Kochi: In an appalling rant caught on camera and widely shared online, a priest in Kerala wonders why girls wear jeans and banyan that men wear, claiming there are men who say that despite their self-control, when they see these semi-naked women, they are forced to commit sin.
"Why is that thing (woman) even in church, I don't understand. I want to ask girls sitting here, has the Catholic Church allowed you to wear jeans and banyan that men wear? There are men who come out of a convention and tell me that despite their self-control, when they see these semi-naked women, they are forced to commit sin. If your dressing entices grandfathers and youths, you are sinning," Father Sharlom apparently says, according to NDTV.
Father Sharlom was addressing a Christian convention when he apparently made the comments. The video aired on a Christian channel and uploaded on YouTube nearly 11 months ago but has recently surfaced again.
The priest, asked about the video today, told NDTV, "I have not uploaded it and the video has been edited with vested interest." He immediately hung up.
On camera, he says, "There are times when you don't feel like giving communion to these girls in church or even allowing them in church. The reason is their jeans. They will have a mobile in hand. She won't even comb her hair or tie it up with a ribbon. She will let her hair down."
Who, wonders the Father, is she showing off to?
He has been skewered on social media.
Biny Mary Chandy, commenting on Facebook, said, "This is just unacceptable...absolutely disgusting."
Another Facebook user, Aeirin-lisa Puthanveettil, commented, "If dressing is the cause for all bad things happening to women, then why are girls in purdah and uniforms raped?"
"Disgusting" preacher, declared Habel Kurien, writing, "I hope Pope Francis will preach him right."
Speaking to NDTV on behalf of the Catholic Church, Father Paul Thellakkat in Kochi said, "What that preacher has said is unwarranted. No priest has the right to dictate a dress code to women. Men and women are a reflection of God and both are equal and beautiful."
The only heat that Father Sharlom has faced, however, is on social media.