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Irish government threatens the confessional seal

Catholic World News - July 14, 2011

Several Irish government leaders have agreed that Catholic priests should be required to report child abuse to police, even if they learn about the abuse from a penitent in the confessional. Thus the government is reportedly planning to bring forward legislation that would challenge the confessional seal.

Columnist David Quinn is rightly appalled by this reaction to the sex-abuse scandal. “Even 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,” he notes.

The damage that such a law would do to the Church should be obvious. Quinn argues that the measure would also be counterproductive from the viewpoint of civil society:

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.

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  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Jul. 15, 2011 2:56 PM ET USA

    Just wondering, if an abuser confesses to a priest, how can he be forgiven, if he is unwilling to go the the authorities and take his medicine? Is confession a free pass without restitution?

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Jul. 14, 2011 10:36 PM ET USA

    The secularists are just getting bolder and we will see things get worse until we are treated like the early Christians during the persecutions of ancient times. If some law like this is passed it is the duty of every priest to disobey and put God first. As it says in Holy Writ "you cannot serve God and Mammon" and as rabid secularism gets bolder we must be prepared to stand firm and choose Christ over Belial.

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