Skip to comments.Ireland: Law proposed to force priests to break the Seal of Confession (Catholic Caucus)
Posted on 07/15/2011 2:46:58 PM PDT by NYer
Biretta tips to Fr. Blake and to Sancte Pater who lead me to this story at The Irish Catholic and elsewhere.
Government proposal to break the seal of confession is without precedent
Thu, 14/07/2011 – 15:34
The Taoiseach, the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Children are all indicating that a proposed new law will require priests to break the seal of confession if someone confesses to them the crime of paedophilia.
This would make us the one and only country in the Western world to have such a law. Even Revolutionary France in the days of its worst violence against the Church did not pass a law requiring the breaking of the seal of confession.
The justification for the law is that the crime of paedophilia is so heinous that no one who hears about it, under whatever circumstances, can be allowed to keep it to themselves.
But our Government is clearing missing something that every other Government can see, which is that at a minimum such a law is very unlikely to lead to a single conviction and at a maximum will be counter-productive and will make society less safe, rather than more safe.
It could equally be argued that a priest who hears a confession of murder must report it to the police. But if the murderer knew that priests were under such a legal requirement, the murderer would not make such a confession unless he was going to the police anyway.
On the other hand, a murderer who wishes to confess a crime to a priest, under the absolute seal of the confessional, is on the road to repentance and attending confession gives a priest the chance to encourage the murderer to turn himself over to the authorities or at the very least to cease his criminal activities.
The logic is the same with child abusers. No child abuser will go to a priest in confession knowing the priest is required to inform the police. But cutting off the avenue of confession to a child abuser makes it less likely that he will talk to someone who can persuade him to take the next step.
Various relationships in society are considered privileged and confidential. One is between a person and his or her confessor. Another is between a doctor and patient, and another is between a lawyer and client.
In creating a legal requirement that priests break the seal of confession under certain circumstances, the Irish State is going down a road very few other states in history have gone down. We need to seriously reconsider this extremely unwise and unprecedented proposal.
It says a lot about the present mood here that it can even be entertained.
And that mood is: Attack the Catholic Church, threaten the Catholic Church, intimidate the Catholic Church.
When our Catholic identity is eroded, this is what happens. As the night follows the day, threats of this kind will be made so as to silence the Church, whose duty it is to teach on many moral issues. You know the issues I am talking about. I suspect that this has more to do with hatred of the Church’s teaching office than it does with outrage over child abuse.
Sadly, the climate of anti-Catholicism and oppression is in large part fueled from within the Church herself.
Think about it. A law proposed to force priests to break the Seal… in Ireland.
I would hope that any priest worthy of his cassock would know that he serves a higher master than the state, and that he is not only blameless if he refuses to obey this law, he is damned if he DOES!
I was taught that a priest would go to prison or even die before he would squeal on a pentitent.
Messing with a religion and their beliefs is a reason for war. I hate assholes that prey on children. But if you try to mandate unholy changes on a religion. I'll stand up for any priest.
This isn’t about breaking the Seal of Confession to punish paedophiles, it’s about running the Church out of Ireland. These self-rightous bigots despise the Church itself and use any instrument in their attempt to break her.
Sadly, the perfidy of the priests and bishops has provided the opening for this sort of evil.
I don’t think much of Catholics, I have no pity for pedophiles....genuine pedophiles.Those are not people you or your children want to be around.Some of the most insane scheming and vicious people I’ve dealt with.
What Ireland is offering is still an insult to religious people everywhere,it assumes people confess to pedophilia at a Church which they do not.It implicates religion in pedophilia which is entirely untrue.
I wonder how they’d like losing all the American Irish Catholic tourists. My family would never set foot there again.
The Ghost of Cromwell lives apparently....
It’s strange though that so few Catholic parents confront priests today. When I was growing up it (and I doubt that it has changed), punching a priest in the face was a sacrilege. My mother reminded my father of this as he stormed out the door on the way to the rectory after one of my brothers told us all a “funny” story about a priest. My father shot back, “It’s no sacrilege to threaten.” There were no more “funny” stories. I’ve wondered so often why more parents don’t take these matters straight to the offender instead of to the bishop, the court or the local psychiatrist.
How can they enforce this law?
Are the pc police going to keep track of everyone’s confessor? Are they going to question every priest in Ireland for every child sex offender?
There are only two people that know what was said in the confessional.
LOL Do they have privleged communication in Ireland?
In practice the law is useless and will be ignored. How can you prove that the perv confessed? There are only two people in the confessional, so you’re going to take the word of the perv over the priest? Of course the police can bug the confessional, but wouldn’t it be more useful in that case to use the tape to convict the perv without going after the priest?
It is really simple, actually.
The Irish media can send in a ringer to go "confess" to abusing young children. Have a tape recorder running. Make the details really racy (so as to help ratings out).
