Bishop wants Cyprus pupils to confess

NICOSIA (Reuters) – An Orthodox bishop has offered to put confession boxes in every Cypriot school for teenagers to seek repentance for their sins. Whether nabbed smoking or engaging in anything else that would be offensive to parents, the bishop reckons the sanctuary of a confessional on school grounds would soon put teenagers back on the straight and narrow. «It’s an idea that has been conveyed to us and we are looking at it,» an Education Ministry representative said yesterday. The Greek-Cypriot Education Ministry has close ties to the Orthodox Church and several schools already have small chapels. Religion classes are part of the Greek-Cypriot school curriculum and focus heavily on Orthodox Christian doctrines. Athanassios, a bishop from the southern port city of Limassol, is willing to pay for the confessionals, the daily Phileleftheros reported. But teachers unions’ are against the idea. «Children are free to go to church if they wish but trying to force somebody into doing something can backfire,» the head of one union said. The youthful bishop is a popular figure in Limassol. Some years ago, his predecessor introduced late morning services on Sundays to give all-night revelers the opportunity to get to church.