New Irish bill, mandating reporting of abuse, renews concerns about confessional seal
April 15, 2014
The Irish government has published the Children First Bill, which requires professionals—including members of the clergy—to report any concerns about child abuse to appropriate law-enforcement authorities.
Frances Fitzgerald, the government’s minister for children, said the new legislation would help to establish a “cultural norm” calling for reporting of dangers to children. However, the legislation raises concerns about the protection of the confessional seal.
“The seal of confession takes precedence over everything,” Father Gearoid O Donnchu told the Irish Examiner. “If somebody comes to confession it is with the understanding that what they say is entirely privileged.”
- Long-awaited Children First Bill welcomed (Irish Times)
- Irish priest says he will observe sanctity of the confessional despite new law (Irish Central)