Thanks for sharing this. Hopefully Australia realizes that removing the Seal of Confession isn’t an option unless they want to, essentially, jail men for being Catholic priests.
And it was also interesting to read his remarks on the other aspects of Catholicism in Australia.
It is going to be a topic at our plenary council , according to this. And a priority is dialogue with the government, to educate non Catholics and to discuss options.
I do like the way the Bishop says we have to be open to the Holy Spirit, even if we don’t like the direction we are being headed
Priests have been tortured and died because of the seal of confession. I doubt they’re suddenly going to turn around and start reporting people who come to confession.
That’s the whole pooint anyway. It’s supposed to be anonymous. Who would even go to confess serious (illegal) sins in confession if they thought that the priest would just run down to the police station and report them.
Also…I doubt the majority of child sexual abusers even go to confession so what’s the point?
Thank you for the link to the article. I can understand the secular commission’s thought process, but it does show their lack of understanding of the Sacrament and the relationship between penitent and priest.
I admit, I have no understanding of basic Austrailian law. The idea of creating a law to govern Church action seem foreign. Are other secular professions such as attorneys under such rules?
Your points are well made. I was at a question and answer session about the scandal with sexual abuse of children in the Church. A woman asked the priest " Do pedophiles ever even come to confession?" He said he could answer that question in general terms only of course. He said
“I’ve been a priest for 40 years and I can count on one hand the number of people that have done so.”
It’s a Royal Commission recommendation to the government. It’s an issue to be taken extremely seriously. The Australian Bishops council and Pope Francis are doing just that. We can’t have every single priest open to jail and persecution due to a law . Everything about the findings of the Royal
Commission into historic institutional child abuse is taken extremely seriously.
Their authority to set the la of the land and is quite clear and legal.
We have lawyers and barristers here. No idea if they are. However, if they were the subject of the Royal Commission and it’s findings, they would be under the spotlight too.
The banks are under the spotlight in a Royal Commission now, they are scrambling. People are being repaid all sorts of fees they were unjustly and illegally charged.
The Seal of Confession cannot be broken. If the Government demands it, we’ll just settle in for another persecution. Either way, you can’t break the Seal.
Trouble is, the clergy knew and hid or moved or otherwise protected these perpetrators, in some instances for decades.
Anonymous won’t be an acceptable risk or protocol here in the near and distant future.
It’s about transparency now, to protect children.
If this were to become law, Pope Francis, the Magisterium and the Australian Bishops Conference will already be working on a solution.
If it did become law, it would be way too easy to set priests up and send them all to jail.
It would be an extremely bad situation! I wouldn’t be surprised if it spreads past Australia. Regardless, the Church has been persecuted before and we might just have to dig in for another one
We can’t have all our Priests bishops and cardinals in jail. There will be no clergy left.
I like the road the Australian Bishops Conference is travelling on this.
It’s all due to what happened in the church, it’s about accepting responsibility, and the guilt. And working to fix that in the religious and secular world in Australia.
It’s a long road, especially with the trial coming up.
One comment by the bishop makes no sense to me. He said “For the Church, the seal is non-negotiable, which is why negotiations with government are important.”
If it’s non-negotiable—and it is—it’s non-negotiable. It can not be negotiated.
And moving cleris around from place to place has nothing whatever to do with the seal of confession.
Jim , a brief history that led to the Royal Commission into Historic institutional child abuse in Australia.
- 7 % of Clergy, religious and lay ministers were abusing children in some Diocese and Patishes
- It was ongoing into the 21st Century . clergy and religious were being moved around when their individual crimes in a Parish came to light. Some being continuously moved over decades. Or sent to USA ‘Re-education’ Clergy centres.
Of course there is no re-education, so they would return , be reassigned , and continue abusing children.
- Children and adults were not being heard or believed, in or out of the confessional.
- Now this is the reason for the season as they say- the Royal Commission sat for 5 years. It finished and handed down its report last year.
The report has a list of recommendations as a result of its findings, for each organisation or group.
The Catholic Church has a list of recommendations.
One recommendation is to break the seal of confession and go straight to mandatory reporting if abuse is confessed by a perp, or told about by a victim or a victim’s carer. .
This recommendation is a law change. A law change by the government, not the Church. That law change will include mandatory reporting by Clergy.
Every other organisation/ institution is legally subject to mandatory reporting of child abuse.
So in effect the law can come in, regardless of what the Catholic Church thinks, believes, holds sacred, or wants.
The Australian Bishops Conference is going to be working with the government to find an acceptable solution for this, if possible. The Magisterium is keeping very close to this issue.
This is why negotiations are crucial.
We understand our faith. Others don’t , and don’t accept some of its frameworks.
The sexual abuse of children is an issue to be stamped out. And the Church here , and the police, and lay schools did not listen to , or act appropriately on what was going on.
It happened. There is no turning the clock back for those survivors and their families, and those who could not live with what happened.
There are at least 3 clergy on trial here atm for this. It’s ongoing.
NEVER, removing the seal of confession will never be the answer to any problem.
Unfortunately if it becomes law , there is going to be a lot of setting up of Priests. Among other issues.
The secular world doesn’t really understand, at this point, why there is mandatory reporting for every institution, but Priests are exempt.
Negotiations and discussions and education , guided by the Holy Spirit, will hopefully bear good fruit in the secular world.
No use burying our heads in the sand, ignoring the issue, and passively watching the law come in.
We have a voice. Our Bishops will use it in a Christian manner.
How can anyone prove what has been said in Confession anyways? It’s not recorded… Lie detectors don’t hold up in Court
This is a terrible idea. Society is benefited greatly by the sacrament of reconciliation. This will have an immediate chilling effect. Once you open the door here a crack it soon will be swung wide open one case at a time.
Finding the proof necessary to prosecute abuse cases is a laudable goal. However, as precedence expands, soon a husband may be able to subpoena the priest to discover whether his wife has been faithful. Can an employer eventually subpoena the priest to discover that the employee once used the company truck unlawfully to take his kid to school.
This opens the door to a parade of horrible that will destroy this sacrament in Australia. Every time the law is expanded, less people will use reconciliation the way it is supposed to be used. (Or heaven forbid that Priests will end up in jail to protect the penitents.)
Reconciliation is a major benefit to any society. It increases morality and makes people less likely to reoffend.
Law changes like this always continue to take away rights and civil liberties. This opens Pandora’s box in a way that is chilling.