The seal of confession fight again

So in the upcoming elections it is becoming an issue

But we have a new Christian PM who says he will change the law to guarantee religious freedom here.

( just finding that link)

Almost impossible to comment on Rose.

Hopefully the entire phenomenon will become such a rarity, with all the measures Australia is putting in place, that time will show there’s no need to lift the seal of confession.

Any law forcing a priest to reveal what was said in Confession would violate the priest’s religious freedom. The Seal of Confession is absolute. There have been saints who were martyred for refusing to violate the Seal of Confession.


How does the state plan to catch priests disobeying this new law?

Are they planning to run a sting operation, where undercover officers pretend to be penitents, go into the confessional and confess to it? And then when the priest doesn’t drop the dime on them, pinch him for the offense?


Still trying to find our new PMs statement in print. In answer to this.

I won’t be voting labour though!

Interestingly and not focussed on though, the recommendation was for any time anyone says anything about abuse, not just in the Confessional

Maybe priests who don’t speak English well will do confession.

There’s a big difference there, wouldn’t you say?

A priest who teaches in a school would likely be (at least in the US) a mandatory reporter – i.e., bound by law to report any indication of abuse to the appropriate authorities.

The same priest hearing confessions is in an entirely different situation.

That said, I would object as strongly as possible to any law passed in the United States requiring a priest to disclose anything heard in the confessional. And I would expect such a law to be widely (universally, really) ignored no matter what the consequences.

it means that a priest must mandatory report anything, at the moment they are not subject to that law.

regardless of the thing being said in or out of the confessional, in or out of the church

thats all it means. Priests in Aus don’t teach , there are too few of them. and the way Catholic Schools are being governed is all about to change in accordance to recommendations by the same Royal Commission.

the magisterium is still looking into the situation when a child comes in and says he or she has been abused. Because that is not a confession. But I don’t think we will hear anything on that unless these laws become operational.

we can’t have all our priests in jail.

1 Like

I’ve said this before but I think this law will eventually be passed here in the USA and I suspect some priests will break the Seal.

Here in the United States, the 1st A protects people practicing their religion, and the Supreme Court has ruled on this many a time- from Jehovah’s Witnesses who refuse to pledge the flag, to Nation of Islam ministers refusing to be inducted into the military.

Such a law might pass, and some priests might choose to obey it. But no Catholic priest will be pinched for the failure to obey it, and I don’t see any trials or imprisonment- it doesn’t stand constitutional muster in America.

The Church has only brought this abuse down on itself. Reaching into the confessional is overstepping the rule of law of freedom of religion (U.S.). The problem with the confessional is that it is “hearsay” evidence at best.

I don’t know of anybody who lies in the confessional, but the person performing a sting operation (Aus.) would be lying, in the first instance. And, the priest is not in a position to know whether they are telling the truth. Also, why stop at child abuse? How about other crimes of violence such as physical abuse and murder?

I appreciate their intensity (Aus.) because the child abuse has to stop. If the priest knows, he becomes an accomplice after the fact. It seems that the duty of restitution should require the penitent to confess the sin to the police but I don’t think that will ever happen. If it has already happened, it is also up to the victim to report the problem, if they are able.

Last, there has to be more diligence in protecting vulnerable persons BEFORE the fact. Adults who have protective custody of vulnerable persons have culpability also, more so than a priest who learns after the fact, no?

the stats in historic sex abuse include laity and a large % of laity.

laity, religious and clergy, Men and women. Our history socially included a very dark and evil time for children, both here in Aus and on a global scale. It didn’t just happen in the Catholic church, it occurred everywhere.

It happened, we acknowledge it happened. we move towards a future where it will never be able to flourish again.

there are now protocols and policies in place here to protect children and vulnerable adults. There have been for some time.

And Australia is leading the way in charging, putting on trial and convicting those who covered up abuse. The prison near me is full of people who committed sexual crime, including some of the most notorious paedophile clergy.

So a brave new world is being forged.

1 Like

This is the problem.

Well not necessarily, or depends for whom it becomes a problem.

And which way will it all go

Does the procurement of abortion stand “constitutional muster?”

Stay on topic

We don’t see trials or imprisonment for those procuring abortion, so we ought not to expect the same for other laws which violate the Constitution.

Again Stay on topic

Was not the US Constitution brought in as somehow relevant to the topic of whether the US will be successful in implementing policies similar to those being considered in Australia, which is the topic being discussed?

This thread is not about abortion . Make a new one

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit