Greek bishop's comments that rape entails woman's consent spark uproar

ATHENS - A senior Greek cleric sparked uproar Friday after declaring on national TV that rape entails a woman's consent and does not lead to pregnancy.

"A woman is not raped unless she wants to be," Bishop Chrysostomos of Dodoni told Skai TV during a discussion on abortion.

A woman "cannot be made pregnant" through rape, he said. Her "participation" is required for a child to be conceived, he added.

His comments were swiftly condemned by his political supervisor, Education and Religious Affairs Minister Niki Kerameus as "unthinkable and reprehensible".

"(This) brutally offends society and is inconsistent with the attitude of the Church, which actually supports women victims of abuse and rape," she said.

The Church of Greece, which safeguards the country's dominant Orthodox faith according to the Greek Constitution, is all-male and staunchly conservative. It opposes same-sex relations, premarital sex and abortion, and also resisted efforts to limit liturgies and Holy Communion during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bishop Chrysostomos - a popular name among Orthodox clergy that means "golden-tongued" - also called abortion a "crime".

The Holy Synod, the Church's governing body, in 2020 insisted there was no evidence that handing out bread soaked in wine from the same chalice and spoon helped spread the virus. AFP

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