Skip to comments.Priests Must Break Confessional Seal: Irish Government Introduces Anticipated Bill
Posted on 05/02/2012 8:13:25 AM PDT by marshmallow
DUBLIN, April 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) The Irish Justice Minister has evoked outrage from the Catholic Church by proposing 5-year prison sentences for priests who fail to report sex abuse of minors if they hear about it in the confessional.
Alan Shatters mandatory reporting bill, introduced Wednesday, will make it a criminal offence to fail to disclose information to police which would assist in prosecuting a person who commits a serious offence against a child or vulnerable adult. The bill confirms fears that the government of Ireland will attempt to force priests to break the seal of the confessional, an idea that caused an uproar when it bruited about the Dail last summer.
A statement from the Vatican last August made it clear that under no circumstances whatever may a priest reveal what he learns in confession, even if a penitent confesses to criminal activity. The seal of confession is the oldest and most sacrosanct of the disciplines of the Catholic priesthood.
Ireland can pass whatever laws it wants, said Archbishop Girotti, regent of the apostolic penitentiary, to Il Foglio, but it must know that the Church will never submit to forcing confessors to inform civil officials.
Cardinal Seán Brady, the primate of Ireland, condemned the governments plans, calling them challenge to the very basis of a free society.
The inviolability of the seal of confession is so fundamental to the very nature of the Sacrament that any proposal that undermines that inviolability is a challenge to the right of every Catholic to freedom of religion and conscience, Cardinal Brady said to a group of pilgrims at the Shrine of Knock.
To date, no formal statement has been issued on the subject by the Irish Catholic bishops in defence of the Churchs ancient legal privilege. Auxiliary Bishop Raymond......
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This seems the most logical and Christ-like thing to do. Not only does the person confessing the crime have an obligation to "come clean" before God, he/she also must do so to society. This is ESPECIALLY true if a child or another innocent is the victim. For a priest to hear a pedophile confess the rape of a child and then for the priest to do nothing afterward but "forgiving" the perpetrator, is to be remiss in his duties to the entire community. That child MUST know he is cared for and that he can trust those in authority to protect him/her from further abuse.
A big part of the scandal that the Catholic Church is dealing with today is because these victims were ignored, their abusers hidden and cosseted, if the abusers were clergy, they were moved secretly to other unsuspecting diocese and, often, the victim - if the abuse is discovered by parents - is blamed for its happening. The Apostle Paul was very adamant that anyone in the church who was guilty of grave sin MUST be cast out of the fellowship if he refused to repent and cease the sinful act. I HIGHLY doubt Paul would have approved of how this grievous blight has been handled in the past. I sincerely hope the days where such was brushed aside is gone and any clergy, who is made aware of child abuse, does MUCH more than forgive and forget.
Just maybe if such a perpetrator KNEW that not only would he have to face the consequences for his crime before God but also the law and make amends to his victim, before he could be granted absolution, he may think twice before committing it in the first place. Maybe the Catholic Church makes it TOO easy for such a person to get his "absolution" from God while escaping any real punishment for it. True remorse should be measured by how willing the sinner is to really answering for his sin.
Additionally, there HAVE to be exceptions to this "vow of secrecy" in the confessional. If a priest hears a confession of someone participating in a terrorist attack where people will be murdered, must he really have to keep it to himself? Sorry, there are legitimate AND logical exceptions to this rule. Let's be reasonable here.
“If a priest hears a confession of someone participating in a terrorist attack where people will be murdered, must he really have to keep it to himself? Sorry, there are legitimate AND logical exceptions to this rule.”
We can’t seek absolution for something we haven’t done yet; I don’t know if your scenario is even related to the seal of the confessional.
I don’t believe there are exceptions to this rule; Caesar has his kingdom and God has His.
The are no exceptions, nor should there be any. The seal must be absolute. I can appreciate why you believe as you do but...it is what it is.
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