Christian population in Kerala at However, the Church has played a disproportionately large role in Kerala by virtue of its pioneering educational and health care institutions.
In the state, it took the lead in constructing roads, bringing electricity to rural areas, and even tying up with state-owned transport to ensure connectivity for villages. Over the last two decades, with the rise of other religious groups, in social, cultural, economic and educational spheres, the space occupied by the Church has shrunk. Various Muslim groups and Hindu community organisations such as Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam have launched educational institutions.
With the UGC introducing eligibility test for college teachers, this number has dwindled. Alongside, while Church-financed hospitals were the byword for quality health care earlier, some of the prominent hospitals in the state are now owned by NRI Muslims or other non-Christian investors. Under it, needs were discussed and decisions on development taken at the grassroots level.
Micro-finance schemes and poverty alleviation initiatives by various government agencies have, meanwhile, minimised the demand for Church charity. One reflection of this shrinking role is the Indian Farmers Movement INFAMwhich was set up by the Church in to improve the fortunes of farmers hit by falling prices of their produce.The Malankara Orthodox Church in Kerala has suspended five priests over allegations that they sexually abused a woman from Thiruvalla.
This after they allegedly blackmailed her based on her secret confessions. Confirming the complaint to TNM, Church spokesperson PC Elias said that the five priests have been suspended pending inquiry in the wake of allegations against them. We do not know if these allegations are true. Only after the inquiry can we say if it is genuine or fake. The priests have been indefinitely suspended, until the inquiry is completed.
If the allegations are found to be false, they will be reinstated, the spokesperson added. According to reports, three of the priests belong to Niranam Diocese in Thiruvalla, and one each from Thumbamon in Pandalam and Delhi. The church has 30 dioceses across the country.
The audio clip, which is a telephonic conversation between the man and another person, says that he confronted his wife upon seeing a hefty hotel bill in her e-mail account in February this year. Saying that he was raised as a believer of the Orthodox church and has lived all his life in purity, the man says:. When I confronted her, she said that she was being blackmailed by one of the orthodox priests into having a sexual relationship with him. Many years ago, before we got married, a priest had sexually abused her and was blackmailing her since then.
Threatening her so, he demanded sexual favours from her. He even took pictures of them together and shared those pictures with a third priest.
Man in India confession sex case loses faith in probes
He too, later started abusing my wife. They kept circulating the videos and now around priests are involved. He added that his wife has not divulged the extent of the abuse, fearing that the priests would do something.
That is not enough for me, I want them defrocked and no other Church should take them in. Sitting in his home near Mallappally in Pathanamthitta district, The man tells TNM that the priests continue to lead prayers even today, paying no heed to the church that has reportedly asked them to go on long leave. On Thursday, He gave a statement before the Commission appointed by the church for the second time. The Commission consists of two counsels and a priest. My evidence is the statement of my wife, what she has given in writing to me.
I have given the complaint along with her statement. Later, he checked her mobile phone, where he says he found evidence that she had been meeting a few priests. After a confrontation, the man says his wife told him the sordid story of how a priest had sexually harassed her when she was young. Later, when she confessed this to another priest, he used the information to blackmail her. The priest who took the confession, and other priests, then started asking her for sexual favours in order to keep their silence.
I had composed a complaint to give the Superintendent of Police.What does the Talmud says about pleasure and power? How does Orthodox Judaism affect a person's sex life? The Orthodox community "is not monolithic," Marcus noted. Views on sex and sexuality vary, as they might in any religion. On the whole, though, the doctor said messages about sex should ideally be positive.
Some people think that this has to do with different types of positions, or minimizing pleasure. The "Jewish message," he said, is that sex should be a connection with the other person. It should not be exploitative and should not take advantage of another person. A new documentary by filmmaker Ori Gruder, entitled ' Sacred Sperm ,' looks at the taboos and traditions surrounding sex in the Orthodox community.
Five Indian Orthodox priests suspended in sex case
Gruder also found that many strictures apply -- like a prohibition on masturbation -- and many view sex as sacred and deeply personal. For those too shy to discuss the topic out loud, Orthodox sex counselor David Ribner joined forces with teacher Jennie Rosenfeld to publish The Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy, being heralded as "a sex manual for Orthodox Jews. For more on sex and intimacy in Orthodox Judaism, watch the clip above and check out the full conversation at HuffPost Live.
