The NDA government recently amended the POCSO Act to enable the Courts to handout stricter punishments to those who commit sexual crimes against children. Apart from fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography, the amendments also include the death penalty as the maximum punishment for acts of paedophilia.
While the move was appreciated by all quarters and assurances were sought that the provisions will be implemented strictly, one institution was not too happy with the prospect. Catholic leaders have come out and asserted that the Church cannot support the provision for death sentences for child sex offenders due to its ‘pro-life’ stand.
The Catholic Church is against the death penalty for any crime, said Bishop Jose Chittooparampil of Rajkot. “The Catholic Church’s official stand is pro-life, considering life as a gift from God,” he told ucanews.com. “It cannot back executions because God is the master of life. The Church believes in the transformation of even hard-core criminals.”
“Taking life is easy but bringing back the offenders to normal life should be our main concern,” he further added. He further argued that sexual offences are often committed on an impulse and the offender often comes to regret his actions. “Should we not give them a chance to live?” asked Bishop Jose.
In unrelated news, the Catholic Church has been grappling with institutional paedophilia in its ranks. The institution has utterly failed to protect the children who interact with their clergy. It’s widely known that the Catholic Church did everything in its power to cover up the crimes of child sex offenders in their midst. Not merely, they were often elevated to higher echelons of power.
Even the Pope is accused of empowering a child sex offender to the highest ranks of power despite being fully aware of his crimes. The rot in the Church goes to the very top. Under such circumstances, it would seem that people associated with the Catholic Church are not best placed to advise others on how to deal with paedophiles. However, their dubious track record doesn’t appear to have discouraged Bishop Jose from pontificating on the matter.