Confessional Seal to stay protected in Victoria


breaking news,

The seal of confession will stay protected in Victoria, Aus.

more to come


Thanks be to God.



In the article it said that one of the recommendations had been rejected and listed some.

Royal commission recommendations:
Religious ministers forced to report information confided in them in confessional
Creating a new criminal offence for failing to protect children within an institution
The creation of a new National Office for Child Safety
Celibacy in the Catholic Church would become voluntary (emphasis added)

What exactly were they trying to change with celibacy? It’s already voluntary. No one is forced to be a priest. (And of course the Eastern rites have some married priests.)

I am glad they’re backing off on the confessional, at least for now.


its ongoing. No were in this. Each state is deciding on state laws, for example ACT and SA are making it mandatory to report child abuse if disclosed in the confessional.

Yes voluntary celibacy by Religious is one recommendation.


I love how they just assume that pedophiles are in there confessing all day every day.
Or that if the seal was lifted, the cops wouldn’t be using that to get evidence for 1001 other crimes.
Stupid media…


I have a question regarding this, for a confession to be valid, doesn’t a penitent have to take responsibility for their crimes (sins)? If they don’t, it wasn’t a valid confession, right?

So, if a penitent turned themselves in, there is no need for a priest to also report the crimes to the police or even if he did, the penitent certainly would be ok with that.

If a priest turned a penitent into the authorities against the will of the penitent, it wasn’t a real confession, so the priest isn’t breaking the Seal of the Confession.



Priests are not permitted to turn in a pentitent against the penitent’s will. That would most definitely be breaking the seal of confession.

There is no requirement that a penitent confess their crime/ sin to anyone but the priest. The priest cannot require someone to 'turn themself in" or to tell their wife or their parole officer or anyone else about the sin as a requirement of a valid confession.

If the penitent’s failure to confess to authorities means that he is committing some ongoing crime/ sin, then the priest can refuse absolution on the grounds that the person is not truly repentant, not because he didn’t “turn himself in” but because he is committing an ongoing sin, but the priest is not then allowed to go and disclose what was said in the confessional.

The priest can, and almost certainly does, encourage anyone who confesses a crime to turn themself in to the proper authorities. But it has to be the person’s decision to do so.


Thanks for the clarification.

This is further proof that the Catholic faith isn’t for me. You aren’t really sorry if you aren’t willing to take responsibility, in my opinion.

I appreciate your help in understanding!



Please don’t use things like this as an excuse the Catholic faith is not for you.
You make that judgement call - that Catholicism is not for you, and it’s coming from a much deeper place then one where you stand back and judge what others do or don’t do.

You must pray to God for the gift of faith. And quit judging what others do. Or using that as an excuse.

You have a very erroneous understanding of the sacrament of Reconcilliation.

And obviously you are not cloistered.

Contrition is what is required for a confession to be valid , we are all sinners, we will all sin.
Contrition meaning we do not want to offend God. We will try hard not to offend God.
Sacrament of Reconcilliation is not about crimes, it’s about mortal sin, some may be secular crimes, some not.

There is the seal of confession. It’s confidentiality between the Priest and the sinner.
If the person who has committed a crime wanted to turn him or herself in, that s totally a seperate issue to the Sacrament of Reconcilliation.

The seal of confession cannot be broken in the church as it stands, it’s Canon Law. That’s church law. If that law changes, then it can be broken by the Priest. But the Canon Law would have to change.

A person can confess a crime and seek to be reinstated into God’s mercy , by saying yes to God, in the Sacrament of Reconcilliation. A person can confess any religious sin too, ie breaking the commandents of God.

Even our Pope attends the Sacrament of Reconcilliation regularly.
Pope Francis says the church is a field hospital, for sinners and the lost.

Such amazing graces are in the Sacrament of Reconcilliation.


My point was that I don’t feel that the confession and confessing a crime to authorities should be separate. I don’t think absolution should ever be allowed unless the person takes responsibility for their sins.

Even is a child molester confesses to a priest and says that they will never molest again, I don’t feel as though that is enough. The victim might be a child who is still very much suffering in silence; the parents should be made aware so that they can help the child.

I don’t say that the Catholic church isn’t for me based on the sins of its members, I say it because it gives absolution for things that, I feel, people aren’t truly sorry for if they aren’t willing to face the consequences of their actions.


Forgiveness from God is not dependent on the secular legality or illegality of the action, or secular punishment of that action. For example, would you recommend a Priest in China turn in a family for having 3 kids? Or, if the punishment for shoplifting was execution, and someone confessed shoplifting to the Priest, should the Priest withhold their absolution on turning themselves in? This is just one reason canon law should not tie absolution to secular law and punishment.

More importantly, if Priests turned everyone over to the police for their crimes, no one would confess their sins to a Priest, which would ultimately result in their going to hell.