No thanks. Important conversations are happening now. Add your voice! Join HuffPost Today! Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. Join HuffPost. Antonia Blumberg. Suggest a correction. Today is National Voter Registration Day!He has suspended five priests after they were accused of sexually abusing a mother of two and blackmailing her. Photo by AFP. UCA News provides a unique service, bringing you the voices of emerging churches and helping you see efforts made to evangelize and bring relief to people in all manner of need.
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Support UCA News. Contribute Get Rewarded. India Five Indian Orthodox priests suspended in sex case Church to hold an inquiry into claims that priests sexually abused woman after using her confession secrets to blackmail her.
Pakistan's 'mother of forgotten ones' dies of Covid Jul 21, Indian Protestant bishop breaks away, declares free church Jul 23, Fifth Christian murdered in India in two months Jul 23, Taiwan president attends Taipei archbishop's installation Jul 22, Justice served: Khmer Rouge henchman faces death behind bars Jul 22, Farewell to Vietnam's century-old cathedral Jul 21, Harassment of Bangladeshi blogger's family condemned Jul 22, Court allows reprieve for rape-accused Indian bishop Jul 23, Modi pushes controversial temple to center stage of Indian politics Jul 22, Zero tolerance for clerical sexual abuse of children Jul 21, India's Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has suspended five priests following allegations that they sexually abused a mother of two children by using her confession secrets to blackmail her.
Elias told media on June We do not know what is the truth. We will conduct an inquiry and take further action if there is any substance in the allegations," he said. The church has not revealed the identity of the suspended priests. The scandal erupted when an audio clip of a telephone conversation, purportedly between the woman's husband and a church official, went viral on social media.
Related News. Bishop opens inquiry into Bangladeshi priest sex claims. Support UCA News Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter. Pandemic spreads, pushing Indians to crisis point Jul 25, A section of activists feels that the growing sexual misdemeanours by the clergy could also be due to the entry of a new generation of youths into the vocation in Kerala.
A parishioner who rattled the Kerala-based Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church by exposing the sexual abuse of his wife by a group of clergymen for the last 20 years, is devastated. Sebastian name changed had taken up the matter with the church authorities with the hope that they will solve the issue as per laws of the Church.
But to his utter shock, the prelates took the side of the offenders and mounted pressure on him to withdraw his complaint. And when Sebastian did not yield to the pressure, they even resorted to character assassination of him and his wife. The year-old, who works as a sales manager in a private firm, said the Church has been portraying him as a trouble maker and his wife as a sex monger after he pursued his complaint. A devout Christian, Sebastian says he had unabiding faith in the Church and its goodness.
In fact, he had decided against taking up the criminal offence committed by five priests as he did not want to tarnish the image of the Church. But he lost this faith after the Church allegedly made his wife a subject of ridicule in public, by handing the confession she made to him regarding her sexual exploitation over to the accused priests and media persons. He said he attached the document with his complaint to the Church authorities to convey the gravity of the actions of the priests, but the Church allowed the clergymen to use it to defend themselves in the court and to malign his wife in public.
I don't know how she will be able to cope with her life after this character assassination. I am an ordinary person. I didn't have big dreams.Shlomo Shlomo Savidhakare -- Easter Songs -- Sam Thomas -- Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Songs
I only want my family to be happy. I don't know whether the Church will allow us to live in peace," Sebastian said. His fear is not unfounded.
The case of a woman from Ayiroor in Pathanamthitta, who committed suicide after a priest leaked her secret confession to another woman in her parish, is a glaring example of the vengeful approach of the Church.
The deceased woman's husband, who lodged a police complaint against the priest, was expelled from the Church. And though he didn't pursue his complaint, he was taken back into the fold only after 10 years. There have been several other such cases. The normal practice seems to be to deny sacraments to those who disobey the Church and its diktats. As the faithful consider these sacraments to be among the most important aspects of the Catholic faith, they are usually unwilling to antagonise the Church.
Roy Mathew, a senior journalist close to the Church, said that many priests have been taking advantage of this situation to sexually exploit the women. In rare cases, the victims approach the church forums but they usually try to compromise the case in favour of the offenders.
There have been several cases in which victims were forced to withdraw their complaints," Roy said. He added that at least complaints against the priests were suppressed in this manner over the last few years.
Many withdrew their complaints under duress, he said, pointing out that a senior bishop had intervened when a non-resident Keralite NRK refused to withdraw a complaint he filed against a priest at Ranni under the Nilackkal diocese on 6 June for sexually exploiting his wife.
