Australian parliamentary inquiry questions confessional seal
July 17, 2012
A legislative committee in Australia’s state of Victoria is questioning whether the government should honor the confessional seal.
The parliamentary committee is considering new laws to toughen requirements for reporting abuse of children. Soliciting public comments, the committee has prepared a questionnaire that asks whether priests should be required by law to report child abuse mentioned in the confessional.
Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne has warned that the Church cannot compromise on the inviolability of the confessional seal. Father John Walshe, chairman of Australia’s Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, said that priests would “universally” refuse to report confessional matter, reminding a reporter: “Priests have in the past history of the Church been martyred for refusing to break the seal of the confessional.”