Confessions to go? Women commission wants to abolish confessions in churches

  July 26, 2018 


James kottoorNote: ‘Demythologizing Confession’ was the booklet this scribe wrote when he was editor of the over 125 year old English Catholic Weekly, The New Leader,  from Chennai. That was some 50 years ago. Things have not changed much ever since, nor is there hope, they will, as long as there is no shortage of day dreamers and blind believers!

     In that booklet I exposed the lack of scriptural and rational arguments. No time and space to repeat them here. In any case Jesus did not institute any of the sacraments. The Church did it to enslave the faithful according to their vested interest needs of the times. Will any one stoutly object in public to the diktats  of a Parish Priest after confessing his sins of rape, stealing and exploitation? That says it all.

Change of heart, not face

        Sin and virtue do not consist in external change through rituals, abulations  or dip in the Ganga. It is change of heart (metanoia) and wrong convictions. Without that any amount of face-lift  is not going to help any one. Briefly  sin is using people and virtue being useful to people,  which is easy but sacrificial.

       That is why it is said that any one capable of thinking will do anything and go to any length to save his/her face to put up a good appearance before people, but not his/her soul, to put up a good appearance before God, before one’s own conscience. We, most of us, are living in a make believe world reducing spirituality and and  religious life to externals, to Sunday dress, which we put on and off for show.

       That is why no change happens, or will ever happen,  in the lives of persons who make even weekly confession. Confession is like counseling, or a doctor treating an infected sick patient. Sick or crooked minds have to be made healthy. Otherwise all external rituals are useless meant only to fool people.

One example

        Any number of shocking personal examples in India and abroad, can be given. Here is just one this old man had, not told to anyone. Once upon a time this old man was a young very exemplary boy and young man believing everything and doing all rituals dutifully, also going to confession very regularly. Once I went to a very respected elderly and considered learned Monsignor.

       I was editor in Chennai at that time and I had not confessed any wrongs I did in writing at all. But the well meaning confessor told me with the best of intentions, I guess: “James you should be very, very careful in your writing which may cast a shadow on your future prospects, because you are one of the “Episcopabilis” (One who could be made a bishop) and people speak about it!”

      It was the shock of my life as I had  never even dreamt of it. That made me rethink and also experiences at home and abroad, reason, scripture etc,  and forced me to stop confession all together. Many more instances  I had in my past 83 years but none of you have to follow my example.

     According to my experience and understanding this auricular confession must go and do whatever brings  internal change of heart and conviction, and not putting up powder and scent on your face to look attractive and smell enticing to others. james kottoor, editor CCV.



Please read below the report in


Delhi: The National Commission of Women (NCW) has recommended abolishing the practice of “confessions” in churches as it can lead to blackmailing of women.

A central agency also needs to do a proper investigation into the increasing incidents of rape and sexual assaults in churches of Kerala, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said.

“The priests pressure women into telling their secrets and we have one such case in front of us, there must be many more such cases and what we have right now is just a tip of the iceberg,” she said.

The recommendations come in the backdrop of a rape case against four priests of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church who have been accused of sexually exploiting a married woman belonging to their church.

The issue came to the fore after the victims husband wrote to the church, alleging that the priests blackmailed and abused his wife, a school teacher.

The National Commission of Women has constituted an inquiry committee to look into alleged sexual assaults against women in churches, and has sent its findings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and the DGP of Kerala and Punjab.

“The woman was socially harassed. She left her job after the incident as her photograph was circulated on social media. The two priests are at large and they need to be nabbed,” the DCW chairperson said.

In another incident, a nun, in a complaint to the Kottayam district police chief last month, alleged that Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal raped her and had unnatural sex with her multiple times at a small town near Kottayam between 2014 and 2016.


Some Reactions:

George Nedumparambil

This sacrament is man made and not instituted by Jesus…… Jesus taught us to ask the Father "Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us". As per Jesus, it is to the Father that we should be asking for forgiveness. Do we need any more proof than this prayer taught by our Saviour himself? But there is a catch: Unless we forgive others God will not forgive us too. No quick fix by going to the priest. Repent and say the above prayer directly to God. That is what Jesus wants us to do. In the 21st century, I don't think the priests should be defending rules made by their fellow priestly clan centuries ago for their own to suit their own private agenda.

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Sebastian Ayilookunnel

Some disgruntled women who have mortgaged their faith are behind this outrageous calumny. If only they had understood the gratuitous gift of the mercy of God to the penitent, they would not have decried this beautiful Sacrament. Lord have mercy on them.

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Fr Mathew Poonat


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DBbranchkissunpal Kissunpenpal

This another clever plot and crafty ideas…Devil must rejoice while Jesus suffers on the cross and prays, father forgive the devilish attitude of all those who confess satanic ways…yet should they be forgiven who give up the spirit of Jesus the holy one of human kind…a bridge between God and humans

Like · Reply · 10h


Jason A Varghese

That is too harsh for some believers.Lord help the broken hearted and heal their wounds.The word of the Jesus is lamp unto my feet light unto my path.

May the everlasting Shepherd of the flock Jesus lead you. Amen.

Like · Reply · 15h


Matthew Adukanil

The NCW’s demand to abolish confession is an ill-considered knee jerk reaction to some very rare compromise of the confessional seal. The commission has no business to interfere in a sacred religious practice which is central to Christian life. Will they recommend abolition of police stations because women are raped there or because of custodial deaths? 

Rapes whether in the police station or by clergymen in confessional context are criminal actions for which the same criminal laws are to be applied. As far as the Church law is concerned priests of guilty of such crimes are automatically excommunicated and should be defrocked. For their criminal actions let the state apply the criminal laws to them without fear or favour. Let the law deal only with crimes which may result from religious practices but not interfere with religious practices it does not understand or appreciate. This is true respect for plurality of faiths.

Like · Reply · 16h


Augustine Karottupuram

The sacrament of Reconciliation, now known also as Confession existed in the Church always. Auricular Confession is a practice in the Church since several centuries. In the Catholic Church violation of confessional secrecy by a priest incurres immediate excommunication from the Church ipso facto. Only the Pope can forgive this sin. We don't need a non Christian Women Commission to tell what we should do according to our faith and practice which is all over the world. If Catholics have problems let the Church decide, not some highly prejudiced Women's Commission which often displays ignorance and immaturity.

Like · Reply · 17h


Valsa Mathew

"Confession" is a sacrament. For centuries it saved countless number of people, young and old, men and women. Administer it in the spirit of sacrament and approach the confessional in the same way.

Like · Reply · 20h


George Sunny Jacob

With the priests having made brothels out of confession boxes, this recommendation is worth considering.

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Kalappurakal Cheriya Lukose Thomas

It is all because Sex is considered as sin by the church. Better to abolish the sixth Commandment so that people will have freedom and there will be no abuse

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