The Church in India has reacted forcefully to a bill to abolish the sacrament of Penance proposed by a government commission whose job is to stop abuse committed by ministers.
The National Commission for Women has proposed to abolish the sacrament of Penance, considering that “this practice could lead to blackmailing women.”
According to Rekha Sharma, president of the government commission, priests “pressure women to force them to reveal their secrets to them,” in confession.
In support of the bill, the commission mentioned several cases of harassment that still have not yet been corroborated.
The government bill received a strong reaction from the Church in India, in the voice of Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Episcopal Conference and archbishop of Bombay.
When questioned by Vatican News on July 30, 2018, the high-ranking prelate called this demand from the Commission for Women “absurd”; he believes it “betrays a total lack of understanding of the nature, meaning, sanctity and importance of this Sacrament for our people.”
Cardinal Gracias also sees this proposition as a “deliberate power play” by a government organization that makes no secret of its hostility towards Christianity and its desire to make all of society Hindu.