The priest, of course, if the "penitent" expresses "contrition" (note all the "quotes" here), he will grant absolution.
Then...IF the priest breaks the seal (in accordance with Irish law)...he is instantly excommunicated -- reserved to the Apostolic See per Canon 1388:
Can. 1388 §1. A confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; one who does so only indirectly is to be punished according to the gravity of the delict.
§2. An interpreter and the others mentioned in ⇒ can. 983, §2 who violate the secret are to be punished with a just penalty, not excluding excommunication.
IF, on the other hand, the confessor maintains the sacramental seal (in violation of Irish law)...he is reported to the police who will arrest and jail him.
If the media doesn't do it, the Garda will.
Either way, it'll make short work of the remaining priests in Ireland.
And I, for one, think that this was the idea all along. Seems Pio Decimo is being vindicated more and more (in regards to his concerns in Pascendi)
Serious question...to whom does the Pope go to for confession? Jesus Himself? I have that same access. No Irish law or any other man-made law can break that ‘seal’.
The Holy Father is a priest, bishop and pope. In the matter of reconciliation, he would go to another priest or bishop. It is no different than anyone else.
He has a confessor just as all of us do. And, while I haven't read about the habits of Ratzinger in this regard, if he is like most of his predecessors, he likely goes to confession at least once a month if not more.
Thank you for raising an important question! To whom does the pope go to confession? Does the pope even need to go to confession??
The answer is quite simple. The pope is a priest with the heavy responsibility of carrying the church on his shoulders. Yes, he goes to confession! He goes to another priest.
Now, here is an interesting and true story about Pope John Paul II.
A priest from the Archdiocese of New York was visiting Rome. As he was walking into a church to pray, he noticed a beggar sitting at the front doornot an unusual sight in Rome. But something about this particular beggar bothered him. He didnt figure it out until he began to pray: he suddenly realized that he knew the man from his days in the seminary.A veritable example of love and humility, modeled after Christ.
He immediately went back outside and said to him, "Excuse me, do I know you?" Sure enough, the beggar had been in the seminary with him many years earlier. He had been ordained a priest, but had [in his words] "crashed and burned" in his vocation.
The priest from New York was understandably shaken up when he left the beggar a few minutes later.
That afternoon he was at the Vatican, and had the opportunity to meet the pope and speak with him. He said to him, "Please, Holy Father, pray for this particular man. I went to seminary with him, and hes now a beggar on the streets of Rome. Please pray for him, because hes lost."
The Holy Father instructed the priest to go back to the beggar.
He found himonce againin front of the church, and he said to him, "I have an invitation for the two of us to have dinner with the pope tonight." The beggar said, "No, I cant." The priest responded, "Youd better, because Im not going to have dinner with the pope any other way."
So the priest took the beggar to his room, where he provided him with a razor, a much-needed shower, and some clean clothes.
Then they went to dinner. About an hour into the meal, the Holy Father asked the priest from New York to leave the room. He then said to the beggar, "Would you hear my Confession?"
The beggar said, "Im not a priest anymore." The pope replied, "Once a priest, always a priest."
The beggar said, "But Im not in good standing with the Church." The pope shot back, "Im the pope. Im the bishop of Rome. I can re-instate you now."
The beggar agreed, and Pope John Paul II proceeded to confess his sins.
The beggar-priest barely got the words of absolution out of his mouth before he dropped to his knees and tearfully asked, "Holy Father, will you please hear my Confession?" He confessed, and was restored to good graces with our Lord and the Church.
The Holy Father then invited the New York priest back into the room, and he asked him at what church he had found the beggar. The priest told him. The pope then said to the beggar-priest, "For your first assignment, I want you to go to the pastor there and report for duty, because youll be an associate at that parish with a special outreach to the beggars in that area."
And thats where he is today, serving God and the poor as a priest.
But the relationship of the Church and the State in Ireland after 1921 was unusual, and the homosexual abuse ring in the Church in Ireland apparently had correspondingly unusual power and influence.
It makes sense, therefore, that the fall from (earthly) grace of the Irish Church would be correspondingly severe.
>>I dont think much of Catholics<<
Well, I think those who don’t think much of Catholics fall under the label of Putz. How bigoted of you. Can you possibly imagine how many long time Catholic FReepers value your opinion of them? Especially when you signed up just over a year ago to drop your nugget of wisdom here.
I will agree that it’s an attack on the Church in Ireland and my guess is that the Irish have very short memories.
That is entrapment and a false claim so the priest has not reported a false claim. He should not be prosecuted for that.
Reality is probably different in the criminal justice system.
Read the rest of my post,I keep my religious preferences non-personal and I speak with an honest mind.As for what people value and don’t value,that is up to their individuals opinions isn’t it?