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.
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