He said the NRK withdrew his complaint after he was summoned to the bishop's house nine times and brainwashed. A section of the priests in the diocese has come out against the alleged cover-up.
Roy said similar pressure was also mounted on Sebastian to withdraw his complaint. But before they could persuade the families, the media took up the issue. If it was not for the media, the case would have been swept under the carpet," Roy said. Police intervention in the confession-related case has encouraged many others to seek legal recourse in sexual abuse cases.
Enthused by the strong stand taken by the police in the case, a year-old woman has also filed a police complaint about a sexual assault she faced at the hands of a priest in The woman took legal recourse against Binu George, a priest under the Koypallikaranma Orthodox diocese, after the Church did not take any action on her complaint for four years.
The woman accused the priest of raping her four years ago, when she had approached him for help in settling a family dispute.Earlier this week, NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma recommended in a report addressed to the Union Home Ministry that the practice of confession should be abolished in churches across the country since women cannot trust priests.
Sharma's proposal came at the heels of two back to back sex scandals rocking the Catholic community in India. Where in one case, four priests with the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church were arrested for blackmailing and sexually abusing a married woman, the other had emerged from Punjab where the Bishop of Jalandhar was accused of raping a nun.
From Bondage To Masturbation: The Sex Practices Orthodox Jews Deem Kosher
Kerala: Malankara Orthodox church to observe protest on August 5 against National Commission of Women's proposal to abolish practice of confessions in church. Terming the NCW's proposal as "a violation of the religious freedom enshrined in the Indian Constitution", the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference criticised Sharma by calling her proposal politically motivated.
The body even said that isolated incidents are being used to attack their religious freedom. A highly-placed Cardinal with the CBCI referred to Article 25 of the Indian Constitution that promises the right to practice, profess and propagate the religion of one's choice.
While the Union Home Ministry has not confirmed whether it will accept the recommendation to abolish confessions, bodies representing Catholic rights in India have definitely taken a beating since the sex-for-silence scandal. Get access to news that you can trust. Times Now. Follow us on :. Earlier this week, the Malankara Orthodox church sent out a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the National Minority Commission of India asking them to reject a recommendation by National Commission of Women chief Rekha Sharma calling for the abolition of 'confessions' in churches across India.
The proposal was made in the wake of the sex-for-silence scandal that rocked the Catholic community in India earlier this year. PM Narendra Modi quits Chinese social media platform. Rlys to introduce clause in procurement for suppliers. African Swine Fever kills thousands of pigs in Assam. BJP starts preparations for West Bengal assembly polls. COVID patient sexually assaults year-old girl. Kolkata: Dental student found hanging in her hostel room. Man murders his 5 children on occultist's advice.By UCAN.
Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, head of the church based in the southern state of Kerala, has removed all five priests, including one from its Diocese of Delhi, church spokesman P. Elias told media on June We do not know what is the truth.
He allegedly video-recorded the sex act and passed the information and video to another priest, who also used it have sex with the woman. The husband, a resident of Tiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district, named the five priests.
According to the audio clip in the Malayalam language, the man claimed at least eight priests sexually abused his wife, and he has proof against five. The church, also known as the Indian Orthodox Church, is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church, one of the seven churches including two Catholic ones that trace their faith to St.
Thomas the Apostle, who according to their tradition preached in southwest India in 52 A. The church now has 30 dioceses, including seven outside the state and three abroad. The church allows its priests to marry and enjoy family life. The marital status of the accused priests is unknown. The sexual abuse started after the woman confessed her relationship with a priest in her parish that started even before her marriage.
The woman spilled the beans after he confronted her with the bill, he said. The man said he will pursue the case until all the priests are removed from the church.
He did not go to police as he did not want to defame the church. He also alleged there was pressure on him from church officials and influential people within the church to withdraw his complaint. Father Mathew Abraham, chairman of the church management committee, said he cannot believe that any priest in the church would break the seal of confession.
He said it was difficult to believe that a priest would take a woman to a five-star hotel. He suspects the allegations may be part of a lobby trying to damage the reputation of the church, which is engaged in a legal battle with the rival Jacobite faction over control of the church and its properties in the wake of the division over allegiance to the Patriarch. Father Abraham said the complainant had a bad track record. He had once created a ruckus in the parish committee and tried to assault a priest.
The faithful in the parish had turned against him following the incident and he could be taking revenge by raising baseless allegations, the priest said. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.
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