Can Kerala bishops declare that drinking alcohol is a sin?

The bishops want to take action against excessive drinking in the state. But their plan to deem it sinful could present theological difficulties.

Manoj Mathew

Updated: December 12, 2012 06:25 PM GMT

For the 55 lakh Catholics in Kerala, alcohol consumption will soon be a sin, which has to be confessed before a priest. That is, if a church panel has its way.

The temperance commission of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), which has taken up the issue, is also seeking a ban on employing people who drink in institutions run by the church.

The proposals form part of a 30-point draft liquor policy to be put up for discussion before the Kerala Catholic Council (KCC), an apex body comprising bishops, priests and the laity of the church, who are meeting here on Tuesday; and before the KCBC meeting on Wednesday and Thursday.

According to Fr P.J. Antony, secretary of the commission, the panel was forced to take the extreme stand in view of the crisis the Kerala society is going through due to excessive drinking. 

He said the draft proposals were based on the teachings of Bible and were also in tune with scientific studies that held alcohol as a cause for various physical and mental illnesses.

On the basis of the discussions, the liquor policy will be announced on February 2. The church believes this is its moral responsibility.

But Charlie Paul, president of KCBC Madhya Virudha Samithi, said making drinking a sin may need more theological backing. Some bishops have reservations on this and want it to be referred to theological experts.

Full Story: Kerala Catholics may need to 'confess' to taking liquor 

Source: Asian Age

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