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Irish columnist: proposal to break confessional seal imperils all faiths

Catholic World News - September 02, 2011

David Quinn argues that the Irish government is threatening all religious faiths—not just Catholicism—with a proposal to require mandatory reporting of sex-abuse allegations even if they are heard in sacramental confession.

The proposal, Quinn notes, strikes at the heart of Catholic belief and practice. If the government can disregard the fundamental beliefs of one faith, all faiths share the same risks.

Moreover, Quinn points out, abusers will simply not confess if they know that their crimes could be reported:

But by effectively barring a child abuser from attending confession, the State will rob confessors of the opportunity to persuade offenders to hand themselves over to the civil authorities.

Quinn questions whether any crime has ever been prevented by threatening the confessional seal. The evidence is scant, he notes, because only the most repressive regimes have ever made such threats--another indication that the Irish proposal is dangerously extreme.

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