Concerned over the increase in incidents of priests sexually abusing minors, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) is considering a protocol for priests and nuns who interact with students.
unfortunate such cases are being reported frequently. If this is the
situation, the Church will have to think of framing a protocol for
priests and nuns who interact with children,” said Fr Varghese
Vallikkatt, KCBC deputy secretary and spokesperson.
At least five
major incidents of child abuse involving priests have been reported in
Kerala during the last two years. Only one among the accused in these
cases has been convicted.
It was just two months ago Fr Edwin
Figarez, who was the parish priest at Puthenvelikkara, was sentenced to
double life term for raping a 14-year-old girl.
In October 2016,
Fr James Thekemuriyil, the rector of a seminary in Kannur district, was
arrested by the police for alleged sexual assault on a 21-year-old
seminarian who was undergoing training under him at the institution.
Raju Kokkan, parish priest of St Paul’s Church at Thaikkattusery, was
arrested for abusing a 10-year-old girl. He allegedly abused the girl
after inviting her to the parsonage.
Allegations of sexually abusing boys were levelled against a parish priest of a famous church in Kochi city.
the priest escaped legal action as the victims failed to approach the
police. The diocese authorities shifted the priest to a home of retired
priests and later entrusted him with the charge of a parish.
priests have brought disgrace to the Catholic Church. Being an
independent Church, Syro Malabar Church, in exercise of its power to
take decisions, should allow priests to get married’’ said Reji
Njellani, president of the Open Church Movement and an officer-bearer of
the Kerala Catholic Reformation Movement.