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If rape charges are proved, Kerala church priests can be excommunicated: Senior clergymen

Press Trust of India  |  Kochi 

Priests of the Syrian Orthodox Church, who allegedly sexually assaulted a married woman, can be excommunicated if the charges against them are proved, senior clergymen said today.

"Not only rape, adultery is also a sin in our faith and proving the charges is enough to excommunicate them," they said.

A senior priest, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the charges of adultery or rape against a have to be proved before a church-appointed panel before officially excluding him from participation in the sacraments and services of the Church.

"Adultery, even with mutual consent, is a sin. If they are found guilty of committing rape or adultery, they can no longer function as priests," the clergyman told

Once excommunicated by the Church, the priests will never be treated as part of the clergy, another clergyman said.

They will not be barred from wearing the clergy attire, but they will only be treated as laity, he added.

Last month, a man from Pathanamthitta district accused five priests of the Orthodox Syrian Church in of using his wife's secret confession to blackmail and sexually abuse her.

The incident came to light after an audio clip containing the victim's husband's purported conversation with a alleging sexual abuse of his wife by the priests was widely circulated on the

The Crime Branch of the Police slapped rape charges against four of the five priests and registered an FIR against them after recording the victim's statement. The name of the fifth clergyman was not included for want of substantial evidence.

The High Court had yesterday rejected anticipatory bail pleas of three priests -- Abraham Varghese alias Sony, and -- observing they acted as "predators" and took "undue advantage" of the woman.

Father Job Mathew, the second accused in the case, surrendered before the Crime Branch today and is being questioned, police sources said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 12 2018. 18:55 IST