Canon Law, Sharia Law, Other Traditions

With Australia planning to pass laws requiring Catholic priests to break the Seal of Confession, I can see our (Catholic) side of this, and Canon Law, but what about other religions like Muslim’s Sharia Law or the laws of other faiths? If Catholic priests steadfastly adhere to the Seal, won’t that just snowball into other faiths breaking laws of their government, citing freedom of religion too?

Is this just a duplicate of your post in catholic news?

Can you give a specific example of how or what this would look like?

I would hope so.

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Yeah. For some reason it wasn’t showing up on the list for “all categories”and it couldn’t be seen unless posters specifically went to Catholic News. I’ll see if I can delete the first post.

Sometimes computers just don’t cooperate! Can you give an example of a rule or law of another religion that could be addressed. All I am thinking of are rather extreme.

How so? We have the freedom of religion here, but say, for example, a Satanist wants the same freedoms as a Catholic (not that I know anything about Satanism), if Catholic priests are allowed to adhere to the Seal and then someone from another religion wants to break the law citing “freedom of Religion”, then what?

Sorry, I know little to nothing about Sharia law and other religions. The point I was trying to make is freedom of religion extends to more than just Catholics and if we’re forced to break the Seal (and I think we may be headed that way), what about other religious practices?

In countries where freedom of religion is a right, I surely can see the state pushing this as far as possible if it is not defended initially and every time something of this nature is suggested, for every religion.

I don’t think I understand.

That’s what freedom of religious means. So yes.

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Australia’s laws are changing, some as soon as October where priests will be required to break the seal if he believes a penitent has committed a crime.

yes it does.

It doesn’t matter what the law says, priest will not break the seal.

And, other religions should not be compromised either.

I don’t understand what you think the problem is here.


Google has information titled “priests who have broken the Seal.”

I think the problem is that some priests, bound by Canon law AND government laws will opt to break the Seal rather than go to jail or pay a hefty fine.

Then, in order for the government to know, for certain, that a priest hasn’t broken the seal to report a crime I’ve read about (I think even on CAF) police using sting operations. That sounds like a huge infringement on Catholicism as we’ve always known it to be.

So a priest would, or would not break the seal if a penitent committed a crime and the government required priests to start breaking the Seal?

Not that.

Your comments about religous freedom for other groups is what I don’t understand.

Google also has information on “my next door neighbor the alien”.

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I may be wrong, but I believe if a priest breaks the seal, he is no longer a priest.

This is a great question. Why would Catholicism get preferential treatment over any other religion? Aside from that, I don’t see a lot of practical advantage in keeping the secrets or identity of an active serial killer under a seal of any kind. Some people need to be taken off the streets. I wonder how many predators who were members of the clergy were shielded by the seal of confession. Does anyone have any numbers on that? It’s a heavy thing to ponder. We have to temper our religious freedoms with some basic common sense. When you see past the haze of held religious beliefs, hiding a serial killer or serial rapist is simply aiding and abetting a serious crime.

All the best

In America anyway, priests do not get special legal treatment over other religions. US Federal law does not care about canon law, and protects something known as “ecclesiastical privilege.” All private discussions between you and any clergyman of any faith are privileged information, inadmissible in court. We have similar privacy protections with other professions.

As regards Her Majesty’s government of Australia…So, if we are talking about a priest refusing to do something because of religious convictions…okay, fine.

Most of us are totally okay with people refusing to comply with legal requirements, even when there is a compelling state interest. Look at every pacifist religion. They refuse to do something because of religious conviction, and we let it go - even when every one else is mandated to do it. We have done so here since the American Revolution (which did have a few draftees, contra popular opinion).

If we are talking about people demanding to do something because their religion demands it, then that is slightly more complicated in US law, but clearly, it is a different issue.

Point being, if you are trying to make the argument that priests refusing to do something, will be analogous to Muslims demanding to do something or Satanists demanding to do something illegal (with clear and direct victims of that action), then I don’t think your fears are warranted.

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