Lastly, while most everywhere people have the option of giving their confession face to face with a Priest, the default and common practice is to do it behind a screen to ensure anonymity (and another inducement to get people to confess). As such the Priest is very unlikely to even know who the person confessing is or if they followed through on the penance, in this case going to the police.


We Catholics live in the secular world, but we are not of it, if that makes sense. We follow the law of God and the Canon Law of the Catholic Church.

A Priest cannot require a sinner to turn himself in, neither can a lawyer, a teacher, even a police officer and a judge cannot require this in a secular world.
We have free will.

A person is taking responsibility for his or her sins by going to the Sacrament of Reconcilliation. In this Sacrament we seek to reinstate ourselves in Gods mercy . If you have ever been in a sacrament of confession line, you will see people distraught, crying, spending lots of time with the Priest, happy, elated.

It’s not just a let’s do this as it’s required. This Sacrament wipes mortal sin away from us and restores us to God’s graces.

If God wants the criminal to be punished in the secular world through law, it will happen.

I am in a Diocese where horrific institutional child abuse occurred by priests, religious and lay people of both sexes.

The perpetrators are now either in jail, on trial, or dead.

Australia is going through this atm due to a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Historic Child Abuse. So far 2 states have made it Law a Priest must break the seal of confession and mandatory report. One state has said it won’t require this as law. The Pope and Holy See are studying Canon Law to identify what can be done . We must have complete trust in Jesus on this, and in the Holy See.

You and I and no one besides God can know what is in the heart of a person seeking absolution. To say you can know is in error.

We have the Sacrament of Reconcilliation because we are human, we are creatures. We are too weak to stop sinning. We are also fighting evil. The temptations of the devil.

Do you believe the devil exists?


Child molesters are highly unlikely to tell anyone, including the priest in the confessional, what they are doing. Many of them are in serious denial about what they are doing or they do not see it as sinful, because they are sick in the head.

I think there is some idea among the general public that confession is like you see in the movies and people are in there confessing all kinds of serious felonies to the priest. The reality is that the vast majority of confessions involve mundane sins. They may be grave sins, like cheating on your spouse, but they are still mundane, not felony crimes.


I do feel that, as you need a “firm purpose of amendment”, it would seem reasonable for a priest to ask someone to turn themselves in.

Priests have refused to absolve before if they have felt that the penitent doesn’t really intend to stop. I think reporting oneself is a necessary step in these cases and so I don’t think it a stretch for priests to require it as proof that they really do intend to change. Especially if said sin has happened more than once.


It’s up to the individual priest what he wants to do in an individual penitent’s case. But the problem is that the priest is not supposed to force the person to break the seal of confession in order to get absolution. For example if someone comes in and confesses cheating on their wife, then the sin is supposed to be between penitent and priest. If the priest compels the guy to go tell his wife in order to get absolution, the priest is forcing the penitent to disclose the sin to someone other than God (as the priest is acting in persona Christi in the confessional) in order to be absolved by God. This is not permissible.


That type of law would have to become pervasive through all levels of society, from law enforcement, educators, carers down. How do you force someone to turn themselves in. We run on the innocent until proven guilty principle


Were you replying to me? I wasn’t talking about law at all. I was saying that I wouldn’t be against a priest telling someone who has just confessed to, say, abuse, murder, etc. to turn themselves in before absolution. I just put that out there, I don’t know the church law on that, but others disagree. I’m not talking secular law here.

But speaking of which, it’s interesting that Lawyers are conspicuously absent…


What do you mean, “Lawyers are conspicuously absent”? There are lawyers all over this forum, including in this thread. Many of them don’t announce, “Hi, I’m a lawyer” on every post. That is considered a bit crass and it also leads to a lot of unwanted discussions (people hit you up for legal advice that you cannot give them, people often don’t even believe you’re a lawyer if you tell them, people attack the legal profession, etc)

I’m a lawyer, and from a purely legal perspective, even if I were an atheist, I think any attack on the established law of privilege (spousal and clerical, which includes religions other than Catholicism and clerics other than priests) is a road we do NOT want to go down, as it is the first step on a slippery slope to the police and even other lawyers in civil suits getting all Big Brother in their evidence gathering.

(Also, the reason I know there are lawyers all over this forum is they tend to find each other via discussions and PMs even if a person is not announcing their profession. )


Ah, suppose I wasn’t clear enough. I was talking about the lawyers not being included in the law (which would be an attack on privilege). The point is that priests would in theory be forced to disclose crimes but lawyers don’t have to, which could be seen as a double standard, although I welcome opposing arguments if you like.

I’m not necessarily suggesting that either priests or lawyers should be compelled to tell on people, and I don’t presume to know what peoples’ jobs are on CAF. :wink:

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